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Stamping 101 - Beginner Guide to Stamping

Some of you have never used a stamp before. Some of you are begun stamping, but have no clue what you are doing. 

I hope to help guide you to be a better stamper! 

So, I have my stamp, now what ink do I chose?

 First you need to understand that there are two types of ink. Most ink pads are either dye-based or pigment-based.


Dye inks are more of a general purpose ink, which can be used on most kinds of paper. They come in many different colors, and are generally less expensive. 
  • Water Based Dye Ink - are acid-free, but do tend to fade with time and especially sunlight. It is important to note that these inks are not waterproof. Avoid using water-based dye ink with surfaces such as Filofax paper, since it will tend to bleed. These inks are great for producing a water-colored image. (Examples of these are: Hero Arts Shadow Inks, Hero Arts Hero Hues)
  •  Distress Ink - Most known are the Tim Holtz Distress Inks from Ranger. They’re different from most other dye inks because they stay wet longer, so that you can alter it's appearace by blending them with water or other inks. These inks are great for giving that Antique look to paper. 
  • Waterproof Dye Ink - A favorite of  mine (Tsukineko Memento) is  preferred for scrapbooking because of their waterproof quality. The ink is acid-free and quick drying. This type of inkpad is especially useful for stamping an outline of an image and then coloring it in with markers (I use Copic markers). It is also somewhat more difficult to clean off of your stamps. 


Pigment Inks does not contain dyes. It does not soak in and stain the paper like a dye-based ink. That means the ink takes a little longer to dry on regular paper, but the color will remain on the surface, appearing more bright and vibrant. They are also fade resistant, so they are great for projects requiring longevity, such as scrapbooks. Because pigment ink is thick and stays wet for so long, it’s perfect for use with embossing powders! Great for adding dimension to your stamped image. It’s a little harder to clean it off your stamps.
(Examples of pigment inks are: ColorBox & Tsukineko VersaColor)

  • Fast Drying Pigment Ink - Some pigment inks have a resin base, and tend to be faster drying and therefore are somewhat less suitable for embossing because they may dry before you can get the powder distributed over the stamped image. (Example of this ink is:Tsukineko Brilliance)
    • VersaFine is a revolutionary ink from Tsukineko that is oil-based yet water-soluble. It has the opacity of a pigment ink, but offers the quick drying convenience of a dye ink. It is acid-free, waterproof, and fade-resistant, but has limited number of colors currently available. It works great for stamping outlines and then using watercolors or markers over the top without bleeding. These are great for producing highly detailed rubber stamps designs. 
  •  Chalk Ink -  These are used to produce a soft chalk-like look. A popular brand seen are VersaMagic Chalk Ink Pads. They are available in a wide range of very popular muted, pastel colors which dry to a matte finish. Drying times can vary but when they are air dried, they resist smearing, bleeding and fading. (Examples of chalk inks are: Tsukineko VersaMagic, Hero Arts Chalk Ink)
Ok, I have my stamp and ink. How do I stamp?
Place paper (or other surface to stamp) on a hard even surface like a desk or countertop. Gently press inked stamp to paper. Do not rock or wiggle the stamp. You can press on all sides. Hold for a few seconds, then lift stamp straight up.
Great! I have my ink & stamped! But now how do I clean my stamp?

Some people like to use damp paper towels or baby wipes to dab the ink off. This is great to do with water based inks since they dissolve with water.

Another option, especially with pigment inks, is you may want to use a toothbrush or a special stamp cleaning pad to remove it thoroughly from the tiny crevices of the stamp. Use a solvent-based cleaner to really do the trick.

This is great! One side for scrubbing, one side for drying.

 So, I've used my stamp & cleaned it. Now how do I store my inks?
However you choose to store your ink pads, you should always try to keep them flat. Especially with dye inks so the dye doesn’t run to one side of the pad, causing uneven inking. Some people like to store their inkpads upside down so that when they’re ready to use them the ink will be near the top of the pad, providing a nice wet surface for inking up stamps.

I hope I have provided you with some useful information. 
Enjoy & Happy Stamping!!!! 


  1. thank you so much for posting this. I have an ink pad from Office Max that's gel based. It works fine and everything, but the ink bleeds through my pages pretty badley. Based on reading other pages in your blog I'm going to try the Memonto Dew Drops. Hopefully they won't bleed through. For just a basic color to start off with what color would you suggest? I'm going to be using it with my filofax cotton cream pages.

    1. Hi Katherine, thank you for visiting my blog. I would definitely recommend starting with black. The dew drops normally come in a pack of 4. Unless, you buy them online, some stores do sell them individually. Good luck.

  2. I am purchasing ink for the first time. I want a basic black & I don't want it to bleed through. What should I use?


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