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Oxide Ink Basics

Updated on March 10, 2020
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As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.

About Oxide Inks

Oxide Inks have hot the craft world by storm ! They are a very unique fusion of water reactive dye and pigment ink. They create an oxidized effect when sprayed with water!

The first thing to know is that the ink is opaque. Because of this feature, you can use them both on dark and light paper. (distress inks will almost never show up on dark paper)

You can use them with stamps, stencils and to direct application. You can blend them with a blending tool or foam. They blend seamlessly without getting "muddy".

They can also be used in water color techniques.

Another great feature of oxide inks is that you can emboss with them. They stay wet long enough to add embossing powders and finish before they dry.

Currently available in 60 colors.

Difference Between Oxide Inks And Distress Inks

Oxide Inks
Distress Inks
More like pigment inks though technically a hybrid ink
More like dye inks
Begins to oxide right away giving them a chalk like finish. They have a brighter appearence on kraft and darker colored paper.
Distress inks are brighter especially on white paper
Only comes in the larger size ink pads
Comes in both mini pads and the standard size
You can see through different layers of inks as applied. They are more opaque
You can see directly through them to the actual paper. They are more transparent
When used for water coloring, they will have a chalkier look
Using as a watercolor will give a more traditional watercolor look
More seamless blending. Has a creamier effect
Has a tendency to streak when blended
Dries slower than distress inks which make them excellent for embossing
Dries faster than oxide inks, but can also be used for embossing

The oxide ink colors are the same as the distress ink colors, but do not look the same on paper

What Can You Do With Oxide Inks ?

There is a multitude of things that you can do with oxide inks. Because of their versatility, they more than make up for their cost. Here are just a few of them !

  1. Create backgrounds with unlimited combinations. You can go with as many colors as you would like ! You can also create multicolored stamped backgrounds.
  2. Stamp with them. Unlike distress inks, they give crisp, clear images.
  3. Stencil with them. You will get a clear image every time.
  4. Heat emboss with them. Yes, they are juicy enough to hold up under embossing powder.
  5. You can water color with them. Lots of fun !

One of the most exciting things that you can do with oxide inks is to use them on darker color papers! Think black and kraft paper ! Dark blue is one of my personal favorites.

Oxide Ink Colors And Pads

The oxide ink colors duplicate the colors of distress inks from Ranger. There are 36 colors in all. The colors are rich and vibrant. Click here to see the color range.

There are re-inkers available in all colors.

The pads are the larger 3 inch by 3 inch pads, the same size as the larger distress ink pads.This is the only size available. The pads have a grey color rather than the black color pads of the distress ink pads. The ink pads themselves are a felt pad

Distress inks come in an ink pad that is black while oxide ink pads are grey. That is how you can tell the difference

Catagorizing Your Oxide Inks

I like to create a catalog page with my inks. I do this so that when I design my cards or scrapbook pages, I can see the colors I have. Creating an inventory helps with design, but also helps me in another way. When I know what I have, I can plan to add to my stash without buying duplicates.

If covering a large area, use a scrap piece of paper underneath your non-blending hand to hold down the cardstock you’re working with. This will help avoid smudges on your projects as well as minimize inky fingers.

Always Shake Before Using

If you are going to use a re inker bottle for water coloring, make sure to shake the bottle before placing a drop on the palette. Oxide inks are thicker and need to be mixed before use.

Basic Blending And Water Technique

There is so much fun to be had with oxide inks ! Once you get started with them, you are going to want to get every color in the line. The fun thing about oxide inks, for me, is that you can mix colors that you never would have thought possible ! Plus, the blend is even better than distress inks.


2 oxide inks in your choice of colors

Blending tool and pads ( one pad for each color)

White cardstock

Paper towel

Water spritzer

  • Lay your piece of card stock down on a craft mat
  • With the blending tool, start laying down one color of oxide inks in a circular motion.
  • Now with a fresh ink pad, apply the second color on the rest of your card stock.
  • Spritz with water on different parts of the ink. ( you could just use your fingers to splay the water)
  • Allow to dry or use a heating tool to dry faster.

Now that you have seen the magic of these inks, let your imagination go wild ! Tey this technique with multiple colors !

Water Color Background


Watercolor paper

Oxide inks in the color of your choice

Paint brush


  1. With some clean water, saturate your water color paper. wet the paper with your paint brush
  2. On a craft mat. lay down your oxide ink colors
  3. Start laying your colors down on the water color paper
  4. Make sure to blend between colors
  5. Heat emboss the paper to dry

Second Oxide Ink Technique

This is a variation on the first technique and is as much fun ! Because of the inks properties, you can keep adding color over and over again.


Oxide ink pads in the colors of your choice

Craft mat

White card stock or glossy paper

Water Spritzer

  • Spread a fair amount of ink on your craft mat
  • Spritz the ink with a small amount of water
  • Run a portion of your paper into the puddle
  • Dry the paper with a heat gun
  • Take a second color and do it again
  • Repeat the process with as many colors as you like

Oxide Inks And Stencils

You can get a really nice effect with oxide inks and stencils. The first thing is to create an oxide ink background and allow to dry. Use painter's tape to hold the stencil on your paper.

Then follow the directions :

  1. Mist your stencil with water
  2. Wipe away the water from the edges of the stencil
  3. Place the stencil on your inked piece water side down
  4. Blot over the stencil with a paper towel. This presses the stencil on the piece.
  5. Remove the stencil and blot the piece with paper towels
  6. The wet stencil lifts the ink from the piece and gives a faded look.
  7. Allow to dry

Oxide Ink Stamping Technique

Stamping with oxide inks gives a beautiful subdued image that is perfect on cards,tags and any and all journal pages. Here is one technique to get an image that is sure to please

  1. Create a ink oxide background using two to three colors of your choice. Use a heavy hand to make this a strong background.
  2. Ink up your stamp with Versamark Ink.
  3. Spritz the stamp several times with water
  4. Stamp over your background
  5. Allow to dry

Blending Tip

Use a craft mat under your oxide ink project. Start blending off your paper and work into the paper. You will get less lines and better blending Blend in a circular motion.

More Oxide Ink Techniques

Storing Oxide Inks

Unlike distress inks, oxide inks must be stored flat. The reason for this is that there is pigment in the ink. If you store them on their side, there is a chance that the pigment may puddle at the bottom of the pad. Since you are making an investment in these pads, why take any chances?

Building Color

Always start off with a light amount of ink. Then add more color until you are pleased with the result. It is easy to add and build your color. And almost impossible to try to remove it.

Blender Tool And Pads

Blender pads , especially the round pads can be saved and reused. Simply apply a piece of velcro to the bottom of the container. The pad will stick to the Velcro on the bottom of the pad.

Use The Right Paper With Oxide Inks

Use a smoother and heavier paper to get the best blend for your oxide inks. You will get a better blend.

New Oxide Ink Sprays

How To Prevent Smeared Ink

Place a piece of scrap paper under the non blending hand. You will avoid smears with ink on your fingers as you work your project.How

© 2019 Linda F Correa


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