Monday, July 30, 2018

How to Create Alcohol Ink Silhouettes on Yupo

Short Version
Choose a silhouette pattern you like.
Make a stencil of the silhouette.
Stick the stencil onto Yupo.
Drop in some ink.
Remove the stencil. 
Embellish the background -  or not.
That's it.


Long Version
Materials Needed:
1. Self-healing cutting mat or piece of thick cardboard                                              

2. X-Acto knife with a sharp blade (I mean sharp).

3. ConTact paper to make a stencil
I used ConTact brand clear matte shelf liner.  It's not like the old stuff that sticks forever.  This new one allows you to reposition it.  Also, it is pretty good at preventing ink from seeping into the background. I have tried masking fluid (frisket) with less than satisfying results (background bleed & choppy lines).  I know art stencil film is available, but I have not tried it yet.

The ConTact paper was purchased at a local Target store in the kitchen section:  I've also seen ConTact paper at hardware stores & online (Amazon, for instance). 

If you live in Europe/UK and do not have access to this brand, be sure to find a clear shelf liner paper that allows you to reposition it. You might also have access to some art stencil film. Make sure it has a repositioning adhesive backing.

4. Silhouette pattern
There are royalty-free patterns on Pixabay:, and other reputable sites.  Check out "public domain" sites also.  To personalize your artwork even more, use your own references, of course:  dogs, cats, babies, flowers, ...

5.  Yupo paper

6.  Alcohol inks and blending solution

7.  Thin vinyl or latex glove(s)


1.  Choose a silhouette image and make a copy of it on your printer, sizing it the way you want your final piece to look.

2.  Place the print facing up onto your cutting mat or piece of cardboard.  Tape it in place.

3.  Place a piece of ConTact paper on top of the print.  The clear translucent side should be facing up, the backing of the ConTact paper facing down. The ConTact paper should be as large, or almost as large, as the final piece of Yupo you will be painting on.  Doing this will keep the background in pristine condition.  Sometimes the ink spreads farther than you think it will.

4.  Using a sharp X-Acto knife, cut around the outline of the silhouette. 

5.  Carefully remove the backing from the ConTact paper.  The silhouette may or may not pop out. Place the ConTact paper dull side down, sticky side up, on your work surface.

6.  Lay the Yupo paper on top of the sticky side of the ConTact Paper & press. Flip it over.

7.  Gently remove the silhouette if has stuck to the stencil.  Use the X-Acto knife to help lift edges, if necessary. Do not use a lot of pressure or you will scratch or dent the Yupo. 

8.  Burnish the cut edges of the ConTact paper to the Yupo by covering everything with a clean sheet of paper & gently pressing with something like a credit card.  This will help prevent the ink from seeping under the stencil into the background.

9.  Wearing a clean glove, smear a few drops of blending solution onto the Yupo and drop in some alcohol ink.  Mix colors, make spatters, whatever you want.

10.  Allow the ink to dry completely.

11.  Gently remove the stencil. Your edges should be crispy clean.  If there is seepage, you can try one or more of the following things.

       a.  Wrap the tip of the X-Acto knife with 1-2 layers of paper towel, dip into blending
            solution, lightly blot, & then try to remove unwanted ink.  Depending on the color               
            of the ink, you might be left with a stain. 

       b.  Use a "white out" product like "Dr. Ph Martin's Bleed Proof White" or white   
             acrylic paint to conceal the mistake.  The only problem in doing this is that the 
             white paint leaves an obvious matte area on the top of your shiny Yupo surface.              
             If you are keeping the original for yourself, you can ignore this if it doesn't bother 
             you.  I personally would not sell it in this condition although you               
             could still make a beautiful print from it.

        c.  Using a very thin brush, dip the tip into matching ink, blot some ink onto paper         
             towel, and then extend the image with the brush to cover the mistake.

        d.  Do it over.  I've redone two (so far).  

The silhouette paintings can also be created using watercolor paint on Yupo or on watercolor paper.  If you are doing watercolor paint on paper, you don't even need a stencil.  Just thoroughly wet the silhouette shape and drop in some watercolor paint.  The paint will not travel beyond the wet surface as long as you don't rock the paper.

You could also try using acrylic paint or acrylic ink on a variety of surfaces or anything else you can imagine.

Hope you give it a try.  You may discover a simpler, easier way to do silhouettes.  This is not the only way, but it works for me. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Lots of Yupo

Alcohol Ink on Yupo

There's still a bit of Yupo laying around here, so I started some animal silhouettes.  
They are nothing new, 
but I like them and am going to make lots more.

Alcohol Ink on Yupo

I was hoping to post a small batik, but it's not finished 
because the house is starting to heat up. 
It was 96 F (35.55 C) yesterday; low 90's today.
No central air yet.

But the tomatoes are lovin' the heat!

Flowers and figs, too.

Hope you're staying cool.

Have a safe, happy weekend!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pulled String Flowers

Like most everywhere else, the heat has been really oppressive this month
 here in the Pacific Northwest.
  We are finally having central air conditioning installed in August 
- so thankful for that!

In the meantime, I've been looking for quick and easy things to do, 
and found a good video (below) demonstrating the pulled string flower technique.

Here's what you get by dipping string into India ink and pulling the string between two pieces of paper.  These were practice runs using regular computer paper.

I think I will blot off a little ink on a paper towel before pulling next time.

 Artist Marta Lapkowska made the video. 

The second YouTube comment under the video made me smile.
I still enjoyed doing it.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Alcohol Inks

For some reason, doing these abstract alcohol ink flowers is very relaxing.  

They are created using canned air. 

 The downside to buying the air is that repeated use can get quite expensive.

See the sharp lines in the middle of this flower?
They were caused when the applicator on the can touched the surface of the paper.

An air compressor wouldn't do that.
And an air compressor would be a one time purchase.

Hope my hubby is reading this.

. . . . .

These inks were created on glossy black cardstock using lots of white alcohol ink.  They were done during one of the modules in Alexis Bonavitacola's online workshop, Florals in Bloom.

The learning curve for me has been knowing when to stop with the white ink - too much creates an opaque finish.  

Since they are difficult to control, the inks are challenging, 
but I stockpiled some Yupo so I'm looking forward to having some fun with them this summer.