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Alcohol Ink Coasters FULL Tutorial 2024 - Sealed with Resin

Want to turn your alcohol ink art into stunning resin coasters? This DIY coaster tutorial lets you paint on Yupo paper using alcohol inks, and then transforms your abstract art with some wooden coaster bases and ArtResin! By following this guide, you'll end up with coasters just like these...



This is my complete process from start to finish, developed over the last 4 years of painting with alcohol inks and using resin.


Stage 1: Create your alcohol ink artwork on yupo paper

Stage 2: Varnish this artwork

Stage 3: Mount your artwork onto wooden coaster bases

Stage 4: Resin the coasters

Stage 5: Finishing touches


Each stage should happen on a different day, to allow things to fully dry etc, so making these takes at least 5 days, but normally it takes me longer than that. Don’t be scared of the long process though, it’s so worth it at the end. And it’s definitely possible to work on multiple coaster sets at the same time, if you want to.


Here's a video version of this tutorial:



Materials Needed

Safety first, I use a respirator mask (with organic vapour filter cartridges) and nitrile gloves at multiple points during the process so make sure to have these on hand.


I’ll explain all the materials needed at each stage, but here's a complete list. Feel free to screenshot!

Materials list

I've included some affiliate links through the article so you can find the materials I'm talking about, and if you purchase through these links it helps support me at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance!


Stage 1: Create your alcohol ink artwork


alcohol ink art

Materials needed:

Brass by Jacquard

99% isopropyl alcohol

Yupo paper

Hairdryer

Plastic bag/s to protect your surface


Method:

Make sure to wear your respirator mask and gloves. Then use a couple of alcohol inks and 99% isopropyl alcohol to paint an abstract painting on a big sheet of Yupo paper. You can use Brass by Jacquard to add metallic gold effects.


Then, put your artwork aside to dry. For more info on this step, you can check out my complete guide to alcohol inks or watch some of my YouTube tutorials.


Stage 2: Varnish Your Alcohol Ink Artwork



Materials needed:

A cardboard box

Varnish*

Your artwork



Method:

To varnish, make sure that your painting is fully dry and place it in a cardboard box outside, or in a well ventilated area.

Do about 4 light layers of varnish, allowing it to dry for a few minutes between each layer.

If you’re using a separate varnish and UV spray, make sure to add a few layers of UV protection too.

Allow the varnish to dry at least overnight.


* Lots of varnishes reactivate alcohol inks (as they are alcohol based). So I recommend using Krylon Kamar varnish followed by Krylon Archival UV spray. I am currently using Montana Varnish which includes UV protection. This varnish works great - as long as you do thin layers from the right distance. Always follow the instructions of your varnish and don’t hold it too close to the artwork. If you can’t access either of these options, test out your varnish on an unimportant painting to make sure it doesn’t mess up your main artwork.



Stage 3: Mount your artwork onto wooden coaster bases

Materials needed:

4x wooden coaster bases

Pencil

Paper

Scissors

Paintbrush

Stack of books or something heavy.

Golden Gloss Gel Medium (or other adhesive)


Method: So you have your varnished artwork, now you need to pick out the best parts that you think will work as a set of coasters. To help choose those parts, let’s make a viewfinder to find the best compositions. Take a piece of paper, trace around one of your coaster bases, and then cut that circle out. The hole should be the shape of your coasters, helping you imagine what the final result will be like.



Place the viewfinder onto your art, and use it it to find nice compositions. When you find an area you like, pop a coaster into the viewfinder and trace around it, and cut it out. Make sure to cut on the outside of the line so that you have some extra wiggle room when gluing them on.


Cut out as many as you like, sometimes you can get multiple coaster sets from one painting, depending on the size. I also like to cut out a few extra so I have options.


When all your potential coasters are cut out, pick out the best ones that will make a nice matching set.


Then use an old paintbrush to add a layer of gel medium or adhesive to a coaster base, carefully align an artwork, and press it down firmly. The adhesive should squeeze out the sides, and you can wipe off any excess with a tissue if needed. Repeat with the rest of your coasters.


Place them under a pile of heavy books and leave to dry overnight. I like to stack mine up so I can fit them all under one stack of books... But if the adhesive is a bit messy, you can cover each coaster with its own stack of books, to make sure they don’t stick together.


Stage 4: Resin the coasters



Materials needed:

Craft knife or xacto blade

Masking tape

Plastic bags to protect your work surface

ArtResin or other heat safe resin

A wooden lollipop stick or resin stirrer

Heat torch

A toothpick or something similar to pick out any dust

Old paper cups to rest the coasters on while adding resin

A cardboard box big enough to cover the coasters

Nitrile gloves

A respirator mask


Method:

The first step is to tidy up the edges of your coasters using a craft knife. Do this very carefully and always direct the knife away from yourself, and make sure to keep your fingers out of the way.


Then prepare your work station for adding resin. When working with resin, dust is always a potential issue, so you might want to vacuum, dust and even use an air purifier if you have one.


Then cover your work surface with plastic bags and use a level to make sure that the table is even. Set out your resin measuring cup. I’m currently using plastic ones that I can reuse a number of times, and then after that, I use them to support my artworks while adding resin. However, I do recommend a reusable silicone one.



Carefully cover the edges of the coasters with masking tape, try to use a good quality one if possible. Use your lollipop stick to seal the edges of the masking tape, to make sure no resin leaks through. Rest the coasters on some paper cups, and now you’re ready to add resin!


I love to use ArtResin for coasters, and I do 10ml of resin per coaster, but it depends on the size of your coasters. You can use the circle calculator on the ArtResin website to find the resin needed for one coaster. Then just multiply that by the number of coasters you're making, and you’re good to go. 



Always measure ArtResin by volume, and get down to eye level with the measuring cup. We're aiming for a perfect 50/50 split of resin and hardener. Mix well for at least 3 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom.


Pour a blob of resin on each coaster, making sure to get close to the same amount of resin on each coaster.



Spread the resin out with your stirrer, and give it a brief pass with your heat torch to pop any bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove any dust. It helps to get down to eye level with the resin to notice bits of dust. 


Then cover your coasters with a cardboard box and leave them to cure overnight.


And if your first layer doesn’t turn out perfect, don't stress, it happens to everyone. You can always add a second or even third layer of resin, if needed!

Stage 5: Finishing touches



Materials needed:

Self adhesive cork coaster backing

DecoColor Premium gold marker or other gold paint marker

Optional stamp and ink


Method:

When the resin has cured, you can remove the masking tape. Then use your gold paint marker to colour in the edges, I recommend using an oil based one like the DecoColor Premium Gold one I'm using.


While the edges are drying, sign or decorate the cork coaster bases. I like to use a stamp with my logo to mark the bottom of each coaster, and it's best to do this before sticking the bases onto the coasters. You can also just sign them with a nice marker.



Then stick the cork bases onto the bottom of your coasters and you're finally finished! Here's how mine turned out...



Let me know what you think of the process, any questions, and feel free to share suggestions of things you would do differently. I'm always trying to improve my art, and I hope this tutorial helps you do the same with yours. Check out the video version of this tutorial if you want!




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