Let’s talk Inks! I have a slight Ink Pad obsession/collection and feel like I have “full set syndrome” more with inks than with any other crafting product. I will share my favorite blending tools/brushes in another post that is separate from this one. There are several types of ink, there are dye ink pads, pigment ink pads and specialty ink pads (such as clear embossing ink and contouring ink for no line coloring, etc.)
If you are not sure what the difference is between dye inks and pigment inks, here is some basic information that will help you understand the differences:
Dye inks soak into almost any type of paper and dry very quickly. This makes them easy to work with (and less messy than pigment inks). Because they dry so fast, you cannot emboss with dye inks. Dye inks are thinner in consistency than pigment inks and are more transparent, as pigment inks are more opaque.
Pigment Inks sit on top of the paper, instead of being absorbed into a paper like dye inks. They are thick and opaque and dry slowly which make them perfect for heat embossing.
QUICK TIP: If you are stamping with clear acrylic stamps (less expensive than photo polymer and much lower quality), and your ink is beading up on the stamp and not stamping solid, chances are that it’s the stamp and not necessarily the ink. You can learn more about types of clear stamps here.
If the product(s) are available online (usually where I purchased it), I will be list and link for you. I do use affiliate links when possible (at no cost to you), but none of the products I’m listed were provided or sponsored by anyone. These are simply my personal favorite products that I use when crafting. Full Disclosure Here.
There are SO MANY brands of ink pads out on the market now and most are made in the same factories but branded for each company. So when I am asked “what brand of ink should I buy?”, I suggest buying by the colors your like, not necessarily the brand. This is NOT to say that all inks stamp the same, but if you are familiar with the major brands, you can pretty much tell which ones come from the same manufacturers. I’m going to share my favorites with you today. Here is a look at my current ink obsession/collection. (Not counting my newer inks which are not shown here!)
Basic Black Ink Pads
Obsidian Amalgam Ink by Gina K Designs is a great BLACK ink pad that works well with well, everything! It works with:
- Alcohol Markers
- Colored Pencils
You just have to give it a minute or two to dry fully (or hit it with your heat gun) just to be sure it’s ready to use.
Best Black Pigment Ink! VersaFine Clair Nocturne
This is an EXCELLENT pigment black ink pad and my favorite! See below for more information about this pigment ink.
Versafine Clair is my newest favorite pigment ink pad. The colors are fabulous, stamp crisp, clean and detailed and I never have to double stamp with them (unless I made user error mistake LOL). The difference between these pigment inks and other pigment inks is that these will stay wet long enough to emboss with them (with clear embossing powder), yet they still dry really fast for pigment inks. These are my newest favorite ink pads and I can’t say enough good things about them!
These are the current colors available from Versafine Clair.
White Ink Pads
White Ink Pads are so tricky. It’s hard to find one that will stamp sharp, clear and solid. As I’ve said in the past “There is no perfect white ink pad, yet”. Personally, it depends on the project I’m working on and what kind of look I’m going for when I am deciding which white ink pad to use.
If I want a solid bright white sentiment stamped, I will use Memento Luxe Wedding Dress Pigment Ink Pad. If I want something with more solid, even coverage, I will use Hero Arts Unicorn White Ink Pad. Several years ago, I posted a demonstration and comparison video comparing five of the most commonly used white ink pads. First let’s take a look at how each ink pad stamped out on my (messy) chart!
(Click the image to view full size)
Below you will find a video showing the demonstration and stamping of the different white ink pads.
When you are looking for an embossing ink pad, you want something clear and sticky that dries slowly so that you can add embossing powder and heat emboss. There are many good embossing ink pads on the market today including Nuvo Clear Embossing Ink Pad. and the most popular, Versamark.
I honestly use both and switch back and forth between these two. It usually depends on which one happens to be on my desk at the time. because I feel like they both work equally. They are also great for tone on tone stamping. (Similar to a watermark on an image).
Gold and silver are another type of ink that is difficult to get a great impression from. Most stampers will use embossing powder to get the look they want. However, if you are not looking for a raised stamped image, Delicata Gold and Delicata Silver are the absolute best gold and silver (they also have copper) ink pads I’ve ever found. They stamp beautifully and look almost like an embossed image but flat.
Delicata also offers a Four pack of mini ink pads that include Gold, Silver, Copper and Bronze.
Dye Ink Pads
Although there are newer brands on the market, I am still sticking with my tried and true dye ink pads. Again, I shop by color and then brand. I will not buy cheap inks that are off brand, etc. though. Any of the major stamp companies that offer ink pads are all using the same manufacturers so you are safe to shop any of them, again color then brand. (Try to avoid full set syndrome, something I’ve suffered from for years LOL). These are my tried and true dye ink pads that I’ve used for years and still use to this day.
These are my favorite ink pads by far. Mostly because of the way they stamp AND the color choices. I’ve been using MFT Ink Pads for YEARS and still stick by them. They stamp wonderfully, dry instantly and well, they are my faves. There are currently 18 color choices available at Kat Scrappiness 🙂
Lawn Fawn Dye Ink Pads
Lawn Fawn Dye Ink Pads – These are another of my favorite ink pads. They stamp really well, if it looks blotchy at first, just wait a minute until it soaks into the paper, (or double stamp it if you are impatient lol). Here is a video I did over six years ago showing how they stamp in real life.
Download a free checklist of available colors here.
The great think about Altenew Inks is the (many) color choices. Each color comes in different shade groups that make stamping with layered stamps a cinch! If you have trouble deciding with inks to use with layered stamps, look no further, Altenew has done the work for you!
Watch Kat’s Stamping Demo Video here.
View a complete color chart of available colors here.
I’ve been using Gina’s ink pads for years. I haven’t purchased any new ones in awhile because I have so many colors, but I still use the ones I have. They stamp well and the ink formulation is very similar, if not the same as Lawn Fawn and MFT ink pads. There are over 50 colors available and they match her cardstock as well.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks are a collection of water based, fade resistant, dye inks formulated to create aged vintage effects on papers and other porous surfaces. The innovative properties of Distress Ink are unlike any other inks since they react with water and maintain color integrity. Available in a 3″ x 3″ raised felt ink pad. They are great for adding adding a distressed look to your projects with a brush or blending tool. (See my favorites in a separate post!)
Tim Holtz Distress® Oxide® Ink Pads are water-reactive dye & pigment ink fusion that creates an oxidized effect when sprayed with water. Use with stamps, stencils, and direct to surface. These inks leave a chalky finish and are GREAT for ink blending. You can get the newest colors here or the older colors here.
No Line Coloring Ink Pads
These are a specialty ink that allows you to stamp your image and see it well enough to color it in but when you are finished, the ink will not be visible, leaving you with a “no line stamped and colored image”.
The first company that I know of that came out with this type of ink pad was Inkon3. You can color just like you normally do, no waiting for sections to dry. The ink will actually take on the color you lay on top without loosing details.
The newest no line ink pad is by Hero Arts. This smooth, light-toned hybrid ink is ideal for no-line coloring techniques and general stamping applications. Works with alcohol markers, colored pencils and watercolors. Made in the USA.
These are my favorite types of ink pads. I hope that it helps you when choosing an ink pad for your next project. I will have a separate post for ink blending tools and products coming very soon!
If you have a question about ink pads or if there is a product you’d like to try, please contact me here.