Beginners Guide To Painting Alcohol Inks on Rocks

Are you ready to dive into a super fun DIY project? Let’s talk about painting alcohol inks on rocks! This exciting and creative activity is perfect for teens and adults who love to explore their artistic side.

With a few vibrant alcohol inks and some smooth stones, you can create stunning, one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend project or an engaging group activity, decorating rocks with alcohol inks is an easy and fun way to be creative with friends!

So, gather your supplies and let’s get started on making some colorful art!

Alcohol inks on rocks graphic
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This beginner’s guide will explore the art of using alcohol inks on rocks and rock painting techniques. Alcohol ink painting is a easy and creative way to make alcohol ink art with these simple tips.

What you will learn:

  • What alcohol ink is and how to make your own alcohol inks.
  • Types of rock painting techniques.
  • Step-by-Step tutorials on how to use alcohol inks on rocks.

Alcohol Inks on rocks is my new obsession! I love experimenting with new ways to create and using alcohol inks on rocks has become my art therapy.

Using alcohol inks on rocks is a fun way to create abstract art while experimenting with different art tools and how it reacts with other colors.

Alcohol inks are super easy to use—they have a water-like consistency and a bit of an alcohol smell. If you’re sensitive to smells, just make sure to work near an open window.

What is Alcohol Ink?

These vibrant, dye-based pigments are fast-drying and perfect for beginners. They work best on non-porous surfaces like glass, tile, ceramics, yupo paper, and even metal.

Alcohol inks have a watery consistency and a bit of an alcohol smell, so if you’re sensitive, it’s a good idea to work near an open window. Blending solutions are your best friend for diluting those rich colors and mixing them together. Plus, they make cleaning your brushes, workspace, and hands a breeze.

alcohol ink art on paper

When you’re applying ink to rocks, be quick! The alcohol makes the ink dry fast. But don’t worry—you can always add some blending solution or plain 91% Isopropyl alcohol to keep the creativity flowing.

Why use Alcohol Inks on Rocks?

Why not? Yes, some rock surfaces can be porous, but by applying a base coat of paint it creates a barrier. This makes it a perfect surface to paint colorful rocks with alcohol inks!

Beginner’s Tips and Tricks


  • Prep your work area with a piece of freezer/wax paper or something that’s not absorbent and paper towels.
  • Wear an apron or clothes you don’t mind getting ink on. Remember, it’s permanent.
  • Glove Up! Don’t get me wrong but I kinda like getting a little dirty but alcohol ink is tough to get off especially around and under the nails. Try using Dawn dish soap and baking soda to scrub inked up hands. Hand Sanitizer or Rubbing Alcohol works too.
  • Alcohol… (Isopropyl too) is awesome! You can also use it to clean your paint palette and paintbrushes.


  • All you need are sharpie permanent markers, 91% or higher Isopropyl Alcohol, containers for each color ink, travel size mister bottle, or eye-dropper bottle.
  • With gloves on, remove the marker’s nub and the take apart the sharpie to get the ink pad.
  • Put the marker nub and ink pad into a container with 1.5 oz of 91% or higher Isopropyl Alcohol. Let it sit for at least 2 hours.
  • Fill ink the in the travel size bottles and throw away the ink pad.


  • For more brush control add the alcohol inks into a welled paint palette and let dry. Then, reactivate the dried inks with a little bit of rubbing alcohol on your paint brush. This is useful for creating fine lines, and detail work.
  • To create interesting brush lines, simply let the layers dry before painting more on.
  • If you want more of a tye-dye look, simply add all your colors and let it blend together.

Alcohol Inks Tools and Supply Checklist

Prep and Cleanup

  • Freezer Paper/Wax Paper to work on
  • Apron or old paint clothes to wear
  • Gloves
  • Paper Towels
  • Container for Alcohol
  • Gesso or Acrylic base-coated Rocks

Alcohol Ink Supplies

Alcohol Ink Tools to Try

Easy Alcohol Ink Techniques


  • Add a few drops of alcohol inks onto the rock for some vibrant splashes of color. Mix and blend different shades, and don’t forget to drip a bit of alcohol to create stunning effects.


  • I love using magic eraser pieces dipped in alcohol ink and dabbing them on rocks. It’s such a fun way to create a beautiful blending or gradient effect!


  • Drip some alcohol ink on a rock and use a straw or a can of compressed air to swirl the ink around! You’ll need to work quickly because the alcohol dries fast, but don’t worry! Just add a little more alcohol to reactivate it and keep the fun going.


  • You can use paper towels, cotton balls, or foam brushes to create a fun swipe effect! Simply add drops of alcohol ink and swipe it over a rock in the same direction. This creates a beautiful background for your design. Give it a try and see the magic happen!


  • Grab your brush, wet it with a bit of alcohol, then dip it into your favorite alcohol ink color, and start painting that rock!


  • Here’s a simple and super fun technique using a toothbrush! Just flick some ink or alcohol to create an awesome splatter effect.

How to Use Alcohol Inks on Rocks Guide

alcohol inks on rock

Drip Technique

  1. Drip a few drops of alcohol ink onto your rock. Less is more!
  2. Let the ink spread, you can help move it around by blow on it, you can use a straw or canned compressed air to get a dramatic look.
  3. You can also use a paintbrush dipped in alcohol to create more spreading.
  4. Use different colors and see how the colors blend together. Use more alcohol to wet the alcohol ink by misting it on or using a paintbrush.
  5. Add more drops of alcohol ink and blending solution until you think your rock art is done.
  6. Let it dry completely before using a high gloss sealer spray.

Alcohol Inks on Rocks YouTube Tutorial

Beach Inspired Alcohol Ink Painted Rock

beach alcohol inks on rocks
  1. I used tape on my rock separate the inks from bleeding through. Be sure to make good contact on the rock with the tape (I obviously didn’t make a good enough contact on my rock!)
  2. Spray alcohol or blending solution on the rock.
  3. Drip a few drops of blue/teal alcohol ink onto your rock. 
  4. Let the ink spread, you can help move it around by blowing on it with a straw.
  5. Once the ink is dry, remove the tape and use the gold/yellow on the other side, blending gently into the blue.
  6. Let it dry completely before using a high gloss sealer spray.

Candy Corn Painted Rocks

candy corn painted rocks

Swipe Technique 

For this project, I used (3) 1 inch foam brushes.

  1. Divide the rock into three sections, just like a candy corn. Be sure protect your work surface by using paper plates or something similar while using alcohol inks (orange, white, and yellow).
  2. Dip each foam brush in each alcohol ink color.
  3. Swipe one of the colors across the rock in a horizontal line covering of the top portion.
  4. Repeat the same process of swiping the next two colors across the middle and then the bottom.
  5. For more vibrant colors apply a second coat of stripes across the rock again.
  6. After the beautiful candy corn rock painting is completely dry, spray a light coat of clear sealer on the rocks and let it dry some before applying a second coat. Let it dry for 24 hours before touching the rocks.

For more Alcohol Ink on Rocks Ideas, check out Julie Bullock, a talented alcohol ink artist with her PRO tips in How to Make Easy Stunning Alcohol Ink Art Like A Boss!”

alcohol ink art like a boss

That’s a wrap, folks! If you’re new to rock painting and not sure where to start, don’t worry. You can grab a free PDF of this guide from our free resource library. Plus, check out our Rock Painting for Beginners series below. Happy painting!

Part 1 – How to Paint Rocks 

Part 2 – Rock Painting Supplies | What you need to know

Part 3 – Easy Rock Painting Techniques

Part 4 – How to Mix Colors with Confidence

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