How to Seal Alcohol Inks - It's a great question that I think all of us have, and it's a really hard question to answer as it depends on so many variables. But yes, Alcohol Inks are a Dye and were meant for Crafts not fine art and they are NOT lightfast. But please continue reading - things are looking up!
First each Artist has a process for example the materials or sprays used to seal, how they spray, the Colors they use, the brand of Inks, etc....Of course Alcohol Ink isn't the first Art medium that may not last over time. You have Paper that is very delicate, Cloth, and other Materials, etc...that may fade, tear, or disintegrate in time.
I have been working with Alcohol Inks for over 4 years and I can only comment on my own experience as an artist. As with most art mediums direct sunlight can fade them. I often work with Art Resin which has a built in UV Stabilizer. For AI on Yupo I seal with Kamar and UV Spray or I recommend UV glass.
I've had my pure Ranger brand AI pieces hanging in my own home in a light filled room (Not direct sun rays) still testing after 4 years so can't say for longer but do not see obvious signs of fading on those pieces so I would rate that as excellent, but in direct sun the results are very poor.
I often like to mix other Inks such as Bombay Ink (These are Light -fast), and High Flow Acrylics in my Disks as well. And although the materials cost are equivalent to other mediums in some respect, I charge less for my AI pieces than Watercolor or Oil.
I've ordered some little "Care Tip" cards from Vista Print to give to my clients when they purchase a piece from me. (Referral Link) ----> Vista Print
I cover in my Online Courses - Current Process: Kamar Varnish made by Krylon (2-3 light coats) dry between - Second UV Spray made by Krylon (2/3 coats) unless I'm framing under UV Glass for Yupo and if I am doing a resin piece then I use Art Resin that has UV built in.
I am a Contributor for the Alcohol Ink Art Community
(Check it out if you love Alcohol Ink or want to know more about it - loads of info)
I wanted to share with you a note that was received by our wonderful founder, Laurie:
"Because of the questions and concerns regarding the lightfastness of alcohol inks and concerns over the use as a reliable fine art medium, I reached out to Ranger directly to find out more about the lightfastness of their alcohol inks.
I'm happy to report that I received a response from one of the owners at Ranger as follows:
"I wanted to let you know that we love what you and others in the community are creating with our inks. Over the past few years, we have switched out a lot of the dyes to ones that have much better lightfast properties. We feel that most of the colors now provide good results, but we realize that many different substrates are used and all environments are different so individual results can vary. I always suggest that artists test colors and substrates together and see what works best for them. Of course, UV varnish and UV protective glass do help as Phil mentioned.
We are committed to always improving our products and we want to support the work you create."
This was a personal response from one of the OWNERS of Ranger Industries. They are following our community, our art and seem committed to growing and improving their alcohol ink products. I appreciated the personal response to our community and I personally have no intentions to give up my Adirondacks that have brought me so much joy and allowed me to create art that is admired and acquired by my clients."
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