How to Paint With Sharpies and Alcohol

Marybeth Santos
by Marybeth Santos
3 Materials
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)
Marybeth Santos
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 30 questions
  • Joan Bradley Joan Bradley on Mar 07, 2021

    Can I use this method on metal???

  • Patty Hall Patty Hall on Feb 11, 2022

    Someone all ready asked but I don’t see an answer. Glazed or unglazed tiles?

  • Shu69430216 Shu69430216 on Sep 19, 2022

    Have you been able to seal it? I have some Mod Podge acrylic sealer in a spray can, but have not yet tried this project...just wondering if that might work.

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3 of 41 comments
  • Peggie Peggie on Sep 07, 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.

    • Dianne Whitehead Dianne Whitehead on Mar 15, 2021

      I am a reader of this project, not the author, but I know an answer to your question. Yes, you can use alcohol inks or Sharpies on canvas if you prime it first. To prime a canvas, paint on two coats of Kilz 2. This will seal the canvas, making it nonporous, which you need for alcohol ink. You can also order Yupo paper (a plastic paper) to paint on.

  • Kathy Kathy on Jul 29, 2021

    My neighbor does these and uses alcohol paints, she seals them with resin but states that you put tile on something so that when resin runs off the edge you clean it off before it dries si that you have a clean edge. then put a felt pad or the small dots on the bottom to protect furniture. (like ones you put on chair legs)