I’m Shereen, married to Aftab and mother of two grown up children. I’ve been a doctor, a business woman, a stay at home Mom and finally doing what I love best which is ‘making pretty things’.
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This is a basic guide to inks used for stamping. I believe everyone has their favorite inks. I know I have mine. So many inks are available nowadays that it can be a little confusing.
Some inks,l ike Stazon, have seen a lot of popularity, because a lot of well known crafters are seen using it in their tutorials. Most of this is sponsored though.
THe most important advise that I can give you about inkpads is to always get a re-inker with them. I have inkpads that are a decade old and still working as I have re-inkers for them. You only need a teeny little bit of ink at a time so the re-inkers last a long time.
Stamping inks can be broadly categorized into Dye and Pigment inks though lately hybrid inks have also been introduced
I find it more useful to discuss different inks suitable for different kind of surfaces.
PAPER & CARDSTOCK
Dye inks work well on paper and cardstock both matt and coated/ glossy. Dye inks are perfect for detailed images as pigment inks tend to smudge fine detail.
Permanent dye Inks. You will need permanent inks if you wish to watercolor stamped images. I use Ranger’s Archival ink in black to stamp sentiments or photo captions and outline stamps which I color in with watercolors.
In fact I use this ink whenever I need to stamp in black which is pretty often. If you want a red permanent ink then nothing is more beautiful than Ancient Page Cardinal.
Other permanent inks include Ancient Page and Stazon. Stazon is popular but I do not use it for paper and cardstock where Archival ink works very well. Stazon needs special sovent cleaners which can damage clear stamps. Stazon inks also have an unpleasant odor .
Introduced by Tim Holtz and extremely popular. Available in lots of colors.
Walnut Stain, vintage photo and black soot are popular choices for ‘distressing’ edges in all kinds of projects. Antique Linen is great for aging. Apart from distressing these can be used to make beautiful backgrounds and for stmaping images. Available in a bewildering spectrum of colors
My favorite for distressing is Walnut Stain. I always use a pc. of blending foam to pick the color from the inkpad when distressing or edging. Doing this directly damages the inkpad and I’m very careful with my inkpads.
Fluid Chalk inkpads by Clearsnap are a good choice when you need an opaque result without the mess of pigment inks although the color quality of pigment inks is superior. I use these quite a lot where I don’t need to use permanent inks. They dry quickly and are less likely to smudge. They are available in small sized pads called Cateyes. I mostly use cateyes as they allow me to apply different colors to one stamp. Small inkpads are cheaper and require smaller amounts of re-inkers to get refreshed. Available in a large number of colors.
Another ‘chalk’ ink is Versamagic by Tsukineko. These are available in small size too, the dew drops, and are very good.
There is a large variety of Dye inks other than those I have mentioned. I however work with the above discussed inks most of the time.
Colorbox Pigment inks are good for stamping on mat cardstock and paper. These are slow drying inks which have to be embossed if used on coated/ glossy paper or cardstock. The colors however are very rich and the inks are opaque. The inkpads can be used directly on cardstock to produce beautiful colored backgrounds. Not suitable for stamping detailed images.
Versamark ink This is an excellent ink for embossing on paper and cardstock. it was originally developed as a ‘Watermark ink’ and its use as a watermark ink also gives beautiful results.
GLASS & CERAMICS
StazOn is good for stamping on glass or ceramic surface or acetate/ transparency. I personally don’t like stazon. You need a special cleaner for these inks and it can damage your clear stamps. These inks also have an unpleasant odor. Except for glass I’d not use these inks at all. Here is an interesting description which I picked on a crafter’s blog and I completely agree with her.
“I bought these in faith that I can happily stamp on my transparencies. But little did i realie that ifZ the ink would be so powerful to adhere to transparency, it would do likewise to your clear stamps. Great. And I like my clear stamps as clean as possible. So I gave up stamping on transparencies. And have 3 useless staz on ink pads lying around.”
‘Memories’ permanent ink by ‘Stewart Superior’ is another choice for stamping images on glossy and slippery surfaces.
FABRIC. For a bold image acrylic paints can be used. I use a dry sponge brush to apply acrylic paints to the stamp. For delicate images any permanent dye ink can be used such as Ranger’s Archival, Stazon and Ancient Page etc.
In my opinion a few inks are sufficient for most of your stamping needs.
– Ranger’s archival jet black with re-inker.
– A few colors of Fluid chalk cateyes or versamagic dew drops, with re-inkers.
– Versamark inkpad, with re-inker.
You can add more inks later on depending on your needs.
For cleaning my stamps I use baby wipes most of the time