How to Paint With Sharpies and Alcohol

I have a new favorite crafting project! I painted some tiles with Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol and the outcome is crazy good!
This project is super easy, especially with the tips I can give you based off of the mistakes I made.
First, after cleaning your tile with soap and water and drying it, color in the tile with coordinating colors (or try for colors that don't coordinate! My daughter did and hers came out gorgeous!).
Next, using a small paint brush, dropper or small straw, drop small amounts of the rubbing alcohol. You'll start to see the rubbing alcohol blurring the colors together. Be patient and don't drop too much alcohol. You can always go back and do a little more if you think you need to.
Your wet tile should look like the one above. If it looks like the one below, don't fret! It's an easy fix.
Just add some more color with your Sharpie and then drip the alcohol to get the blurring going again.
And if you are totally dissatisfied with how your tile came out, the paint comes "paint" comes off easily with water!
Which brings me to my next point. These will need to be sealed really well. I'm in the process of experimenting with how to seal them, so I will update with the best way of doing that!
Be sure to head over to the blog for all of the details including the mistakes I made that you won't have to!

Suggested materials:

  • Sharpies  (Michaels)
  • 91% Rubbing Alcohol  (Grocery Store)
  • 4.25 x 4.25 in Tiles  (Home Depot)

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Marybeth Santos

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 26 questions
  • Nancy
    on Mar 16, 2020

    Mine didn’t really turn out. You can see the lines from the marker in some places where the color didn’t blend. I used 70 percent alcohol could that be the problem? This is the one my son made. We sprayed the alcohol as well.

    • Awilda Harrington
      on Aug 9, 2020

      Kim, I’d like to try painting small tiles to be used as coasters, perhaps as hostess gifts. I’m an abstract artist and work in mixed media but have never worked with Alcohol ink. They’re rather pricey... where did you purchase the inks?

      PS spraying the 91% alcohol is a good technique, I’ve used it on portions of my pieces. Thanks to all of you for such good tips!

  • Donna
    on Apr 18, 2020

    Could these be used for backsplash? Thanks!

  • Lori Vaughan Boren
    on Jun 3, 2020

    What do you use to set the ink? Do you bake them? Set fire to them? Spray them with a sealant?

    • Steph
      on Jun 17, 2020

      I used a spray glaze which is a seal it like from a spray paint just a clear glaze turned out beautiful

Join the conversation

2 of 39 comments
  • Mimi Lafeurs
    on Aug 29, 2020

    Easy project for kids. Probably can be sprayed with acrylic paint finishing spray to set the color and so they won’t get ruined

  • Peggie
    on Sep 7, 2020

    Can this be done on a canvas for kids to keep and hang

    thanks for your time and for sharing this easy craft for my grandkids.

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