Friday, October 24, 2014

REPOST - Think Ink!! A Brief Ink Tutorial

This post was first shown on my blog on 1/22/12. Fans have asked my opinion on inks lately. So I figure it would be helpful to re-share this post. I hope you find it helpful!


Recently, a faithful blog follower asked me to share my thoughts about the inks I use and their various uses. I thought the information would benefit all of my followers so I have prepared a brief ink tutorial. I am still learning but here's a few pointers. I know I have not covered every kind of ink here or every variable. If you have info to add to the conversation, I welcome you to do so in the comments section.

I find that choosing the right ink for a project depends on your project goals. Are you coloring in printed images, making a watercolor background, heat embossing and stamping, etc. If you know ahead of time what you want to achieve AND are familiar of the best inks to use to achieve those goals - you're in the best position possible.

can be water-based such as Clearsnap Vivid! or solvent-based (waterproof) such as Ranger Archival inks
  • transparent - so it gives a fuzzy variation of color. light colors stamp like pastels, darker ones are bright and brilliant 
  • fast drying - so it's not good for heat embossing but great on glossy or coated papers
  • fades - water-based dye inks fade over time
  • watercolor effect - with water-based dye ink - apply ink from the pad with a wet brush or ink a stamp with various colors and spritz with water just before stamping, stamp an image and spritz the paper
  • stamped images can be colored - with pencils, chalk, anything that's not wet because water-based dye ink will run
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink - water-based dye ink that behaves differently than normal. It stays wet longer and the colors mix well with water (instead of running) and other ink colors for that aged look
  • waterproof - after the initial image is stamped and dried, these dye inks don't run when re-wet. this works well if you stamp an outline of an animal and want to watercolor it or color in with markers etc.

oil-based, acid-free, thick versatile inks that can be slow drying - Ranger Adirondak or fast drying - Tsukineko Archival Brilliance
  • don't fade - a great choice for scrapbooking
  • dries slower - making it great for heat embossing, available in "clear" for embossing purposes
  • opaque - providing a bolder solid color
  • waterproof - can be watercolored once dry
  • great on coated papers -  glossy, photo, vellum etc. - if heat set
  • not good for non-porous surfaces - doesn't dry at all
  • Archival Brilliance - not good for heat embossing but works well on top of heat embossing for a layered scene effect and on glossy, photo, vellum etc. - if heat set

Ink that is created to give the look of chalk - muted and matte such as ColorBox fluid Chalk Inkpad
  • opaque - dramatic saturated color
  • waterproof - premanent when heat set and can be recolored with markers and watercolors
  • works well on glossy and coated papers
  • doesn't smear, bleed or fade

I love Hybrid ink because it offers the best of both worlds - properties of both pigment and dye inks. It is truly all-purpose. The best ones I've come across are from Clear and Simple Stamps.
  • pigment properties - color is closer to pigment ink but semi-opaque
  • dye properties - dries fast like dye ink
  • great on all surfaces - even directly to fabric! permanent when heat set
  • can be used with copics - and other alcohol markers, regular markers and watercolored

Watermark and Watermark Resist
VersaMark and VersaMark Dazzle (watermark pad) and Inkessentials Watermark Resist (2 in 1 watermark and resist).
  • watermark - creates a translucent subtle watermark on paper and cardstock only. it is good for creating background elements and for adding borders or to bring emphasis to a main stamped image.
  • Embossing - Versamark can be used for heat embossing because it stays wet long enough to apply the embossing powders
  • Resist - stamp a background or any image on glossy paper, ink the entire paper with dye ink (using sponge, brayer or direct to paper application) wipe away excess and the ink will not stick to any of the stamped image 

I love Tsukineko Stazon solvent-based ink because it stamps clear and strong on all surfaces except fabric. No fail.
  • need a special cleaner for your stamps or will be stained
  • comes in transparent, opaque and metallic
  • permanent once dry - on most surfaces including glass, wood, leather but not for fabric
  • air dries immediately on porous surfaces and within 5 mins on non-porous surfaces
  • great for coloring - once dry can be colored with markers etc but NOT Copics. It will ruin your Copics markers.

Hope this helped you in choosing inks to have on hand for daily use. I am open to answering other crafty questions you may have. Feel free to inbox me or leave your questions in the comments section.



  1. Always great to have reminders and this is something ladies and/or gents could print off and keep. BL

  2. Thanks for sharing this! Your Bloggie Love friend, Lisa.

  3. Great information!! Thanks for sharing :) BL Hugs ~ Lori

  4. Great information, thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow...such a comprehensive and helpful guide. Thank you

  6. Awesome insights and reminders on this subject! I thought I knew all I really needed to know, but you brought some new info to me that will come in quite handy. I'll definitely be printing this out as a reference to keep on hand!

  7. Great information. This has been very helpful in helping me remember some old tips.

    Happy BL An'Jenic


Your comments bring me SO much Joy! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and view my creations. If you love what you see, please share my posts and invite your friends to follow me as well! ~XXX La-Vie B.