Saturday, November 14, 2015

Inks Everywhere!

Follow along with us as we explore the "World of Inks" in . . .
What Type of Ink Should I Use?
We're often asked what's the difference between the many inks we carry in the store and see on the market . . . dye, solvent-based, permanent, archival, pigment, embossing, and the list goes on and on!  It can be confusing, so we thought we'd try to help a bit with this quick breakdown.

  • Dye (water based):  These inks are generally used for stamping on paper, and have a quick drying time.  They come in a variety of sizes, with stamping surfaces made of felt, linen, and sponge.  Most dye inks are manufactured to be acid free, but they do tend to fade with time, especially in sunlight if your stamped surface is not treated with a UV fixative.  They may also run if in contact with water or other liquids, as well as if they're used in combination with other water based mediums such as markers to fill in detail areas.  Water based dye inks can be easily cleaned from your stamps with water, while some stampers like to use damp paper towels or baby wipes to remove the ink.  Examples include Tim Holtz Distress Inks, Stampin' Up! Class Ink Pads (except black), and Marvy Matchables.
  • Pigment:  These inks are suitable for a variety of stamping situations.  Pigment ink is thicker than a water based or dye ink, and is best used from a spongy pad.  Where a dye ink is designed to soak in and stain the fibers of your paper, a pigment ink will not, and dries on top of the surface.  While you can stamp with pigment ink on coated or glossy papers, it will take a little longer to dry than other inks, but the color will also remain on the surface, appearing more vibrant.  Some stampers prefer to use a heat gun to thoroughly dry pigment ink to avoid smearing, but a pigment ink, however, does not dry and can smear when touched or rubbed.  A plus side of this, though, is that you can apply special powders such as embossing powders to the ink, which, when heat activated, will provide an adhesive to the ink.  Examples include Adirondack Inks by Ranger, Stampin' Up!'s Craft Inks, ColorBox, Brilliance, Inkcredible, Encore, and VersaMark.
  • Archival or Permanent:  These inks are also dye based, but unlike the water based variety, will not run with water or other liquids once dry.  They are usually manufactured acid free, and are a preferred choice among scrapbookers and stampers alike.  Since these inks do not run or smear once they're dry, they can be very helpful when wanting to add details with water based markers or watercolors.  Some things to remember when using these types of inks, some stampers have reported that the ink may turn to an off color when in contact with certain glossy papers or cold laminate adhesive.  Also, on some coated or glossy papers, these inks don't seem to dry completely, even if a heat gun has been used, and will smudge either when touched or when the ink comes in contact with moisture, such as water based markers.  When using these inks, you may want to experiment with different types of papers and surfaces before creating items in quantity.  Because these inks are waterproof, it may be more difficult to clean them from your stamps.  A solvent based cleaner may be necessary, but be careful what types of stamps you apply these cleaners on.  Solvent cleaners may melt, or make gummy, some clear stamps, so be sure to test your stamp before using.  On a final note, while these inks are considered waterproof, they aren't classified as permanent and aren't suitable for some applications such as stamping on fabrics or shrink plastic.  Examples include Ranger's Archival Inks, Stampin' Up!'s Black, and Memories by Hampton Art.
  • Solvent Based:  These inks are considered permanent once dry, don't require heat setting, and are suited for use on wood, walls, plastic, glass, metal, and paper.  These inks may have an odor when opened and should be used in a well ventilated area.  They will definitely stain your stamps and can be hard to clean off even with a solvent cleaner.  One technique that may be most easily accomplished with a permanent or solvent based ink is stamping on shrink plastic.  Examples include StazOn, Zim Ink, Decorit, 123 Ink, and Fiesta.
Speciality Inks:
  • Embossing:  These pads are made like the pigment pads, but come in clear or tinted (either faint blush or very pale blue) "inks".  They are obviously not used for their own color, but rather provide the wet base necessary for a medium such as embossing powder to adhere to a surface.  The tinted pads can be more helpful than the clear pad, allowing you to see where your image has been stamped. 
  • Fabric:  These are of a pigment ink consistency that may be used for the same things pigment or embossing inks are used for, but they have an added bonus.  When heated, these inks become permanent.  This is especially useful for fabric and wood stamping.  A special feature you can take advantage of when fabric stamping with these inks is that if you make a mistake, you can launder your items if it hasn't been heat set to remove the ink.
Even though this barely hits the tip of the ink iceberg, we hope it helps clears up just a little bit of the mystery and confusion surrounding inks and their many uses. Now . . . let's go stamping!
(480) 821-3758
2986 No. Alma School Rd. #4 ~ Chandler, AZ 85224
s/w corner of Alma School & Elliot Roads behind Bank of America
(located next to Catherine's & King Buffet)
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm  ~  Closed Sunday & Monday
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