Overview: Anything non-porous is fair game.  Seriously. Some of us just go to the thrift store and paint on anything non-porous we find.   

Main Substrates:

  • Yupo® paper (along with ceramic tile) is one of the two favorite surfaces for alcohol ink art. Yupo® is not actually paper at all. YUPO® is a 100% recyclable, waterproof, tree-free Synthetic Paper with non-porous attributes and properties that make it the perfect alcohol ink substrate!
  • Tiles: Non-porous, glossy ceramic tile is a great substrate for alcohol ink art.  It’s inexpensive and can be acquired at most hardware and tile stores. Alcohol ink works really well on ceramic tile, but does require sealing, or it will scratch off the surface. 
  • Dominos are great for creating pendants for necklaces, refrigerator magnets, keychains, etc. Alcohol ink pendants are a top-seller for many alcohol ink artists. We have several videos on creating alcohol ink art on dominos in our premium membership area.
  • Photo Paper: Often painters use the back/ non-glossy side, reporting that the inks are less fluid than they usually like on the glossy side. This is probably the most frequently suggested option for a less expensive alternative to Yupo®.
  • Canvas is a popular art substrate in general. However, working directly on unprepared canvas is not recommended (though several painters here do anyway!). Canvas is porous and the ink will sink into the fibers.  Prepping your canvas with a primer to make it non-porous is the more conventional method for using canvas.
  • Modeling Film – substrate is had and you can wipe back to black/white.
  • Other substrates: 
    • Cabochons (stone or glass usually shpes into a rounded oval, with a flat bottom.  Sometimes painted on, or used to cover another substrate for a jewelry piece.)
    • Cradled Wood Panel (primed, often with Kilz 2)
    • Glass Bulbs
    • Aluminum Foil
    • Clay Board (or specifically usually a product called Claybord by Ampersand)
    • Premium Glossy Photo Paper
    • Melamine Board
    • Acetate
    • Metal
    • Light switch plates (metal & plastic)
    • Toilet seat (Seriously, someone did this!)
    • Guitar face (varnished)
    • Corian® 
    • Glass Tile
    • Glass Vases
    • Canvas (Coated and Glossed)
    • Plastic Containers
    • Wax Paper / Freezer Paper (wax side)
    • Adhesive Laminate
    • Gourds
    • Shrink Film (Shrinky Dinks)
    • Silk
    • Duralar
    • Mineral Paper
    • Terraskin
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Laurie "Trumpet" Williams is an alcohol ink artist and founder of the Alcohol Ink Art Community. She is also a digital marketing consultant helping artists and small businesses with online marketing strategies. Check out Laurie's full bio here: Laurie Trumpet Williams, Alcohol Ink Artist & Instructor.

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