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What Ink Pads Can I Use?

Finding the perfect ink pad for your projects can be a little bewildering – there are so many different types to choose from! But what makes each ink type unique? Here, we've chosen some of the most popular types of ink and clarified their pros and cons.

Dye Ink

Dye Ink

This general-purpose, water-based ink is quick drying and suitable for use with a variety of porous surfaces. The ink will soak into the material and stain its fibre, setting within minutes. However, this ink is not recommended for use with glossy or other non-porous surfaces as it struggles to dry and is prone to smudging. Dye ink is quite thin bodied, so lighter shades can give a transparent pastel-like finished effect, while darker shades can give a brighter effect. This ink is generally easier to remove from stamps.

Distress Ink

Distress Ink

Distress inks are very popular forms of water-based dye ink that feature worn and weathered colour shades. Differently to dye ink, they stay wet for a longer period of time which can give you more design opportunities. This ink can be easily blended, shadowed and antiqued to produce a distressed effect, working better on glossy materials than general dye ink.

Pigment Ink

Pigment Ink

This ink isn't dye-based, but instead has a glycerine base. This means that it's thicker bodied than dye ink and doesn't soak in to stain the material – it sits on top. Although it takes longer to dry, these opaque colours have much more vibrancy and are fuller than dye ink colours, fading and smudging less. Pigment ink is also not suited for non-porous surfaces like glossy paper, plastic or metal as it struggles to set, even with a heat gun. This ink is generally more difficult to remove completely from stamps.

Chalk Ink

Chalk Ink

Unlike distress ink, chalk ink is designed to create a soft chalk-like effect on material, without the dusty residue chalk produces. Falling under the pigment ink category, this ink is available in a variety of muted, pastel shades that set with a matte finish. This fast-drying ink resists bleeding and smudging, also working well on glossy or coated materials.

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