How to Blend Alcohol Markers? – 5 Methods for Beginners

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to blend alcohol markers

A good skill to have when using alcohol markers is blending colors. Having this under your belt can elevate your artwork by many notches. So, how to blend alcohol markers?

In this guide for beginners, we will show you five different blending methods. We also included a materials list for each to help you follow along. Read on!

Blending Alcohol Marker Tutorial – Ways to Blend Alcohol Markers

Option #1 - With a Blender Marker or Colorless Blender


What you will need to have:

  • Two alcohol-based markers of different colors
  • A blender marker or colorless blender
  • A sheet of paper to work on

What you will need to do:

There are actually two ways you can use an alcohol marker blender. Here is the first:

Method 1 – Colored Markers First, Then Blender Marker

  1. To start, lay down two colors of your choice, overlapping slightly where they meet.
  2. Make strokes between the two colors using your blender marker or colorless marker as if you are connecting them. Be sure to go in only one direction.

This should merge the two colors and result in a seamless transition color, giving you an entire spectrum.

Method 2 – Blender Marker First, Then Colored Markers

  1. Use the blender marker or colorless blender first. Draw a vertical or horizontal box and fill it in. This is where your colors will go later.
  2. Further fill the box made in the previous step with two colors of your choice. If you want a mixed look, do the coloring randomly. If you want a clear gradient, do it at opposite ends. Now, sit back and watch the inks blend by themselves!

Option #2 - With Rubbing Alcohol


What you will need to have:

  • Two alcohol-based markers of different colors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A Q-tip
  • A sheet of paper to work on

What you will need to do:

  1. Start by laying down two colors of your choice. You can leave a space between them to ease the later steps.
  2. Blend your colors together with a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. Apply some rubbing alcohol onto a Q-tip. Then, use that Q-tip over the space you made in step 1. Slide it in one direction, lifting after each stroke, to mix the colors.

Note: You can dilute the rubbing alcohol if it is too strong. Simply add some water.

Instead of a Q-tip, you can also use a brush. Either will work, so just choose the one that you are more comfortable with.

Option #3 - With Markers Only #1


What you will need to have:

  • Three alcohol-based markers of different colors
  • A sheet of paper to work on

What you will need to do:

Step 1: Pick out three colors

Choosing blending alcohol-based markers is more important with this method. You should get three complementary colors that will produce an appealing blend.

Step 2: Put down two of your colors

Once you have your colors, proceed to lay two of them down on paper. Make sure that you don’t forget to leave a transitional space between them.

Step 3: Add the third color and blend them all together

Fill the gap you left in step 2 with the third color. Overlap its edges with the other two to meld all three colors together.

Step 4: Add final touches to make the blend more seamless

Blend the left, lighter color towards the center color, and the right, darker color from the center.

Alternatively, you can draw a box and fill it completely with the lightest color. Then, layer it with the next lightest color, and, finally, the darkest color. This is called priming.

Option #4 - With Markers Only #2


This is another alcohol markers blending option without a blender or rubbing alcohol. It just involves the alcohol markers’ tips.

Hence, it is sometimes referred to as the tip to tip alcohol marker technique.

What you will need to have:

  • Two alcohol-based markers (A light and dark shade of the same color)
  • A sheet of paper to work on

What you will need to do:

Step 1: Transfer ink from one marker to the other

Uncap and hold your markers, one in each hand. Take the lighter one and kiss its tip against the darker’s tip. Keep it in that position for a couple of seconds.

The lighter-colored marker will draw in the ink of the darker one, and you will be able to see this change right on the tip.

Step 2: Put down your colors

Once the light-colored marker is loaded with ink from the darker marker, you can use it to make your blend. Simply lay down colors in single-directional strokes.

Option #5 - With a Palette & Blender


What you will need to have:

  • Two alcohol-based markers (A light and dark shade of the same color)
  • A sheet of paper to work on
  • A palette
  • A blender marker or colorless blender

What you will need to do:

Step 1: Palette your colors with alcohol markers

Dispense colors onto your palette. Make sure they do not muddle together.

Step 2: Pick and transfer color from the palette using a blender

Pick up a color from the palette using your blender marker or colorless blender and put it down on your paper.

Step 3: Blend the colors together

Load your blender with the second color and do the same as you did in step 2. Overlap the edges of the colors when you put the second down.

What to Consider Before Blending Alcohol Markers


Pointer #1 – Choose a Blending Style

It helps to know what type of blending you want before you put your markers down on paper.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Light to dark gradient
  • Dark to light gradient
  • Feathering

The style you choose can influence the application method and types of markers you use.

  • Light to dark or dark to light gradients – You can use any of the methods above and any marker types (chisel, bullet, brush, etc.)
  • Feathering – This works best with the fourth application option and brush markers.

Pointer #2 – Get Appropriate Paper

Besides the blending style, which affects the method and marker you use, you should also think about the paper you will work on. Our recommendation is at least 80-lb paper. Your paper must be bleed-proof for you to color with alcohol markers well.

While thinner paper like those for watercoloring and sketching might work, they are not as ideal. You can consider cardstock, though. It is not likely to tear or curl when you blend on it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why would you want to blend alcohol markers?

With blending, you can draw with alcohol markers and shade with alcohol markers. It can also give you impressive effects when lettering and doing calligraphy.

How do you make alcohol markers smooth?

  • Going slowly – If your strokes are hastily made, they will look streaky, so to ensure that they are smooth, take a breather and slow down!
  • Working in circles – To color smoothly and avoid visible strokes, work in circles rather than straight lines.
  • Using the right paper – Your marker may appear streaky when it is used on paper that is too thin. Therefore, make sure you choose the right paper for alcohol-based markers.

Can you blend alcohol markers with water?

Blending alcohol markers with water will not work out well and give you the results you desire. If you want to use water, you need to blend with markers that are water-based.

What paper is best for blending alcohol markers?

Thick bleed-proof paper is the best. Think cardstock and heavyweight paper from at least 80 lbs. You should not use thin watercolor paper or sketch paper. Ordinary notebook paper is also a no no.


Congratulations! Now you know all the essentials of how to blend alcohol markers. Even if you are a beginner, you can make stunning blends! There are 5 methods you can try. We suggest trying them all to find the one you like best. Knowing all of them is also good because you can be versatile with your creations too.

We hope that you are one step further in your art journey and more confident thanks to this blog post. Share this to help others get the same. Also, leave any thoughts and questions you have for us in the comments below.

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