Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ink 101 - Helpful Comparisons

Ink 101
Ink Comparison

When I began stamping, I bought a few ink pads that I considered pretty. When I started using them, I quickly became frustrated. My images would smear, not stamp solid, or if it was on my hands or fingers, the ink would leave marks wherever I touched (paper, table, my clothes, me!). I knew I had to do some research into why I was having so much trouble. Here's what I found.

  • Leave a chalk-like finish on your projects when dry
  • When buffed it becomes a shiny finish
  • Dries very quickly on most surfaces
  • Leaves residue, does smudge
  • Lighter colors show up on dark paper {black, midnight blue…)
  • Usually gives a good image when stamp is covered well

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Die Inks like Hero Arts Shadow Inks, Stampin Up, Colorbox Wedges, Memento Dewdrops, and most of your children’s ink pads
  • Water soluble
  • soak into the paper
  • Dry quickly
  • Vivid image
  • Acid free and fade resistant
  • Have a raised felt pad and hard to press
  • Will not show on dark paper, (special big word...translucent)!

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Now there are two DYE inks, Tuxedo black and Rich Cocoa, that when stamped and thoroughly dried will not smear when colored over with alcohol markers like Copic, Spectrum Noir, Sharpie, Bic...well, that’s for another class!

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

I have used a trick when my image doesn’t stamp completely. I used a stamp squishy, well, that’s my term for a stamping pad. I took an inexpensive mouse pad, cut it in half and glued it together, one on top of the other. Use the printed side, put your paper on it and stamp. The pad evens out the image. All of my images turned out more vivid with a stamp pad.
Want another trick? When I have used a DYE ink and waited a bit longer than I should have, because they are water soluble, I can “huff” onto the stamp then immediately use it. It’s always a good practice with DYE stamping, to hold the stamp onto your paper for a couple seconds longer to give the ink time to absorb.

Distress Inks by Tim Holtz
Distress Ink is a dye ink.
  • Water soluble therefore can be used in several techniques such as ink smooshing, water coloring and water drips (Smooshing: I take two or more ink pads and mash them onto a smooth, water resistant surface,ie; a Craft Mat or a piece of paper laminated. I then spray the area until its nearly saturated but the colors are not runny. I take a piece of watercolor paper and drag and twist it very easily through the color then let dry for a beautiful background or for cutting.)
Now, I mean EASILY because I nearly wiped the table with a piece of watercolor paper expecting it to be all rainbows!  When I turned it over all I found was MUD!!
  • Adjacent colors on the color wheel blend well next to each other
  • It’s translucent.
  • Can be blended with other mediums (embossing paste, Modge Podge, Gesso…) and it will color them because they have some liquid in them

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Distress Oxide Inks by Tim Holtz  
Distress Oxides are a very unique ink. It is a combination of dye ink and a pigment ink.
  • Chalky finish when applied, does not wipe off
  • Adding water to it (like droplets) creates an oxidized look.
  • May stamp and emboss with it.
  • Can blend any color next to each other on paper
  • Use it in techniques like watercoloring or blending.
  • Wet on wet blends, dry on dry layers
  • Can be seen on dark paper (Black or Midnight Blue)
  • Can be sealed with Modge Podge without changing the colors
  • Raised, spongy pad, good for great stamp coverage

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Hybrid ink such as Palette, My Favorite Things and Hero Arts BOLD
  • Has vividly colored ink
  • Is able to be used on any surface: fabric, wood, plastic, glass, etc.
  • When dry may be colored over by many different mediums without smearing

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Pigment Inks such as Color Box, Ranger’s Archival and Hero Arts Hues
  • Are not water-soluble.
  • They sit on top of your paper
  • Take longer to dry.
  • Can be used to heat Emboss with powder and heat gun

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

  • Your images turn out crisp.
  • You are not able to see through them (Another big word...opaque)
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces like wood, glass and fabric
  • These ink pads will be sponge-like and press easily.

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Solvent Ink is a special ink made to work in inkjet printers but in the crafting world it is known as STAZON Ink.
  • 3 ingredients to a solvent ink: an oil-based carrier fluid, pigment and resin.
  • Used on many, many different non-porous surfaces: acetate, metal, shrink plastic and plastic surfaces
  • Stays wet very long
  • Cleans with Stazon Stamp Cleaner

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)
Versamark is a PIGMENT ink that is clear
  • Can be used as watermark stamp ink which leaves a tone-on-tone look when stamping on solid color papers.
  • It’s most known for its ability to stay wet long and therefore is used for heat embossing. Heating the applied embossing powder will leave a smooth, shiny finish to your stamped image.

Versafine is also a PIGMENT ink.
  • Stamps intricate images clearly capturing fine detail
  • Stays wet long and can be easily heat embossed  
  • Easily smears and can get on fingers, hands, table, clothing and fingerprints all over your project!! Please excuse me for venting…
  • VersaMagic Cloud White ink stamps opaque (remember?) on dark papers
  • Onyx Black ink is most commonly used for outline stamps. Once dry, it can be painted over by any kind of marker, including alcohol markers such as Copic and Sharpie, and DOES NOT smudge.

(clicking on the images will take  you directly to that product!)

Now, this may seem a little overwhelming but if the whole ton of very useful information will save you some headaches, then it was worth it!

Save this link, to your desktop and you’ll have this information at your fingertips. And it WILL come in handy..

(Hint: Chalk  ink begins with a C and comes in the beginning of the alphabet, therefore it dries very quickly. Distress and Dye Inks with a D dry quickly but not as quick as the chalk. We have H for Hybrid inks, then we jump to O for (Distress) Oxides and P for Pigment  and S for Solvent inks which will stay wet longer an finely V for Versamark and Versafine which are wet long enough to use to emboss.) Now you have some idea of what each ink does!

Which would be best suited for your next project?


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  1. Great overview of the various inks. I especially liked your ABC way of helping to remember which ink dries the fastest...I never would have thought of that. I saved this one so I can refer back to it. Thank you! :)

  2. Thank you for the info. I seem to never remember what ink is good for what so this sure helps.