I discovered alcohol inks about a year ago and love the effects you can get with them. They need to be applied to a glossy surface (either photo glossy type card or metal.) For my backgrounds I used cheap photo glossy paper and (top right) foil tape.
The alcohol ink applicators are basically a wooden handle with the hook part of velcro stuck to the bottom (they would be easy to make yourself). On to this you put a small piece of felt, put several drops of alcohol ink onto the felt (in one colour or a few different colours) then pounce onto your piece of card until you get an effect you like (adding more ink if necessary).
Here's a few closeups of the effects you can get with the inks.
This one is a closeup of the foil tape (the tape is quite a thick foil and is self adhesive - I stuck it onto thick card first.)
I only got around to making one ATC today - I used the foil tape background - stamped a couple of background stamps on and then traced over the image with an embossing tool.
The stamped image (coloured then triple embossed) is from the PaperArtsy Wings Plate 3. The pointed hat is cut from an old dictionary.