Only recently have I ventured into the arena of alcohol inks and yupo paper, inspired by none other than Nancy Curry! I wanted to play with her method of using the inks directly on top of stencils on Yupo paper. Once I realized that Yupo paper comes in a translucent weight, I had the idea to make these lanterns. I thought that a battery-operated tea light or other battery operated candle would make them glow showing off the beautiful intense colors of the alcohol inks. These easy and beautiful lanterns could be hung up-I place mine on a decorative platter for a simple and lovely table center piece.
Translucent Yupo Paper 9” x 12”
Alcohol Inks (I used Ranger)
Gloves (essential for alcohol ink which stains)
Optional: tape to hold down stencils, and mini cups to dilute alcohol inks, 91% alcohol, spritzer with 91% alcohol.
1. I used Cecilia Swatton’s 9” x 12” stencil to fit the Yupo paper size, but you can overlap other smaller stencils (I show this in my video tutorial). Tape a couple of sides of the stencil down if you like, to keep the stencil in place while you are working.
2. Choose your ink colors, I used Lemonade, Raspberry and Peach Bellini (summer!) for Cecilia’s stencil, and Cloudy Blue, Citrus, Meadow and Black for the Ellsworth Kelly work. One thing to keep in mind with alcohol inks is that the nicest results are obtained when you use colors that are analogous (near each other on the color wheel). Complimentary colors tend to make brown because the ink is so fluid and mixes together very easily. (Don’t get me wrong, I love browns, grays and black too!)
3. You can apply the ink directly onto the stencil from the bottle, but I squirted a small amount into each of my tiny cups and diluted it a bit with the 91% alcohol ink to make it go a little farther. I also swirled some additional alcohol into each cup to get out as much color as possible onto the paper. I worked without thinking too much about where the colors would go-just spread them randomly onto the paper. I left some areas white too, which I think is nice for the overall design.
4. Now comes the hard part! Simply set aside your work and let it dry completely. I put a little desk fan on mine and waited about 45 minutes. I like to let the ink that seeps under the stencil to dry as much as possible to get the best effect. Overnight is always good, if you can wait! Or you can make another lantern while it is drying, which is what I did with my Ellsworth Kelly inspired stencils. I layered the 6 x 6 inch and 4 x 4 inch stencils until I filled up the entire 9 x 12 inch page. Then I poured on the color just like in step 2.
5. After everything is nice and dry, it is time for the fun part-the reveal! I love how alcohol inks are loose and unpredictable. Once you’ve removed your stencils, set them aside to use on another piece of yupo or photo paper-there’s lots of good ink dried onto it. (All you have to do is spritz the dried ink on the stencil and then place it onto the paper and again, let it dry. I can often get more than one “print” using this method. It’s a great way to make collage paper!) And then, step back and admire your lovely colors.
6. To finish the lantern, I rolled the paper into a cylinder and used masking tape to hold it together on each end so that I could apply transparent tape down the “seam”. I also punched holes in one of them and used a bit of stenciled cloth to tie it closed. I think twine, jute, or even wire would be cool ways to close the lantern’s seam. I placed my lanterns on a decorative platter, but I think if you punch some holes in the top (probably three) you could use wire or string of some sort to hang the lanterns or string them together and hang them outside!