“Ink 101”

Hi Stampers, 

I hope here at home in Australia, you are enjoying the AFL Grandfinal Public Holiday! I am working today, but in between my shifts I thought I would share with you the difference in the inks that I use for my Stamping.  Lots of inks have different purposes and I don’t want to confuse you too much.


I have used the following inks the whole time I have been stamping and I find they are great value for money and are very reliable.

Dye Inks
Dye-based ink is perfect for all kinds of paper. It’s permanent and has a consistency similar to water, so the dries quickly. Most are not waterproof, which means you can’t color stamped images with paint, pens or other water-based mediums as the ink will run together. (But colored pencils are perfect!) Many dye-based inks are acid-free, but do fade with time and especially sunlight. Avoid using them on mulberry paper, since they tend to bleed on very absorbent paper.

Distress Inks
Distress Inks are some of my all-time favorites for their soft colors and special “alterable” possibilities. They’re different from other ink pads: They stay wet longer than other dye-based ink pads, so you can blend and shadow with water or other inks. Tap some on a paper, then spritz it with water and watch the colors spread.

To watercolour, I use Stampin’ Up! and Tim Holtz Distress Dye based ink pads. They are lovely to use with both of them having a different finish.

Pigment ink
Pigment ink is thicker and richer than dye-based ink; the consistency is more like mayonnaise. The colors are bright and vibrant and the ink pads are spongy. They’re fade-resistant. Pigment ink doesn’t soak into paper like a dye-based ink; instead, it dries on top. That means the ink takes a little longer to dry on regular paper—but the color will be more vivid. It also means that pigment ink will not dry on glossy paper. If you want to stamp pigment ink on glossy paper, you must heat-set it with an embossing gun for it to dry. Because pigment ink stays wet for so long, it’s perfect for Heat Embossing.

StazOn is the ultimate permanent ink. It can be used on paper—as well as any non-porous surface, like metal, plastic, glossy paper, transparencies, leather, glass and ceramic. It only takes about 3-5 minutes to dry on a non-porous surface. This is an acid-free, archival, fast-drying solvent ink.

I stamp my image I want to watercolour with this ink before I watercolour and my image doesn’t’ bleed.

Embossing Ink
These pads come in clear or tinted ink. They’re used to stamp an image before heat-embossing. You can also find embossing pens, which make it easy to emboss details of a stamped image, like lights on a Christmas tree.

My favourite technique at the moment is Emboss Resist using White Embossing Powder. I will show you this technique over the coming week. I use the brand Versamark or the Distress Embossing Ink.

For using my Spectrum Noir Alcohol Ink Markers, I stamp with Black Memento Ink which, when colouring your images, it doesn’t bleed using these markers.


–  Make sure you put on their lids so they don’t dry out.

–  RE-INK your ink pads to keep them fresh. I always buy my INK REFILL when I buy my pad so I have it when I need it. To RE-INK you just squeeze a few drops over the surface of the pad and then, with the back of of a spoon I spread it all over the surface. If you add to much just blot off with a piece of paper.

–  STORE your  ink pads upside down. I know it seems strange but it keeps the ink to the surface of the pad.  Not pigment ink pads as they are juicy enough, you don’t want a mess! I store my ink pads in their own slots on a desk unit but you could store them by stacking similar ones together.

I have this really good video below from Simon Says Stamps that show you the inks I was talking about above.


I hope you have enjoyed my blog post and that it has been helpful for you. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment. As I post projects I will let you know what ink I have used.

STAY TUNED as my next post will show you Stamping Basics to get you started 🙂

Happy Stamping

Kerri x


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