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Watercolor With Oxide And Distress Inks

Updated on September 24, 2019
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Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Distress And Distress Oxide Inks

Distress and distress oxide inks are very reactive to water which makes them perfect for water color techniques.

Distress Inks maintain their transparent constitution, allowing you to "see through them" all the way to the tooth (the texture) of the watercolor paper behind.

Distress inks are considered a dye ink, while distress oxide inks are considered a hybrid ink. Distress oxide inks have a chalky look which look especially good on darker color paper.

Both react with water, so you can create beautiful background techniques and actually paint with the ink !

Distress Ink Colors

There is a wide range of distress ink colors available, so you will always have the color you need
There is a wide range of distress ink colors available, so you will always have the color you need

If you are stamping images, then Versa Fine Black onyx ink should be the ink that you use. This ink will not run or fade when using the water color technique

Distress Oxide Ink Colors

The distress oxide ink colors are bright and vivid
The distress oxide ink colors are bright and vivid

Using Water With Distress And Distress Oxide Inks

Both distress and distress oxide inks work well with water. You can get a lovely effect with a sprtizer randomly over your inked paper with these products. Or you can just do random drips of water on your pre-inked paper.

There is a difference between the two inks when using water. Distress inks allow you to see through the ink to the paper. Distress oxide inks allow you to see through various layers of the ink, but not to the paper.

Stamping Your Image For Distress/Oxide Ink Water Coloring

Because you are using water for these techniques, the best paper to use would be water color paper. You will want to use a good water proof ink like Versafine Onyx Black ink to stamp your images.

Using the Misti tool or a stamp platform helps get a perfect stamped image. The misti is a tool that places your stamped image at the same place every time you stamp.The stamp platform works in a similar way.

If you do not have a stamping tool, tape the paper to a clip board or other board with painter's tape or washi tape. Then stamp your image. Allow the image to dry or use a heating tool to dry the image quickly.

Watercolor paper is the best to use with this technique. The cold press paper works very well. You can experiment with heavy duty card stock, but I have found that the water color paper holds the color better

Getting Your Palette Ready

This technique uses the reinkers from the line of oxide and distress inks from Ranger. You will be using a very small amount of ink. One drop should be enough.\ Because Distress Oxides are thicker than Distress Inks, make sure you shake your Oxide Reinker (with the cap secured) before dropping it onto your palette to make sure the pigment ink fusion is cohesively blended.

You can use regular fine tipped brushes, however, fine tipped watercolor brushes work well too. These are brushes that have water in the barrel.Test your colors on a scrap piece of paper to test them before adding them to your project.

You can use a craft mat or a piece of acetate as your palette. Decide on the colors that you want to use in either distress or oxide inks. You will also need one or more very fine tipped brushes.

You will also need some water, some paper towels and a heating tool.

Select a color for your background. I am partial to blue colors, because I think everything goes well with the blue background.

You are actually using re inkers for water coloring with these inks.

Because distress oxide inks are thicker than distress inks, make sure to shake the bottle with the cap completely closed. That way the pigment is completelyfssed before you add it to your palette.

Best Watercolor Paper For Distress Inks And Oxide Inks

Since you are going to be using water with your water color techniques in distress and oxide inks, it would make sense to use water color paper. However, even in watercolor papers, there are distinct differences.

My personal favorite to use for these techniques is Mixed Media Paper. It has a smooth white surface and holds the water very well.

The nice thing about having this paper on hand, there is more than one use. Beyond watercolor use,you can also use it for gouache, acrylics, graphite, pen and ink, colored pencils, markers, pastels, collage, and more

A size four round paint brush is perfect for adding detail to your watercolor stamped images

A Different Water Color Oxide Ink Technique

You can add some more depth to your images by using colored pencils to add some shading

Water Color Oxide Ink Back Ground

Water Color Distress Inks/ Oxide Ink Coloring Supplies

  • Clean empty plastic paint palette preferably with a plastic lid
  • Distress or oxide ink re inkers
  • Water brush or a watercolor/ paintbrush brush & a cup of water
  • Watercolor or heavy paper stamped with image
  • Paper towels
  • Heating tool

Distress Ink Refills

Reinkers come in the same palette that the ink pads are in. Just a drop or two of either the Distress or Oxide inks will help you watercolor all sorts of images
Reinkers come in the same palette that the ink pads are in. Just a drop or two of either the Distress or Oxide inks will help you watercolor all sorts of images

Remember if you stamp and then water color with oxide and distress inks, you must use an ink like Stazon so that your image does not run when you water color

How to Watercolor With Ink Oxide/Distress inks

  1. Stamp or Print an image on watercolor paper and allow to dry
  2. Place a drop or two of your oxide / or distress re-inker into a palette cup
  3. Prep your water brush by filling it with water and squeezing ( if you are using a watercolor brush, make sure it is wet
  4. Dip the brush into the ink
  5. Test the colors on a piece of scrap paper before you apply to the image
  6. Paint as you would do a watercolor adding more water when necessary.
  7. Allow to dry when finished or dry with a heating tool

Do a watercolor background. With a clean brush, paint on shapes, Then blot with a paper towel to left color. Gives you a bleached effect.

Use Distress And Oxide Inks As A Background

A quick and easy way to watercolor with distress and oxide inks is to use them as a back ground. You simply apply the ink or a combination of the inks. Then pray them with a craft water bottle.

You can achieve a variety of effects right away !

Not all papers will work with this technique. Water color paper will always work. You will need to test other papers. Some are more porous than others.

The two inks react differently to water. Both will spread across the paper. However the end result will look a lot different.

The distress ink will actually show the tooth of the paper. You can see through the colors.

The oxide ink will be more opaque- meaning that you can see the various layers of ink, but mot the tooth of the paper.



Smooshing is a basic and easy technique to use distress and oxide inks.

It is so easy and very effective. You can use as amny colors as you would like.

  • Lay some ink from your distress inks or oxide inks on a craft mat
  • Spritz the inks with a bit of water
  • Take the watercolor paper, cut to the size of your card front and rub it across the inks
  • Allow to dry
  • Adhere the watercolor paper to a card base
  • Embellish and decorate as you would like

Creating A Bleached Effect

It is simple and easy to create a bleach effect using oxide inks and water. As always , you will want to use a good water color paper

  1. Do a rough background in the color or colors of your choice
  2. Allow your card to dry
  3. With a fine brush, paint on a simple shape like a heart with water
  4. Use a paper towel to lift the water and any other color from your card
  5. Again, allow to dry
  6. Add sentiments, shapes and embellishments as desired

Flicked Effects With Oxide Inks

For this technique, you will need to create a mono color effect with one or two colors of your oxide inks. Use water color paper for best effects

  1. Select a medium sized die cut with an open pattern for your design
  2. Spread your oxide inks in a pattern slightly larger than the die cut size. Allow to dry
  3. Cut the die cut in a white or dark color, depending on the colors of the oxide inks that you are using,
  4. Flick water on the oxide ink background randomly in droplets. Allow to dry
  5. Apply the die cut over the background with glue
  6. Add a sentiment or word if you wish

Use a monochrome color that is water color background with oxide inks, Then add a doe cit on top of the background.

Another Oxide Ink Watercolor Variation

Oxide And Distress Ink Water Color Tips

  • Always prep your water color brush after filling it. Gently squeeze the brush to make sure that it is functioning
  • Test your colors on a scrap piece of paper to test them before adding them to your project

Distress inks will be better on white and light color papers. Oxide inks will work better on darker papers

© 2019 Linda F Correa

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