Different types of inks behave differently on different types of paper. Experiment on different surfaces and textures. It's worth it because an ink that dries well on cardstock may smudge on glossy paper or vellum.


Inks are very versatile. You can age, colour, add definition, emboss, glitter, stamp, and distress with them - and that's just a few options.


Dye Inks:

Usually water-based, acid-free, waterproof and permanent. They'll dry rapidly on most surfaces, though the colour will normally lighten when dried. Also, they can fade over time unless you use 'fade-resistant' dye pads'. Examples of these inks would be Ranger, Clearsnap, Tsukineko and Stampin' Up

Pigment Inks

Acid-free and fade-resistant, they dry much more slowly than Dye Inks, giving 'crisp' impressions. This makes them perfect for heat embossing. Good examples are Versamagic, Ranger's 'Colorit', and Tsukineko's 'Brilliance'.

Distress Inks

These are perfect for 'ageing' your layout - for a heritage page for example. They stay wet for longer and give both photo AND paper an aged appearance when applied. The brand leader in this product is Tim Holtz Distress Inks, although there is a good range of Ancient Page inkpads also.

Embossing Inks
These are thick, treacly inks that can be clear or tinted. Slow dryers, they are perfect for applying embossing powder. Good examples are Ranger's 'Emboss It', Versamark, Clearsnap's 'Top Boss', and Tsukineko's 'Emboss.

Alcohol Inks

These work well on any non-porous surface like plastics and metals. They dry quickly and are permanent. Might not be one for your 5-year-old to play with! Ranger's 'Adirondack' line - developed with Tim Holtz - always gets written up very well.

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