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Tips & Techniques

Get tips and techniques to become a better beader at Lima Beads.


Coloring Metal with Alcohol Inks

About this Tip:

Alcohol inks are great to use on metal. We'll show you everything you need to get started using them in your projects.

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Designs using this Technique:

Buy Products from this Technique

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. No Photo
    ZUBEAJAY says:


  2. No Photo
    qltldy10 says:

    I am hearing the sound fine!

  3. Beadlady3 aka Cindy
    Beadlady3 aka Cindy says:

    I’ve been using these inks on metal for a while! Nice to see Lima Beads picking these up, and making the individual colors available. Now I can get just my favorite colors replenished! Yaaay! :D

  4. IndigoEarth
    IndigoEarth says:

    Very Cool! Love it :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Rachael G
    Rachael G says:

    THANK YOU! Oh my gosh, I am so excited about this! Been creating jewelry for a few years now and never heard of this……..I stumbled on it just in time for Christmas:) Thank you, Lima Beads…..you’re all awesome!

  6. Mixed Kreations
    Mixed Kreations says:

    Wow! This is really cool. Thank you for sharing.

  7. No Photo
    Aby Cat says:

    Does the color rub off or wash off the metal?

  8. Beadlady3 aka Cindy
    Beadlady3 aka Cindy says:

    @AbyCat – I have only seen the colors fade a little, but if you spray it with a little clear coat they don’t fade. :) I love this stuff.

  9. L PERRY
    L PERRY says:

    I’m glad to be aboard looking forward to getting started

  10. Ali
    Ali says:

    Hi everyone!
    I too love working with the alcohol inks and have tested a lot of sealers trying to find the right one to use on metal for my jewelry. I am very happy with the results that the Claudine Hellmuth multi-mediums have given – http://www.limabeads.com/Sealers-C5667

    Best of Luck! :-)

  11. Zoraida b
    Zoraida b says:

    These are awesome. I had never heard of them and now I’ll have to experiment with this coloring medium. I have so many things to learn here. Love it!

  12. Designs by Ayanna
    Designs by Ayanna says:

    I am so excited about using the alcohol inks. The design using the pendant was a hit with me. I am a lover of pendants. Thank you Lima Beads you have gain a customer and a great fan. Here goes my monies LOL.

  13. J owens
    J owens says:

    So good to hear AND see this technique! Many thanks from Kansas.

  14. No Photo
    nboyd says:

    Can’t wait to use some of these. I have been making jewellery for a few years now, but this just adds an extra dimension to jewellery. Thanks for your informative notes and video.

  15. Butterfly girl
    Butterfly girl says:

    very good instuctions for the beginners like myself thanks a million

  16. No Photo
    Gwendolyn Y says:

    I am very excite to learn about this. Can’t wait to try it.

  17. No Photo
    K Fuchs says:

    Yowza!! I’m really excited to take my crafting to a new level. I am a beginner metal embosser and as my granddaughter grows I really hope to make her some personalized little baubles. Kathy

  18. Hannahfaerie
    Hannahfaerie says:

    Very cool!

  19. Batticat
    Batticat says:

    Does this work on pewter? I love the Green Girl Studios creations and have many. I would like to brighten them up a little, but not cover the metal entirely.

  20. DB
    DB says:

    I plan to try using these techniques on a restoration. I have a pendant which was a gift long ago, and will try restoring it using the alcohol ink.

  21. A Milam
    A Milam says:

    I’m (impatiently) waiting for my Vintaj Patinas to arrive in the mail…can’t wait to try them. I’m hoping I can use them on plated metals as well as raw brass. Does anyone know if they work on plated metals???

  22. Kate
    Kate says:

    @AMilam: excellent question. The Vintaj Patinas need to bond with the metal and our plated pieces generally have an “anti tarnish” coating on them, rendering them impervious to these patinas. However, an alcohol ink or gilders paste could certainly be used to color these plated metals.

  23. No Photo
    Jude says:

    I, too had problem with sound on the video. Has anyone solved this? In response to the issue of plated vs raw, it would be great to have a short description from the manufacturer (or Lima Beads) about the products up at the top. Such as: what it is used for, general how it works, and then your greatly appreciated how to do video. I am happy to have found this, but am confused about some things. If something is plated, can you treat it or sand it to prepare it for the ink?

  24. No Photo
    D Capsouto says:

    Does the alcohol ink work on aluminum? From above it sounds like they work on plated metals.

  25. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    @D Capsouto- You can absolutely use the alcohol inks on aluminum. Be careful though these can be addictive…so many colors to choose from:)

  26. No Photo
    D Capsouto says:

    Thanks Cathy W… What is the best think to seal it with?

  27. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    @D Capsuouto – Generally I don’t find it necessary to seal anything with alcohol inks, but it certainly does’ hurt. You can use any of the sealants on this page depending on what kind of finished look you would like.


  28. No Photo
    Jovana M says:

    What is the type of sealler you use for metal or maybe glass, would you give me the bran name please?



  29. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    @Jovana M – Personally I like the Vintaj Glaze to seal projects. You can also use Mod Podge. Mod Podge allows you to choose either a matte or glossy finish.

  30. deleted
    deleted says:

    What is the difference between alcohol ink and gilder’s paste? Thanks for the detail about Vintaj Patinas and plated metals and coatings. What other differences do they have and with what materials would you use these three different products?

  31. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    @Dropalotta Beads – Alcohol ink is a permanent, fast drying ink that can be used on many different mediums that typically can be difficult to color. I like it for flat surfaces such as blanks and textured pieces as well. Gilders paste is more like a colored shoe polish. This is great for coloring pieces that have recessed areas as it will settle down into those spaces nicely to allow them to stand out. I personally like to use it to highlight anything I have stamped into a metal blank. The patinas are also great for textured pieces. The patina actually adheres to the metal you are working with. It settles into all of the high and low points of the piece for an nice opaque color.

  32. No Photo
    C kejick says:


  33. No Photo
    DeeDee V says:

    I can’t get the alcohol ink to dry:( I’ve used hair dryer, heat gun and let it set over night. No matter what, it’s always still tacky on the metal and can’t move to the seal step. Can anyone help?

  34. No Photo
    Marguerite H says:

    What happened to the video? I’ve tried from several devices and can’t get the video to load. I get a message saying the video can’t be found or access is denied? :(

  35. diamonddustshoe
    diamonddustshoe says:

    It would appear that all the links to how to videos and step by step photos for projects and tips have to be updated after the server migration they did before the Easter Egg Hunt started. I’ve sent an email, so they should be aware of it if they weren’t already. I’d say check back in a few days.

  36. No Photo
    S Strain says:

    I am excited to start using alcohol inks and especially on metel.

  37. No Photo
    P Getchell says:

    I’m looking for something to add a wash of color to a silver charm, rather like distressed wood. I want the color to stay in the recessed areas and (preferably) wear off the raised ones. Would alcohol inks work?

  38. No Photo
    Dorothy O says:

    I forgot to get my Medical ID bracelet engraving enhanced when I ordered. Will alcohol ink work to get the lettering to stand out, and since the lettering will be face-down against my skin, will it rub off? thanks.

  39. No Photo
    Pearl M says:

    I just started working with alcohol inks. Most people who use the medium use Krylon Kamar Varnish to seal the ink. Alcohol ink will run if any of the sprays or glazes have alcohol or acetone, or similar ingredients. And if you use gloves it will not stain your skin. CATPARK above mentioned using inks in recessed areas. You can wipe away excess with a little bit of alcohol on a cotton pad or tip. Or sanding will also work, just be careful not to damage your work.

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