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Old 02-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #1  
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Default Inks, so many to chose from.

I'm very new to card making and am trying to figure out just what inks I want to go with. I have some Hero arts shadow inks, all of the distress inks (I honestly couldn't resist) and some of the color box cats eye inks. I've honestly not been completely pleased with the stamping coverage of any of them. I realize that with distress inks that's more of a technique ink so I understand not getting a nice crisp fully covered image with those but I was hoping for more from the hero arts inks.

I've tried several different ways of stamping so I don't think it's my technique (I am always open to suggestions though ) or the stamps. I've mostly got the clear stamps with some woodblock stamps and red rubber stamps from all different companies (hero arts, Gina K., recollections), so all great quality stamps. I've also used cheap card stock along with the Gina K. luxury white and ivory card stocks.

Should I venture into pigment inks (such as Mama Elephant, Avery Elle or Memento Luxe) for the crisp images that I'm hoping for or do you have some other suggestions? Maybe the Gina K. designs inks or some other brand? What about the Stampin' up inks?

Thanks for your thoughts everyone!
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:14 PM   #2  
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Of course, so much of this is personal preference - trial and error

Hero Arts shadow inks should give you nice, even coverage. Jennifer McGuire says that these inks look blotchy when first stamped, but the color evens out as they dry. I have shadow inks and always got nice, even coverage with them, but I only use the 'soft' shadow inks, not the bolder color ranges that are available. I do have the Hero Arts neon inks and love love love them - so vivid

Is it possible that you're picking your inked stamp up off of the paper too quickly? You have to leave your inked stamp in contact with the paper for a little bit in order to give the ink time to transfer to, and absorb into, the paper. This was something that I was doing wrong and when I heard this suggestion, it resolved the issue that I had been having re: uneven coverage with dye inks.

I have not used Gina K or Mama Elephant pigments inks, but I have seen good reviews on both.

Generally speaking, pigment inks are thicker than dye inks and MOST pigment inks do not provide the detail that you're looking for.

Versafine ink (oil-based pigment ink) is the 'Master' of detail stamping IMO - a beautiful, detailed stamped image every time with even coverage. Personally I only use Versafine in Black and Sepia, but they do have a wider color palette if you're interested. Just be aware that Versafine refills are only available in a few colors but that's because typically a Versafine pad last a very long time, so when it finally runs out of ink, you just buy a new pad.

Brilliance is a pigment ink that I think does a pretty good job with detail.

Ranger Archival inks are one of my favorites and provide great detail and even coverage. I believe these are oil-based dye inks and the color palette is expanding all the time. I especially am loving the new colors that Wendy Vecchi has come out with recently.

HTH.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:23 PM   #3  
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Here's a very comprehensive article by Ellen Hutson on various inks:
In Touch: Ink Pad Comparisons - Let's Get Inky and Explore! by Ellen Hutson
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:38 AM   #4  
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I really like the coverage from Close to My Heart dye inks, too, just as another opinion...
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:45 AM   #5  
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I absolutely love Tsukineko Versacolour Inks - they are water based pigment inks and so far I find they give unparalleled coverage and smooth solid impressions with polymer stamps (no good for copics tho). Like somebody else said tho, it is so much a personal taste type of choice and it depends on what you are looking for, I also use Distress inks which can give rough blotchy impressions, but hey, sometimes that's what you want! good luck!
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:10 AM   #6  
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I use Close to My Heart ink, their stamp line is clear and their inks work well with clear stamps and rubber. I like the coverage I get with them.

I also use Versafine Black or Memento Black for detail work.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:13 AM   #7  
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Getting a good image is more than just the type of ink. You will find that it's a combination of the type of stamp (solid, lines, clear/polly, or rubber). The better paper you have you will get a better image but cardstock is not just cardstock. Some papers are coated, variance in texture, etc.

Depending on the type of clear stamp, a lot of dye inks will bead up on the stamp and show a blotchy image. You may need to condition the stamp - run an eraser over the stamp or rub it on your levis to rough up the stamp. You can do the same with red rubber as it may have some residue leftover from the manufacturing process.

I use a lot of different kinds of ink pads and each one has its benefits. There isn't a one kind of pad fits all. I prefer pigment/chalk ink for solid stamps and SU, Memento, or Versafine for line images.

One thing to check is that once you load your stamp with ink, look at the inked stamp. Is the ink beading up or do you have a solid coating of ink. If the ink is beading up on the stamp, then you are going to have a blotchy image. How you load the ink on to the stamp also makes a difference. On solid stamps I swirl the stamp around the pad and then tap, tap, tap the stamp on the pad to get an even coverage. On line stamps I tap the stamp 2-3 times onto the pad to make sure I have even coverage.

One last thing - how are you storing your ink pads. Most pads need to be stored with the pad facing down so the ink stays at the top of the pad. Some pads like SU, are designed so they automatically will be stored with the pad facing down. I don't store my Cat's eyes this way because I've had them leak. But it makes a big difference on how much ink is in the pad. Just because a pad is new to you does not mean that it hasn't been sitting on a store shelf a long time and has started to dry out. Make sure you have juicy pads.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:14 AM   #8  
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Another vote here for Versafine. Definitely the best ink for either line or solid stamps. See where I tried out different black inks for comparison on my blog, here. . These were to try out blacks, but the comparison works for brand of pads too. There are other colours in Versafine, by the way, not just black.
Another good stamping ink is Adirondack- huge range of colours, and good for sponging/brayering as well as stamping.
Another poster commented about manufacturing residue on stamps- a tip I read, which I always do, is to take some low-tack tape, and go all over the surface of a new stamp. You will indeed see a powdery residue on the tape.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:33 AM   #9  
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Here are my recommendations - I've had excellent results with all of them. I'm leaving out Distress, because you already know them:

Versafine: Especially for detailed images or sentiments (not for alcohol markers). I use Onyx Black or Vintage Sepia. The pads last forever.

Versamagic: A great chalk ink in beautiful colors.

Memento: Tuxedo Black and Rich Cocoa dye inks especially for use with alcohol markers.

And Memento Luxe: A fabulous ink - great coverage, and gorgeous colors. This is my favorite color ink. Dries a little more slowly than a dye ink but well worth taking a second to heat set it if you have concerns. This is the only ink other than Distress that I've purchased all of the color reinkers for. Sponges beautifully, too. Highly recommend!
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:37 AM   #10  
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Oh wow, thank you so much everyone for your responses! This is very, very helpful! I apologize for not responding sooner but I was having a bit of a day yesterday and didn't want my irritation to bleed through on my responses to the information you've all provided me!

QueenOfInkland - thank you for the suggestion. I'm hoping to have time to work on some cards this evening and I'll try to pay more attention to the way I'm stamping to see if I am picking up my stamp a little too quickly. It's entirely possible-- I am just a tad bit impatient.

I just picked up the Versafine black recently but haven't had a chance to see if my local stores carry the Brilliance or the Ranger Archival. I'm pretty sure at least Hobby Lobby carries some of the Ranger.

And thanks for the link!

gregzgurl & ceramicat1 - I hadn't heard of Close to my heart so I'll definitely look them up and see what's what. There's a consultant within an hour of my location so I can see if they are having any party's soon.

Waltzingmouse - now I feel really silly. I've looked at a ton of inks on the Tsukineko site and have managed to miss seeing the Versacolour Inks.

stamphappy1650 - that's a lot of great advice, and you were totally right I'd been storing my pads face up. Hopefully that will help with some of the problems!

shazsilverwolf - thanks for the link! I'm checking it out now. And the tip about the tape I hadn't heard (just the one about taking an eraser to the stamps…)

Phantom - Joann's had a pretty good online sale over the weekend for the Memento Luxe and I've been kicking myself for not at least getting one to try. That way I'd at least have an idea of how pigment is different from dye.

holtzfan - I'll admit I've avoided the Staz-On so far because I'd heard you need a specific cleaner for your stamps after use. But once I branch out a little more I will definitely pick some up since I've seen some really great things using vellum and the transparency type paper.

Thanks so much everyone!
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:02 AM   #11  
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One more suggestion:

For very large stamps, I put the inked stamp on the desk, image up, and then lay the paper on top. I then run my fingers over the image to make sure I get good contact. Be careful not to shift the paper.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:14 AM   #12  
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A Muse Studio inks are "embossable" dye ink ... meaning that they will stay wet for a little while so that you can emboss them. But they do dry and do not smear. You get a really nice coverage from them, too, with either clear or red rubber stamps.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:57 AM   #13  
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You are right, you will need Staz-on cleaner for your stamps- beware, it damages acrylic blocks! Makes them go crackled/cloudy. They still work fine, just look not so nice. I don't personally recommend the pale opaque colours they brought out, I never find they print very well. The other colours are great though. Re pigment inks: they are usually on a 'foam' type pad, and it is very easy to over ink your stamp. I always check mine first, especially any excess rubber around the stamp, and clean it off with a baby bud first, so you don't get stray marks where you don't want them. Don't ask how many projects I've ruined that way . Its also worth looking out for the little 'cube' pads, most ink brands have them,they are cheaper as they are smaller, so you get to try out more types of ink for less. Do remember that not all pigment inks will dry without heat setting/embossing, although the Brilliance will. Just leave it long enough not to smudge.
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