Ok, I said I was going to try out the Rubbing Alcohol with my Ranger Alcohol Inks and I did.
Overall, you can use rubbing alcohol to dilute the inks. If you don't want the deep or bright color, you can add a touch of rubbing alcohol to lighten the color. This works if you're applying by hand or with the applicator, cotton balls, whatever. Rubbing alcohol also works GREAT when trying to clean the ink off your hands! I was using the blending solution for this as well (always thought it was a waste but you really can't get that ink off!) Now I'm using rubbing alcohol to keep my hands clean as well as any misplaced drops of ink.
As for using the rubbing alcohol as a base to blend with...it doesn't work well. I use the blending solution to apply to my paper then add the ink and swirl. When I tried to do that with straight rubbing alcohol, the alcohol evaporated too quickly and I didn't get the results I wanted. The blending solution is much better for this technique as it doesn't dry as quickly as the regular alcohol so it gives me time to swirl all my color drops together. The blending solution says on the package that it is specially formulated for use with these inks...it seems to be a blend of other alcohols.
So in conclusion, I'm still buying the blending solution for my LTCs but using rubbing alcohol to clean my supplies and hands off afterward.