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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Indian Ink Affair

Hi folks!

Continuing work on the Entry I worked on aging the Steampunk items which will go into the resin floor.

I was very happy with the resin casting process and what I ended up with by painting several layers of acrylic paints.  I felt that they were unified in appearance, which is what I wanted, yet I wanted some variation in the depth of color and a sense of age.

I wanted to take the aging process further however, because while they did give the impression of age...they didn't LOOK old.  I am going for an aged but elegant look for this miniature house, so I wanted to improve the feeling of age.

I chose to use an Indian Ink wash to accomplish that, and I do feel that it was a smashing success!  I think these look now like aged and slightly rusty metal, which absolutely supports the look I want to create.

This process of aging with Indian Ink, like everything else, is totally new to me, so I was pleased that it came off.

Of course, I didn't start on the resin castings...I practiced a bit first.  My first try was with a couple of old earrings picked up at a garage sale as potential trinkets for the mansion.  These didn't work all that well...primarily because of the texture of the metal earrings.  As I progressed, I found a couple of buttons and some wood to play with, and used those to perfect the mixture.

I used Isopropyl Alcohol from the local Bartel's Drug, and Higgins Black Magic India Ink to age the items.

I had seen the technique on the Internet, and thought it would work well for what I wanted to do, but when I went looking for the magic formula to make my own, I could not find any real guidance on what the ratio of ink to alcohol should be.  So I undertook a process to figure that out.  

I knew that a little Indian Ink went a long way, so I started small...I put about 5 small drops into the rubbing alcohol bottle.   That didn't turn out to be anywhere near didn't even register when I applied it to any of the various surfaces I tried.  So I decided to incrementally increase the amounts.  I finally got to the right mix, at least to my taste, at 35 droppers full...yes, droppers, not drops!  

When I started I suspected that I was likely to use this technique often, so I wanted to just mix the whole thing up immediately..and store it for use later.   I am sure you could use a small jar and mix in a few drops and get the same effect. 

Once I got the mix right, I began brushing the Indian Ink on the resin castings.  I just used an old paintbrush. 

As you can see above, the effect is immediate...and dramatic.  It sets off the detail of the resin beautifully. 

Here is a before and after shot, which shows the transformation. 

I loved the initial effect, but true to form, I wanted to push it a bit farther.  So I went back in randomly and added additional partial coats to create more variation in each piece.   In the photo below, I covered about 2/3 of the casting again with the additional Indian Ink wash. 

I repeated the process several times, leaving large pools of the ink here and there initially, and progressing to smaller pools of ink to continue to build up the variation in the castings.  

When complete, each piece looked something like the photos below. I love the variation and sense of age that you get when you see these pieces now.  I think they scream Steampunk, and aged Steampunk at that!  It also had the added effect of disguising some of the small irregularities I had in some of the pieces since I was learning the resin casting process.  They just look like part of the aging process now!

This process was actually extremely simple to do, and was not near as messy as I expected.  I only have ink on one finger!   Definitely something I will be using on a regular basis throughout this build. 

Hope you've all had a marvelous evening! Until next time!

Doug S


  1. g,
    The results are wonderful. They now look like they have a beautiful, realistic patina. It adds so much richness to the detail already there. this floor will be terrific. thank you for sharing the technique.
    Big hug,

    1. Sorry, Doug, not g,...stupid keyboard!

    2. Thanks Giac! I answer to g too! ['

      This was an easy technique, and promises to be very useful!


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