Note – This technique was written a long time ago before the birth of Alcohol Inks 😉

The Polished Stone Technique is a background that utilises expensive alcohol inks such as ‘Tria Inks’ to make swirly colour backgrounds. I suppose the name comes about because the colours on the backgrounds look so intense they resemble that of cut crystal and stones.

Here in mouldy old England I wanted to try this technique but couldn’t find any of these inks…even if I could I was wondering if they was worth the expense just for one background technique.

I looked around at a couple of websites at what these backgrounds are supposed to look like and decided to experiment and try and come up with an imitation version of this technique using ordinary artist inks. You can read on for my take on the ‘Faux Polished Stone Technique’

Alcohol and Inks Background Technique

What you will need

Artist Inks:
I used the Posh Impressions Rainbow Inks, plus Winston and Newton Drawing Inks.

Surgical Spirit or Rubbing Alcohol:
You can buy this from chemists or shops like Boots and Superdrug its next to the with the plasters and bandages. If you cant find Surgical Spirit look for any medicinal alcohol for cleaning cuts and grazes.

Cotton Wool balls:
(The cosmetic kind that are used for applying cleanser and toner on your face)

White Glossy Card

How To Create

I created backgrounds using the 2 different methods below:

Method 1:

1. Take a cotton wool ball and pour on a little surgical spirit to dampen it. I hold the cotton ball in one hand, and the bottle in the other and hold the bottle neck over the cotton wool ball to take up the fluid..this is the quickest and cleanest way of doing it.

2. Next apply little drops of ink colours onto the cotton wool ball, use colours that will look good together; for example pinks, blues, burgundies, purples -or- green, yellow. browns and blues. I applied little drops and lines of ink colour directly onto the cotton wool ball. Overlap the colours to allow them to blend together.

3. Next pour on a little more surgical spirit onto the cotton wool ball.

4. Take your glossy white card and tap the cotton wool ball directly onto the card as if you are sponging with it, the alcohol in the surgical spirit intensifies the ink and makes the colours literally glow on your card.

Continue tapping and ‘sponging’ with the cotton wool ball until you have completely covered the surface of your card. Set aside to dry, your background is complete.

You can use the cotton wool balls to create more than one background. If it runs out of colour, top it up with more surgical spirit or inks.

Method Two:

This method is similar to method one, instead of applying all the different drops of ink onto one cotton wool ball I have several cotton wool balls each completely covered with one ink colour.

1. Apply surgical spirit to a ball of cotton wool, next completely cover the ball with one colour of ink, apply more surgical spirit. Continue making ink and surgical spirit balls for each colour of ink you wish to use in your backgrounds.

2. Choose which colour you wish to be your base coat and sponge down your first colour onto the white card. Next using a different colour of ink, apply patterns and movement onto the card. Continue playing until you are happy with how it looks.

As before use your cotton wool balls to create more backgrounds and add more inks or spirit as and when is needed.

Alcohol and Ink Backgrounds Gallery






Brief Lowdown of each Background:

1. Top Left: Posh Impressions Inks in: Hot Pink, Blue, Butterscotch and Red.

2. Top Right: Artists Inks In: Light Green, Dark Green and Yellow.

3. Second Row Left: Artists Inks In: Light Green, Dark Green and Yellow. Extra surgical spirit was added to create a more washy feel.

4. Second Row Right: Posh Impressions Inks in: Hot Pink, Blue and Cranberry.

5. Third Row Left: Artists Inks in: Purple, Pink, Blue and Orange. Extra surgical spirit was added to create a washy feel.

6. Third Row Right: Artist Inks in: Brown, Yellow, Orange and Green. Extra surgical spirit was added to create a washy feel.

7. Fourth Row Left: Posh Impressions Ink in: Eggplant, Purple and Hot Pink. Extra surgical spirit was added for a washy effect.

8. Fourth Row Right: Artists Inks in: Dark & Light Green, Brown, Yellow and Orange.

9. Fifth Row Left: Artists Inks in: Red, Orange and Magenta.

10. Fifth Row Right: Artists Inks In: Pink, Orange, Purple and Silver.

11. Sixth Row Left: Artist Inks in: Dark Blue, Purple, Green and Silver.

12. Sixth Row Right: Artists Inks in: Pink, Orange, Red, Magenta and Silver.

More Ideas With Alcohol and Ink Backgrounds

Experiment with moving the cotton wool balls to create movement with the ink. For example you can swipe the cotton to create lines, or you can lift it up to create bubble like textures or rub harder to create a more softer background.

Experiment with using less or more surgical spirit. More surgical spirit creates a more softer washy looking background which I think resembles clouds. Less surgical spirit creates a more intense rainbow of colours.

Use metallic inks! You can buy artists inks in gold and silver! This is what I used on some of the backgrounds. Instead of applying them onto the cotton wool balls I dropped them directly onto the card stock and used the cotton wool balls to move them around the card stock and blend them in with the other colours I was using.

The card you use can have a big difference in your backgrounds! I had some super glossy card and it created really intense backgrounds, I then used the same colours on a less glossy sheet of card and the background looked totally different.

See examples:


Super Glossy Card


Less Glossy Card

Alcohol and Inks Background Cards

Once you have created your backgrounds you can stamp on them and make into cards:) You can stamp using any inkpads of your choice. These are some of the cards I created below using these backgrounds along with a brief description of how they was made





All of the backgrounds on the cards in the gallery were edged using a copper krylon pen and mounted onto black cardstock. All images were stamped with memories inkpad.

Top Left Butterfly Card: Inks by Posh Impressions in: hot pink, cranberry, butterscotch and blue. Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design.

Top Right: Dragon Fly Collage Card: Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design). Posh Impressions Ink in Hot Pink, Magenta & Cranberry.

Second Row Left Sonny Boy Card: Artists inks in: brown, green, orange and yellow. I used extra surgical spirit to create a more washy effect. Stamp Credit: Comotion.

Second Row Right Fan Collage Card: Ink colours as previous card with less surgical spirit to create a more intense background. Stamp Credit: Aspects Of Design.

Third Row Left Butterfly Card: Inks by Posh Impressions in: hot pink, cranberry, butterscotch and blue. Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design.

Third Row Right Flower Fairie Card: For this background I left some of the white card stock showing throw the inks as I liked the effect. Artists Inks in pink, magenta and purple. Stamp Credit: Imagina

Fourth Row Left Dragon Fly Card: Posh Impressions Inks in: Denim, green, cranberry, eggplant and purple. Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design.

Fourth Row Right Dragon Fly Card: Artist Inks in: orange, brown, yellow, green and red. Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design.

Bottom Dragon Fly Card: Artists inks in purple, blue and pink, I added extra surgical spirit to blend the inks into a washy effect. Stamp Credit: Aspects of Design.

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