I’m a pretty pathetic artist. It’s true. When I was a kid no one wanted me on their team for Pictionary because I couldn’t draw anything, and in junior high my art teacher used to say “tell me about this picture” because she didn’t want to admit she had no idea what it was supposed to be. So ya, art’s not one of my strengths. Which is why I like today’s project so much. This easy fired ink art turns out beautiful and takes no artistic talent whatsoever. It’s so easy that kids can create a “masterpiece” in minutes, but it’s fun for adults to play with too.
With only a few supplies and in only a few minutes you (and I!) can make pretty artwork for your wall.
The process couldn’t be simpler: remove the glass from a picture frame. Drop alcohol inks onto the glass, then add rubbing alcohol. Swirl to combine, then light the alcohol on fire. As the inks & alcohol burn, they create beautiful designs.
Once the fire has burned out, you can back the glass with white paper and place it into your frame for instant DIY art. Think it must be more complicated? Just watch the video:
This is the fired art I made in the video, in under 5 minutes real time:
Then I made three more to go with it:
As you can see from the video, you are lighting the alcohol on fire. If you want to do this project with kids, make sure an adult is supervising and please use caution. We found it was easiest to protect the table with a plastic tablecloth, then let kids drop ink and alcohol on the glass wherever they were seated. Once the glass was ready to be fired, we moved it to a foil-covered cookie sheet in the center of the table, away from the alcohol and other children. Then an older child or adult used a lighter to light the alcohol. If someone has dumped a lot of alcohol on the glass the flame may be tall, so use caution. (It doesn’t make any smoke, however.)
A few more notes about the process:
- For this project, you want to use Ranger alcohol inks (affiliate link). You can order them online or buy them at your local Jo-Anns or Michaels. They are about $10 for a pack of three, so it’s nice to use coupons to get them cheaper. I’d probably recommend getting at least 6 colors, but it’s even more fun if you have a wider variety of colors to play with. Each bottle goes a long way so you’ll be able to use them over and over again.
- We used the glass out of dollar store pictures frames, but you can also use inexpensive tiles from Home Depot (the white 4×4 inch tiles are super cheap).
- If you don’t like how your design turns out, try adding more ink and more alcohol and lighting it again. It’s fun to experiment with different techniques, such as dropping the ink, swirling the ink, spritzing the alcohol instead of dropping it, etc. You can also use alcohol to clean off the glass or tile and start over.
- Use 91% rubbing alcohol for best results.
- After the fire has burned out, the glass will be completely dry. It also cools down quite quickly.
- Once you are happy with a design, you may want to seal it with polyurethane spray. Otherwise, if it gets wet it could smear.
Want more fired art fun? Check out these fired tile coasters, which use permanent markers instead of alcohol inks: