Ink Pads

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.

Distress Inks
  • 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.

Versafine Ink
  • Excellent for finely detailed image.
  • Slower drying and can be embossed
  • Must be heat embossed on non porous surfaces.

Chalk Ink
  • 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.

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