These are the main types of ink pads on the market today which I have used and the pros and cons I have found working with them.
Dye-based Ink Pads
- quick-drying and excellent for basic stamping.
- They have a hard felt pad, which means it’s difficult to over-ink your stamp, so it gives clean, crisp images – perfect for stamping outlines and ideal for those new to stamping.
- Some are waterproof when dry, most are not. If you want to watercolour over your stamped images, you’ll need to use an ink labelled as ‘waterproof’ or ‘permanent’.
- Non-waterproof inks can be used as a colouring medium– simply dab some ink onto a craft mat or smooth surface and apply colour with a paintbrush.
- Dye-based ink tends to fade over time. Look for ink pads labelled as ‘archival’ or ‘fade-resistant’.
- When clear stamps are new, they can resist the dye ink, causing beaded images. If you find this happening treat the surface of the stamp with a soft eraser.
Pigment Ink Pads
- slow-drying and ideal for heat embossing, as they allow enough time for the embossing powder to stick to the inked area.
- Pigment ink dries on the surface of the card rather than soaking into the fibres, so the colours often look more vibrant than dye-based inks.
- Not suitable for basic stamping on coated or glossy card as the ink won’t dry. Only use them to stamp on these surfaces if you plan to heat emboss afterwards.
- Pigment inks are generally sold on a spongy pad so beware of over-inking your stamps with them. Tap rather than push your stamp into the surface of the pad.
- a slow drying ink which is clear
- excellent for embossing, since the colour won’t show through the embossing powder.
- are dye-based inks with a higher concentration of colour and a longer drying time than normal so can be embossed
- They are designed to flow when sprayed with water, and to be blended and worked into your project.
- Ideal for altered art and distress effects.
Solvent-based ink Pads
- are quick-drying, permanent inks.
- Can be used on any surface and are ideal for stamping on all kinds of card, acetate, glass and even metal
- Very difficult to clean off your stamps and some manufacturers of clear stamps advise against using solvent-based ink with their products as the solvent can attack the clear polymer over a period of time.
- StazOn is a popular brand of solvent-based ink, as it has a mild smell and is available in many colours.
- As with die based pads, clear stamps can resist solvent ink causing beaded images - treat the surface of the stamp with a soft eraser.
- Excellent for finely detailed image.
- Slower drying and can be embossed
- Must be heat embossed on non porous surfaces.
- Blends nicely
- Fast drying
- Waterproof if heat set
- Soft muted tones excellent for backgrounds
Caring for Your Ink Pads
- Always put the lid back on your ink pad immediately after use.
- Clean your stamp before applying a different coloured ink. If an ink pad becomes muddied with another color try tapping it off with a paper towel.
- Many ink pads come with a re-inker, or re-inkers are available. Simply squeeze a few drops over the entire surface of the pad. Work in with a brayer or the back of a spoon. If you apply too much ink, gently blot with a piece of absorbent paper.