How to Prime a Canvas for Alcohol Inks

Alcohol inks are best used on non-porous surfaces like glass, plastics, metals, and varnished wood. Porous materials like paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponges and fabric, should be avoided. So then how, you may ask, can artists paint with alcohol inks on cotton canvas?
KILZ 2® LATEX Primer Seal Stainblocker for Alcohol Inks

Priming a Canvas with KILZ 2® LATEX

KILZ 2® LATEX is a fast drying, ​water-based, multi-purpose primer, sealer, and stain-blocker. Because it seals porous surfaces, it's a great way to transform a porous canvas into a non-porous one. 

To avoid noticeable brush strokes, I prefer to use a foam brush, which you can find in all different sizes at Blick or craft store of your choice. I prefer to use the widest brush I can find, and after applying the first coat, I like to run over it with a clean and dry foam brush to make sure the surface is 100% smooth and that minimal brush marks peak through. 

As long as the surface of the canvas is no longer visible (I like to coat the sides, too!), a second coat of primer should not be necessary; I do encourage you to use your judgment though.

You can also prime wooden panels with KILZ, but in this case, you will likely want to apply several coats to make the surface more opaque. 

Looking to prime a black canvas? You’ll need KILZ Klear
Blick Art Materials Foam Brushs in various sizes.
Once you've finished coating your surface, I recommend letting it sit for about 30 to 45 minutes before you begin painting with your inks. Do not start painting if the canvas is not completely dry. 

Where Can I Buy KILZ 2® LATEX? 

You can find KILZ 2® LATEX at any hardware store, but it's also available in-store and online at Home Depot or Lowes

How Do I Clean Up and Dispose of KILZ 2® LATEX? 

KILZ recommends cleaning up equipment and paint splatters with warm, soapy water, but it's important that you properly dispose of the container in accordance with federal, state and local regulations. They recommend calling 1-800-CLEANUP to learn how to recycle or properly dispose of your primer.


Want to Learn More About Alcohol Inks? 



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  • Jane

    Can I re apply kilz2 to my canvas if I don’t like my alcohol ink painting and do another painting ….I would try and remove the alcohol in before re applying ?

  • Judith Glynn

    I sprayed Kilz on some canvases and some have an uneven surface. I think it dried too fast. Can they be saved with paint on kilz or gesso?

  • Tencha Saucedo

    Very informative. Can paper for water colors be used for ink art?

  • Maureen Tichborne

    Any idea why the KILZ isn’t effected by the alcohol or blending solution? If it’s water based you think it would run into your ink as you manipulate them but it clearly doesn’t happen to you.

  • Kathy

    I tried doing plain gesso and it was not successful at all. Spray gesso is a bit better but takes a few coats. I found spray gesso at Walmart

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