Alcohol Markers 101: A Tutorial from Wendy Price

Wendy Price joins us today for day 2 of Alcohol Markers Week at PaperCrafter’s Corner. You’re in for a real treat as THE Wendy Price provides a gorgeous, step-by-step beginner’s tutorial on coloring with alcohol markers. If you missed yesterday’s coverage, check out Christine Ousley’s Intro to Alcohol Markers and our Alcohol Markers Giveaway kickoff here. More great coverage is coming throughout the week, so be sure to stay tuned!

Alcohol Markers 101

Alcohol markers are all the rage right now in the papercrafting world. You might be asking yourself if you really need another coloring medium. After all we have watercolors, colored pencils, chalks, acrylic paints, spray mists, and stamping inks. The answer is YES! Alcohol markers are vibrant and easy to blend. They’ll make a great addition to your papercrafting supplies.  Keep reading and I’ll share with you everything you’ll need to know to get started with alcohol markers!

Supplies Needed

Before you can begin coloring you’ll need to gather up your supplies. I recommend trying out a few different markers, papers and inks because it really is a matter of personal preference. For cardstock, markers and inks, there are a number of choices on the market but here are a few of the most popular.

Supplies used in samples: Copics (B00, B02, B05, YG23), Memento Ink, Mohawk cardstock, Stampendous Perfectly Clear Butterfly Set

Cardstock: Here are a few of specific paper brands and weights that are widely recognized as working well with alcohol markers.

Stamping Inks: For best results, either heat set or allow ink to dry before coloring. Solvent inks such as StazOn are NOT compatible with alcohol markers. I have had terrific success using all three of the below brands:

Alcohol Markers: 

There are a number of alcohol markers on the market now. They differ in price, marker tip, refillable/nonrefillable, and color range. Tomorrow’s Alcohol Markers feature article will cover many of the available alcohol markers on the market, including Copics, Promarkers, Spectrum Noirs and others in detail, so stay tuned.

Additional Supplies:

  • Colorless Blender:  The name is a bit misleading. It actually pushes the ink. This can be used to erase mistakes by pushing the ink back into the colored area. It can be used to lighten areas and create highlights. You can use it to create dots, plaids, or create texture.
  • Nonstick craft mat (such as the Ranger Inkssentials Craft Sheet):  Be sure to protect your worksurface because the inks can bleed through the back of your papers.

Coloring Tutorial: Let’s Get Started!

To begin with stamp your image. Be sure to either heat set or allow drying time. Now with your lightest shade, color in the image completely.

Stamped, colored butterfly 1

Next add the medium shade where you would expect the shadows or darker areas to appear.

While the ink is still damp go back with your lighter marker and blend the colors using a circular coloring pattern where the colors meet. You will notice the darker shade blend into the lighter.

If you want even more contrast, take your darkest shade and color the areas you want to be the darkest. Using the same technique as before, color with the medium and the lightest shade marker to blend the colors.

To make the colors pop just a bit more, I added a bit of green to the butterfly center. Blend the green in with the blues using a feathering technique. Feathering is achieved by laying the brush tip flat against the edge of your image, pushing down and lifting up at the end of the stroke. When all the green was laid down in this manner, go back and add the lightest blue in this way. The result is a gorgeously blended gradation of color.

And you’re finished! You have a gorgeous butterfly custom colored to match your project!

Notice the butterflies I created for my Family scrapbook layout here. With just a couple of stamps, an inkpad and a few markers, my options were endless!

To view Wendy’s full layout, visit her blog here.

Additional Tips & Techniques

Another way to add another shade of color is to scribble onto a nonstick craft sheet or palette and pick up some of the color with a lighter shade marker. Don’t be afraid of contaminating the marker tip. You’ll simply scribble off on a sheet of scrap paper when you’re done.

One of my favorite ways to add a bit of color to the backgrounds without using a ton of ink or time is using a pointillism technique. Gather up 3 to 5 color markers and starting with the lightest color simply add dots. Be sure to hold the marker straight up to get a round dot. The longer you press the more ink and larger the dot will be. Instead of following a pattern, randomly bounce the marker tip along the paper adding dots. I try to have achieve a  larger concentration of dots closer to the image. Next move on to a darker color and continue adding dots. You will move up the range of colors, adding less dots with darker markers.

Don’t have the perfect colored embellishment for your project? No problem! Alcohol inks work great for adding color to your embellishments. Try coloring buttons, bling, alphabet stickers, ribbon, twine, and metal embellishments.

Even glitter can be colored to match. Simply add a drop or two of re-inker to a small amount of white glitter. To cut down on the mess, mix the glitter and ink in a plastic bag.

So have I convinced you to give Alcohol Ink Markers a try? I’m sure you’re going to LOVE them! Be sure to stop back tomorrow to learn more about the various markers on the market!


Thank you, Wendy, for that fantastic tutorial! Be sure to visit Wendy’s blog Paper, Ink and Smiles to see more of her great work.



  1. Kim K. says

    I have been sitting on the fence about investing in alcohol markers, but tutorials like Wendy’s give all crafters the information they need to make an informed decision. I say “Yes” to alcohol markers. What fun!

  2. rkokes says

    great tutorial! I don’t have any markers yet, but this is making me want to give them a try-especially like that you can color glitter!

  3. Jennifer S. says

    Fantastic tutorial. Thanks. I have a few Copics but have not used them much. I think it is time to give them another try.

  4. Betty Weaver says

    OMGosh! I am still trying to ‘enjoy’ coloring with my markers (I have mostly Prisma) but this was so well done I have lost some of my fear to try new things :) THANK YOU

  5. Lorraine Padden says

    Thanks for such a great tutorial. I just received new alcohol markers in the mail today. I can’t wait to try your techniques this weekend.

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