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Craft Ink Tips And Techniques

Updated on December 29, 2018
linfcor profile image

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

How Do I Love Craft Inks? Let Me Count The Ways !

I love craft ink ! No matter how many pads and re-inkers that I have their is always room for more ! Every time I think I have just enough, someone comes out with a new gotta have color or product.

Of course, I love my pigment and dye inks. But I have to admit that my favorites are the oxide distress and the distress inks. There are so many ways to use them !

The one thing that will keep me from buying a new ink pad is not having the re-inkers available. I try to recycle as much as I can, so re-inkers are a must have. I buy the re inker at the same time I buy the pad, so I never get part way through a project and run dry. It also keeps your pad going if the color is discontinued.

If you are a new crafter, I suggest getting the basic or primary colors first. You can be in a craft store or online and get dizzy from the array of colors available. Black of course is a must. I would also have a brown, blue, green and red. From there you can add on to your collection.

Basic Guide To Craft Inks

Type Of Ink
Dye Inks
This ink absorbs into paper and cardstock and dries very quickly. Because it is water based, it can be used like water colors
Basic stamping. use as water colors, Can also be used with alcohol markers
Pigment Inks
Thick, creamy ink that is more opaque. It sits on top of the paper rather than soaking in it.
Stamping, home decor projects and heat embossing
Distress Inks
They are water based dye inks
Used for blending and distressing paper on all paper surfaces
Hybrid Inks
Are a cross between pigment and dye inks. Works on all surfaces.
Allows you to layer other types of inks without smearing. Can be used on almost any surface
Solvent Inks
Are generally considered transparent.
Scrapbook pages, greeting cards, journals and other paper projects
Chalk Inks
Chalk inks are usually similar to pigment inks but with a more “chalky” finish.
Scrapbook pages, greeting cards and other paper projects
Alcohol Inks
Acid inks, highly pigmented and fast drying
Used for all porous surfaces. Can be diluted
Oxide Inks
Water reactive ink and pigment ink fusion. Creates an oxidized effect when water is added to it
Mostly used on paper projects

Keeping Your Inks Organized

The best way to start out is to purchase basic colors and then add on as you go.

But it is also important to keep your inks organized and cataloged.

There are several ways to store your inks. Many companies sell storage units for their products. They are made to fit that particular product. Make sure that whatever system you use, the ink pad will fit in it.

You can organize by color, brand, use or size. Organize them the way that will be best for you,

You will also want to catalog your ink pads. That way you know what you have when you are working on projects. You can use a three ring binder or a simple ring. Pick a solid stamp. Many companies produce a chart for you to use for their inks.

Many companies provide you with a guide showing you their colors as well as a chart that you can fill in as you add to your collection.

Keeping your inks organized helps you when you are doing projects, prevents you from buying duplicates, gives you a plan for future services.

Types Of Paper You Can Ink

  1. Assorted Card stock- Comes in different weights, textures and colors.
  2. Glossy-Coated, high gloss index weight card stock, very smooth
  3. Matte-Coated, dull finish index weight card stock, ideal for stamping, coloring and heat embossing techniques. Excellent for brayer techniques.Matte finish coated paper is often the best choice for blending and shading colors when using chalk, oilsticks or colored pencils.
  4. Vellum-Also called drafting paper) this translucent paper is excellent for stained glass techniques, and is suitable for heat embossing, coloring from the back with markers, and mounting behind a window opening in your card.

Tools For Applying Inks

The right tools for the right makes a huge difference in your outcome.

  • Blending brushes- Provide a lighter touch and coverage. Works especially well when using stencils
  • Blending tools-Give a more intense blend. They are wooden handles with velcro on the ends. Comes in a round tool and a square tool. The sponges on the end comes off and can be saved for future use,
  • Ink daubers- good when applying ink to smaller areas

When stamping on coated card stock, pigment ink will not dry because it cannot be absorbed by the paper. If you do decide to use pigment ink, it must be dried with a heat gun.

Ink Technique 1-Distressing

The most basic technique of using ink is of course to distress. Distressing is actually applying ink to the edges of paper. It softens the edges with a little color. Little chalk pads or those inks called distress inks are just fine to create this look. You can use just about any ink to distress your paper. You can also tap a foam makeup sponge on a dye ink pad and drag it along the paper for a similar look

You can also use distressed inks to create layers of colors on paper. Totally unique background with little effort.

Always store your ink pads level and upside down.This keeps the ink pad inked for your use. Keeping it level makes sure that the distribution of the ink is the same all over the pad

Ink Technique 2- Color Blending

Color blending actually blends different colors of ink using a foam sponge. Start with one color along the edge and then continue to build more color intensity and wash it in to the middle of your project.

  • Use the right paper- To get an even blend use a smooth card stock that is thick to get an even blend.
  • Use the right blending tools- You need to use either blending brushes, finger daubers, or blending foam
  • Blend the right inks- Inks like distress inks, distress oxide inks, or any pigment inks will blend seamlessly
  • Use a craft mat- Keep a craft mat under your project so that you can blot the ink before you start blending
  • Start blending off paper and then blend into it-You will get a more even coverage
  • Start light and build up your color
  • Use a piece of scrap paper under your project and on top of your scrap mat-Also use a piece on top so that you do not get inky fingers or mess your project

Build color with your inks gradually. Start light and add color till you are happy with the result. It is easier to add color gradually then try to remove ink.

Splashes And Spatters

Adding splatters and spatters can add texture and dimension to all of your projects. For this technique you will want to use a water color brush. This brush has a reservoir that holds water. Fill the reservoir before you start. You can use one color or many colors.

  1. Place some ink on an acrylic block or craft sheet
  2. Pick up some of the ink with the paint brush
  3. Flick the brush over your project to get the desired result

You can use an old toothbrush for the same technique

Stamped Squares

Grab some post it notes to make a stamped square projects. Take your card or scrapbook page and design the shape that you want. Remove one post it note at a time. Ink the uncovered square till you get the color saturation that you want. Pierce around the square for added dimension.

Always clean your stamp before moving onto another color. That way you will not get your ink pads muddy

Heat Embossing

You can bling up your stamped images with heat embossing. It fives a raised shiny coat to your stamped image.

  1. Ink the stamp with embossing ink or other slow drying ink.
  2. Pour the embossing powder all over the stamped image
  3. Tap any excess powder off and pour back into the jar
  4. Heat the powder with a heat gun until the powder becomes shiny

Protect Your Fingers And Your Paper

If you are working on a large area to be inked, use a piece of scrap card stock under the hand that you are using to hold your project. It will help avoid smudges and keep your fingers clean.

Emboss Resist

Emboss resist is a technique that uses heat embossing and ink.

  1. Stamp and heat emboss your image
  2. Apply ink over and around the embossed image. You can use a sponge or a brayer.
  3. Wipe the image with a tissue to remove excess ink

Alcohol Inks

More Than Just Stamping

Alcohol Inks go way beyond the simple ways we normally use inks for stamping and paper crafts. You can use it to color paper, buttons and candles.

Glossy paper can be used with these inks. you can also use them on shrink film, dominoes, glass, metal and ceramics. Use a clear sealer on any project where you use alcohol inks. That way the ink will soak in and not fade .

There are special alcohol ink applicators that will get a perfect blend. You can also use a binder clip with a piece of felt attached. Felt is very reasonable. You can keep the felt or dispose it.

There is also a refillable alcohol ink pen. This is used for very detailed projects. All of these applicators and manufactured by Ranger.

  • Use a felt applicator to get a marbled effect.-Add a blending solution to get a more precise effect.
  • Apply the ink on the project directly, then blend with your felt applicator
  • Use a craft mat or glass mat-makes for easier clean up
  • Use alcohol blending solution to get off any alcohol inks off your hands or surfaces
  • Use disposable plastic gloves to keep your hands clean
  • Use a straw to move some ink around on your project

If you get any alcohol inks on your non stick craft mat, you should be able to remove the stain with rubbing alcohol.

Refilling Your Ink Pad

Always use the same color ink from the same manufacturer,

Distress Inks Verses Oxide Inks

© 2018 Linda F Correa


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