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Food Safe Dishes with Alcohol Inks – DIY Colorful Dishes Tutorial

A long, long time ago I wrote a post about using Stazon inks and stamps to decorate dishes. (It was one of my earliest posts on The Artisan Life!) It’s been confusingly popular over the years. One of the most common questions people have consistently asked is whether or not the stamped surfaces are food safe. I’ve never personally felt comfortable eating off the stamped portions of any decorated dishes, and feel like you’d be pretty likely to mess up the design. When I was organizing and cleaning after our recent trip to WV, I came across a set of glass bowls originally purchased for our DIY wedding reception and I had an exciting idea. The idea worked out, so today I’m excited to share how to make food safe dishes with alcohol inks!

Dishwasher and food safe dishes with alcohol inks tutorial

You can use this technique with plates, bowls, or glasses – it really doesn’t matter! Blend the colors or choose just one color per piece; again, the choice is yours. This project is a really great way to spruce up some old glass dishes or enhance thrift store/yard sale finds!

Materials needed for food safe dishes with alcohol inks

  • Alcohol inks! There are several different brands, but I happen to own/use Ranger Adirondack
  • Alcohol ink blending solution or rubbing alcohol
  • Alcohol ink applicator
  • Glass dishes. Just take a look through your cabinet for things you rarely use or stop by the thrift store!
  • Foil for protecting your work surface – optional but recommended
  • A sealant – I recommend a spray matte sealant, dishwasher safe Mod Podge and a brush to apply it with. Do not jump directly to Mod Podge – it can cause the alcohol inks to smear.

DIY food safe dishes with alcohol inks tutorial

To begin with, make sure your dish is dry and clean. I highly recommend wiping down the outside with a paper towel and alcohol ink to make sure there aren’t any residues, oils, etc. to interfere with the ink.

Protect your work surface! Alcohol ink will stain. Ask me how I know this 😉 I suggest using a piece of aluminum foil with slightly curled up edges to make sure nothing leaks off and on to your table.

Once your dish is dry and clean, you’re ready to get going! I recommend wetting the outside of your dish with blending solution or rubbing alcohol and then working quick with your applicator, or simply by dripping the ink on, to apply the ink. The ink likes to flow where it’s already wet, so applying a bit of blending solution/alcohol ahead of time can help encourage the colors to mix. If you’d prefer, you can also just dab the inks on without using a solution beforehand. I made my bowls in mostly one color each, with a little bit of a second color for variety in the individual bowl/continuity in the entire set.

For more vibrant colors, add additional layers of ink when the underlying application is either dry or mostly dry.

diswhasher and food safe alcohol ink dishes

Allow the dish to fully dry, then apply your sealant according to directions. I highly recommend turning your dish upside down to protect the inside, spraying it with a matte sealant, and then using dishwasher safe Mod Podge once the spray sealant is dry. Brushing Mod Podge on directly over the inks can lead to running and smearing. You don’t have to seal the dishes, but it will help the inks last longer! Plus there’s the cool added benefit of being able to put your dishes in the dishwasher (but you really do have to wait basically a month for the Mod Podge to cure fully!).

food safe alcohol ink dishes

Aren’t they so colorful and lovely? I’m in love with these bowls and want to make some glasses to match ASAP!

food safe dishes with alcohol inks

It’s so much fun to turn unused items around the house into something ‘new’ and lovely! If you don’t have any glass dishes sitting around, you can always do this project with upcycled jars to make some lovely vases or storage cups for pens, paintbrushes, etc. If you’re looking for more upcycled glass jar ideas, please stop by my upcycled jar craft tutorials roundup! You’ll find a variety of projects for different shapes and sizes of jars. 🙂

What’s the last thing you upcycled?

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Julie August 10, 2017, 15:10

    I end up saving all these glass jars; I really need to do something more fun with them!!

  • Pamela Baker August 11, 2017, 04:59

    I have made a few coasters using (homemade) alcohol ink – dropping the ink with a dropper – then using a straw to blow the ink across the tile. Somewhat similar to Japanese art designs.
    Love the idea of making these beautiful colorful clear dishes into something magical.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Let me know if you want more info on making the coasters.

    • Natashalh August 11, 2017, 14:29

      Fun! I’d really like to make my own alcohol inks, but for some reason all I an find locally is 70% alcohol and I’ve heard the 90% is better to use. Have you noticed a difference?

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