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Old 04-08-2016, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default What ink pads would you buy?

I need some advice. I need to purchase new dye ink pads. I have all of the Stampin Up pads from many years ago - did not buy reinkers. They are dry. Do I buy the new foam ones (will buy reinkers no matter what this time) or do I try the hero arts shadow or mama elephant ones that Jennifer McGuire seems to get great results with?

Do I go with the Gina K ones or the Adirondack ones? Should I try one from each to see what I think? I am getting back into stamping after taking a several year-long break. Have already ordered several 4 pks of the Ranger distress inks and I'm ready to rebuild my ink stash.

Am wanting markers, too, I think, so leaning toward Stampin Up. (Not going down the Copic rabbit hole) By the way, I loved the Stampin Up pads and don't care if all my paper exactly matches my inks.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:29 PM   #2
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Gina k are my very favorite and I have several different brands. Very disappointed in Simon Says though I know most people like them. I also like Altenew and my mini Momento dewdrops.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:31 PM   #3
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Ranger's adirondak dye inks have been discontinued. Sorry I can't help with any of other inks you mentioned (except distress) because I haven't used any of them. I'm sure someone here will have good advice for you.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:59 PM   #4
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I recently ordered some SU ink pads to expand my colors for multi-step stamping. I love the foam pads; they provide the best and richest coverage I have ever seen.
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:44 AM   #5
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What I wish I knew before I started buying stuff was the difference between the inks. Maybe that is a place to start. Try the following:

I like and use the Ranger archival and distress inks but that might not be the right ink for what you want to do.

Here's some info about dye inks vs pigment inks.

Ranger Dye Ink Pads vs. Pigment Ink Pads | Ranger Ink and Innovative Craft Products

Jennifer McGuire, uses a lot of different inks and has great blog posts and videos. (I'm a huge fan of hers). These are just of few of her many options (go to her blog and search for more)

My Favorite Crafty Things 2015: INKS + Giveaway - Jennifer McGuire Ink

Video + Ink Comparison: Pigment and Dye Inks - Jennifer McGuire Ink

There are many other great instructors/blogs/etc but these might be a good place to start.

I also took the Tim Holtz online Creative Chemistry 101 class (still available) which provided a lot of great info about inks, other supplies, techniques, etc. and has a lifetime access. Lots of video and PDF's (I printed and put in a binder). I rewatch from time to time. Maybe I should do that soon! Thanks for asking as it reminded me of that resource.

In case you are interested the link is Class Info | Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101 the class is well worth the $35 AND I could easily save that much in purchase mistakes by knowing a bit more before I start buying.

There are other classes that I've taken and liked through that same source: Online Card Classes - workshops and classes for cardmakers

Markers, first of all for me paper really matters. Markers I didn't like so much I found I loved when I used (even cheap) watercolor paper.

I'm not going down the alcohol marker road but I can do shading etc that satisfies me with just watercolor paper, a few markers, a bit of water, a brush, and a paper towel.

I bought the distress markers but really don't think I would have bought the entire set in hindsight, I haven't used them like I thought I would. I found I like the brighter colors better in that line. If you go there (or maybe with any marker) buy one in a color you like and make sure it is something you like and/or would use. Now I will say I use them more when I've been doing some coloring.

I love my Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers, bought the 24 set and added 2 more. Love coloring with those on watercolor paper. I have several large stamps and background stamps I sit and color (and crazy birds). I put a few in a ziplock bag, add a few stamped images (on watercolor paper), a water brush, a regular brush, a bit of paper towel and a small plastic lid to be my water palette for scribbling on and putting drops of water on. Throw that in my purse and I can sit and wait for things, maybe do a few during lunch, and be perfectly happy with the time. They sit on the coffee table and I color as I "watch" tv with my husband.

Good luck, and have a TON OF FUN!

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Old 04-09-2016, 07:45 AM   #6
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What I wish I knew before I started buying stuff was the difference between the inks. Maybe that is a place to start. Try the following:

I like and use the Ranger archival and distress inks but that might not be the right ink for what you want to do.

Here's some info about dye inks vs pigment inks.

Ranger Dye Ink Pads vs. Pigment Ink Pads | Ranger Ink and Innovative Craft Products

Jennifer McGuire, uses a lot of different inks and has great blog posts and videos. (I'm a huge fan of hers). These are just of few of her many options (go to her blog and search for more)

My Favorite Crafty Things 2015: INKS + Giveaway - Jennifer McGuire Ink

Video + Ink Comparison: Pigment and Dye Inks - Jennifer McGuire Ink

There are many other great instructors/blogs/etc but these might be a good place to start.

I also took the Tim Holtz online Creative Chemistry 101 class (still available) which provided a lot of great info about inks, other supplies, techniques, etc. and has a lifetime access. Lots of video and PDF's (I printed and put in a binder). I rewatch from time to time. Maybe I should do that soon! Thanks for asking as it reminded me of that resource.

In case you are interested the link is Class Info | Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101 the class is well worth the $35 AND I could easily save that much in purchase mistakes by knowing a bit more before I start buying.

There are other classes that I've taken and liked through that same source: Online Card Classes - workshops and classes for cardmakers

Markers, first of all for me paper really matters. Markers I didn't like so much I found I loved when I used (even cheap) watercolor paper.

I'm not going down the alcohol marker road but I can do shading etc that satisfies me with just watercolor paper, a few markers, a bit of water, a brush, and a paper towel.

I bought the distress markers but really don't think I would have bought the entire set in hindsight, I haven't used them like I thought I would. I found I like the brighter colors better in that line. If you go there (or maybe with any marker) buy one in a color you like and make sure it is something you like and/or would use. Now I will say I use them more when I've been doing some coloring.

I love my Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers, bought the 24 set and added 2 more. Love coloring with those on watercolor paper. I have several large stamps and background stamps I sit and color (and crazy birds). I put a few in a ziplock bag, add a few stamped images (on watercolor paper), a water brush, a regular brush, a bit of paper towel and a small plastic lid to be my water palette for scribbling on and putting drops of water on. Throw that in my purse and I can sit and wait for things, maybe do a few during lunch, and be perfectly happy with the time. They sit on the coffee table and I color as I "watch" tv with my husband.

Good luck, and have a TON OF FUN!

Barb K
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:27 AM   #7
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Just to let you know, if you like direct to paper with your in pads, it is very difficult to do with the new SU foam pads.
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:31 AM   #8
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Barb K, thanks for some great ideas. I have watched many You tube videos recently to gauge what techniques appeal to me. In the past I have bought every single whatever (marker, stamp pad, stamp set) in a line, only to discover colors I never use and stamps I've never inked. Moving 5 years ago was a wake-up call. Now I am looking at unmouting my wood stamps (wood is heavy!) and have been selling many stamps to make way for new supplies (distress inks and saving up for a big shot - maybe).

Keep the opinions coming ladies!
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:41 AM   #9
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In my opinion, Gina K inks are the best dye ink pads I've ever used.
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:21 PM   #10
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I love the SU foam pads. They are far superior to the old linen pads as far as coverage goes. They also work quite well with photo polymer stamps. Sometimes when you first get them they can be a little too juicy but it's nothing a paper towel can't cure.
My favorite thing about the SU inkpads though is the attached lids. I don't like the ones where the lid comes totally off.
I've heard decent things about Fun Stampers Journey inks (they are a hybrid) but I have never tried them.
Oh, SU now has an archival black and archival gray inkpads that are EXCELLENT and come in the same style case as their other inks.
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:25 PM   #11
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I used the MFT pads in a Nicole Peterson workshop and they were really nice...black and brown. For black, I have a variety of brands from Distress, Versafine, Versamark, Stazon, Memento. All kinds and varieties.
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:33 PM   #12
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I used the MFT pads in a Nicole Peterson workshop and they were really nice...black and brown. For black, I have a variety of brands from Distress, Versafine, Versamark, Stazon, Memento. All kinds and varieties.
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Old 04-09-2016, 01:47 PM   #13
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I use Momento and Papertrey Ink mostly, but I do not have the new PTI. I also have SU! MFT and Gina K, but wouldn't say they are my go to. I just ordered some of the Altenew color families to try. I like how they are sold in color families. I would say try some cubes and see what you like best. Everyone has their favorites, and of course designers are going to push those they design for.
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Old 04-09-2016, 01:52 PM   #14
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I have a mixed selection of dye inks. I've never been able to settle on one brand.

SU - I have about fifteen of their "new" pads. I like them well enough. I especially love how the pads are constructed, with the hinged top.

Ranger Adirondack - had high hopes, but don't love them. Someone said they are discontinuing? I won't miss them.

Papertrey Ink - I don't have many of these, but the ones I have I like a lot. If I were to go on a dye ink buying spree, I'd probably buy more of them.

Hero Arts Shadow Inks - I happen to like these. I have had trouble with some of the lighter colors drying out quickly. But they do stamp well. They look a bit blotchy at first, but as they dry they even out. At least that has been my experience.

Distress Inks - I don't often use these for stamping, but I have almost all the colors and use them for techniques constantly. Lots of people love them for stamping.

I have to say that I use fluid chalk inks a lot when I stamp in color, I just like the coverage. And also that I love Versafine Ink tremendously, it's the best detail ink out there. Also Ranger Archival. But those are not dye inks.

Markers - Distress markers and Zig Real Brush. I don't need more than that. If I could use alcohol markers (or any solvent/alcohol ink), I'd definitely be collecting Copics, but I can't, so I'm saved from that addiction/obsession/money pit. Sometimes I see that as a good thing, but mostly it annoys me that I can't use them.
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Old 04-09-2016, 02:52 PM   #15
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I sold all my SU ink pads (both varieties) last year, along with all the SU cardstock. I found I really love PTI's inks and heavier card stock. Now that I've converted to photopolymer stamps, I've found that PTI gives the best coverage. (I've tried the Hero Arts, too, but they really stained my PP stamps badly!) And PTI does not retire their colors. I do have a few COPICs now. I purchased the Sketch Trios, and found this to be a great way to experiment. It's hard to compare them to anything else...they really are special, even if they're pricey. (dickblick usually has the best prices).
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Old 04-09-2016, 02:54 PM   #16
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I just watched one of the Altenew blog hop videos and the designer was useing several brands and said she buys the colors she likes, so why buy all the colors from just one company. I thought that sounds like what I do. And I love that some companies have cubes so you can try them. I tend to buy lots of cubes. They are great to travel with and for storage.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:34 PM   #17
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I honestly do not use many colored inks... because, I like to color. So for me I would buy a handful of colors to use for outlines (black, brown, gray, green) if you like to color and splurge on the markers. even if you are just scribbling them on something non porous to watercolor with.

I do have the majority of the distress pads and I find I use those more than say SU dye pads.
( I do not have the new style pads if I like a new color I buy several re inkers and ink a blank pad that is same style as their old original pads)
I *think* I got them from blockhead stamps? ( a very long time ago ) but, when I googled it gave me a bunch of links to amazon.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:59 AM   #18
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Do you still have the old SU pads? I've had luck with Ranger ink refresher-$5.00. You may be able to save some of those pads!
I like my SU linen pads just as well as the foam. I don't plan on replacing any linen pads.

I love my SU markers-I've gotten tons of use out of them over the years.

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Old 04-10-2016, 04:08 AM   #19
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Also, I'd just buy re-inkers for any linen pads that are still current. But I'm practical that way!!!
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:58 AM   #20
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You can't go wrong with SU pads. The majority of my inks are SU, followed by Papertrey Ink and Ranger dye inks--I had to buy reinkers for the ranger inks immediately because all the pads were on the dry side. I'm intrigued with ALtenew's ink and will get some of those eventually.
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:53 AM   #21
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I am not brand loyal...I am loyal to me. It's my piggybank having the whoogies and me sitting at the desk having to use them.

I have the Distress line as my base and then I go after colors I like as long as I hear the line is working well so it's a hodge podge.
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Old 04-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allistamps123 View Post
Also, I'd just buy re-inkers for any linen pads that are still current. But I'm practical that way!!!
I actually have a bottle of the ink refresher on the way! Unfortunately, there are only a handful of ink colors still current, but I guess that would maybe extend a few pads while I space out new purchases. Wish Stampin Up still did the spots.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:04 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbystamper View Post
I actually have a bottle of the ink refresher on the way! Unfortunately, there are only a handful of ink colors still current, but I guess that would maybe extend a few pads while I space out new purchases. Wish Stampin Up still did the spots.
You could try postingin the ISO (In search of) thread under the Buy/Sell/Trade forum, that you are looking for SU reinkers and list the colors.


I always buy a reinker with the pad. Yesterday I used up the last drop of my long-retired Certainly Celery reinker. I am very sad.
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:28 PM   #24
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I wish there was a surefire answer to this question because it's getting expensive for me!

I have been following the Laura Bassen advice in the recent Altenew blog hop video and buying colors that I like first, followed by formulation. Now I have a hodgepodge, and many of the ink pads I've purchased after the trial pad purchase act differently even though they're from the same line! Which is super frustrating. Trial SSS premium dye ink pad, excellent. The next SSS premium dye pad purchase: splotchy.

Jennifer McGuire gets excellent results with every ink she demonstrates , in every color and every formulation. I don't really know how she does it. I've bought a few inks she has recommended and so far have not gotten the same results, even on a variety of papers using a similar type of stamp. I get the best results with chalk ink so I've been been investing in more of those, though that ink has its drawbacks as well.

So I keep hoping that I'll find a dye ink that a) comes in beautiful colors and b) provides smooth even rich coverage even with clear stamps. I hope I'm not hunting for a unicorn

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Old 04-10-2016, 03:28 PM   #25
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I'm going to break down and get a MISTI soon, only for the reason that you can stamp multiple times if necessary to get a good, rich, even color.
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Old 04-10-2016, 04:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkstieber View Post
In my opinion, Gina K inks are the best dye ink pads I've ever used.
I now have all of Gina K's ink pads and have never had to reink even after several years. The colors are beautiful and cover wonderfully. I have LOTS of Stampin Up and found I needed to buy re-inkers for them and re-ink often. The newest foam pads seem to be better but the oldest flip top's I've had for 18 years and only re-inked a few times. The next style they came up with I had to re-ink almost every time I used them. That is why I switched to Gina K. I can match my Stampin Up markers easily with Gina K. Not exact but I do not need "exact." Same with S Up cardstock with Gina K.
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:31 PM   #27
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Quote:
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I'm going to break down and get a MISTI soon, only for the reason that you can stamp multiple times if necessary to get a good, rich, even color.
It is good for that, but depending on the formulation and how many times you stamp, the impression can start to get thick with ink, with a blurred outline Still better than the alternatives, for sure.
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:33 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illinois Marge View Post
You could try postingin the ISO (In search of) thread under the Buy/Sell/Trade forum, that you are looking for SU reinkers and list the colors.


I always buy a reinker with the pad. Yesterday I used up the last drop of my long-retired Certainly Celery reinker. I am very sad.
I only have about 5 pieces of Certainly Celery CS left and a full reinker. Maybe I should sell it!
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Old 04-10-2016, 10:23 PM   #29
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The good thing is that we have lots of choices. The bad thing is that there are too many choices. I feel that I am also looking for the holy grail. I just want all one company's ink and they work well and consistently. I hear so much about SU but I can't stand the way it opens.
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Old 04-20-2016, 05:12 PM   #30
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I have all the PTI inks. Some are great, some colors not so much. I really like the Hero Arts shadow inks. I just wish they had reinkers. Most of the colors don't. I am thinking of buying Lawn Fawn die inks since they have refills. So far I have bought two of these and they stamp very well. They seem to be the most like the shadow inks. They are both made by Stewart Superior. There is a video that Jennifer McGuire did yesterday using a versa mark pad to condition stamps to get a better image. I have had good luck with that. Memento dye inks are pretty good although I don't think their colors are as interesting. Their greens are good though and they have reinkers. I have one Simon Says Stamp dye pad and it does well. I only use Distress for ink blending and watercoloring.
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:36 AM   #31
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Speaking of ink, can anyone tell me why my Early Expresso ink on foam pad looks almost black not dark brown. I bought it about 18 months ago and after 6 months no longer could use it as a brown. I have not experienced this with their other inks.
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Old 04-21-2016, 02:53 PM   #32
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I do not believe that there is a perfect ink, particularly since different people get different results with the exact same ink and paper. Some of it has to do with how we press and sometimes an ink pad can differ even though it is the same color and the same brand.

Plus, even if you like the way a particular brand covers, you may prefer another brand's color palette.

Some of the brands mentioned in this thread did not work for me at all. Very expensive mistake. however, others here love them.

So I would recommend trying out a small selection before committing to one brand or using a variety of brands. I ended up using a variety of brands. I do use colored cardstock but rarely as a base, so if I can't get a perfect match, I color cardstock strips with the ink pads.

Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:51 PM   #33
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I just re-read this thread and did not see anyone comment on Wplus9 inks. They sure have some pretty colors. Sometimes I read so many blogs/watch so many videos about something that it all runs together or I forget!!!! I forgot if Jennifer Maguire mentioned them or not. Anyone remember? Also, I'm indexing my ink pads by color and also by brand. I was amazed at how many blues I had. I had a lot fewer reds and pinks than I thought I would. Interesting...
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:16 PM   #34
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I was wondering that too. I suspect because of the packaging that they are made by Stewart Superior. I saw two colors demoed today. I thunk I might have to buy an inkpad called piggy. How cool is that? There was a nice looking green too. Anyone using these?
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Old 04-25-2016, 04:54 AM   #35
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Whatever brand you choose, I would go with the ink cubes vs. the full size pad. With the smaller cubes, you will definitely need the reinkers.

I have a bottle of refresher, and it is good in a pinch when you don't have a reinker.

If you don't have Versafine Onyx already, you need it! I use it on just about every card.
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:24 PM   #36
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I agree about Versafine Onyx. I use Versafine in the colors of Spanish Moss and Smokey Gray for Sentiments also. There are a few other colors but I don't have them. Jennifer McGuire did demo the WPlus9 in an older video and said their dye inks are the same formulation as HeroArts. Reinkers are available. I may get Falling Star also. The colors I want are out of stock right now. I think SSS sells them too.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:46 PM   #37
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I mostly use SU inks. I recently started collecting and using the distress inks which I love on watercolor paper.

I must have a long memory for being burned. After buying several PTI pads and having them be basically worthless, I'm not willing to spend my money with that company anymore. They don't stand behind their product, or at least they didn't several years ago when I was a customer.....so buyer beware.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:58 PM   #38
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I understand what you are saying about standing behind product. I started ordering from PTI long after the ink meltdown. I know people who were justifiably upset about that and stopped ordering.
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:29 PM   #39
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I recently tried my cubes of versatile colors. So rich Color. No splotch ink. and easy and juicy. I have a chance to buy several old SU pads cheap. Debating about getting them. Definitely going to try one cube set from altenew when I order stamps from them next time
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:03 AM   #40
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I am still using my original SU pads, purchased in 2001. The reds are starting to get a weird film on them but all the rest work great on rubber. The newer foam pads work better with clear stamps. If you can get the reinkers as well, I think the old pads are great.
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