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  • Writer's pictureThe Crafty Muse

A Tale of Two Inks

Like a kid in a candy store, many of us can walk into a craft shop just to be overwhelmed by all of the options available to fulfill our artistic desires. When it comes to your handmade stamped projects, the right ink is a necessity. There are questions you should ask yourself about the project you are creating. Will you be heat embossing? Will you be multi-step stamping? Will you be coloring your images after they are stamped? The answers to these questions will help guide you to the proper type of ink.



Dye versus Pigment

Dye Based Ink pads are also referred to as water based. These are the Classic Stampin’ Pads in the Stampin’ Up! catalog. Though they dry quickly don’t trust dye inks to be waterproof. Using other water based tools such Aqua Painters and Stampin’ Write Markers will affect your stamped image.

You can see from Craft Store Displays that the options are almost unlimited when it comes to dye inks. You can find the right dye ink among the extensive range of colors and affordable prices! The Color Families at Stampin’ Up! group colors and hues into Regals, Brights, Subtles, and Neutrals.

Dye inks are the most common used in card making projects. Two of the biggest benefits of dye based inked pads is that they are quick drying and can be used on most porous surfaces. An added benefit is the quick and easy cleaning of your stamps.


If you also want to stamp on non-porous surfaces such as glossy paper and vellum, Pigment Based Ink Pads will be the better option. Pigment Ink is also referred to as Craft Ink.


Pigment ink will make your project pop with its vibrant, intense color! These inks are thicker than those that are dye based, so you can still achieve a vivid stand-out color with less ink. Pigment inks can be used on virtually all surfaces. The key to effectively using Pigment Ink is patience (or a heat tool). Pigment inks will take longer to dry than other inks, so be patient! Give yourself some time to create a beautiful project!

To speed up the process, Pigment Ink is great for heat embossing using one of the multitudes of embossing powders that are available. To enhance the color from the pad you are using, heat embossing with clear embossing powder is the best option.


While Pigment Ink has the greatest versatility as regards stamping surfaces they are harder to clean and usually require a stamp cleaner as opposed to just water used to clean stamps that have been used with Dye Ink.


Be sure to check out a Stampin’ Up! favorite pigment ink: Whisper White!


I hope this helps you with choosing the best option for your project. Let’s review the questions we asked ourselves at the beginning.



Will you be heat embossing? Pigment ink would be your better choice. We do have another option that should be mentioned. The colorless Versamark Watermark Stamp Pad has the same qualities we like in the Pigment or Craft inks.






Will you be multi-step stamping? Multi-Step stamping is the process of layering images on one another. For this technique, the quick drying Dye Based Inks such as the Classic Stampin’ Pads are the better choice.







Will you be coloring your images after they are stamped? This question requires some additional thought as what you will be using to color your image can impact what type of ink you should use to stamp your image. Water based tools such as the Aqua Painter and the Stampin’ Write Markers could cause your Dye Ink stamped image to run. Fully dry Pigment ink / Craft ink stamped images could be colored with most any tool. It should be mentioned that a quick drying ink option if you do want to color with water based tools would be StazOn. If you will be using alcohol based tools such as Stampin’ Blends, you should use Memento as it is Dye based so the alcohol and water should not combine.



Happy crafting from all of us here at The Crafty Muse!

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