Decisions, decisions {Picking the right ink}

13 Jul

This post may seem a little out of left field after all the baking posts, but as I mentioned in the {About me} section, I like crafting … and I especially like embellishing things with rubber stamps.  So, I am working out some ideas that I hope to have ready to share very soon!  In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to write a quick summary of the things to consider when buying ink for rubber stamping projects.

When you’re staring at all of the options in the ink aisle of your local craft store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, or to just go with the color you like best; but there actually are some differences that really matter depending on the project.  There are three main types of ink that I have worked with: pigment-based ink, chalk ink, and watermark ink.

Moss - Pigment-based ink {}

Pigment-based ink:

Pigment-based ink is great because it offers thick, vibrant color.  You will probably be drawn to these in the store because of the many bold colors available.  It also tends to be color-fast and acid-free, so it’s great for many projects.  The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding if pigment-based ink is the way to go, is that it is typically very slow to dry.  This is great if you are planning to heat emboss your stamped image because it will give you ample time to apply embossing powder before it dries.  However, if you are working on a project to which you will be adding other embellishments or handling a lot after your stamped image is down, keep in mind that pigment-based ink is very easy to smear.  Once you accidentally drag your hand through it once, you can end up with a mess pretty quickly!  If you really have your heart set on using a particular color that is only available in pigment-based ink, you can still use it.  Just remember to be VERY careful or heat-set the ink before moving on, if possible.

Charcoal chalk ink {}

Chalk ink:

The look of chalk ink tends to be much more muted and flat, especially when compared to pigment-based ink.  It’s also fade resistant and non-toxic, so once it’s dry it’s fine for all kinds of projects.  The biggest advantage to using chalk ink from my perspective is the quick drying time.  That makes it great for projects that involve a variety of techniques such as layering and masking.  I used masking {more on that technique later} on my wedding invitations, and chalk ink made it possible to keep working without waiting forever for the ink to dry.  Chalk ink is also great if you’re a beginner because you can play around without worrying about your hands becoming an inky mess!

VersaMark - Watermark ink {}

Watermark ink:

I learned about watermark ink not too long ago at a Paper Source workshop {I know, I’m a big dork and I’m okay with that!}.  This ink is fun because it looks clear, but the stamped image it produces is a little darker than the paper it’s on – hence the name!  It’s great for background images or any other subtle effects you’re going for.  Like pigment-based ink, watermark ink is slow to dry; but since it’s also colorless, it’s perfect for most heat embossing projects!  I’m glad I found out about watermark ink before the wedding, because I ended up using it on our programs and was very pleased with the result!

Wedding programs - watermark effect {Rebekah Girvan Photography}

Anyway, thanks for bearing with me while I nerd out about rubber stamping ink!  Hopefully, this will make the ink aisle a little less overwhelming when you tackle your next project!


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  1. Adding some depth to your stamps {Masking} « wedding withdrawal - July 20, 2011

    […] that we’re all a little more familiar with some of the inks commonly used in rubber stamping projects, it’s time to learn a specific technique: masking! […]

  2. Wednesday Wish List {Corner Rounder} « wedding withdrawal - August 10, 2011

    […] a couple of our last minute paper goods, including the program featured at the end of my post on picking the right ink.  I hope this has given you some good ideas for putting the finishing touches on your latest […]

  3. Heat Embossing Tutorial {Wine & Chocolate Party Invitations} | wedding withdrawal - February 11, 2013

    […] {a slower-drying ink is best for heat […]

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