All About Inks–Types, Uses, and Special Effects

I wanted to make a video where I explained all of the different types of inks and what they are used for and the special effects you can get from them.  Unfortunately, I could not include all of the information below in the “more information” section below the video as YouTube said my description was too long.  I am really sorry that I had to make you come to my blog to find this information, as I vowed that I would not make anyone do that, but don’t have a choice in this case.

1. Dye Inks–These are the most common. They will fade in sunlight, are water based, fast drying and sink into the paper.  It is see through and hard to tell the color in the ink pad.  You’ll find all kinds of shapes and sizes of dye ink pads, so you might want to buy a smaller ink pad for certain colors and a larger ink pad for others.  Often times you will want to purchase a re-inker for inks that you use frequently, but you also might want to buy a new ink pad instead, as your ink pad might get worn.  If you stamp a large background stamp, you might want to have a larger pad to stamp with.  I recommend that you get a black ink pad in the larger size as you use black more often than others.  I’ll add information at the end for videos I’ve done on the best inks for different mediums (watercolors, water markers, alcohol inks, etc.) and a video for the best paper for alcohol marker blending.
2.  Distress Inks–These are dye based inks that are water reactive.  It’s normally not used for normal stamping, but it is used for a lot of techniques.  Most people will distress the edges of their papers with these inks, and use to watercolor or make great backgrounds, once you wet the ink and drop your paper into it.  You can stamp an image and then take a wet paintbrush and touch the ink that’s on the image and blend the ink around.
3.  Spray Inks–  Water based and can be plain or glittery and are hard to control when sprayed.  If you have glittery spray ink, shake it like you are ringing a bell or the glitter gets into the sprayer and ruins the spray factor.  Spray inks work well with stencils and creating backgrounds.  You can create your own spray inks and if you do and you have any issues with your hands, you can buy a sprayer at the Dollar Tree that works really great that I show in the video.
4. Pigment Inks– They sit on the top of the paper and don’t dry easily.  You heat set them or emboss them to dry them.  These inks are fade resistant and you can’t see through them.  The color in the container is the color of the ink.  It’s a thicker ink than dye based ink.  If it is not heat-set, it will easily smear.  I really like Unicorn White pigment ink as well as Versafine Onyx Black as one is a vibrant white and the other is a vibrant black.
5.  Versamark Ink- a watermark stamp pad used for heat embossing or tone on tone looks.  It’s a very sticky ink and is clear.  When you put embossing powder on it, because it is so sticky, the powder easily sticks to it.  You can also use Versamark ink with chalks and pastels.
I discuss the difference between embossing powders and embossing folders.  The folders are run through your die cutting machine and it creates a raised pattern to your paper.  Embossing powder is used with pigment inks or Versamark ink with the powder on top, then heat set with a heat tool.  It will turn a shiny color when it is melted. You should always heat up your tool before using it on your paper and move the tool around or your can burn your paper.
6.  Hybrid Ink- A Combination of dye and pigment ink.  It dries faster than pigment ink but doesn’t bleed like dye inks can.  It’s not a very popular ink and I’m not sure why.
7.  Chalk Inks–A thick ink primarily used for home décor projects.  It works really well on darker colored papers as it keeps its color.  I  mentioned that you can use small pads on a big image with several colors on it.  If you are doing a flower, you could put one color on the leaf and another on the outside of the flower and a third on the inside.   Chalk inks will sometimes leave a white residue.
8.Hero Arts Ombre Ink–it is archival which means it is a permanent ink.  I don’t know if all ombre inks are archival, but Hero Arts is.  It is waterproof and fade resistant.  Originally ombre inks were one color that went from light to dark, but now ombre inks have graduated to a variety of colors that work well together.
9.  Archival Inks–a permanent ink.  They are harder to clean than other inks but are perfect to be used on long term projects. Waterproof and won’t fade.  The Color Box inks are the ones I like because the ink pad is very smooshy and easy to stamp with.
10.  Staz-on –A solvent ink that works well on slick surfaces like glass, acetate,  and wood etc.  Great for home décor, like coasters.  It delivers sharp detail and is quick drying.  It needs reinked often and has a plastic cover that you must put back on immediately after use.  In order to clean Staz-On off of your stamp, you need to use Hero Arts or similar cleanse immediately after use..  It stains your stamps and is almost impossible to remove.  It smells strongly  like almonds.
11.  Distress Oxide Inks–Combination of dye and pigment ink and water reactive to create an oxide look.  It looks chalky once it is misted with water and it oxidizes. Add more water more dye will seep to the surface and then you get the oxidization.  The white oxidization does not wipe off like it can with chalk inks.  In order to get the ink to come out of the pad, really press into the pad to get good amounts of ink.
You can layer colors infinitely as long as you use wet ink on a dry surface.  If the layer is wet, you will blend your colors.  The key is wet on wet, (wet ink on a wet paper) you’ll blend the inks and if you use wet on dry (wet ink on a dry paper), the inks will layer.

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