Ever experienced making a card that looked it was submerged in water after you applied the ink?  The ink smear and bleed into the paper and turning your “Happy Birthday!” into an early or late Halloween card. Have you asked yourself, what went wrong? Or questioning your ability to use a stamp?

The fault is not in how you used the stamp or the stamp itself but on the type of ink you used and the material you stamped it on. Find out the different stamp inks and the different kinds of material that you should use them on. That way when you make a new stamp project, it won’t look like Frankenstein made it.

Dye stamping ink on red hue text


Dye ins are water-based inks that dry quickly and produces a clear, crisp image on almost any paper. It comes in three types the standard water-based dry ink, the distress ink and the waterproof dye ink. They work great on matte, vellum and glossy paper.

The standard ink is what most stampers in the market use. These ink tend to bleed if you overlay or use then over another waterbased ink. Standard type inks are acid-free but are prone to discolouration when you expose them to light; they eventually fade over time.

Distress Inks dry slower compared to standard ink. This unique feature allows you to emboss distress ink. The slow drying also makes them blendable since they react well with water. Using distress ink, you can produce different effects and techniques.

Waterproof dry ink has a different base. The difference in base prevents smear or bleeding when you apply colour over it. Aside from being smear free, these inks are also colourfast which means they don’t fade quickly.

pigment stamping ink in pink pigment color



Pigment Inks are thicker than dye inks. This is because they have a glycerin base which gives them an opaque or thick finish. They come in spongy foam pads which makes it easy for the stamp to pick up the ink. The thicker nature of the ink causes the ink on the stamp pad to dry faster and needs frequent refilling compared to dye inks.

Pigment inks make for excellent card stock stamping since they show through even with dark cardstock. They are also great for embossing since they dry longer on card stock. They don’t fade fast and are typically fade resistant, even when exposed to light, unlike most dye inks. They do require high heat for full drying though, and they won’t work on non-porous materials.

hybrid ink stamps in aquamarine hue



Hybrid inks are a mixture of pigment and dye inks. These inks contain the properties of both inks, and they work well with almost any surface. Though they do require heat setting to dry thoroughly and can’t be used for embossing. They have a slightly more transparent colour than pigment ink. And a more opaque colour compared to dye inks. They’re acid-free, archival and they dry very fast. Like pigment inks, they’re also waterproof and fade resistant.

solvent stamping ink in black background



Solvent Inks can be applied on any surface except fabrics that are meant to be regularly washed. These surfaces include glass, metal, plastic, wood. They’re a type of permanent ink that doesn’t need heat setting to stay on the material. Like hybrid inks, they’re acid-free and are also resistant to heat. They don’t bleed and can be written or painted on using markers and watercolours. They have a transparent look, but there are also some solvent ink brands that offer opaque pastel colours.

chalk stamping ink on various ink colors on the background


Chalk Inks are hybrid inks that have a chalky finish. When they’re set using heat, they become permanent and waterproof. They dry faster than pigment ink and are great for working with watercolours and pens; this makes them great for scrapbooking. They resist smearing and even fading, and they have a matte finish which looks great on any dark coloured cardstock

Other Ink Types

various inks on pink yellow and cyan colors

Alcohol Ink

These inks are alcohol based and come in dropper bottles. They work on any surface and produce a permanent finish once heat setting is used to dry them.

embossing ink

Embossing Ink

These inks are specifically made for embossing and work perfectly with embossing powders. They are set using an embossing gun.

Final Thoughts

With the wide array of inks found in the market that you can choose from, knowing which ones work well with your stamping project is vital. Not all inks are the same, and the wrong choice of ink can produce not too pretty results. And knowing the right ink and material to work on will help you make your stamp projects works of art.


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