I was a newbie stamper once. Choosing the stamps was easy. Choosing the inks… not so much. There were so many choices. So many uses. So many colors! After a ton of research, and basically trial and error, I’ve put together a brief overview of ink for the stamping beginner as well as a list of my favorite types of inks to use.

The Best Inks for Stamping and techniques Card making rubber pads
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For a new stamper, there are three things to look for in ink:

1) coverage
Coverage: Does it cover well? What’s the coverage when stamped and when dry? Is it splotchy? Is it uneven?

2) ease of use
Ease of Use: Is it a simple press and stamp? Do you have to manhandle the inkpad in order to get some ink out? Does the ink pad leak or dry out to easily? What sizes do the ink pads come in?

3) colors
Colors: Does the brand have the colors you would need? Do they offer reinkers? Do they offer ranges of colors for layered stamping?

Dye Inks

Ink is thinner than Pigment Ink
Are more transparent
Dries quickly
The paper absorbs it quickly therefore it “dyes the paper”
Firmer ink pad than pigment ink
Ink pad is generally made of felt
Stamps lighter than the color of the ink pad. Dye Ink pads always show the ink color as darker.
Most popular type of ink for card makers

Pigment Inks

Ink is thicker than dye ink
Are much more opaque
Takes longer to dry
Pigment sits on top of paper
Softer ink pad, it feels like a wet sponge
True to color, the color of the ink pad is the color that will be stamped
Because it’s slow to dry and thicker you can heat emboss with pigment ink
more fade resistant than dye inks and therefore perhaps more preferred use in scrapbooking

Distress Ink

Terrible for stamping, great for techniques
Techniques include ink blending, shading, coloring, distressing, watercolor, and more
Reacts to water, great for tone on tone techniques

My Favorite Inks and the ones I would recommend to start your collection:
(in no particular order)

Catherine Pooler Inks (Dye Ink)
This line is new, but so far so good. It stamps nice and clear and also gives you a little bit of time for heat embossing. What makes it different is that it’s on a foam pad vs. a felt pad. It’s a little messier but a crisp image every time.

Hero Arts Shadow Inks (Dye ink)
They stamp splotchy, but when it dries, the paper will absorb the ink, and your stamped image will even out. They come in a variety of colors. They usually need to be purchased online. Choose from these colors here.

Colorbox Ink (by Clearsnap) (Pigment Ink)
My first ink purchase. They are accessible in almost any local craft store. If you’re not sure if you can commit to stamping regularly, get the petal point or multi color palette here so you can play around with different colors without investing too heavily.

Memento Luxe (Pigment Ink)
A brand by Tsukineko. Love all the colors, and this brand is one of the best pigment inks to buy here.

Altenew Crisp Inks (Dye Ink)
Also a favorite dye ink. Images are nice and crisp and usually has full coverage on the first try. Get these beautiful colors for layering here.

Distress Ink (Technique Ink)
I use this solely for ink blending and techniques and not for stamping. The minis allow you to have a great collection without breaking the bank or taking up too much space.

Distress Oxide Ink (Technique and Stamp Ink- Hybrid Ink)
Part pigment and part dye ink, I use it more for techniques but the ink is pretty awesome for stamping too. It has a little more of a chalky finish, but is a wonderful ink for dark cardstock. Pick out your colors here.

Versamark Ink
Love using this ink for heat embossing. It doesn’t dry out quickly and has great coverage the first time, every time. You can find these in most big craft stores or online here.

Gina K Inks
I love these inks as well. They come in regular and mini cubes. Get yours Gina K Inks here.

Another brand by Tsukineko. A permanent ink. This ink is best if you have a steady hand or perhaps stamping on acetate. I recommend a black ink pad and white ink pad from here.

Lawn Fawn Ink
Give a nice crisp image. I love using the black color for copic coloring. These colors here are just so fun to use!

Versafine Ink
For a nice crisp image in black, versafine ink is my go-to. You can see other black stamping ink comparisons here.

Other inks

Chalk Inks
Is a form of dye ink pad
More opaque
Muted finish with whitish residue or “chalky look”

Hybrid Inks
A combination of pigment and dye inks.
dries instantly on paper; may require heat setting on glossy surfaces
dries too quickly to be a good embossing ink

Watermark and Resist Inks (for heat embossing)
A clear ink designed to leave a “watermark” image on the project
Great for heat embossing or tone on tone techniques

2 Comments on Best Inks for Stamping and Techniques for Card Making

  1. Thank you for clearing up some questions I had about the difference between the inks, much appreciated!

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