Thursday, 30 May 2013

Ink Essentials

Ink is an essential item in your toolbox if you love cardmaking and would love to try stamping. For the perfect stamped results every time it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different types, as achieving a professional finish often depends on using the right type of ink for the job.

There are many different surfaces you can stamp on, from card to acetate, vellum and fabric, and then there are fun variations like heat embossing. You can also use inks without stamps; as a colouring medium to add colour to the edges of card panels, for example.

As a result, different ink types have been created to help you get the best effect with each technique. Each ink type and its properties is described opposite but don’t be afraid to experiment either! The more you practise, the more you’ll discover which mediums you like best. So take out your scrap paper and start stamping today!

For the perfect stamped results every time it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the different types, as achieving a professional finish often depends on using the right type of ink for the job.

Ask yourself these few questions to determine what type of ink you need for each project:
  1. What is the medium that you will be applying the ink to? (e.g. paper, wood, fabric, metal, glass, acetate, ceramics, plastic, etc.)
  2. What application technique will you be using? (stamping, direct to paper, brayering, sponging, painting, more on these in a later post)
  3. Do you the ink to be acid-free and archival quality for scrapbooking?
  4. Does the image need to be fade-resistant or permanent?
  5. Will you be embossing the images or does it need to be fast drying?
  6. How would you be adding colour to the image?
Oil-based Inks
These inks are ideal for stamping highly detailed stamps and dries reasonably quickly. They repel water making it suitable for watercolouring with all but Derwent and Sanford Prismacolor unless heat set first.
Tsukineko Versafine
Ranger Archival

Solvent-based Inks
These inks are permanent, fast drying and designed for decorating non-porous and semi-porous surfaces, such as metal, tile, terracotta, vinyl,  shrink plastic, acrylic, cellophane, aluminum foil, leather, some glass surfaces and even stone.  The firm felt pad ensures that the stamp inks up evenly for a very crisp detailed image for a base image that can then be coloured with waterclour pencils, pens of AquaMarkers without bleeding or fading.  Permanent inks are solvent-based inks that dry by evaporation. They’re similar to the ink in Sharpie pens: they're very fast-drying, permanent, and works on a wide range of surfaces. Permanent inks will stain your stamps—and everything else they come in contact with. They require a solvent cleaner (use immediately after stamping) for easier clean up and are not good for clear stampsbecause the cleaner deteriorate the polymer.
Tsukineko StazOn

Dye-based Inks
Dye-based inks are water-based, non-toxic, washable, many are child safe, and their colorants are dyes. Dye-based inks are quick-drying, transparent and will blend easily and dry quickly on most porous surfaces.  Because of how quickly the ink dries it is not suitable for embossing but are suitable for colouring with both water colour and alcohol based markers without smudging.  It is useful to note that dye-based ink soaks into the fibres of the paper rather than sitting on top essentially staining them,  so you will get the brightest effect if you use them on pale or white card, rather than dark coloured card where the colour will blend.  They are great for Sponging, direct to paper techniques and you can also create water-colour or 'marble-effect' backgrounds by first lightly spritzing your paper or cardstock with water making a bleeding effect which you can play around with to  make the effect you want. It’s sold on     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.  Dye Ink based pads are waterbased so are easy to clean and come in hundreds of colors.

Tsukineko Impress, Memento, Kaleidcolor
Ranger Adirondack
Big & Juicy
Clear Snaps
DoCrafts Ink It Up
Papermania Whispers
Sabelina Artemis

Pigment-Based Inks
Pigment inks are water/glycerin-based, acid free, non-toxic, fade resistant and more opaque than dye inks. Pigments are not easily washed out of clothing and will stain fabric, wood, carpet.  Pigment inks are generally sold on a spongy pad which make then ideally suited to clear stamps but beware of over-inking your stamps. There are also lots of exciting variations of pigment inks available, such as shimmery and chalk finishes, which are fantastic for stamping colour on your cards.
Unlike dye-based ink, pigment ink dries on the surface of the card rather than soaking into the fibres, so the colours often look more vibrant and opaque than dye-based ink and they allow enough time for the embossing powder to stick to the inked area. Pigments will not dry on glossy or non-porous surfaces without heat setting or embossing. Once embossed they are permanent and can be safely watercolored and are also archival, permanent and fade resistant once heat set.  Pigment ink is available in pads and markers.  These are made from pigments suspended in a thick, glycerin-based substance. Their thickness boosts opacities and brightness.
Tsukineko Versacolour, Versafine, Versamagic, Brilliance, Encore, Opalite
Ranger Adirondack
Clear Snap
Sabelina  Iris

Chalk Inks
Chalk inks are a pigment ink which have a powdery, matte
finish once dry, they're opaque and dry quickly. They have the vibrance of a pigment ink but can be blended like a dye-based ink, making them a popular choice with cardmakers.  These are really great inks that dry to a chalking finish with none of that chalky residue and can be used on dark papers and surfaces.  They can be used in place of dye and pigment inks.
Tsukineko VersaMagic
Clearsnap ColorBox Chalk Ink

Craft Inks
Similar in consistency as pigment inks that is acid free, non-solvent based, non-toxic and water soluble until completely dry and permenant once heat set. Once dry you can safely watercolor over them. these are formulated specially for use on fabric but can be used on other porous surfaces wood, paper mache, foam, leather, canvas, ceramics, cork and a variety of other surfaces. They can be used in place of pigment or dye inks on most paper for vivid colours.
Sabelina Athena

Specialist Inks
Embossing and Watermark inks
VersaMark ink is a very sticky, clear pigment ink. It’s ideal for heat embossing and other effects because embossing powder will stick to it and as it is clear you can add any colour of powder to it. Embossing and watermark inks are essentially pigment inks without the pigment (some are lightly tinted). They are used for heat embossing and for adding a slightly darker imprint for a tone-on-tone look.

Tsukineko Versamark
Sabelina Graces

Distress Inks
These are dye-based inks with a higher concentration of colour and a longer drying time than normal. They are designed to flow when sprayed with water, and to be blended and worked into your project. They are ideal for altered art and distress effects.
Ranger Distress Ink

Alcohol Inks
These are special dye-based inks designed to give a pretty, polished-stone effect. They are quick-drying and permanent, and can be used on lots of surfaces including glossy paper, acetate, shrink plastic, foil and metal.
Ranger Adirondack

Hints & Tips
  1. Always store your ink pads upside down, so the ink falls to the top of the felt pad. This will ensure your ink pad stays juicy when it’s needed.
  2. Make sure your stamp is clean before you ink it up, so your ink pads don't become tainted with other colours.
  3. To avoid over-inking your stamps, always take the ink pad to the stamp, tapping it gently onto the surface (instead of pressing the stamp down into the ink pad). This will help you achieve an even coverage of ink and a clean, stamped image.