Book of Backgrounds 2016, Number 11

If you’re ever stuck with “blank page” syndrome, give this technique a try and it’s super easy.  Also, using different colours makes endless combinations.  What you end up with is truly random because the effects of the rubbing alcohol is different every single time.  Suitable for art journaling, canvas and primed wood panels… actually, any type of flat surface that accepts acrylic paints is fine.

A quick note on health and safety.  Because rubbing alcohol is smelly, so it should be used in a well ventilated room and please read the directions on the bottle for use.  For the days that I can’t open my windows, I’ll wear a filter mask and works like a charm.  Finally, make sure kiddies and pets are not in the room either.

In this video lesson, you will learn how to create truly random backgrounds using rubbing alcohol in your painting.

Book of Backgrounds Surface:

  • Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media Paper or anything that will accept acrylic paint.  If you are using TerraSkin, you can experiment by using with and without gesso.

Palette: DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics

  • Metallic Gold – DMFA49
  • Phthalo Blue – DMFA23

Prep and Mediums:

  • DecoArt Media White Gesso – DMM18
  • DecoArt Matte Medium – DMM20*


  • Royal Aqualon, 1″ Glaze – 2700
  • Royal Soft-Grip, #8 Bristle Bright – SG1425
  • 1″ Foam Brush – RFOMW-1 inch

General Supplies:

  • Royal Brush Square Brush Basin – RD325
  • Royal Essentials Palette Paper – RD358
  • Royal Palette/Painting Knife – LG2
  • No-Stick Mat (I’m currently using the Unstick Arts and Craft Sheet)
  • Mister Bottle Filled with Water
  • Paper Towels
  • Baby or Kitchen Wipes
  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (you can experiment with different percentages of rubbing alcohol)

*While the finish will be semi-shiny, if you want a more matte finish, apply a final coat of DecoArt Media Matte Medium.


What do you think?

So, have you ever used rubbing alcohol in your artwork?  share in the comments below some of the things you’ve created.