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Old 06-19-2021, 10:35 AM   #1  
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Default Newbie needs help with inks choice

Hi. I’m a newbie and need help choosing my first inks. The number of ink types and brands that are available is staggering. My primary short term uses will be shading cards and stamping. I’d like to heat-set some inks. So I’m pretty sure that I will be buying multiple types of inks from multiple brands. So, to get started…
  • What are your favorite inks - brands and types?
  • What do you use them for?
I appreciate any advice you can offer.

Thanks and regards,

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Old 06-19-2021, 01:30 PM   #2  
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Here's a link to an earlier conversation about this subject.So many ink options



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Old 06-19-2021, 05:03 PM   #3  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by odie1View Post
Here's a link to an earlier conversation about this subject.So many ink options
Thanks odie1. I’m looking at now and taking notes.

Best regards.

Dan
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:33 PM   #4  
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my go to is Versafine Clair Nocturn, now this one you can heat set, and its got that waterproof thing going on when its completely dry. ( you can cover it with embossing powder before heat setting if you want)
the only thing with the versafine line is it never dries on coated slick papers so, you have to heat set it with embossing powder on a glossy sheet. The newer clair versions have more colors than the original versafine line.

the cool part about it is the waterproof thing, but that being said I mainly color with pencils and or lately its been watercoloring. what I like about this ink is its crisp and holds details of finer detailed images.

the con for this ink is if you intend to color with alcohol based markers ( such as copic) you will probably smear it if you get the marker too close to the line. (they make dye pads for coloring with those markers something along the lines of Memento tuxedo black will work)

for colored inks my thing the last few years has been hands down distress oxide inks, they blend well and the reactive to water feature makes them fun for me. ( I do not have all the colors in oxides like I used to collect them in regular distress inks but, I find when new colors come out I only pick them up in oxides)

the one type I find very limiting is the plain pigment inks they have their uses but, for me I just do not use them. So, over time I have re-gifted most of the ones I had and or the ones people buy for me as gifts "because, I am a stamper" and they are excited they found some on the shelf at the store..

the other thing that is really handy is a versamark pad, this can be used for watermarking a design on colored cardstock and its sticky so embossing powders will stick to it for heat setting easily.

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Old 06-20-2021, 05:51 AM   #5  
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Everybody has their own ideas about inks and many videos are available. If I were starting over, I would choose a line that had many colors. I have a lot of photopolymer stamps and these seem to stamp well on foam ink pads. Catherine Pooler would be my choice, if I were starting over. She has her line on foam pads, like Stampin up has, has re-inkers, and mini-stamp pads that are also foam. She also has the water reactive properties and uses direct-to-paper for most ideas. She doesn't sell matching cardstock as she is using direct-to-paper. My ink world is full of Gina K Designs, Lawn Fawn, Memento, and Stampin Up. I have so many that I make what I have work.
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:17 AM   #6  
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Stacy, Lisa,

Many thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned above, “Ink” is a very complex topic. Add the number of types, colors, and other attributes to the different types of paper and the different uses, it’s very confusing. I’m buying many of the ones you’ve suggested to test them.

Again, thanks for your recommendations.

Best regards,

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Old 06-22-2021, 08:21 AM   #7  
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I don't envy you starting out with a gazillion choices in inks! For blending, as you mentioned, Distress inks really are the "go to" inks most everyone has...both the regular Distress and the newer Oxides. Check out Tim Holtz's Youtube videos...he's great with very instructional videos!

Versamark is absolutely an ink we all have! Black inks vary as to what you want to do (watercolor, Copic friendly, etc)... but my basic go-to, all time favorite, is Versafine Onyx Black. Memento Tuxedo Black, and Hero Arts Black are dye inks for use with watercolor & Copics.

Catherine Pooler inks seem to be very popular now...again, look at some Youtube reviews...VERY helpful! Also, Gina K & Altenew inks are well thought of too...although I have some of Altenew & I'm not terribly impressed. Thinking of trying some of Catherine Poolers.

The additional problem is that there is always something new on the market! It gets expensive...be warned! Always check Amazon for availability and prices too, as well as the big box stores.
Have fun...you don't need them all!!
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:56 AM   #8  
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I think most people has the Ranger Distress and Ranger Oxide inks in their stash. Another go to is Versafine for inking sentiments and Altnew for sentiments which can be messy on hands but always a must is a stamping tool for stamping sentiments and images. I use the Ranger for sponging or brushing on something to look distress. Always have Memento Black Tuxedo to stamp when coloring the images with ink pens since the ink won't bleed into the coloring.
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:33 AM   #9  
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Mphb, Nancy,

Thanks for the recommendations. I have some Ranger, Versafine, and VersaMark.

What makes this more complex is that I have a bunch of water color, ink-based pastels, pastel pencils, soft pastels, and pan pastels. And multiple types of art pencils and pens, including charcoals, color pencils, pastel pencils and a few Copic markers. Add to that are three printers, including a very nice 8-color, semi-pro, Epson printer that I love. That said…

One of my goals is to leverage at least some of these tools with my new card-making art. I hope it’s feasible, but I’m worried about bleeding and other incompatibilities.

So that’s my challenge - making all of this work together.

Best regards,

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Old 06-22-2021, 11:58 AM   #10  
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You can never go wrong with Copic Markers and these markers go well with Memento Black Tuxedo ink and not the others for bleeding. Actually, if you just want one black ink, the Memento would be diversified in everything. The others are okay and the VersaMark embossing ink is good along with any pigment ink as well for embossing with embossing powder. Never can go wrong with Epson EcoTank which I highly recommend especially if you need to copy pattern paper when it is two-sided or need and I use Neenah White Solar smooth paper. What other incompatibilities are you concern with at this time. There are certain stamps like Lavina Stamps that do better with Versafine but also if you have trouble inking these stamps, try washing them with Dawn soap since new stamps still have some oil on them.
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Old 06-22-2021, 01:49 PM   #11  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nancy on PrairieView Post
You can never go wrong with Copic Markers and these markers go well with Memento Black Tuxedo ink and not the others for bleeding. Actually, if you just want one black ink, the Memento would be diversified in everything. The others are okay and the VersaMark embossing ink is good along with any pigment ink as well for embossing with embossing powder. Never can go wrong with Epson EcoTank which I highly recommend especially if you need to copy pattern paper when it is two-sided or need and I use Neenah White Solar smooth paper. What other incompatibilities are you concern with at this time. There are certain stamps like Lavina Stamps that do better with Versafine but also if you have trouble inking these stamps, try washing them with Dawn soap since new stamps still have some oil on them.
Nancy,

Again, thanks for the feedback.

I just ordered the Memento Tuxedo Black and VersaFine Onyx Black to try them out, and compare with the Ranger VersaMark Archival Ink. This is being added to some distress and distress oxide inks, and VersaFine Clair inks.

On the printers…

When I bought my last to inkjet printers, I considered an Epson EcoTank. But I decided to go big and I needed a large format all-in-one. Attached are two pics. The first is the Epson WF-7520 All-In-One. It handles 11X17 scans/copies, and prints. The second is the Epson Stylus Pro 3880. It prints 17X22 from the hopper, and up to 17X34 from the other feeder slots.

Obviously, I don’t need printer the size of these to work with smaller media. But this is what I have now and they work well.

Thanks for tip about washing stamps with Dawn. I’ll keep that in mind with now stamps.

Best regards,

Dan.

p.s. Sorry about the flipped pic. It was in the correct orientation on my system. I’m not sure why it’s flipped after upload.
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Newbie needs help with inks choice-99e8b0af-6a7d-40ca-b1ff-f6fd0f3d7737.jpg   Newbie needs help with inks choice-48edb3ec-a6bb-4d75-af03-ed406fa2bc1b.jpg  
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Old 06-22-2021, 02:17 PM   #12  
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Just adding my two cents...Every stamper needs a Versamark pad -- it's essential. I prefer Versafine Onyx Black for all my black stamping except when I am using Copics (I don't watercolor or use water based markers so I don't know if that's an issue), That pad give the sharpest stamping of any ink I have used. I have tried several inks for my Copics, including Memento, but I prefer Lawn Fawn Jet Black. I know others have had really good success with Memento so I am not voting against it but I didn't really care for it. I love the DOX for blending as well, but if you plan to stamp an image on it later, it reacts to those inks and you often loose the crispness of the stamp. I have started using some Catherine Pooler inks lately and they are the small group I have are very vivid and good for blending. I think many lines of ink have similar properties. Good luck. It is a bit daunting but if you don't mind collecting ink pads it can be fun too. P.S. I love all the questions you have been asking here. I'm learning tons along with you.
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Old 06-26-2021, 07:14 PM   #13  
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When it comes to inks when you are new...my best advice is this-it will be long. Feel free to skip bits.

1) Write good NOTES on all kinds of inks and how they can be used- dye, pigment, permanent (ie stazon), hybrids, alcohol (not just pens) etc. This will be invaluable to you down the road when you get confused bc we all have and still do at times. Don't assume you will remember. Better to have too much info than miss an important bit. To know everything an ink type can do...watch vids on that particular kind. Dedicated is better than comparisons bc comparisons tend to be limited to basic functions. On the other hand, comparison on black inks can be very useful. Or comparisons within an ink type-like different brands of dye inks.

For example...many people dont realize water based inks can be used like a watercolor paint. (albeit far thinner and lighter)

Sites I like to look at
Craft test dummies
Craft Test Dummies – The Crafting Blog for Crafters by Jenny Barnett Rohrs – The Crafting Blog for Crafters, By Crafters

Jennifer McGuire-she will call it her favorite things...what's good is she will show you sample cards so you see how they perform.

https://www.jennifermcguireink.com/

If you want to see good stuff specifically on distress oxide inks...Werner did a whole series on all the colors and how they can play together on color boards. She also does mail art-meaning she decorates envelopes if that ever interests you.

https://www.kwernerdesign.com/blog/?...e+ink+blending

I say this because ink is a DEEP rabbit hole. It gets pricey even to just collect one brand of one type of ink if they have 20 plus colors. Plus re-inkers. Some people (ie me) like inks that have re-inkers-not only so I dont get caught out in the middle of a run...but also because you can play with the reinkers themselves. Plus it is much cheaper to re-ink you pads a number of times than keep buying new pads.

2) Also very important.....paper plays a big role in how well your inks will perform. So if you are willing to have a bunch of different kinds of paper, then you are good to go with different inks.

ie alcohol inks (ranger-not pens) work best on glossy or photo paper or yupo although the results are a little different/personal taste. They want a low/non absorbing surface so you can play with them and get effects.

3) You sound like you want to be able to combine your pastels with inks. In that case honestly I would talk to art store staff. I don't know about pastels...last time I used them was decades ago and the problem was that they can rub off on your fingers-not great for cards which get handled. But we have lots of people here....I might guess our artist in residence Dina Kowel who works with a lot of mediums might be able to help you with that. You can PM her here. You might be able to use a fixative to seal them?

4) Alcohol ink pens....hugely popular are Copics-which btw the Fashion Institute (college) here mandates their students buy which I find crazy as they are expensive. ($1500 the whole set) And you have to maintain them-the nibs and refilling them. (which a friend tells me she does by weighing the pens) BUT they also blend beautifully if you learn to master them and there are courses to do that. There are cheaper ones around. I have seen amazing cards here.

How well they will blend will depend on your paper.

5) I have samples of all my inks.
a) I am a sample freak. I do it on 2 x 2 pieces of CS in plastic pages with pockets.
b) A lot of the inks are made by the same factories so different companies can have the same color w different names under their brand. Samples help me ID that and also colors I dont have yet.
c) Some companies do have custom colors.
d) Some companies create color groups...sometimes specifically if they sell layered stamps. The idea is use this 3 color set to create your layered pansies or whatever. Ie Altenew. I see a lot of people like that brand.

That last bit was a demo of it depends on how you want to use them. I might start out with just a few complementary colors in each type of ink and play with them.

I will leave which brands to other people. Hope something there helps.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:34 PM   #14  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by wavejumperView Post
When it comes to inks when you are new...my best advice is this-it will be long. Feel free to skip bits.

1) Write good NOTES on all kinds of inks and how they can be used- dye, pigment, permanent (ie stazon), hybrids, alcohol (not just pens) etc. This will be invaluable to you down the road when you get confused bc we all have and still do at times. Don't assume you will remember. Better to have too much info than miss an important bit. To know everything an ink type can do...watch vids on that particular kind. Dedicated is better than comparisons bc comparisons tend to be limited to basic functions. On the other hand, comparison on black inks can be very useful. Or comparisons within an ink type-like different brands of dye inks.

For example...many people dont realize water based inks can be used like a watercolor paint. (albeit far thinner and lighter)

Sites I like to look at
Craft test dummies
Craft Test Dummies – The Crafting Blog for Crafters by Jenny Barnett Rohrs – The Crafting Blog for Crafters, By Crafters

Jennifer McGuire-she will call it her favorite things...what's good is she will show you sample cards so you see how they perform.

https://www.jennifermcguireink.com/

If you want to see good stuff specifically on distress oxide inks...Werner did a whole series on all the colors and how they can play together on color boards. She also does mail art-meaning she decorates envelopes if that ever interests you.

https://www.kwernerdesign.com/blog/?...e+ink+blending

I say this because ink is a DEEP rabbit hole. It gets pricey even to just collect one brand of one type of ink if they have 20 plus colors. Plus re-inkers. Some people (ie me) like inks that have re-inkers-not only so I dont get caught out in the middle of a run...but also because you can play with the reinkers themselves. Plus it is much cheaper to re-ink you pads a number of times than keep buying new pads.

2) Also very important.....paper plays a big role in how well your inks will perform. So if you are willing to have a bunch of different kinds of paper, then you are good to go with different inks.

ie alcohol inks (ranger-not pens) work best on glossy or photo paper or yupo although the results are a little different/personal taste. They want a low/non absorbing surface so you can play with them and get effects.

3) You sound like you want to be able to combine your pastels with inks. In that case honestly I would talk to art store staff. I don't know about pastels...last time I used them was decades ago and the problem was that they can rub off on your fingers-not great for cards which get handled. But we have lots of people here....I might guess our artist in residence Dina Kowel who works with a lot of mediums might be able to help you with that. You can PM her here. You might be able to use a fixative to seal them?

4) Alcohol ink pens....hugely popular are Copics-which btw the Fashion Institute (college) here mandates their students buy which I find crazy as they are expensive. ($1500 the whole set) And you have to maintain them-the nibs and refilling them. (which a friend tells me she does by weighing the pens) BUT they also blend beautifully if you learn to master them and there are courses to do that. There are cheaper ones around. I have seen amazing cards here.

How well they will blend will depend on your paper.

5) I have samples of all my inks.
a) I am a sample freak. I do it on 2 x 2 pieces of CS in plastic pages with pockets.
b) A lot of the inks are made by the same factories so different companies can have the same color w different names under their brand. Samples help me ID that and also colors I dont have yet.
c) Some companies do have custom colors.
d) Some companies create color groups...sometimes specifically if they sell layered stamps. The idea is use this 3 color set to create your layered pansies or whatever. Ie Altenew. I see a lot of people like that brand.

That last bit was a demo of it depends on how you want to use them. I might start out with just a few complementary colors in each type of ink and play with them.

I will leave which brands to other people. Hope something there helps.
Margot

Many thanks for the great post! I’ll reply more tomorrow morning.

Best regards,

Dan.
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Old 06-29-2021, 05:40 AM   #15  
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Dan, definitely check out a hybrid ink pad for use with the different art media you mentioned - I have a review on the Impression Obsession branded ones, but most with this same case design are from the same manufacturer and have about the same properties. They are waterproof and solvent-proof, so no worries about smearing or bleeding.

https://www.dinakowalcreative.com/20...brid-inks
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Old 06-30-2021, 04:28 AM   #16  
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Hey, Dan!
Like you don’t already have more than enough advice here. I’ve spent (and wasted) a good deal of money on inks I didn’t love and eventually tossed or gave away.
So, I say: Start small; start neutral.

The colors I absolutely use the most are black and brown. I have a few different types of blacks and browns, because I need them to serve a number of different purposes. Over the years I’ve collected (and use) black in Stayzon, Archival (was colorbox wicked black, now whatever Ranger’s archival black is called), and Memento tuxedo black (which must be well-inked to be of any use).

I have not found another brown to replace my favorite that is no longer made. I’ve tried versaclair, memento, ranger, Gina K, and Stampin Up dark browns that are still available, and they’re all just not quite right. But passable.

My other colors (that I actually use) are a hodge podge of brands of small dye ink pads from Gina K, Stampin up and memento, because they had colors I liked. I went ahead recently and bought reinkiers from Stampin up and use them on the closest color pads I have, because those colors don’t need to be “just perfect” matches for my work. I also have some kaliadoscope pads, that I use.

It sounds like you have many non-ink colorants already. Start small; start neutral with the inks you buy to incorporate into your world of supplies and techniques. It’s tempting to just go out and buy a bunch of stuff. And to end up with just STUFF that you don’t use. See how your gorgeous colorants work with a black OR brown in a permanent, dye and archival formula from your local big box store. You’ll drop less than $25, and really be able to push the supplies you have to see what you even like doing with those supplies and how they work together.

Have FUN!
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:19 AM   #17  
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I love Tim Holtz oxides because of their pastel look. I also love Gina k designs inks especially for blending. Have a bunch of old Stampin UP inks which I still use. I use versafine for detail stamps.

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Old 07-01-2021, 05:36 AM   #18  
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Oh...and I forgot...think about storage. Some companies are coming out with mini pads which of course have to get inked more often but also can do more detail work like if you want to use more than one color on a stamp and dont have ink pens. (yes some come in pens like memento) Where are you keeping your pads? Stacked in a drawer? In a dedicated holder on the wall?

For minis there is a drawer insert from that Jennifer McGuire designed for them
https://www.organizemore.com/product...scid=71k5_hpw5

And I just found this one which is cheaper
https://www.stampnstorage.com/mini-ink-cube-grid/

Or like many people you may make your own or re-purpose other storage items. FYI...while it seems like they should work...the old wood cases for cassettes do NOT fit most regular ink pads. I know, I tried.

It is true that if you like the pastel look...distress oxides could be right up your alley. Good point.
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:59 AM   #19  
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There are so many more inks out there now than when I started more than 20 years ago. Then it was dye inks and pigment inks, and I still thought it was confusing. Now, as stated already, there are so many more. I actually stick with dye inks ( I use Stampin' Up, as I like their cardstock and their ink, markers ribbons, etc. all match). I use this ink for stamping, blending with sponges, brushes, watercoloring and background techniques. I think a beginner could get by with just these, a Versamark pad for heat embossing, metallic pigment inks for pizzaz and a couple neutral permanent inks for stamping images for watercoloring. However, there are so many other exciting things to do, and others have explained that. But I think as you get into it, you will discover what you like. Start small so you don't have drawers full of product you don't use. I have given away all my distress inks---ordinary dye inks work better for me, my Staz-on inks have also gone to others (hate the smell and the cleaner is too toxic) and I'm considering throwing out the majority of pigment inks that I don't use much anymore. Sounds like you have pastels and colored pencils, so that along with the inks I mentioned can stamp and color most images and fill the needs of most techniques. I don't do well blending with markers---either water-based or alcohol based, but have them for other techniques. Good luck in your quest. You couldn't have come to a better place than SCS to get helpful answers and support.
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lylacfey (07-01-2021)
Old 07-01-2021, 11:58 PM   #20  
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Welcome!
I have said this so many times that it feels like you need a Ph.D to pick out stamp inks. The sheer vastness is overwhelming.
The best advice I ever got was by inks from one manufacturer. All these companies buy inks from only three different manufacturer's. There was a fourth but I don't think they are around anymore. I could be mistaken and they just rebranded. That advice helped me a lot. Keep it simple and expand as you grow more into your own stamping personality.
I agree wholeheartedly with jeanne3579 advice.
I stick with dye inks because you can make them act like other specialty inks. Need pigment ink- load your stamps with Versamark then dye ink. Need your inks to behave like Distress buy artists mediums, mainly watercolor mediums and you now have your own version of Distress inks.
These are my musts- Different black inks for the coloring mediums I will use. Now, you don't need to buy a variety of different black inks if you are planning to use only one coloring medium. I use a variety and this works for me.
Versamark is a must. Heat embossing is my first love.
I forgot to add, so I am editing, that I also use a white pigment ink for stamping. I like to use white in my creations. This is not a must have but one that I feel like gets overlooked when trying to decide on your first ink pad purchases.
Then last but not least dye inks. Buy dye inks in colors you know you will use. I have a variety of colors because that works for me. There are stampers who only need three colors. HTH!
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DebbieinOC (07-02-2021)
Old 07-02-2021, 05:58 AM   #21  
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Great advice lylacfey! How could I forget white pigment ink?! I use it all the time. Like you, I love heat embossing, so have lots of colors of powder.
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lylacfey (07-05-2021)
Old 07-03-2021, 04:18 AM   #22  
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In my professional life, I am a children's Librarian. For over 30 years my go-to black in is Carter's Neat-Flo Stamp pad ink and re-inker. There isn't a thing I haven't used this on. My desk, papers, due dates, my many outfits, and lots of kiddo's hands with a great job for returning your library book stamp. I don't mess with any other inks in black. Oh yes, I have used this ink with embossing powders. You just need to be quick. Ok, that's one drawback.
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:36 PM   #23  
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Versamark is a must have for embossing. Years ago I started with Ranger Distress Inks and it was one of the best investments I ever made in crafting tools. I like Ranger Archival Inks also, but they are not alcohol ink friendly. About 2 years ago I made the decision to but Altenew inks in the mini cubes. I like the gradient colors for layering stamos, and they are just nice inks. I recommend the cubes if you really just want to try out different brands. You can always buy the full size pad of your favorites.
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Old 07-05-2021, 11:02 PM   #24  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mischelle1View Post
In my professional life, I am a children's Librarian. For over 30 years my go-to black in is Carter's Neat-Flo Stamp pad ink and re-inker. There isn't a thing I haven't used this on. My desk, papers, due dates, my many outfits, and lots of kiddo's hands with a great job for returning your library book stamp. I don't mess with any other inks in black. Oh yes, I have used this ink with embossing powders. You just need to be quick. Ok, that's one drawback.
I can't remember if it was over here or where I read it. There is a long time stamping star that uses office ink as her primary black ink. I can't remember her name. I am so sorry if she posts here. I truly forgot her name.
I started stamping a billion years ago when that was the only ink around was office inks. I have fond memories of stamping with that ink.
Creations I have given to people as gifts over the years with that ink has stood the test of time.
Inspired by that story I bought some office ink recently. I have been enjoying stamping with it.
You have the best job in the world. I haven't gone to the library since the pandemic started. I miss it a lot. I miss watching the kids with their large stack of books. The excitement they have for all their new found book adventures.
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Old 07-08-2021, 01:37 PM   #25  
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Still more great feedback!

Many thanks,

Dan.
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