Stamping Basics  |  Tips & Troubleshooting  |  Choosing an Inkpad  |  Unique Materials

 

Choosing an Inkpad

Inkpads come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors and there are several things to consider when selecting one for your project.  It is helpful to know what type of surface/material you will be stamping on, what the project will be used for, and if it needs to be archival

A great feature to also look for is a raised pad so the sides of the case do not interfere when inking your stamp, especially if the size of the stamp is larger than the size of the inkpad.  

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Tips:
Storage- Inkpads can be stored upside down or right side up, just make sure it is on a level surface. Dye based inks work well if they are store upside down, so that the ink is near the surface of the pad. Pigments or really any juicy inks may need to be stored right side up to prevent ink from leaking out.

Reinkers- Over time, your inkpad may dry out. Re-inkers can be purchased and applied to your inkpads to keep them juicy and long lasting. Only re-ink your pad with the same brand, color, and type of ink with which it was filled when it was new.

Some of the more common types of inks are described below. Different brands within these common ink types may have important differences (waterproof, fade resistant, acid-free, etc), so also refer to the actual product description for a particular inkpad when making your selection.


Hybrid & Craft Inks

Hybrid and craft inks are the ultimate multi-purpose multi-surface types of stamping ink and should be key staples in your collection.  This versatile ink brings together the best features of both dye and pigment inks.    

Features: Variable drying times, waterproof, fade-resistant, acid-free, and permanent

Works well with:

  • Most types of paper 
  • Fabric, wood, and non-porous surfaces (glossy paper, glass, plastic, metal, etc) and these surfaces will need to be heat set to dry
  • Watercolors or similar water-based coloring of the stamped image because the image will not bleed
  • Embossing techniques because of the slower drying time (Craft Inks) 

Does not work as well with:

  • Embossing techniques because it dries too quickly (Hybrid Inks) 

Dye Inks

Dye based Inks are the most common types of inks you will likely come across and are used a lot in basic stamping.  Dye-based inks set up by soaking in and staining the fibers of the paper and lighter colors in particular tend to produce a more subtle effect.  These inks are available as either water-based or waterproof.

Features: Quick drying, acid-free, thin, and translucent

Water-based dye inks

Works well with:

  • Many types of paper

 Does not work as well with:

  • Heat embossing techniques because of its quick drying nature. 
  • Coloring over your stamped image with markers or water colors because the ink will smear
  • Very absorbent papers as the ink may bleed
 

Waterproof dye inks

Works well with:

  • Most types of paper, including glossy or coated cardstock
  • Coloring over your stamped image with markers or watercolors
  • Non-porous surfaces (glass, plastic, metal) and these surfaces will need to be heatset

Does not work as well with:

  • Heat embossing techniques because of its quick drying nature. 
Ranger Archival Ink in Emerald Green

Ranger Archival Ink in Emerald Green


Pigment inks are known for their very bright and opaque colors and are found saturated in spongy foam inkpads.  They have a much thicker consistency than dye inks and rather than soaking into the paper it dries on top.

Features: Slow drying, fade-resistant, acid-free, thick, and opaque

Works well with:

  • Many types of paper
  • Embossing techniques because of its slow-drying nature
Ranger Pigment Ink in Glacier White

Ranger Pigment Ink in Glacier White

Does not work as well with:

  • Glossy or coated surfaces, as the ink may not dry.  Allowing for a very long drying time and/or heat setting may help.

Chalk Inks

Chalk inks are opaque inks that will dry to a matte chalklike finish on a variety of surfaces. They are available in a wide range of muted, pastel colors and the inks will show up well on dark and light papers.

Features: Variable drying times, fade-resistant, acid-free, waterproof when heat set

Works well with:

  • Most types of paper and will dry quickly on absorbent surfaces
  • Glossy and coated surfaces and will dry slowly on these surfaces and may need to be heat set

Does not work as well with:

  • Embossing techniques on paper because of its quick-drying nature

Distress inks are found in a soft worn and weathered color range. They are a unique type of dye ink that is slow drying and great for creating interesting artistic effects.

Features: Slow drying, water-based, fade-resistant, soft and muted

Works well with:

  • Many types of paper
  • Embossing and direct to paper techniques
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo

Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo

Does not work as well with:

  • Watercolors or similar water-based coloring, as the inks are not waterproof and the image is likely to run.  Although this can be done on purpose for some neat effects. 

Embossing Inks

These inks are basically the same as pigment inks, except without the pigment. These inks are either colorless or lightly tinted inks that are used to provide the wet base needed for a medium such as embossing powder to stick to the surface or for watermarking effects.

Features: Slow drying, translucent

Works well with:

  • Many types of paper
  • Embossing techniques because of its slow-drying nature

 

Feel free to contact with any questions about using your stamps or tips you would like to share!

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