This is the third post in my series: My Favorite Scrapbooking Products. Former posts include:
Today I’m going to share with you my favorite inks for stamping and distressing. Click on the images to view them full size.
Please note that some of these links may contain affiliate codes so that I receive credit for any purchases made through my link. However, I will NOT link to any product that I have not purchased or will not purchase for myself. The products I am listing are my personal favorite products and that’s why I’m sharing them with you.
Before starting with the inks, let’s discuss the difference between rubber stamps, polymer stamps and (cheaper), acrylic stamps. The fact is that with rubber stamps, almost any ink will work pretty well (unless it’s a solid image (see example below). Polymer or clear stamps are less porous and won’t necessarily stamp well with just any old ink. There are different inks for different kinds of stamping and we will go over some of my favorites here. (These are my personal favorites, i.e. my personal opinions).
Now, Let’s Talk Ink! *Update 11/9/2013 – See my NEW Favorite Ink HERE)
Basic types of stamping inks:
A dye ink is any ink that acquires its color by the use of aniline pigments or dyes. Best used on porous surfaces, 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. Dye inks come in a multitude of colors and are very reasonably priced. These inks are good for general purpose stamping and are easy to clean off of your stamps with a simple baby wipe or damp cloth.
Personally, I have found dye inks to be a good choice for rubber stamps, but do not recommend them for polymer (clear) stamps because the ink tends to “bead up” on the stamp, leaving you with a dotted or blotchy stamped image.
Are comprised of tiny, encapsulated particles that sit on top of the paper, instead of being absorbed into a paper ís fibers, which is what happens with dyes. Pigment inks are much more stable than dye-based inks, and can last more than 200 years on some paper types, under ideal (museum-quality lighting and framing) conditions.
In my own works, pigment inks are thick and opaque and dry slowly which make them perfect for embossing. You can watercolor with pigment inks but you will need to heat set the stamped image first, to make sure it is FULLY dry to avoid smearing/bleeding. Because pigment inks are long last and fade resistant, they are perfect for scrapbookers!
Chalk inks produce a soft, chalk-like look and are type of pigment ink. They WILL stain your clear stamps so don’t worry if they don’t come clean, it will not affect the stamped image or quality of your stamp at all. It just doesn’t look so pretty! This is the description that ClearSnap uses on their website:The dense, matte luster of chalk pastels in a fast-drying, archival ink.
- Gorgeous palette of over 50 muted, chalk-like, blendable colors that may be buffed for a shiny finish
- Fast drying on most surfaces including paper, foil and clay
- Ideal for scrapbooking and other craft projects
- Waterproof if heat set
Solvent Based Inks
Solvent based inks (like Staz-on) are permanent inks designed for non-porous surfaces like plastic, metal, glass, ceramic or laminated or coated papers. Solving based inks are NOT recommended for fabric, however. They are acid free, archival and dry very quickly.
Embossing inks are clear or lightly tinted ink pads which dry much slower than other types of inks. You use them to emboss, use as a watermark or to create resist stamped image. From the Versamark website:Stamp your image onto text-weight paper to explore the possibilities of watermarking, or stamp subtle tone-on-tone images onto colored cardstock. Create a resist image by stamping on glossy cardstock and brayering with dye ink. And VersaMark is so sticky that it will act as a “glue” for chalks and pigment powders.
*Excerpt from the Stewart Superior website*
The Palette Hybrid ink pad represents an innovation in stamping ink technology. It eliminates all the confusion over which ink to use for what surface – because it works on everything and is a non-solvent ink. It doesn’t smell bad , it’s nonflammable and it won’t immediately dry out. It dries instantly on paper and porous surfaces and requires a heat-set on glossy surfaces and fabrics.
It dries too quickly for embossing – so a clear watermark/embossing ink pad is part of the line. This ink pad is the perfect answer for scrapbooking retailers and others who are tired of the confusion of different inks for different surfaces – now one ink works for all surfaces. Now you can merchandise more colors and have 36 great colors and four rainbows to choose from.
Tim Holtz Distress Inks
(From the Ranger website) Tim Holtz Distress Inks are a collection of 48 acid-free, non-toxic, fade resistant, water-based dye inks. They’re perfect for the new vintage, stained, aged effect crafters are creating in their altered books, scrapbook pages, cards and paper craft projects.
Tim selected the colors and helped develop these inks to produce a realistic, weathered look on paper, photos and decorative fibers. All the colorful Distress Inks afford added versatility when photo tinting and color layering with the original, award winning tones.
There are more types of inks and here are a couple of links to help you learn more. I’m just going over the basics because that is what I personally, use the most.
- Ranger’s Ink FAQ’S
- Inks for Rubber Stamping
For stamping, detailed, crisp, clean images, I always use Versafine in Onyx Black. It stamps cleaner and clearer than any ink I’ve ever used. Versafine is a water resistant, pigment ink which means that when fully dry, you can use watercolors with this ink. You can also emboss with Versafine if you don’t wait too long for the ink to dry.
Unfortunately the colors that Versafine comes in are very limited but they do have the following colors:
I have to say this is my most favorite ink for stamping. Here are a couple of examples of stamped images using Versafine inks:
Memento Inks are fast drying, permanent when dry and fade resistant. They are water based and acid free. I use Memento in Tuxedo Black for stamping images that I plan on coloring with Copic markers. Memento ink will not bleed or run when you color with alcohol markers like Copic. In my opinion, it doesn’t stamps fine but not quite as well as Versafine so I really only use it when I plan on coloring with my Copics.
Here are some examples of images stamped with Memento ink, colored and uncolored:
I am a huge fan of the NEW Stampin’ Up inks, the pad is foam, rather than felt and I feel like it really makes a difference in inking up the image. Stampin’ Up inks are water based, dye inks and come in many different colors, (their color palette is one of the many reasons I prefer these inks.) Here are a few images stamped with Stampin’ Up inks.
To be honest, Stampin’ Up inks work better on rubber stamps than they do on clear stamps but because they works as well as they do and because the colors are so vast and beautiful, they are my 2nd favorite type of ink 🙂 Here is a link to the Stampin’ Up Website page that lists their ink colors. (You will need to find a local demonstrator to purchase anything from Stampin’ Up. If you don’t know anyone, email me and I’ll give you a list of the demonstrators I have ordered from in the past. I order from many, not just one because I have so many friends who are demonstrators lol).
I like the way that Colorbox Pigment Inks stamp really well and they have a nice array of colors to choose from.. I have a bunch of the cats eyes ink pads and they dry out rather quickly so if you purchase them, I’d recommend buying the full size ink pads. Here are some images stamped with Colorbox Pigment Inks:
StazOn is a solvent based ink (whose characteristics we went over earlier), and I use this ink anytime I want to stamp on a glossy or non porous surface. It dries instantly, doesn’t smear and is permanent. It has a strong odor and will stain your stamps but it doesn’t affect the quality of the itself. Examples of surfaces you can use v inks on include: transparencies, glass, wood, leather, pretty much anything BUT fabric.
I don’t have a lot of chalk inks, however, I do have two brown chalk inks by Colorbox and I really like them when I want a softer look for my stamped image or sentiment. The colors that I have and use are :
For embossing stamped images with embossing powders, I prefer and use Versamark by Tsukineko. You just stamp your image using VersaMark, add your embossing powder and heat set with your heat tool and voila! You have a raised stamped image on your paper!
I have almost every color of these inks I believe. There are SO many things you can do with these inks, however, I usually only use them to distress the edges of my papers. I’ve never fully learned how to do all of the blending techniques that you see others do with these inks. The colors are fabulous and I hope to learn how to use them more in the future.. They are not great for stamping images though, the ink beads up on clear stamps and the stamped image comes out all blotchy. They are really for distressing, blending, making backgrounds, etc. As I mentioned, I’m not an expert but I do love them for distressing. Here is a piece of patterned paper outlined in Walnut Stain distress ink:
Here are the colors currently offered:
White Inks *Update 11/9/013 – See my NEW Favorite white ink here.)
It is particularly difficult to find a good, white ink that will stand out when stamped. I have two favorites however, one being Versacolor in White, and the other, Fresh Snow by PaperTreyInk. I use the Fresh Snow most of the time and it stamps great as you can see in the bottom photo. I recently did a white ink comparison video and you can view it below:
The following image is stamped with PTI’s Fresh Snow ink:
There are SO many different brands and types of inks out there and I’ve tried many of them (not all!) and these are my favorites. Do you have a favorite? Feel free to leave a comment and share your favorites with us! Thanks for reading and subscribing to Kat’s Scrappy, Bloggy Life! Have a great week!