It can be very confusing to look at all of the different types of ink and try to decide which one you need. I know when I first started using stamps I just though I would pick out a few colors I liked and start stamping.

I quickly realized that the inks I had purchased (on sale, of course) were all very different. I hope I can help clear up the confusion for a few of you so that you make wise purchases. 


A dye ink in a basic color, such as black or brown, is a great choice if you are just starting out. Dye inks dry quickly, soak into porous surfaces, and have a matte finish. This makes them great for scrapbook pages, and card making, as you don't have to wait for them to dry before completing your project. Of course dye inks come in tons of colors, but if you are going to buy just one, make it a great neutral color.


Pigment inks stay wet longer than dye inks, which makes them great for heat embossing, and adding glitter and shine to a project. Pigment inks come in a variety of wonderful colors, as well as clear.

Using a clear pigment ink allows you to use colored embossing powders for a great raised, shiny look.


StayzOn ink is a great solvent ink that allows you to stamp on non-porous surfaces. Do you want to stamp "Happy  Halloween" on plastic treat bags? StayzOn will do the trick without smearing. Do not use this ink on fabric, but it works well on plastic, glass, metal, and more. 



This is an important ink to have if you want to color your stamped image using alcohol markers. Alcohol markers create a wonderful look, with blending, shading, and highlighting.

If you use alcohol markers with other inks they can smear the image, and possibly ruin the tips (nibs) of your markers. Again, I would stick with your favorite neutral color. Yes, Memento is another type of dye ink, but the formulation is slightly different, making it the choice for people who enjoy alcohol markers. 


Tim Holtz is the master of distress inks. They are now offered in mini ink pads, packaged in sets. These are great for giving an aged, vintage, or grunge look to your art.

 Tim Holtz also has a line of distress markers. These markers make it easy to add different colors by writing directly onto your stamp. They are also great for filling in a stamped image with color.

Since they are water based, the colors can be mixed for  different looks. You will not get a crisp, clear image with distress inks, but if you are looking for a more vintage look, this is the ink for you.

Have I left one of your favorites inks off the list? Do you have a question about ink? Comment below and let me know. 

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