Alcohol inks and resin are both complex and exciting mediums in their own right – combining the two gives beautiful, wonderful, confusing and sometimes frustrating results, often all at once! I get daily messages asking for tips and advice ranging from beginners getting started, to how to scale a solo business, to whether it’s better to sell online or in person.
While I can’t say for certain on any of these – I can share my experience in the hope it helps other people, and so this page is a more detailed version of the FAQ on my instagram page, ironflowerink. If you have a question you’d like answered, you can send me a message here. This page is a work in progress and I’ll continue to add to it over the next few months – and wil shortly add a list of my go-to supplies available on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What brands of alcohol inks do you use? What are your favourites and where can I find them?
This is probably the question I get asked the most! I have 3 or 4 go-to brands of alcohol inks which I really don’t deviate from, and my preference changes amongst them quite regularly! I use Ranger Inks, Pinata Inks and Copic Refills – and more recently I have been using Blick alcohol ink refills, from US supplier Blick. For resin casting, I prefer the colours of Ranger and Blick – there are lights and brights which create some beautiful effects in resin, and I’ve made some of my most favourite pieces with Ranger inks. Obviously you need Pinata white to make the magic happen in resin, but their metallics are also fab. Copic are good too, but I tend to use copic more for painting.
I get my inks in a variety of places; when I first started, I bought some inks from eBay to test them out, and I’ve bought them from amazon too – but now I have a preferred supplier in the UK who offer preferential prices based on the volume I buy.
Q: What brand of resin do you use?
I use Art Resin (which is great!) for all of my resin pieces, including everything I sell on this site. I like it because it produces no VOCs or fumes and I get really great results with very few bubbles! If you’re in the US you can buy directly from their site, but if you’re in the UK like me – you can buy Art Resin through amazon.
Q: Where do you get your moulds?
I get my moulds from a variety of places – the best sources I have found is a bit of astute searching on eBay, amazon and etsy, but you can also find suitable molds from resin casting in the most straightforward of places. I have used silicone bakeware, icecube molds, and silicone tart tins, all of which I found in the baking aisles of my local supermarket. Anything more specialist and you might want to look at eBay, or search for a specialist moldmaker of which there are some brilliant ones on Instagram and elsewhere online.
Q: What material do you use to make your own moulds?
I use a translucent 2-part silicone from a UK supplier which mixes much like epoxy resin in that it needs to be thoroughly mixed and stirred and then poured quickly before it sets. I make my own moulds when I can’t find ones I like, and usually this is for specific jewellery or pendant pieces.
Q: Do you sell resin moulds?
At the moment, no – sorry. I may sell some of my resin molds in the future, but at the minute they’re not up to the standard I’d be happy to sell!
Q: How do I replicate your techniques? How do I create the effects you create in your cube paperweights?
I get asked this a lot – especially through messages on instagram. My techniques are an evolution of the petri technique which was originally developed by the brilliant Josie Lewis. She has shared loads of videos and tutorials on how to create using this method, and that is the starting point for all of my resin work – they bring together different inks and pigments and capture them in resin. From there, I have spent the last 6 months creating, experimenting, trying and learning and I’ve developed different tweaks and tricks – and I (like many other artists) see those techniques as my secret sauce. I share what I can when I can, but the fun in doing resin is creating your own style and I don’t usually make a habit of disclosing exactly how I do specific effects. I hope you understand 🙂
Q: Why doesn’t my ink sink into the resin?
This is often down to a number of different variables; time, depth, amount of ink added, and ratio of coloured ink to white ink. If you wait too long to drop the ink once you’ve mixed and poured the resin, you’ll find that the curing process can start to solidify the resin and increase the viscosity, and this will affect how readily the inks will sink in the petri. When using different moulds you should experiment with the balance of ink to resin for the depth of the mould and to get a feel for how the ink sinks and forms inside the mold, as if you drop too much ink it will flood the surface. Too little, and you’ll have no sinking effect at all – it will just sit on the top of the mould and ‘bobble’ like the texture of bubblewrap.
Q: Do you run classes or courses?
In the new year I will be running some short courses on basic, intermediate and advanced techniques with resin and ink which will cover basic techniques, going beyond creating petris, and creating different types of pieces. Stay tuned – and if you have an urgent need for a course or would like to speak to me about providing material as part of a course you run (either online or in person) – please get in touch.
Q: Will you share your techniques in YouTube tutorials?
I will soon be adding a section to the site which will include some tutorials for some specific techniques – but I’m sure you will understand that some techniques are the product of lots of time and experimentation and they are closely guarded secrets of mine! I may in the future share some video tutorials on YouTube but for the moment, the site and my day job are keeping me more than occupied – and i don’t have a lot of spare time as a result!
About my pieces
Q: Can I use your petri art as coasters?
You can – but if you’re planning to do this I want you to be aware that I use Art Resin, which is an epoxy resin and is ‘softer’ than a polyester resin or some other resins. What this means is that with the application of heat (ie.. a cup of tea) for a prolonged period of time can cause the resin to become softer and sometimes bendy. Epoxy can be dinted or scratched if it’s been prolonged to heat for a long period of time. However – in my view that’s kind of what coasters are for, to avoid that damage happening to the surface they’re protecting 😉 – so it’s up to you. Also worth saying, cold drinks = no dramas!
Q: What is your inspiration for pieces?
A lot of the pieces I create are almost entirely free hand, without any set colour themes or ideas. I try to be as unstructured as I can when pouring resin and let the inks find their own ways to show through. I have more recently started to capture my favourite colour combinations and for some commissions I have agreed a colour pallete beforehand.
Q: Do you sell wholesale?
If you want to discuss stocking my items or buying wholesale from me please send me a message via the contact form. Please note DMs on Instagram aren’t the best way to try and get in touch with me – I often don’t get to them!
Q: Do you sell on Etsy?
No, I don’t – I would rather donate the fees I would pay using Etsy to a charity like the MS Society.
Q: Do you sell in person in craft fairs?
I have some stalls and fairs planned in 2019, I will add dates and locations shortly.