Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What I Think about Ink

This is the second post for Tuesday. It's just words, words, words, so if you want to see today's card, please scroll WAAAAYYYY down. Thanks!

Amy Kilbreath asked my opinion about inks and good matches for Papertrey colors, given PTI's recent decision to discontinue their inks. I don't have a list of matches (perhaps one of you can share a link?), but I do use VersaMagic Aquatic Mist to match PTI's aqua color. Other than that, I wing it, which really isn't very helpful, is it?

Ink is a funny thing. What one person loves and works with beautifully is a challenge and annoyance for someone else. I could write a whole book on my experiences with and opinions about the inks I've tried. Below is just a summary. Perhaps it will help anyone who is shopping for new ink. If you are, I recommend starting with just a pad or two in your most-used colors and playing before investing whole-heartedly in a particular ink type or brand.

1. VersaColor, VersaMagic, Brilliance: These are thick-formula, quick-drying inks that give really nice coverage. They are archival, so they are safe for scrapbooking. My one beef with them is that the thick formula tends to dry out easily, especially in the large pads. I've often had to re-ink them right after buying them! But this seems a natural hazard given that they are formulated to dry quickly. The dewdrop size of the Brilliance and VersaMagic are my favorites, and they have all been nice and juicy for me and last longer, perhaps because of the tight fit of the lids. The VersaColor comes in a cube, which doesn't seem to last as long and doesn't have the tight lid of the dewdrops. These all work GREAT with clear stamps and rubber.

2. Memento: These are runnier dye inks that are pretty safe for scrapbooking. I love the dewdrops and have every color available. The small pads are very juicy and give lovely color. They occasionally are a little blotchy with photo-polymer stamps, but only with bigger block images. As you can see, they did an awesome job on today's card with clear line stamps. They come in a marker form as well, which I will likely acquire at some point in the future.

3. SU Classic Ink: LOVE these. I have almost all the colors in full-size pads and will use the discontinued ones until my paper and refills are gone. I may or may not get the new SU colors, and I may just be very selective. These, like the Memento inks, usually work fine with photo-polymer stamps but can get blotchy on large block images. I NEVER use these in my scrapbooks because they are not archival or permanent. They WILL fade over time.

4. Palette/PTI inks: I have dark chocolate, noir, and vintage cream, and love all three. Vintage cream is more like a pigment ink (and comes on a foam pad) than the other two colors (which are on felt pads). The chocolate and noir will not run with Bics, Sharpies, or Copics. They work great with clear or rubber stamps.

5. Memories, Ancient Page: These were the first dye inks I ever bought, and I have most of the colors. They are waterproof dye inks. They don't work like watercolors, as do SU classic inks. They are safe for scrapbooking, but don't work well AT ALL with clear stamps, although I believe Memories reformulated after I stopped buying them...Hero Arts sells them and their designers use them without apparent problems with their clear stamps.

6. Colorbox Pigment Ink: A slow-drying pigment ink appropriate for heat-embossing. These are archival. I have a bunch of the Petal Point sets and use them occasionally, though not as much as when I started stamping. Most of mine are 7 or 8 years old and still going strong. They work great with clear or rubber stamps.

7. SU Craft Ink in white: Hands down, this is my favorite white ink. Love it.

8. StazOn: Great for stamping on slick surfaces.

I have a few Colorbox Chalk inks (don't like them...dry out soooo fast and the color selection is just odd!), VersaMark (love it), and a few other miscellaneous pads. My total pad count is over 300, so I'm really particular about what I buy now. I will not likely buy the PTI inks when they are available.

If I had to get rid of inks, I'd cull most of the Ancient Page and Memories, some of the SU colors, and all the Colorbox Chalk ink. As these dry out, I'm pitching them and not replacing them. I'd keep/replace all the Memento, VersaColor, VersaMagic dewdrops, VersaColor dewdrops, and Palette inks, and most of the SU classic ink.

A note about matchy-matchy: Now that my style has settled into CAS, I'm much less concerned about matchy-matchy. I sort of wonder why I had such a hard time matching inks and paper before, but really, when you use white card bases and very little colored cardstock, life is easier.


  1. thanks!! love reading opinions about stamping. this was fun and informative....

  2. This is so helpful, Susan - I cannot even begin to thank you! I really appreciate it! Definitely will be a huge help as I move forward in any ink purchases... Once again, you're the best! :)

  3. Thanks, Susan -- and I gotta say, VersaColor and Brilliance were my first ink obsessions, and they stay juicy forever -- my oldest pads and cubes are about 8 years old or more, and I've never reinked a one.
    I use lots of PTI ink (original and reformulated) without a lot of the problems people have had (leading to the discontinuation -- only the Lemon Tart has ever given me fits), and I do have a pretty big stash of SU dye inks because I love the colors. I know you aren't sold on the new ones, but early espresso and cherry cobbler are especially lovely...not to enable or anything!
    Thanks again for a thoughtful post!

  4. Thank you - this is very informative! I've been buying PTI recently but now not sure what to do, as I don't know if their new inks will be good for scrapbooking. I may consider some of the ones you've mentioned (I have a number of Colorbox & Versacolor already, but mostly cube or paintbox format).

  5. Thanks for the info. I started stamping with SU! and only had experience with their inks. Now that I've branched out I have all the Momento inks too and love them but hadn't tried the VersaColor, VersaMagic or Brilliance inks - I think I will try them out now! I'm gonna bookmark this blogpost cause I think I'll be referring to it often!

  6. You didn't mention VersaFine. You haven't used it?

    PTI Inks are made by Palette, aren't they? Unforunately I'm told we will be seeing more such situations, where we don't really know which manufacturer is making a retail vendors' inks. To me, inks are the most troublesome part of stamping, especially lately, when it seems the reinkers are watery and the pads have to be reinked way too often.

    Thanks for your info, Susan. Your opinions on any of the products we all use have helped me make better purchasing decisions.

  7. Thanks for sharing all the info on inks. Some inks are definitely better than others but I also think the type of paper used with the ink greatly effects the outcome of the stamped image. Some ink works great on some papers and horrible on others.

  8. Wow, thanks! Have you tried the Ranger Distress inks? I've only tried them with my SU rubber stamps, but I love them. Haven't tried them with clear stamps yet.

  9. Thanks for the ink info, Susan. This helps me a lot, as I never care about it. Since it is not that easy to find ink in my country, I just bought whatever I could find. I ever bought one black ink in Michaels (when I had a chance to visit Houston and stayed there for a month), around 10 years ago, and I still use it until now. I never re-ink it, but the ink is still okay.

  10. I am an ink addict and I have great success with color box chalk inks. The stackable queue inks come in a rainbow of colors and are affordable and easy to travel with and they are my go to favorite for polymer stamps which along with clings are the ones I buy most often...storage, storage. The VersaColor inks are the ones that are most problematic for me. For the blackest crispest most permanent ink I use Ranger archival Jet Black. If you are doing a direct to paper application,it is the only one I have found that would not bleed away and will over stamp pigment. Simplicity you may not need to use that particular feature but its good to know.It replaced the versafine black for me. The dye inks that I purchased first almost 20yrs ago are Vivid and are still going strong. I haven't liked Staz On inks in general because of the reinking problems and a certain stickiness. Sorry about rattling on but I really find inks intriguing.

  11. Yes, yes, Sue McCrae is so right.....paper can make or break an ink. So can the weather. It's very damp here right now, so ALL the inks bead on the polymer stamps. I have 8 different brands of black, which is what I mean when I say "all".

  12. I really enjoyed reading this post. Also, since Michael's had 40% off inks today when I was there, I now have some VersaMagic dew drops to try. Funny how that happened. I do like my one stack of Colorbox chalks, except for the lilac, which is just a "bleh" shade, for me at least. I tend to use mostly pigment inks, I've always liked their rich coverage, as well as the option to emboss.

  13. WOW! What an informative post. I have some of all of these inks...much under-used. Just tend to buy what I think I "need" at the time. I am definitely going to be bookmarking this post for future reference.


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