Learn how to create a beautiful keychain using alcohol inks and an acrylic keychain blank.
Acrylic Shapes and Alcohol Inks
Keychains are so versatile! When I first started using acrylic shapes, I was very new to using adhesive vinyl. Then, I saw a post in a craft group I was in and instantly knew I wanted to create those projects!
For the first few acrylic keychains I made, I used basic circles and random SVG files I found. I made several mistakes and wasted a lot of products, but I learned a lot. I remember searching for tutorials on making keychains using acrylic shapes, but I couldn’t find many. I wanted to learn how to use alcohol inks, so I experimented and adapted several different techniques to my creations. This alcohol ink tutorial will show how I create a keychain using alcohol inks, applying adhesive vinyl, and then sealing it with UV resin.
You can also grab the free loved SVG below! I included a link to the font I used, so you can create different words to use on your acrylic keychains!
How to make Alcohol Ink Keychains
- 3″ Rectangle Shaped Keychain-Can be found in the Keychain section in the link provided
- alcohol – small one touch pump bottle shown in the video
- lint free wipes, or a coffee filter works great too
- small nail file
- various tools you use for weeding your adhesive vinyl
- squeegee tool
- alcohol inks-I like Tim Holtz, this link are the colors I used
- stamper to apply your inks
- adhesive vinyl in your choice of colors, I used white
- transfer tape, paper or clear
- bead reamer or you can use an exacto knife to cut out the hole
- silicone make up brush
- UV resin I like Miraclekoo or Limino, both work good-both smell!
- small butane torch-this is the one I use *note it does not come with butane, but you can also find small, filled ones, at hardware stores or dollar stores.
- glitter -your choice of color, I like to use extra fine glitter
- disposable medicine cups
- popsicle stick
- bezel pendant charm, I used 10mm size
- UV lamp -my lamp is 54W, I personally wouldn’t use a lower wattage- the lower it is the longer it will take your resin to cure.
- pliers -I also use bent nose pliers that I purchased at Harbor Freight
- jump ring- I used the one that came with the rectangle blank I purchased in the above link
- keychain hardware and charm of your choice
What’s that font?
The font I used in this project is called My Skinny Type.
Download it and create keychains with your favorite words or phrases!
How to use Alcohol Inks on Acrylic Keychains
Let’s Get Started On Your Acrylic Keychain!
Sand lightly with your nail file-just enough to make scratches on your acrylic shape. The purpose of the sanding is so your UV resin has something to bind to when you apply it.
Clean your shape with alcohol using a lint-free cloth or a coffee filter. This is to remove any dust from the sanding- if there are particles left behind it will show once you apply the vinyl. After you clean your shape, set it aside and weed your vinyl.
Apply the Alcohol Inks to your Acrylic Keychain
Next, I apply my alcohol inks with my stamper; you can watch my technique in the video. I usually start with the darkest color first, be sure to only use one color per side of your stamper. You can stamp on the inks or try different techniques, like dripping a small amount onto the blank and then blowing on it. You can also tilt the blank to move the ink. There are many different looks you can achieve. Get creative! Remember, if you don’t like how it looks, take some alcohol, wipe off the inks, and start again! (all before you seal it, of course!)
The inks do not take long to dry as long as you don’t add any type of moisture to reactive them. I add white vinyl to the top of my ink that I stamped on the blank. This helps to make your colors more vibrant. Apply your white vinyl (this is the inset piece that is colored grey in your file) *I would not recommend the wet method when using alcohol inks. Remember to go slow when you apply your vinyl. Take your time lining it up before you apply it to your blank. Use your squeegee to apply it to be sure your vinyl has completely adhered to your blank. Don’t pull the transfer tape off like a band-aid. You need to go slow; this will also help eliminate any bubbles.
Protective Paper on Acrylics
Now remove the protective brown paper from the opposite side of your acrylic keychain, take a piece of transfer tape, then apply it to your vinyl wording -use your squeegee to apply it to be sure to get it completely adhered to your vinyl. I prefer to use clear transfer tape because the shapes and vinyl are small- I like to be able to see through the transfer tape so I can align everything properly.
Remove your transfer tape from the word. Remember to go slow, and this will help eliminate any bubbles.
After the vinyl is applied, use your bead reamer to make your hole. I poke it through and then use the sides of the reamer like a file and file the vinyl out of the hole. You can also twist the reamer, but I find it sometimes twists the vinyl, and I have ruined too many projects that way. So now I go slow and push against the sides of the hole in the acrylic blank with my tool.
To apply my UV resin, I use a silicone makeup brush. You do NOT need a lot of resin! Apply small dots or a small line, and “paint” on your resin. I tend to start in the middle and work my way out. Apply a thin coat-remember you can always add more as you go if you need to! It’s very difficult to take it off after you squeeze it out of the bottle.
*PLEASE READ-UV resin has an awful smell! Especially after you torch it to remove the bubbles! I typically wear a mask because I am highly sensitive to all synthetic smells. Epoxy is another option for sealing, but that also has an odor- it’s not as strong-it’s more of a “fume,” but it still smells and can give you issues. Please be careful! If you are unsure of any of these products, please contact your doctor. I have heard of many people having bad reactions to these chemicals!
Stay away from the window!
While applying your resin, it’s best to stay close to a light source -NOT A WINDOW, THOUGH- SUNLIGHT WILL CURE YOUR RESIN- DO NOT WORK NEXT TO A WINDOW OR ANYTHING THAT LETS SUNLIGHT ON YOUR WORKSPACE! Keep close to a table lamp or something so you can look at your blank to help it reflect the light. It will help you to see your surface and be sure you have resin all the way to the edges. Be careful not to fill the hole! UV resin tends to pull away from the sides as you work and especially after you hit it with the torch, so after you use your torch, check your surface again to see if you need to apply more resin or to move the resin you have to the edges.
The torch is for popping any bubbles that may be in the resin. If you cure it in the lamp before you torch the bubbles out, your piece can come out with tiny divots all over that top. Some people like to torch the blank and then let it sit for a few minutes and check the resin, and torch again before curing it. You will get a feel for what works for you. *Be sure, if you let it sit for a while first, that your table is level! The UV will run off, and you will have to reapply. There are several different types of UV lamps. Most have timers-some have to be reset every 90 seconds- so depending on the style you have, your cure time may vary. My lamp takes about 5 minutes. If I am using glitter or any type of added coloring, I will cure it a bit longer or take it outside and let it sit in the sun for a little while.
Making the glittered charm! I use a disposable medicine cup, put in some UV resin (the amount depends on how many charms you are making) add your glitter. I like extra fine glitter. Mix all together; I use a wooden popsicle stick. You don’t want your mixture too thick, but you also don’t want it runny- You want to be able to drop it in your bezel pendant tray without it running over the sides. Put in a small amount at a time. It will spread and fill the bottom of the tray. Cure your charm in the lamp as you did for your keychain. When it comes out, you will create a dome with the bottle of UV resin on top of the glitter/UV resin mix you just did. Add a small amount of the resin and then use the tip of the bottle to help move the resin around so it “puddles’ on top of the cured charm. You can see the technique in the video. Carefully place that back in the lamp to cure.
Putting on your hardware can be challenging at first. A lot of people like to pull the jump rings apart, do not pull them apart, instead twist them from side to side. I use two pliers. One pair is called bent nose pliers. I purchased them at our local Harbor Freight store.
When you add your charms, repeat the process with the jump rings and add the charms where you like them.
There you go! You can now create your very own alcohol ink acrylic shape keychain! Play around with different shapes. Below are a few examples of what I’ve made with them!
Each alcohol ink project comes out different and unique. No two are ever the same! Show me how yours turned out!
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