Ink – Stamping

How many black ink pads can one own? I have at least six different black ink pads – all for different reasons! Plus there are other inks such as Versamark and white pigment which are considered staples in my craft room. In this article, we will explore the different ink pads that form the basic toolkit for successful stamping.

Please be aware that good quality photopolymer stamps WILL STAIN – this simply means they are taking on the ink and will stamp beautifully. One thing you can do to prevent some staining is to stamp it first with Versamark ink or another light coloured ink to ‘season’ it. I will also provide information below about stamp cleaners.

For ink and foam storage solutions, you can check out my Ink Storage in my craft room.

Acrylic Blocks

Before we get started with the inks, I will share here my favourite acrylic blocks. Inexpensive acrylic blocks are available in little sets throughout our NZ craft stores and they are perfect for starting out in stamping. However, I much prefer thicker blocks with a curved edge for comfort as I do a lot of stamping and here are my picks:

Stampin Up! has a brilliant range of acrylic blocks, available for purchase singly. They are thick blocks with curved edges making stamping a whole lot easier.

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Catherine Pooler has a small range of acrylic blocks, also with curved edges. They are not as thick as the Stampin Up! blocks, but they do have the added advantage of GRID LINES – perfect for lining up those long pesky sentiments.
Gina K Designs has released a new set of acrylic blocks with curved edges and GRID LINES

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Black Ink

Not all black inks are created equally. Depending on what you want to do with your stamped image, you need to start with the correct ink. Below, we will look at which inks are best suited to use for colouring with watercolour or alcohol markers, which will work successfully on different surfaces and which are good all rounders.

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Ribbon Rose


Widely available in New Zealand craft stores, the Memento Tuxedo Black is a great black ink for stamping images and sentiments. It is a dye based ink.

You can use this ink if you are planning to colour your images with alcohol markers such as Copics, Promarkers, Spectrum Noir and Stampin Up! alcohol markers. The stamped outline will not smudge.

It is NOT good for waterbased mediums such as Tombows, Zig brush pens, Arteza, watercolour powders, distress inks or anything that needs water added.

Refills available. Also available in other colours and in dew drop mini size.

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Versafine Onyx Black ink is a pigment ink. It is widely available in New Zealand.

Because it is a pigment ink, it takes a little longer to dry. Once dry, you can watercolour your images as the ink is water resistant. It is NOT good for using with alcohol markers.

I generally heat set my images to speed up the process and I also heat emboss with clear embossing powder for a nice finish on my sentiments. I’ve certainly had more success using this ink for my sentiments rather than trying to emboss with black powder!

Available in other colours. I have not yet needed a refill!

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This is a new favourite ink! I have found over time, I am wanting more crisp black images when stamping – particularly with sentiments, and also images being stamped on top of ink blended backgrounds.

This is the stamp pad to get if that’s what you want too. This ink is NOT suitable for colouring with Copic Markers, but is brilliant for watercoloring and stamping on top of ink. You’ll love the crisp, super black sentiment results too.

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Archival Ink from Ranger is made with fade resistant dyes. It is quick drying, you don’t need to heat set it. You can use this ink for images that you plan to colour with watercolour, coloured pencils, waterbased markers and pigment colours.

For scrapbookers, this ink will not ruin your precious photos and memories, and is long lasting and fade resistant.

Available in many different colours. I have not yet needed a refill!

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Gina K Designs released Amalgam Obsidian Black ink and it is a Game Changer.

You can stamp your images with this ink and colour with just about ANYTHING. Alcohol markers, waterbased mediums, dye inks etc. It is quick drying and is a dark black – making it great for sentiments too.

If you wanted just one ink for your craft room, this would be the one to invest in.

Note: Jet Black has been discontinued as Gina K Designs also released Obsidian which is the ink they have chosen to retain in their range. If you have Jet Black, you can re-ink it using the Obsidian Refill.

Refill available. Also available in Whisper, Skeleton Leaves and Barely There for no-line colourers.

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StazOn is solvent ink. (Use in a well ventilated area). It is designed to be used on non-porous surfaces such as plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, leather, coated paper and laminated surfaces.

I use this ink when I want to stamp an image or sentiment on acetate.

Also available in White which includes a refill – the white needs to be refilled pretty much each time you use it. The black does not need refills.

Not necessarily for stamping images, but handy black inks to have on hand.

I will cover the differences between the Distress Inks and Oxides in another article. The main difference between the two is that the Distress Ink is a dye ink, whilst the Oxide is part dye, part pigment ink.

The idea of these inks is to provide a ‘vintage’ look to your stamping – so this may be something you prefer.

Refills available.

Distress Inks available at Krafters Cart

Distress Oxides available at Krafters Cart

Other Inks

Black isn’t the only colour we use in the craft room! Here are just a couple of ink pads that are in my box and reached for often.

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Apart from a black ink pad, this is a most definite must have in the craft room.

Versamark is a clear, slightly sticky ink, which holds embossing powders in place to be heat set.

You can also use it to stamp directly onto your cardstock to achieve a tone on tone look. Wherever you stamp, the image will be a little darker than the rest of the cardstock.

Refills available. Also available in pens.

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White Pigment Ink. The one shown here is the Hero Arts Unicorn White which I have in my craft room.

Because it is a pigment ink, you can use this to stamp on top of your already coloured backgrounds – think sentiments, stars, accents etc.

It needs to be heat set.

Stamp Cleaners

There are a few different products on the market for cleaning up stamps. I often just use a scent free baby wipe on my stamps, but sometimes they need a little more than that!

Available for purchase from:

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Nuvo, Hero Arts and even Stampin Up! have had products such as this stamp cleaning mat in their lines. Paired with a spray cleaning mist, this is a very effective system for cleaning up stamps.

Spray one side of the stamp mat with the cleaning mist, rub your stamp over it, and dry on the other side of the mat. Very quick and simple cleaning routine.

I also use the mist to clean up my acrylic blocks, Misti, Tim Holtz stamping platforms and general inky messes on my table.

Other Articles in the Best of the Basics series:

Thank you for visiting – I hope you have found the above information helpful in your card making journey. As new products are released and trends change, you might like to bookmark this page to keep up to date. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.