How to apply alcohol inks to canvas

Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman  Date Posted:25 May 2022 

If you’re wondering how best to apply alcohol inks to canvas, this video is for you.

While alcohol inks are typically best used on a non-porous surface like yupo paper, we’ve found a way to apply these inks to canvas that leads to stunning results. We’ve compared alcohol inks on primed and unprimed canvas, and both lead to interesting results.

Unsealed Canvas

Starting off with the unsealed canvas. While the canvas we used does have a few layers of gesso on it, you’ll notice as we apply the inks that they sink into the weave of the canvas as the surface is still porous.

We also found that there was some grainy patches of pigment on the canvas as the inks doesn’t apply evenly.

Sealed Canvas

Now for sealing your canvas. To seal the canvas and prepare it for the alcohol inks, we coated the canvas with Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. We applied 3 layers of this spray to create a smooth non-porous surface. Once the base was fully dried, we applied the inks.

The inks are applied far more smoothly and we’re able to glide over the canvas. The pigments look far more vibrant and glossy, and don’t settle into the weave of the canvas.

Show us your alcohol ink art by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @artshedonline

Got questions? Send us an email at and our friendly team of artists will do their best to assist you. 

Happy creating!

Comments (1)

How to varnish and UV protect the alcohol ink

Thank you for your info and tutorial on how to seal the canvas before applying alcohol ink. I wonder how and with what do you add a protective varnish on top of the alcohol ink and assure UV protection? What product do you recommend?

Thanks for your question, once your art is fully cured you should use Krylon UV Gloss Varnish. This product is non-yellowing, and it's a really high quality varnish used by professional artists.

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