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Monday, January 28, 2013

Kill Your Monday Blues with Hils Hints: Stamping 101 - Inks

Stamping – the art of using rubber, clear, foam or any other kind of image stamps – is an incredibly versatile art.  You can use it in your scrapbooking, for card-making, jewellery making, on fabric, metal, wood – in fact, pretty  much anything that stays still for long enough!

But it can also seem a little daunting – there seems to be so much to learn.  Which stamps to use, which inks, how do you get a good image, what do you do with an image once it is stamped – the questions are endless.  But it’s not really that difficult, it’s fun! It’s a great excuse (if you need one!) to get your crafty stash out and start playing.

In this new series, I’ll help you get started on this great new hobby.  And if you have already discovered it, maybe you might find a useful tip or new technique along the way.

The first subject really has to be which stamps to use.  I covered this in an article last year – you can find it here

Next is, what to stamp with?  
Actually, you can stamp with lots of different mediums – more on those at a later date.  Today we are going to focus purely on inks.

There are so many different inks available these days that it is difficult to know which one you should get.  The most important thing to know is that there are two main types – dye ink and pigment ink.  

Dye ink usually dries very quickly.  

Pigment ink is much slower to dry – it usually requires a heat gun to ensure it is fully set – and so this makes it perfect for use with embossing powders.  Just to make life easier for all of us, in this series I am going to focus on the inks that sell.  There are lots more available – some are good, some not so good.  You need to experiment a bit to find the ones which work best for you.

If you are just starting out with stamping, start with a good basic dye ink first.  

Memento are a good brand.  They are quick drying, and have the added advantage of being the best ink to use with Copic markers.  They also come in small “dew drop” sizes as well as the traditional larger stamp pad, which makes starting a collection much more economical.  There are lots of different colours available, but to start with you might want to stick to a neutral colour – Tuxedo Black, London Fog or Rich Cocoa are ideal.

Adirondack ink pads are made by Ranger, who are renowned for their high quality products, and come in a selection of earth tone colours which match other products in the Adirondack range, such as acrylic paints.

Pigment ink pads are usually used with embossing powders.  Brilliance pigment inks are – well, brilliant!  They have a subtle sparkle to them, and produce beautiful stamped images.  Like the Memento pads, they come in dew drop and larger sizes, and lots of colours.  Moonlight white is an excellent white ink which gives great results.

Lots of stampers also like Versamark – it comes in clear and slightly sparkly versions, and is stickier than most inks so you can use it with mediums such as Perfect Pearls and chalk.  You can also get clear embossing pads which can be used with any embossing powder.

There are also hybrid and specialist inks to add to the mix.  Tim Holt’s distress inks from Ranger are very popular.  These are dye inks, but stay wet a little longer so you can emboss with them if you wish.  They also react with water in a unique way.  See my series on distress products for more information.

Conversely, Ranger’s Archival and Versafine inks are pigment ink, but dry quickly and are not suitable for embossing.  Each has their own specific use though.  Versafine is the best ink to use for very detailed images.  Archival ink is permanent, and is waterproof so you can use it with distress inks or watercolouring without your image smearing.  It is also the perfect ink to use together with alcohol inks.

Staz-on is a solvent-based ink which is ideal for stamping onto glossy surfaces such as plastic, acrylic and metal.  Looks great used on transparent acrylic sheets or embellishments.

Chalk inks, as the name suggests, give a softer, more chalky effect.  Some are pigment inks, some are dye inks – if you are not sure, ask the retailer for advice. 

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HINTS!!! {hot tips}
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One often-asked question about ink pads is how to store them.  Some people say upside down to keep the ink at the top of the pad wet.  Others say that makes the pad too wet. According to Tim Holtz (who works closely with the Ranger chemists and is, in my experience, usually right about such things) it makes little if any difference.  So it’s up to you.  I store mine the right way up, because then I can easily see which colour is which.

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