9 February 2014

Back To Basics - Ink Pads

Hello there, today for my episode of Back To Basics I am talking about ink pads. I am definitely not an expert in this area, I tend to stick to what I know. I have, however, picked up a few things over my time stamping so here what I know ...
Dye inks pads do what they say, they seep into the cardstock and dye it. These inks generally have a felt, harder surface to them. They do often dye/stain clear stamps but this does not damage them. A good cleaner is the Hero Arts Ultra Clean which comes in a spray bottle. They come in a wide range of colours and dry quickly. My favourites are Papertrey Ink, Memento and the Hero Arts Shadow Inks. PTI and Memento inks do give good coverage but sometimes on larger, more blocked type images they can be a little blotchy. I sometimes stamp them twice (so two layers) which gives a better coverage. This does mean that the colour is sometime darker but I think it worth it. Hero Arts Shadow Inks stamp splotchy but when they dry the colour smooth's out to an even impression. They also dry a little lighter too. I got mine from Simon Says Stamp in the US but they are now available in the UK from Craft Mojo (please note that I haven't ordered from this company yet so I cannot comment on their customer service etc.). Tim Holtz Distress Inks fall in this category too but they are slightly different in that they react with water and have very good blending properties as well.
Pigment ink pads, when stamped stay on the surface of the cardstock and then dry. This makes the colours more vibrant but it does mean that they take longer to dry. A benefit to this, as well as the brighter colour, is that you can heat emboss with these. These ink pads tend to be foam and the ink comes out opaque. These are easy to clean using babywipes or any other cleaning product you usually use. Some of my favourites are Brilliance, Versacolor, Versafine and Memento Luxe. The first two can be bought in the smaller cubes/dew drops which I like as they take up less space and are cheaper. Memento Luxe inks can now be bought in the UK from Craftie Charlie.
These are a bit of a hybrid ink. They fall a little between dye and pigment inks. They have a lovely soft chalky finish to them. They take a little while to dry but when they do they are very pretty. I should use mine more often! Two types I have are VersaMagic Chalk and Colorbox Cats Eye Queues.
Although these fall in the categories above I wanted to just talk about these separately. My most used black ink pad by far is Memento Tuxedo Black. This ink does not smear with alcohol markers (I use Copic Markers) and it also works on glossy surfaces and vellum. It dries very quickly (on cardstock) and gives a nice clean impression. My next one is Versafine Onyx Black, this is a pigment ink so it does take longer to dry (this could be sped up with a heat gun) but it gives a nice crisp impression and has a dark black colour, therefore sentiments really pop when using it. Brilliance Graphite Black is another pigment ink, again gives a clean crisp image but does take a while to dry. Next up is waterproof ink, you need this if using it with water; if you are watercolouring an image or if you are stamping and then using Distress Inks over the top. Two that I have are Archival Jet Black and Stazon Jet Black. Both of these do require a bit more cleaning when used on your stamps. Stazon Cleaner is good but this should not be used with photopolymer stamps as this damages the polymer. It can be used with acrylic stamps though. A good cleaner to use is the Hero Arts Ultra Clean.
Although it does not really fall into a category one other ink pad I wanted to mention was VersaMark ink. This is a sticky ink that is great for heat embossing. If you use clear embossing powder with it, it gives a lovely watermarked effect but it can also be used on its own to give a watermarked effect but does take a little time to dry.
Here is the video showing them up close:


I hope that has helped some of you that maybe are beginners. To those who are not beginners, I hope you liked seeing what inks I use! Thanks so much for visiting me today. See you tomorrow for this month's Clearly Besotted Challenge.


  1. Great round of inks Michelle - good that you linked to places where you can get some of the hard to find stuff too xxx

  2. Nice intro for beginners, Michelle. Memento Tuxedo Black has always been my favourite but the Hero Arts black is supposed to be even better, though I haven't tried it yet.

  3. Thanks for this Michelle. I ordered from craft mojo after reading this and their customer service is excellent. Arrived today and the prices are very good too.definitely worth a visit.

  4. Hello Michelle, (please do not feel obliged to post this) I am Sally, I own Craft Mojo. I have been a huge fan of yours for many years, I love your style, and looking at your creations, and finding inspiration from what you make.
    I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for mentioning my lil shop on your blog, I am beyond flattered and over whelmed that you have done this, as you have such a huge following and are so well respected amongst us crafter's.
    Keep doing what you do, I love visiting.
    Thank you again.
    Sally. x


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