By Nicole Tinkham
What we’re about to tell you may come as a complete shock to even the most experienced stamp artist. This is going to rock your world, so take a seat and get ready. Believe it or not, there are 14+ stamp pads available, not including various color choices and brands. We’re talking more than 14 types of INK. While reading this list, you’ll probably recognize the basics (India Ink, Distressed Ink, Alcohol Ink, etc.) but there are several specialty inks that we bet you’ve never had any experience with. As with most stampers, we’re guessing you LOVE to experiment which is exactly what we want you to do. Learn about the many stamp pads listed below, try them out, and share with us your experience/techniques!
These are your GENERAL inks that can be used on just about any type of paper. Find them with felt, linen and sponge surfaces in numerous colors.
How they work: Dye inks soak into the fibers of the paper. These aren’t made for use with embossing powder since they soak in so quickly. They also shouldn’t be used with glossy paper (ink may not dry at all) and clear polymer stamps (leaves a fuzzy impression).
1. Water-Based Inks
Water-based ink may be acid-free but can fade with time or if left in the sun. These are NOT waterproof so don’t use markers or watercolors on top of the stamped image! When used on highly absorbent surfaces, mulberry paper for example, water-based inks tend to bleed.
Here’s something cool: EXPERIMENT with water. You can use water-based inks as watercolor paint, you can mist the stamp with a spray bottle before stamping, and you can try them out on different types of cardstock or watercolor paper.
2. Distressed Ink
Tim Holtz Distress Inks from Ranger. This is what you want to look for to achieve a distressed look. These are water-based dye ink pads that get their desired worn look with antique-like color options. Because they stay wet longer, they can be played around with more.
Try this: Dab the ink pad on a piece of paper and spray with water. Watch as the colors blend and spread!
Walnut ink is another way to get a distressed look. It’s made by (no surprise here) soaking black walnuts in water to produce a browned antique paper look.
3. Waterproof Ink
And here’s the ink most loved by scrapbookers and art journalists! Since they are waterproof, these ink pads can be stamped and then spruced up with markers and watercolors. Bonus: Waterproof ink pads tend to fade less than traditional water-based dyes.
BEWARE: These are often permanent and shouldn’t be used on fabric. The ink can also be tough to clean off stamps but a solvent-based cleaner will do the trick.
4. India Ink
Used for outlines and illustrations, India ink is a rich black, quick-drying dye ink that works well with water-based markers.
5. Alcohol Ink
Alcohol ink is a permanent dye-based ink that comes in bottles rather than ink pads. They’re ideal to use for different techniques such as backgrounds.
Properties: Alcohol ink is fast-drying, acid free, transparent and can be used on just about any surface.
Look for: Ranger Adirondack (Hint: these can be used at full strength or mixed with an alcohol blending solution)
Pigment ink = no dyes. This type of ink is solid pigmentation and tends to be thicker than the dye inks mentioned above. Instead of soaking in and dying the surface, pigment ink dries on top of the surface and remains opaque. This means bright, non-fading colors! These are also great to use with embossing powders.
TIP: For use on glossy paper, pigment inks must be dried with a heat gun.
VersaFine is an oil-based AND water-soluble ink pad. It has the opacity of pigment ink but the quick-drying benefit of dye inks.
Shimmer inks contain shimmery and sparkly particles that offer a unique look. Some types to grab: metallic, pearlescent, and iridescent.
6. Fabric Ink
When heat set, fabric ink becomes permanent which makes them ideal for use on fabric.
HOT tip: Make a mistake? Simply wash the fabric BEFORE heat setting and the ink washes right off!
7. Chalk Ink
This type of ink strongly resembles chalk (without the dust, of course). These can be found in a range of pastel colors and when dry, have a matte finish.
TIP: Use on dark papers for a dramatic look.
8. Solvent-Based Permanent Inks
Solvent-based inks are permanent (once dry) without having to heat set. Use them on just about any type of surface (glass, ceramic, wood, metal, etc.). We recommend StazOn.
9. Hybrid Inks
It’s the mix between pigment and dye inks. Hybrid inks dry faster than pigment inks and are semi-opaque.
WARNING: These hybrids don’t provide as crisp of an image as pigment inks but their versatile properties make them worth trying out.
10. Washable Ink
These non-toxic, water-based inks are made to be used by children. Most will easily wash out of clothes with soap and water.
11. Embossing Ink
These clear ink pads are essentially the same as pigment ink but without the pigment. In order to use embossing powder, some type of ink must be used for the powder to adhere to the surface. Since no pigment is necessary, embossing ink pads are specifically designed for the purpose of embossing.
12. Watermark Ink
Watermarks need to leave a subtle image and a watermark ink pad does exactly that. Use this ink pad to create background designs.
13. Glue Pads
Alright you got us, glue pads are NOT technically ink pads but are still useful in the world of stamping. They can be used with a variety of fun craft supplies. Think glitter, gold leaf, powders, and whatever else you can think of.
14. Rainbow Ink Pads
You don’t have to settle on one ink pad color. Rainbow ink pads offer an array of colors which provide an interesting stamping effect.
Now it’s time to get your hands on one (or more) of these stamp pads and try them out! Our stamp expert Joey has a ton of tricks up her sleeve so feel free to stop in for stamping tips & techniques. Visit our Facebook page with any questions, comments, or tips you’d like to share!