Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making Lemonade out of Ink

Some of you might remember that I complained about the new colors of Memento ink when they were released in 2012. I found the new colors gave me blotchy, spotty images, while the old colors gave nice, crisp, smooth images. (Not to mention that the darker new colors are so dark as to be almost black...yes, northern pine and elderberry, I'm talking about you!)

I contacted Tsukineko at the time and received a response asking for more information and pictures, which I supplied. Since then, nothing.

It's also weird that on Tsukineko's website, there is no mention of the new colors at all. I wonder if I've missed something and they've been discontinued, although you can still buy them online and in stores.

Whatever the current situation at Tsukineko, one thing is certain...dye inks vary in the quality of images they produce depending on the formula, the pad texture and saturation, the type of paper used, the type of stamp used (fine detail, block, outline, rubber, photopolymer, silicone), the stamping surface, and the amount of pressure used on the stamp.

That's a shocking number of variables for stamping a good image. And it explains why we an*l-retentive, obsessive-compulsive neat freaks get so frustrated when images turn out blotchy.

You shabby-chic, vintage, artsy distressers out there might not understand this frustration, but trust me, vulgar words get dropped repeatedly and stamps may or may not get thrown across the room. Not by me, mind you, but I can picture the scene very clearly in my mind. Oh, yes, I can.

A frustrated search for "the perfect ink" is common among stampers of the obsessive kind, and it justifies our owning giant hoards of ink of all kinds. For the record, pigment inks will give fewer problems, but even they can be pains in the you-know-what for rather different reasons.

Anyway, today's card shows one way of dealing with imperfect dye up the imperfections.

This card displays Memento Pistachio ink (one of the 2012 colors) and Hero Arts Orange Soda. As you can see, the images are not crisp and clean. The Pistachio is blotchy and the Orange Soda is blurry, with loss of detail on the tiny pumpkins. The close-up shows exactly what the problems are:

From my point of view (the obsessive--and correct--point of view!), these images are unsatisfactory. The best fix would be to toss this card front in the recycle bin and start over using VersaColor or some other fast-drying pigment ink.


My original plan had been to use a bunch of tiny little rhinestones on this card. I have about a thousand brown ones from a bling-buying binge a few years back. Looking at the pre-blinged card, however, I realized that crisp, shiny bling would look out of place with these blotchy, blurry images and would only heighten the fail status of this card to my obsessive mind.

That's when I thought about Stickles.

There is no way to make perfect dots with Stickles. The nature of glitter glue gives uneven edges, and dispensing the exact same amount for each berry would be impossible. The uneven edges and natural variation of the glitter dots works with the flaws of the card, rather than against them.

And so I reluctantly show this card on my blog. I love the organic curves of the vines and the color combination and the curly cursive font. If I hold it at arm's length and squint, it looks perfect.

But you can bet I'll be making this same card in pigment ink. Oh, yes, I will.

stamps: Papertrey Autumn Adornment, Keep It Simple Thanksgiving (sentiment)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Memento, Hero Arts
accessories: Stickles, corner rounder 


  1. Oh I realy love your card. Such a nice colors. Hugs. Ankie

  2. I like your card, imperfections and all. Next time I'll pay attention to the ink when I have trouble stamping. Thanks for another great lesson :)

  3. Hear, hear. I've been hearing good things about HA shadow inks and Studio Calico inks, but they don't seem to even out when I use them, sigh. I did find I was having better results with the few Memento inks I own, but I was probably using some of the older colours. I like your card anyway, but as you will probably know, we are usually our own worst critics (esp. if we are perfectionists at heart).

  4. Leaves are never perfect - I love this card!

  5. I love the card, it's very beautiful, I wouldn't have spotted any imperfections, it looks natural. But I get your point, we all travel down our paths, nothing wrong with that.

    Warm hugs

  6. I'm afraid I share some OCD tendencies and I've found that some inks just produce very disappointing results.
    Pigment inks (and Memento among them) are my favorites and I usually get pretty good results with them.

  7. Yup .. I'm on the same page as you. Don't like fuzzy or blotchy images. Also turn to pigment inks when frustrated.

  8. You make me laugh! (in the best way possible) While I'm not a CAS stamper, I can feel your pain. Maybe us OCD types need to have an ink marketed at us! :D

  9. Your card and post made me smile BIG TIME! I used to tell people in my paper craft classes that these little imperfections give their creations the handmade look =)

  10. I love your card! I know what you're saying, though--inks vary so much! I also find it depends on which stamps I'm using. clear ones especially do not all stamp very well in my opinion. They have advantages, but I still love rubber. I also love my Brilliance & Ultimate Encore Metallic pads I've had for years & most haven't even been re-inked & still work perfectly!

  11. I totally know the disappointment of a blotchy image. Blech! I'm certain that it always looks worse to you than to anyone else though. This is not bad, had to look at the close-up to really see it, and when the whole card is the same, it tends to look like it was on purpose! At any rate, the colors and layout are wonderful.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!