Thermomorph and homemade Alcohol inks


I have wanted to try making alcohol inks for a while, and when I found 30 little dropper bottles on Amazon (cost? 1p with £2 P&P from China!) it seemed like the right time.  I had a bin of old Sharpie and Bic markers, some which were a bit dry or the nibs were a bit mangled.  As I use my Copics for the little colouring in I do, these were taking up space and not getting used.

The Amazon order came in a little over a week, but I was QUITE annoyed to find they neglected to include the dropper part of the lid!


Now I’ll have to wait another week for them to arrive. But I wasn’t going t let that deter me – nor the fact that getting rubbing alcohol isn’t as easy as it once was – I got a bottle a few years ago at Sainsbury’s but they tell me they are no longer able to sell it, even at the pharmacy.  Haven’t checked Boots or Superdrug yet.

All you need is:

  • your dodgy markers
  • surgical spirit
  • glass cutting mat and knife
  • pliers and/or scissors
  • glass bowl
  • eyedropper bottles (preferably WITH the dropper nozzle!)


Rubber gloves (slim, tight fit ones) would be good, my fingers are a mess because I just held the inky tube with a baby wipe.


Pour a few tablespoons of alcohol into the glass pot

1. Pull out the nib and cut the pen barrel open.


2. Pull out the ink tube – this is a sort of sponge, with a clear membrane around it.

Cut the tube into pieces and slice into the membrane

OK, so if this all seems like a bit of a messy pain, it IS possible to simply 1/2 fill the bottle with the alcohol,and slip the tube into it.  Let it sit for a LONG time, till the sponge goes lighter, and the alcohol is coloured, then flip the tube around and submerge the other side.  You may get a lighter version, and will have to wait and wait, while keeping the open bottle safe from tipping but if you are willing to do that rather than this more messy way, go for it! I just drop the nib in the bottle and leave it there so as not to waste that bit of ink.


3. Drop all the inky bits into the bowl with the alcohol and let it sit till all of the ink leeches out and the sponge is lighter in colour. This could take 15 mins or could take an hour – depending on how much ink is actually left in the marker.


Looks appalling, doesn’t it?  Like brown sludge.  That was a dark purple marker.  Look at the turquoise marker


True blue.  And you can better see how the sponge changes to a lighter colour as the ink leeches into the alcohol.

4.  Using a fine tip funnel, pour it into the bottle. And you are ready to go.

I also did a pink and used the three on a felt applicator to pounce it (as you do with AIs) onto glossy cardstock.


What I did find was the HOMEMADE AIs don’t mix in to the Thermomorph as well as the commercial ones do, giving an altogether lighter tint.  But I did user the commercial silicone mold that finally came in the mail to mold the large flower.  I then dipped it in the ink as it was awaiting transfer to the bottle.


That is the results with the brown-sludge purple – as you can see it IS purple and coloured the Thermomorph nicely.  I think I would colour the pellets by soaking them in the alcohol ink and then letting them dry, THEN melting them.

And a word about drying time – the homemade AI dries a lot slower on the Thermomorph than the commercial version – due to it starting with 95% alcohol and having castor oil and menthol added to it maybe? – but it dries just as quick on the glossy cardstock as the branded stuff does.

Check out the commercial mold and my silicone caulk-mold version.  I really DO think mine looks as good as the commercial one – better in that it was a little shallower so the rose is flatter, so better for a card or a layout.

I also applied the ink to the previously embossed and die cut Thermomorph leaf – remember this had Archival ink swiped across the raised bits?  The AI more or less removed that on pouncing so I just swiped a bit more on after the AI dried.


You can see a bright lime green soaking in the background!

So that is just about it for my play with Thermomorph.  I still have one or two “real world” applications to show you but that will come AFTER WOYWW tomorrow – I meant to do it yesterday but as it needs DH remembering to bring me something from his office, and he keeps forgetting, it’ll have to wait another day.

Just to save you the trouble of going back to a previous post, here is the info AGAIN.

Product Name: Thermomorph
Price: £19.95
Size: 500 grams
Material: Polymorph granules

Thermomorph Amazon page: polymorph
Thermomorph website: Thermomorph

US readers can try this link at Amazon USA instead. 

9 thoughts on “Thermomorph and homemade Alcohol inks

  1. superbe idée merci du partage

  2. I was here earlier, and I was sure I left a comment. I went back and saw how you made your AIs. I make my handmade spray inks using basically the same, except I don’t use pen ink. Instead, I use alcohol and mica powders, which I have a ton of.

  3. Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us. I have tried all over to get rubbing alcoho in the Uk but it is no longer available only on the internet.
    Ended up like you getting Surgical Spirit.
    Happy crafting, Angela x

  4. I’ve been experimenting with making AI with Procion FX fabric dyes because I have so much of them, but so far haven’t got it down quite right. On the side of the “real” AI bottles, it says they also have propylene glycol in them, so I ordered some from Amazon, but I don’t know the correct proportions. If you put too much in, it makes it have a greasy feel, but that’s what they are using as a fixative. I hadn’t head of using castor oil in it. What recipe are you using with that? Thanks, Sue

  5. merci pour l’info et le tuto…

  6. Hi Maryanne. I got my rubbing alcohol from Amazon or Ebay (can’t remember which!!)

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