Since I'm in the process of setting up my stamping stash in the schoolroom now the holiday rush is through, I rediscovered my alcohol inks I got started on when we lived in Jacksonville. The local stamp store there, A Small Cleverness, put me right on the road to success! It was autumn, and there was a lovely sample card with a leafless tree and a gorgeous red/orange ink background. The owner explained quickly how to achieve the effect, and with her tips I went right home and duplicated it! I love when that happens, don't you?!
The first thing she did was explain how to use the cotton applicator [actually dental cotton rolls held with small alligator clips...I've improvised here by rolling up a cotton pad and securing with a file clip! Worked beautifully!] to apply color by swirling [LOVE that word!] dabbing for stone effects, and spritzing with 90% rubbing alcohol. It doesn't work with the regular 70%--too much water and it doesn't let the ink move. Spritz the white glossy cardstock lightly then apply your color working quickly before the alcohol evaporates...then spritz again to get mottled looks; apply ink in dabs without spritzing for deeper color/depth of field in the background. Dropping different shades of ink along the length of the applicator gives a nice blend to the color without having to work at it...I put straight color on the little strip in the photo above to show the strong/full color. I just dabbed/rolled and blended into the backgrounds to create veins and designs that mimic stone.
You can put as many layers as you like on these...just let them dry before you continue to build. I used these with a nice silhouette stamp for Three Kings Day cards--they turned out really beautiful! Alcohol inks have an easy way for making you feel like an artist and they are fun and forgiving to use as a medium! [Oh--and bonus--I found some of the original cotton rolls I got down in Florida. Kind of like finding money under the couch cushion...or in one's winter coat pocket at the start of the new season! I think I'll have to play with my red inks for some Valentine fun!]