You walk into your local craft store, find the stamp aisle, and are bombarded by the wide variety of ink brands available. Which is best? Which one do you need for your project? What do the words dye, solvent, and chalk mean?
We understand. Navigating the world of inks can be tricky, but we’re here to end all the confusion. Read on to discover the different types and brands of ink pads on the market.
Dye ink is widely available and can be found in a variety of colors. They almost always come in a felt ink pad. These inks are transparent, which makes them ideal for lighter colored cardstock. They will also soak into your paper and can fade over time. Therefore, look for “fade resistant” or “archival” ink pads to avoid fading over time. Dye inks dry faster than other inks. While that minimizes the risk of smearing, it makes them unsuited for embossing. There are two types of dye ink available:
- WATER BASED DYE INK
The water base in these inks will allow your color to bleed when it comes in contact with water or water based mediums. Therefore, we don’t recommend coloring over these inks. Because of their fast drying nature, they’re great for stamping sentiments or designs you don’t intend to color. They’re great for creating watercolor effects. Try adding some of your ink from the pad to an acrylic block. Pick up the ink with a water brush and color.
Examples of water based dye ink: Distress Inks, Adirondack
- WATERPROOF DYE INK
These inks are fast drying and great stamping inks. The difference between this and the first type of dye ink is that they’re waterproof. This means you can color over them with water or water based mediums.
Examples of waterproof dye ink: Memento, Archival Ink, Ranger
Pigment inks have a glycerin base and are more “juicy” and thicker than dye inks. They almost always come in a foam ink pad. Their thick, paint-like properties make them ideal for stamping solid images. These inks are opaque and sit on the surface of the paper. Try using them on darker cardstock. They dry at a slower pace than dye inks, allowing them to be used for embossing. This ink may require heat setting to dry fully, and they can’t be used on nonporous surfaces, such as glossy cardstock.
Examples of pigment ink: Memento Luxe, Brilliance, Avery Elle, A Muse Studio, VersaColor, ColorBox
Hybrid inks are popping up all over recently and are gaining popularity for their great qualities. These inks are a cross between dye and pigment inks. They are fast drying like dye inks, but thick and more opaque like pigment inks. It’s the best of both worlds. Because of this, hybrid inks are what I reach for when stamping sentiments or other images that need a bold, crisp look. The inks work on a variety of surfaces. Impression Obsession’s Hybrid Inks will dry quickly on even glossy cardstock.
Examples of Hybrid Ink: Distress Oxide, Impression Obsession, My Favorite Things Hybrid, VersaFine
Solvent inks are also known as alcohol based inks. They are a fast drying, permanent ink that can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. Try it on glass, acetate, paper, vellum, wood, glossy cardstock, and more. While this ink works great with water based mediums, it is not ideal for alcohol based mediums like Copic markers.
Examples of Solvent Ink: StazOn
Chalk ink has many of the same properties as pigment inks; however, they dry with a matte, chalk-like finish. This finish is more faded than the boldness of pigment or dye inks. In recent years, their popularity has faded and has made them harder to find. Chalk ink is ideal for stamping shadows and backgrounds and inking the edges of cardstock.
Examples of chalk ink: VersaMagic
Embossing Ink is a thick, sticky substance specifically designed for embossing. It dries slowly, giving you ample time to add embossing powders to your image. It comes on a foam pad and is usually always clear. In addition to embossing, you can skip the powders to stamp a tone on tone design – also known as a watermark.
Examples of Embossing Ink: VersaMark Watermark, Ranger Emboss It
We hope this quick guide of inks available helps you with your next project and while shopping for new craft supplies. Stamping can be fun and easy with the right tools. What ink types and brands do you currently have in your stash? What are your favorite inks to work with?