Stamp School 13: Intro to Alcohol Markers!

Hi friends! Today we are going to look at a product that you may want to try for enhancing your stamped cards: Alcohol markers. These have been the darling of the stamp world for a few years because you can get a beautiful blended effect and also because you can spend a long time on an image to get it just perfect. Coloring is very relaxing. I have spent as much as an hour coloring a really detailed image with markers. Because of that I would tend to stamp out a few images and color them while I was watching TV I the evening or while my kids were coloring. Today we are going to color an easy design perfect for a Christmas card.


During the demo you will be able to see how the markers blend, how to fix mistakes and learn tips for getting good results from your markers. The stamps I am using are from our sponsor Art Neko, be sure to mention TheFrugalCrafter if you order to get 10% off your order or free shipping on orders over $50, whatever discount is greater!



  • Stamps: Star Sprinkling Angel, Snowflakes (some of these stamps are found in larger Christmas sets from ArtNeko, look at those before buying to see if you want the other stamps in the kits because it brings down the individual stamp price.)
  • Dye ink: Memento
  • Distress ink (Tumbled Glass, Vintage Photo, Wild Honey)
  • Cardstock: Neenah (white) brown, maroon
  • 6″ paper doily
  • Distress ink in vintage photo, tumbled glass, wild honey
  • Gelly Roll Stardust pen
  • ribbon & buttons
  • Alcohol based markers (Copic, Promarker, Sharpie, Bic Markit, Prismacolor, Spectrum Noir, Tria or others)
    * OR you can use watercolor markers but be sure to stamp with Archival ink so it does not smear. Also, if using watercolor markers you can’t go over the paper as much as we do with alcohol markers.

If you are thinking of trying alcohol ink markers I urge you to see if you can borrow some from a friend before deciding to invest. Also expect a learning curve. I have not used mine in a while and I was a bit out of practice. Also I am fond of quick projects so I don’t often reach for my markers but on the other hand there is something really relaxing about spending an hour coloring an image. One way to get started is to buy a 36 pack of Bic Markits or Sharpies then a few really light shades of some art markers so you can blend and get a range of shades. Below is a playlist of many alcohol marker techniques that you might find helpful:

I was not intending to cover alcohol ink markers in stamp school but so many of you asked me if I would so I hope that gave you a good foundation on them. So, what do you think? Do you use alcohol markers? What do you like about them? Do you have any tips for beginners? Leave that info in the comments below and help your fellow stampers out. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

13 Responses

  1. I really liked the longer video on alcohol markers. I have both alcohol and watercolor markers. Do you really need both? I really like the versatility of the spectrum aquas for stamping and coloring. I’m also not super keen on spending hours coloring one marker image (that’s for my colored pencils). Are watercolor markers alone good enough for coloring stamps?


  2. I don’t care for alcohol markers because they are absurdly expensive, They were made for professional Manga and cartoon-type illustrators who use special non-absorbent papers. For the card maker, they are not the best choice because if you need three markers to shade one leaf, for example, and about 15 markers to color a bunch of flowers, it is unrealistic and you are limited to special inks for stamping. My favorite coloring products are Prismacolor pencils and baby oil – same effect and no special paper needed, no special stamping inks required, and lovely results every time..and it smells better.


  3. I personally LOVE my alcohol markers! I am mainly a card maker but have been using them to watercolor also with great results. I think each coloring medium has its place and I love trying the new ones out to see what new results I can get with them. I was able to build up my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers through Crafter’s Companions monthly trial kit. For $1.95 you got an image to color, a tutorial sheet, card base, 2-4 of the markers and an envelope. I only got 1-2 duplicate markers and now have almost all of them for less than $60. I don’t know it they are still doing that but it is worth checking out. Thanks for the great videos to help us decide on products.


    • I’ve only been using alcohol markers for a few months…but I’m already hooked! I own copic (my favorites) and spectrum noirs. I also bought a large pack of sharpie before school started…cheaper when the schools supplies hit the shelves. So far I only use the sharpies with my ebrush. I’ve watched you tube videos to help me get started…there are plenty out there!! I think the trick is to know which colors blend well (I’m still learning) and good smooth white card stock! I also recommend borrowing some or getting a small package to start out. I started out getting copics sketch markers that come in 3 packs…each one has a dark, medium and light shade of the color. They will blend perfectly!! Just keep practicing!! Thank you to all of you who have posted videos on alcohol markers!! They really do help!!


  4. I have a few alcohol markers but I much prefer my Prismacolor pencils and gamsol….second would be water colour markers/pencils.


  5. I love my prisma pencils…I have used alcohol markers and then gone over with prisma…just makes everthing pop. I found by accident that the alcohol blender pen works just like gamsol or baby oil. So now I have a dedicated blender pen just for my colored pencils. Works great and is easy to use.


  6. Hi Lindsey. Thanks again for yet more great videos. I love my alcohol markers, my water colors, my colored pencils, my water based markers….ok. I guess I love it all! So nice to have you as my personal professor!


  7. I am like Sharon in the above comment. I love it all and the timing was wonderful for this video because I just got my alcohol markers. Serendipity! Also appreciate your longer tutorials, I need all the help I can get.


  8. Thanks again for another entertaining and informative video. Your card is adorable!!


  9. I have both Copics and Spectrum Aquas. I love both of them. I really love the Copics for their wide range of colors, plus alcohol markers can be used on just about any surface without washing away!


  10. Hi Lindsey, thanks for the tutorial. I wanted to let you know I purchased some Spectrum Noir Markers on EBay. The sets I purchased were not opened, however, some of the markers were dried out. I saw your video on refreshing them with denatured alcohol. It was like a miracle, I thought for sure I was going to have to buy new markers. I am very grateful for your great solutions!!! Thank You!!


  11. Very cute card. Probably will look to get that stamp. Hate alcohol markers like poison. Will be sticking to watercolors, watercolor pencils/crayons and colored pencils, all of which I love.

    Tried out a set of Dick Blick colored pencils because of serious quality issues with Prismacolor wood casings lately. Very pleased and I’m switching brands.

    Tried out a set of Reeves wax pastels. They are wonderfully water soluble, well pigmented and a super buy.


  12. I love Copic coloring and image coloring for cards for me is not an either-or proposition. Copics are designed with the right alcohol content to blend the best and are refillable. But I also love colored pencils and the new Zig watercolor pens. These are simply different coloring mediums. I prefer My Favorite Thing’s Black Licorice ink to Memento’s for stamping for Copics: the black is truer and bolder. I also highly recommend Hammermill Color Copy Digital Cover Paper (100 pounds) for Copic coloring. It far outshines expensive X-Press It, Neenah, Gina K and other recommended Copic-ready papers. It blends like butter and is cheap: about $20 for a ream of 250 8.5 X 11 pieces.


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