Common questions about inks

Since we’re talking about ink storage this week, I thought this would be the perfect time to address a few common questions I get asked about inks.

Do I need to store my inks upside down?

Yes, and no.  It just depends on the ink.  It’s best to check the manufacturers’ website for specific details.

If you’ve got “juicy” inks, like Stephanie Barnard’s brand, there’s no need to store them upside down.

If you’re working with a drier ink, storing them upside down might help keep the ink closer to the surface.

It’s not only the juiciness of the ink that is a factor, it’s also the type of box or container the manufacturer has put them in.  Stampin’ up, for example, uses a container design that flips the ink pad upside down for you.  Some ink pad containers have “loose” lids – if you store these upside down it helps to “seal” the lid so the ink pad doesn’t dry out quite so fast.

Most inks regardless of their “juiciness” should be stored flat.  I did have an ink pad (who shall remain nameless) that was stored on its end, and the ink leaked out all over my Sue Buddy Bag.  It was a mess, but easy to clean up because everything was contained in the bag.

What’s the best way to “re-ink” my ink pad?

There are a couple of different types of ink pads.  The most common is felt, but foam pads are also very popular.  Knowing which type of pad you’re working with is important, generally felt/linen pads are more durable than foam.

To re-ink, your felt/linen pad – simply put the tip of the re-inker against the pad and applying a small amount of pressure to the re-inker bottle, simply draw back and forth across and down the pad.  Felt pads will absorb the ink very quickly and the fibers will spread the ink through the pad.

With a foam pad, it’s better to use the re-inker in a small circular motion all over the pad.  Once you’ve added the ink, you’ll most likely be able to see the circular pattern of ink on the pad.  Use the back of a spoon, a bone folder or a brayer to spread the ink evenly across the pad.  Remember foam is not quite as durable as the felt type of pad so use care not to put too much pressure on the pad when you’re spreading the ink.

If you think you’ve got too much ink on your pad, – you’ll know this because  the details of your otherwise perfect stamp, will be filled with ink when you make the impression,  – use a sheet of scrap paper and just tip the ink pad over and “blot” the full pad lightly onto the scrap paper.  This will remove a bit of the ink.

What’s the difference in types of inks?

Well, I’m certainly not going to claim a deep knowledge of inks and the formulations needed to create them, but I will share with you what little I know.  It’s my understanding that choosing the right ink is more related to the surface you’ll be working on than the ink itself.  Here’s my nutshell list.

If you’re impatient like I am, and you want your stuff to dry fast – use a porous paper and dye-based ink.  These have a very thin consistency so they absorb into the paper and dry quickly.  Dye-based ink is not waterproof – so if you’re planning to paint or color (with markers) on your stamped image, dye-based ink is not a good choice.  If you’re going to work with colored pencils, it will be perfect.  Now, since dye-based inks are a thinner consistency, they’re not ideal for fibrous papers – like mulberry.  This is because the ink will follow the fiber in the paper and bleed outside the lines of your image.

If you’re after bright, vibrant colors, you probably want to work with pigment inks.  These inks are a little thicker.  They dry on top of the paper – s-l-o-w-l-y… You’ll get amazing color but you have to wait for it.

If you’re trying to stamp on something like glossy paper, tile, or glass – you’ll want to work with a permanent ink like Staz-on.  It does take a slightly longer time to dry than dye-based ink, but it will stick to just about any surface.

Of course, I also work with Tim Holtz Distress Inks.  These are also dye-based ink, but they stay wet longer than most dye-based inks.  The slower drying time allows you to “play” with the ink, blending in other inks, or spritzing with water to create a distressed look.

Thanks for joining me today!

Happy Crafting,

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