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Here is the first in a series of articles to help you find your way through the many products available for stamping. I hope to be able to guide you towards essential products and their uses so you can buy a set of core products to get you started and then build upon this to add a range of colours to suit the crafting that inspires you.

I will include links to more detail explanations of what inks are suitable for what card type later in the article, but for now what is important is that there ARE different inks for different card types. The main kinds of ink available are; Dye based Permanent and Pigment.

A core set of basic inks would be;

  • Versamark; This is a clear pigment ink. It is used for embossing as it is slow drying, you can also stamp with it and just heat it and the ink will leave a watermark effect. The image will appear in a slightly darker tone than your original card.
  • Versa Fine; This is a whole range of inks, do get an Onyx Black. It is also a pigment ink, so it is slow drying and can be embossed with. It is a superb black and you can colour your resulting image with watercolours and the image will not run.
  • Ranger Archival; Again this is a whole range of waterproof inks, do get a Black one as it is useful for stamping over alcohol inks and again will leave an image that you can watercolour over.
  • Stayz On;Again this is a range of inks most people want a black in this one. This is a solvent based ink, it is used to stamp on NON Porous surfaces like acetate, acrylic, glass, foil etc. It is a good ink but it does what it says on the label it STAYZ ON! You will need to buy a special Stayz On Cleaner to clean your stamps and it is not suitable for the newer polymer and clear stamps.

The choice for your remaining colour pallet will be one of personal choice led firstly by colours you like and secondly by the surfaces you wish to stamp onto. If you are new buy a small selection of small inkpads from various manufacturers and see which ones you enjoy using. When you have found some that work for you, then do build up your collection from there.


The one thing that has taken my crafting to another level is buying the complete range of a set of inks. In the past I had odds and ends of colours, and found that it seriously limited what I could do. I saved up for the Ranger Adirondack Earth-tones Dye ink pallet, although it took a while and was a large investment it was the best decision I have made. I have since added to this with the Lights and recently the Brights ranges. I now have a wide selection of colours that I know will tone together as they are from the same range. I was lucky enough to have the Color wash Sprays also in the Ranger Adirondack range  bought for me last Christmas and I would love to collect the Acrylic dabbers and Alcohol inks over time too, oh and the pigment inks have come out in that range as well.

Some would say that is a limited pallet, but to have colours that co ordinate across many different surface is a huge benefit. There is nothing wrong with other brands and it is a matter of personal preference and what surface you want to work on, as well as what colours you like.  Whatever brand or type of ink you choose bare in mind that as with most things in life you get what you pay for. The top brands are not always cheap but they are worth the investment. I have bought cheap ink in the past and it either dries up really fast or the cushion rips off the base. If you are on a tight budget there are often small versions of inks available as well as the large pads. These are a great way of collecting lots of colours without breaking the bank. Once you have some favourites then buy the larger pads in those colours as the little ones run out.



http://www.rubberstampsclub.com/tips/inks.html This describes in more detail what inks to use for what surface.

Do check out the links in the Rubber Stamping tab at the top of this blog. It has links to the main manufacturers web sites.


Thanks for reading and see you soon


Billie 🙂


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