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Thursday, February 12, 2015

TIPS & TECHNIQUES: 10 Minute Tool Time with Valerie - Ink Pads 101

There is a godzillion ink pads out there and the choices can be daunting especially if you are a new stamper delving into the stamping world. 

So to simplify things, I have decided to summarize the properties of the various ink pads we have on sale at here for you.

To look at ink pads we look at the 
colorants (either dye or pigment), and 
the 'vehicle' (water, oil or solvent)

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
colorants (dye ink pads)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Dyes are chemicals, that are dissolved in a medium (such as water) to create a paint or colouring agent.

Properties of Die Ink Pads
Appearance – Ink pads have a raised hard felt surface stained with ink like colours.

Water Soluble - Because the dye is the colorant in the ink pad, dye ink pads are more often than not, water based. Some dye ink pads react to water and will be labelled water soluble such as the Ranger Distress Ink Pads but there are also dye based ink pads that become permanent when the ink dries, such as the Ranger Archival Ink Pads.

 Translucent - Because dyes are not made from particles that coat a material, light transmission is not affected and using dye-based colours will make a more translucent effect. Hence dye ink pads are transparent in colour. The colours will show up clearly on white or light coloured paper.

Image Dye ink pads produce sharper and crisp images for stamping because they absorb into the paper.

Drying time Dye ink pads also dry faster because they absorb into the paper.

Surfaces - But because they absorb into the paper, you may not be able to use dye ink pads on non-porous papers or surfaces such as glossy papers or plastic and metal. Using dye ink pads on papers that absorb too much such as mulberry paper may also result in the colours bleeding or running.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
colorants (pigment ink pads)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Pigments, are finely ground particles of colour which are suspended in a medium (such as water) to create a paint or colouring agent.

Properties of Pigment Ink Pads
Appearance – Ink Pads looks wet and spongy, and is stickier in consistency.

Waterproof - Pigment ink pads are not necessarily water soluble, but pigments used in the colour of the ink pads may remain suspended in the liquid. Often, you can paint over them with watercolours or other inks without bleeding.

Opaque - In general, because pigments are particles, pigment based colours are more opaque. The colours will only show up clearly on dark coloured papers.

Image – Colours are more vivid as pigment ink is thicker in consistency and richer than dye ink.

Drying time – Because the particles are suspended in a medium, the pigment does not absorb into the paper but remain on top and dries on top. The drying time is longer and as such most pigment ink pads can be used for embossing.

Surfaces – Because the pigment is suspended and merely stay on the surfaces after the medium dries out, you will need to heat set pigment ink onto non porous paper such as glossy papers or vellum after stamping.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
'vehicle' (pigment ink pads)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Vehicle is the carrier, or medium that a dye or pigment is dissolved or suspended in. The waterproof quality of a paint or product has nothing to do with the colorant and everything to do with the vehicle. 

Raw Umber is a pigment that’s basically dirt. You can wash it off with water. But when mixed with linseed oil, as in artist’s oil paint, it becomes waterproof. Dried raw umber acrylic paint, although water based and water washable, is waterproof once dried. But raw umber watercolour paint will wash right off your brushes, even after drying. It has to do with the medium.

Water based Ink Pads
Waterbased ink pads are generally water soluble and hence not waterproof. One best example is the Ranger Distress Ink series.

Oil based Ink Pads
Normally is more permanent and has waterproof qualities making it the perfect ink pad to use if colouring your stamped images with markers or watercolour. However, VersaFine is a revolutionary ink from Tsukineko that is oil-based yet water-soluble.
You can wash off your stamps with soap and water.

Solvent based Ink Pads
Solvent based ink pads works on almost all surfaces. Solvent based ink can only be removed with solvent cleaners such as StazOn.

so what ink pads should I use?

Generally that depends pretty much on your usage. 

If you are ino mixed media, you may love the waterbased distress inks which reacts to water in amazing ways. 

Commercial users may prefer permanent ink pads such as the Staz On ink pads

It may be better to use dye ink pads for finger printing on guest books as it dries fast and is easy to be removed with just water.

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