Monday, September 22, 2008

Inks (inky fingers and floor more like)


About Inks.

If you are going to stamp you need ink, but in the case of foam stamps you can use acrylic paints or even try water colour paints. I will cover stamping in a separate post. I am going to talk about the following types of ink:
1. Dye ink
2. Pigment Ink
3. Permanent solvent ink also referred to as alcohol ink
4. Distress ink - a special type of pigment ink
5. Shadow ink
6. Resist or Versamark ink
7. Chalk ink

For stamping you can buy ink pads already loaded with ink in lots of different colours (and clear ink), and the pad is in a plastic or tin flattish box with a lid, square, rectangle, eye shape, round, small, large there are all sorts out there. Some come in sets that stack together, or special totes. Some companies also make refill bottles of ink so you can re-ink your pad once it dries. You can also buy ink pens that you use to colour your stamps in small detail to stamp a multi coloured image. In all cases make sure you put the lid back on in between use or the ink pad will dry up quickly especially with alcohol inks.

1. Dye Ink

This is a good ink to buy if you are a beginner at stamping. It is easy to use, easy to clean and quick drying usually. You can get lots of colours but black is a good starting point as you can stamp outlines and colour them in. It is inexpensive ink to buy usually. My favourite dye ink is Kaleidacolor by Tsukineko and this comes in a multi coloured pad which is great fun. I only have a couple of pads and the rest are one colour. Dye inks are not usually waterproof, so colouring in your image with paint or liquid can make the lines run and ruin your work, so test this out before you make your finished card. It is better to colour with coloured pencils or chalks that are dry when using this type of ink, or leave the image uncoloured. You can use any of your stamps with dye inks and clean with baby wipes for rubber or clear stamps or wash the clear stamps under the tap to clean them. You can use dye inks with a paintbrush for colouring or shading your images, again be careful with images stamped with dye ink, they could run.

You should try different makes of ink if you can, the cheapest is not always the best. So if you can buy a better brand of ink pad you will be more successful with your stamping projects and it will be more cost effective in the end. Seek recommendations on craft forums too, that could save you buying inks unnecessarily.

2. Pigment Ink

This ink is oil based and is slow drying. You can apply heat to dry the ink, or embossing powder and heat to set it. I made the mistake of using pigment ink alone when I first started stamping, it wouldn't dry at all, I had smudged images all over the place. I tried drying them on the radiators - didn't have a heat gun then, I left them for a week, two weeks - still wet! I have since discovered that different makes of pigment ink are different in this respect, my now favourite for bright colours is Versacolor or Versafine which I have in small square cubes and this ink will dry fairly quickly without heat or embossing. Pigment ink is waterproof when it is set or embossed, so you can colour with paints or markers. Test this out first if you only heat set. You can get metallic pigment inks, and some like Brilliance will stamp on any surface, shiny or matt really well even wood. When starting out with heat embossing you can either get a clear ink pad and use different colour powders, or clear powder and different colour inks. Both the same gives a denser colour but you can get a very pleasing effect with the other methods. You can use all types of stamps with pigment inks, and clean in the same way as dye ink.

The butterflies on this document organiser (now holding clear stamp sets) was stamped with white Brilliance ink and not heat set.

I also have sets of pigment ink pens, and these allow you to colour different areas of the stamp in different colours. Marvy Wet Look pens are my latest find and they give a great gloss finish when heat embossed with clear embossing powder. You can also use the pens to repair areas of damaged images and re heat emboss although I am not very good at this.


3. Solvent or alcohol inks.

These are permanent inks, quick drying and they can't be embossed with powder and heat, Stazon is one make that I use. You can stamp them onto virtually anything, they are waterproof when dry and therefore can be coloured with any medium you wish. You should clean the stamps right away, and you may need special solvent ink cleaner for this. It is not recommended that you use this ink with clear polymer or acrylic stamps - the cleaner damages the stamps. I have heard of people who do use the ink, but I had a stamp start to go gooey and dissolve when I used it with Stazon. Test a small stamp first and don't use the Stazon or Alcohol ink cleaner, just use baby wipes or soap and water as normal. The stamps will get discoloured but this won't affect the performance.

If you do need to start again, if the ink pad slips or if the ink ends up face down on your laminate floor it can be removed with sugical spirit or other alcohol cleaner such as white spirit and a lot of rubbing should it dry before you get to it.

Alcohol ink also comes in bottles and you use it with an applicator to make wonderful backgrounds. You can use it to colour Ultra Thick Embossing powder which when dry can be used in the Melt Pot. This is described in Tim Holtz's video "The Journey Continues". The ink has to be allowed to dry so the alcohol evaporates eliminating the risk of it catching fire with heat.


4. Distress inks

Distress inks are special pigments inks, designed to be used with distress embossing powder with release cystals in them and they are made by Ranger, and promoted by Tim Holtz. After you have heat embossed with the distress ink and powder you can rub the image and the special release crystals will make areas of the image wear away to look distressed. This is great for a vintage or distressed look and cards and other projects in this style are very popular.

There are videos on the Ranger site to help you use the products, or you can buy Tim Holtz videos, I have one called the Journey Continues and it is very inspiring.

5. Shadow Inks

These are very soft colour inks that can be used to make backgrounds by applying the pad directly to your paper or card, or they can be used with background stamps, or just to stamp light images all over your background. You can use inkpads that are drying up and only give a faint imprint.

6. Resist or Versamark inks

These inks leave no colour. They can either be used with embossing powders like normal pigment ink or they can be used to stamp on card then use a brayer to colour the background and the ink can be wiped away from the stamped image which appears white, or the colour of your card. Photo type glossy paper and thin card is suitable for this technique.

You can buy Versamark in a pad or a double ended pen, it is useful for repairing missing bits of embossed designs, writing your own greetings to emboss with powder and heat, or to colour your stamp - great for small stamps.

You can do a mock resist technique using clear ink and clear embossing powder.

7. Chalk Ink

You can now get chalk ink, which you use in the same way as pigment ink and either let it dry or heat emboss it. It has a soft chalky finish. I haven't used it often but there are some lovely colours out there.