DIY "INK in WATER" Photography




Introduction: DIY "INK in WATER" Photography

About: DIY projects, personal Tipps, Instructions and well made Videos. That`s basically all what I`m here for! :D Want to support me? Show me some love on my Youtube Channel!

What`s up DIY Fans?

In this instructable I want to show you, how to create your own stunning INK in WATER Photos and Videos.
Every shape is unique in it´s way and it`s a nice way to create awesome Images for a PC Background or even wall pictures.
I want to show you, what Materials you will need, how to build your own Aquarium and how to set up you own Ink-in-Water Photography Studio. The Video will guide you through the main Building Process and might give you an Idea, what Images you can expect.

For those of you, who are more interested in enjoying these images, instead of creating them on your own, I made a dozen "Ink in Water" Wallpapers for mobile devices for free to DOWNLOAD.

If you feel like giving something back, vote for me in the instructabels "UNTOUCHABLE CHALLENGE" and consider subscribing to my Youtube Channel.

Step 1: DIY Video

The video will guide you through every step of the Building Process and hopefully will be some inspiration.

Step 2: What Material You Will Need

Materials for your Aquarium:

- Aquarium glass
- Aquarium Silicone
-> Alternatively you could buy a small Aquarium

Materials for the Photography-Studio:
- 2 white Panels (underneath and behind the Aquarium):
I used two Ikea shelf floors, and it pretty much does the job quite well.
- Colored Acrylic Ink:
It will create stunning clouds, when they are poured into the water.
- 2 Studio Lights:
one to lighten up the white Studio-background panel and one to light up the Ink itself.

- A Camera:
optiamally with wide aperture and fast shutter speed

Step 3: Build the Aquarium: Preparation

For your Photography Studio you will need a small Aquarium. For mine I decided to choose dimensions of 30x20x20 cm. One 10l bucket will be enough to fill it up and it will be light enough to carry it to the zink without any trouble.

So I bought some inexpensive 3mm thick glass in a DIY store and let them cut it to these dimensions:

- one Bottom Panel: 29,40x19,40 cm

- two Front/Back Panels: 30,00x20,00 cm

- two Side Panels: 19,40x20,00 cm

To glue it together later with the Aquarium silicone, I decided to prepare my panels with electrical tape to have three tape peaces on each joint. The advantage of the electrical tape is, that it is a little bit stretchable and it does stick quite well on flat surfaces like glass.

Step 4: Build the Aquarium: First Glueing

Start by laying the glass into position, to figure out cleary where the overhanging peaces are and make sure you have some kind of working pad underneath it. The black Aquarium will stick everywhere and won't be easy to remove once it got hard.

Then use your Aquarium Silicone and press lines on the overhanging peaces, push the joints together, and fix everything with the electrical tape. Then remove the remaining silicone with a towel.
I like to use less silicone during this step, scince I really want this code to just hold the glass together.

As soon you have glued all glass panels together, check if every corner is about 90 degrees, otherwise do some final fixes.

Then let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 5: Build the Aquarium: Second Glueing

Now make sure that there are now empty spaces in the joints. In this step you need to press the aquarium silicone into every tiny gap on to make it waterproof. But make sure to wipe it clean soon after.
To get clean lines in the interior, I recommend to use an old credit card. Simply apply a thick code of Silicone on the inside and pull it off several times with an old credit card.

Repeat this process on each corner. Then clean up the surfaces of each glass panels to make sure there are no black Silicone marks, where you do not want them.

Then let it dry out for at least 48 hours.

Step 6: Set Up Your DIY Photography Studio.

You can finally remove all stripes of electrical tape and enjoy the view of your selfmade Aquarium. I recommend to apply some felt pads on the bottom, to avoid broken corners on long term. Remember, you will change water quite often and will have to move it more often, than a usual Aquarium for fishes or small pets.

Now place a big white panel behind and underneath the Aquarium. This guarantees a clean background later.
Then Setup the lights: I took two 20 € studio lights. One to light up exclusively the background and one directly pointed at the Aquarium.

Step 7: How to Get the PIME SHOTS

At first you have to make sure to hit focus. I recommend to focus manually, to get nice clean lines of the ink in the foreground and some soft blur in the background.

So you should mark the focus distance. Set up your camera directly infront of your filled aquarium and make sure you have a perfectly clean white background. Now take a long stripe of transparent tape and place it from the front to the back panel. Now hold a straight object into the water and figure out where you want the camera to focus. Then mark the exact position on the tape.

Now it`s finally time to take your acrylic Ink and push it gently in the water and get ready for the shot.

Step 8: Thank You!

Thank you for reading my Post about "Ink in Water" Photography. It was fun to create the video and the Smartphone Background-Wallpapers. Send me some pictures, if you could successfully make some awesome images by yourself.
Here again is the link for my free Ink-in-Water Wallpapers. If you fell like giving something back, consider subscribing to my youtube Channel.
Please leave me some feedback!

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    Tyran Choy
    Tyran Choy

    2 years ago

    Please advise what kind of light source you are using, is it LED light?


    3 years ago

    How did you get over the glare/reflection from the tank glass? Did you polarise? and how far away and what focal length were you from the glass? Kindest regards, love the vided

    Stevens Workshop
    Stevens Workshop

    5 years ago

    Great instructable, I'll be giving this a go for sure.
    I've grabbed wallpaper #7 my fave :-)

    Rideable Entertainment
    Rideable Entertainment

    Reply 5 years ago

    Yeah this is actually my favourite as well :)


    5 years ago

    Really awesome pictures! And the slow motion in the video looks really neat :)
    What kind of camera did you use? And did you take videos all the time or single images?

    I need to try this as well....

    Rideable Entertainment
    Rideable Entertainment

    Reply 5 years ago

    I took some images, but the majority of footage were shot in a video.


    5 years ago

    Great instructable! Very cool. Two questions for you:

    1.) Doesn't the ink stain the water requiring that it's changed between shots? Or does this ink weigh more than the water and perhaps settle to the bottom without mingling too much?

    2.) How did you achieve the effect in the video of the two clouds of different coloured ink rotating around each other? I don't think you spun the tank... we never saw edges appear. Perhaps stirring the water to create some whirlpool motion? but it rotates so cleanly. Hmm... I can't quite figure it out.


    Rideable Entertainment
    Rideable Entertainment

    Reply 5 years ago

    Yes you have to change the water every 2 - 3 shots with this size of an aquarium (12 liters) .

    The twisting shots were done by gently moving a big spoon in a circular in the water, before you doing the ink shots at the same time.


    5 years ago

    Love it!