Alcohol inks are suitable for non porous surfaces which makes them good on glossy, metallic, pearlized or foiled paper or cardstock, vellum, acetate, foil, plastic, glass, metal and for such 3D items such as dominoes, fragments, stickers, metal embellishments, etc. Just a note though, photo paper is glossy but is designed to absorb inkjet ink and therefore is not suitable for this technique.
You can see all my technique pages in this photo. Top row - glossy paper, dye reinkers with alcohol and StazOn ink, acetate, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, glossy cardstock, dye reinkers with alcohol and Palette ink (swipe technique), Row two - glossy cardstock, alcohol inks and Palette ink, glossy cardstock, dye reinkers with alcohol and StazOn ink (swirl technique), glossy cardstock, alcohol inks and Memories ink. Row three - foil tape on cardstock, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, vellum, alcohol inks and StazOn ink, acetate, alcohol inks and Brilliance ink.
You can buy the metallic fixatives to go with the alcohol inks though I have successfully used Krylon metallic pens for creating the "polished stone" look which features metallic veining.
I have found that dye reinkers and alcohol work really well on paper to create alcohol ink backgrounds. Unfortunately, they will not work on other surfaces such as acetate or metal.
Blending solution is colourless and is used to dilute and spread alcohol inks. I have personally used rubbing alcohol (70% or more) for 98% of my alcohol ink work with no problems and I read on line in several places that others are doing the same thing. A very cost effective option. In some cases, 90% rubbing alcohol was used as well.
As a substitute for the applicator I have been using a strip of felt attached to a small wood block (3" x 1" x .75) with two thumb tacks. I have a handy DH so a small block of wood was easy to find but you might consider using a wood block from a rubber stamp or one from a Jenga game. You can also adhere velcro hooks to the block instead of using tacks and that will keep your felt in place.
I used Staz On, Memories and Brilliance ink on my pages. I also used Ancient Page ink on one of the pages that did not make the cut for other reasons. Several online also suggested Archival and Versafine for stamping over alcohol inks. You can certainly use pigment ink and embossing powder for a different look. Some dye inks may also be suitable for use on paper but not on other surfaces.
You can use alcohol inks to colour embellishments like brads, rhinestones, metal or plastic tags or letters, dew drops, hot glue, etc.
For a very creative option consider using PVA glue to seal regular cardstock - you can incorporate bits for texture. Once completely dry, apply a quick coat of alcohol inks for very dramatic backgrounds.
I found some places on line where alcohol inks were combined with spray starch or acrylic floor polish (Future - Klear (UK)) to create interesting backgrounds.
Sharpie markers are alcohol based markers so you can scribble them on acetate and use alcohol on a Qtip to move them around and create some unique looking backgrounds and/or embellishments.
Lots of fun playing with alcohol inks!!
I would certainly recommend at the very least trying dye reinkers (StampinUP) and alcohol on glossy cardstock!!