Monday, February 29, 2016

Burn The House Down!

 Set of 3 Decorative Tiles

No, not really, but I have been playing with fire lately.  I found a video on You-Tube in which the author, a user called beetlewing, demonstrated how to use flame to intensify and change the manner in which alcohol inks react on ceramic tiles. Alcohol Inks Tutorial: Playing Wtih Fire  And since I've been playing with alcohol inks and various mediums lately, I decided to take a look.

His video is very good and he creates some wonderful pieces and since I  could only burn this particular  house down once, I decided I'd give it a go.  I found a wonderful ceramic artist who agreed to make me some glazed pendant blanks and I must insist  the blanks, tiles whatever, have to have a glaze on them, otherwise this technique won't work. Don't use any that say bisque fired.

 This particular ceramic artist's has a shop on Etsy called Pottery Heaven and while she doesn't normally sell pendant blanks, I contacted her on FaceBook and she agreed to make some for me.  Since I am naturally impatient when it comes to trying something new, I went to my local home improvement store and bought some 4.25 inch plain white ceramic square tiles, the kind you would use in a bathroom.

I already had the alcohol inks.  I don't know why I bought them in the first place, and I have used them on a few polymer clay pieces but they are so much more fun and work soooo much better on ceramic tiles!

Beetlewing on You-Tube used a cigarette lighter but I was afraid that using one would put my hand and clothing waaay to close to a live flame so I went out and bought a set of those lighters with the long nozzles that you use to light candles.  I used an old cookie sheet and I don't recommend baking cookies on it afterwards because mine is now covered with blobs and smears of dried alcohol ink and alcohol inks are pretty much permanent. 

I put the tile down on the cookie sheet, got out my alcohol inks and started squirting.  Let me say that alcohol inks dry really fast.  Luckily, newly applied alcohol inks can be removed from glazed ceramic tiles with rubbing alcohol.  I made lots of mistakes and had a lot of ugly tiles but finally I got my technique down pat.

I found that making sure the lighter was lit before applying the inks worked a lot better than trying to light the thing after the ink went down.  You should let each section of ink fully flame out before trying to apply more.  I couldn't figure out why one of my inks wasn't squirting out, until I looked at the bottle and realized that I had burned the tip closed!  I had to cut the tip and now it doesn't squirt out as fast as the others.  And here's a tip:  You can't really see the flame, the inks burn with an almost invisible blue flame.  So if you are going to try this, use caution and don't do it with little kids and/or pets around, especially cats or while wearing loose clothing!

I coated some of my pieces with resin (the first time I've ever used resin and that's a whole other story for another time).  

Here are a few more pieces I did.
Flower Garden Alcohol Ink and Resin Ceramic Pendant
 Anemones Under The Sea Alcohol Ink and Resin Ceramic Pendant

And these aren't quite ready.  They're still drying and I need to apply resin to them since they're destined to be a set of coaters.
I'm calling them Spring Garden since they are flower themed:
I recommend you try this technique.  It's fun!  Just don't burn the house down!


  1. What vibrant colors! Gorgeous for your first times "playing" with fire (:

  2. So pretty and colorful, love your tiles!

  3. Wow, I love all those vibrant colors! Cool artwork! Thanks for sharing.

  4. That does look like it would be fun. Great colors!

  5. Interesting to read about your learning process and to see the colorful results!

  6. those are really neat, Nancy! Love the bright colors :) I am waiting to hear the resin story!