Happy Friday All!
I tend to get different results with the various inks I have. So, I decided to once and for all figure out which inks do better under which circumstances. For this video, I compared these dye inks:
- Stampin’ Up!
- Hero Hues
- Hero Arts Shadow
I tested both general stamping (on rubber and non-photopolymer clear) and cardstock inking with a foam applicator. The results were very interesting! Watch the video and then read my final commentary afterward. Photos are below that.
Note: If you are reading this post in an email, you’ll need to click on the post title above (“Dye Ink Comparison”) to go to my blog and play the video.
So, if you watched the whole video, you saw that each ink kind of had its own advantages and disadvantages. You need to consider what characteristics are more important to you. General stamping or cardstock inking? What is your budget? Are you willing to collect multiple brands to have more “looks” at your fingertips?
I first got into cardmaking through Stampin’ Up!, so I started collecting their ink pads without really doing any research. I’m extremely happy with my choice, even now, especially as a beginner. Beginner stampers do more general stamping rather than experimenting with techniques. Stampin’ Up! is perfect for that. I purchased the ink pads by collections (10 ink pads in each collection in a variety of colors for $49.95), purchasing the Brights Collection first. Then, I moved on to the Subtles and Regals. I don’t use a lot of Stampin’ Up! Neutral ink pads, as I prefer other brands for that type of stamping (read more on that below). If you just want to purchase a few colors, they are $5.95 per ink pad. My favorite colors are Real Red, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Wild Wasabi, Pumpkin Pie, and Daffodil Delight.
For more advanced cardmakers, Stampin’ Up! has that cool water effect when you apply it to cardstock using a foam applicator. I really love that. You get a little bit more of a cloudy effect with the ink coverage, but that all creates interest, too. And actually, if you use Stampin’ Up! cardstock (rather than the Neenah I used in the video), you get an even smoother coverage.
Not keen on Stampin’ Up! but you are a beginner? Consider the basic Hero Hues dye inks, another great general stamping brand. The images in my video came out really crisp and clean. There are only 8 colors available in this line (plus black and white). They sell individually for $6.49-$7.00, and are available at both SimonSaysStamp and Ellen Hutson. Search “hero hues dye” to bring up all the colors in stock. The only thing I didn’t like about this ink was that you couldn’t get that water-spritz effect. But for a beginner, these pads are great for general stamping.
I think it’s important to have an ink that will work great on both rubber stamps and clear stamps, so those are the two I would recommend.
Because the Distress Inks have a lot of special properties that are conducive to various techniques, I have chosen to collect these as well. At first, I didn’t use them very often because the colors weren’t as vibrant as Stampin’ Up!’s. However, Tim Holtz has released lots of new vibrant colors in the last year or two that I absolutely love, like Picked Raspberry and Peacock Feathers. Every time there is a new one, I want it! I love the Distress inks so much that I also purchased the markers. Stay tuned for a video on Stampin’ Up! vs Distress markers soon.
I have purchased the Distress inks individually, but you can get the original pads and seasonal pads (with reinkers) as sets at Simon Says Stamp. If you’re going the individual pad route, my favorites are Picked Raspberry, Peacock Feathers, Broken China, Dusty Concord, Squeezed Lemonade, Spiced Marmalade, Peeled Paint, Evergreen Bough, and Chipped Sapphire. For red I used Barn Door, but I’m thinking I need to buy Festive Berries (going on my wishlist now!).
The Stampin’ Up! inks and the Distress Inks pretty much get equal use in my craft room.
Honestly, I know less about Adirondack and Memento because I haven’t spent a lot of time with them. If some of you cardmakers out there want to chime in on these brands, that would be great.
Regarding the neutral colors, my main black go-to inks are Memento Tuxedo Black (dye) and Versafine Onyx Black (pigment). I find that these are fantastic every time. Memento is especially great when using Copics. Versafine is the ultimate black ink for clear stamps, especially for sentiments and solid images. I know it’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s worth it in my opinion.
Browns? I use Memento Rich Cocoa (dye) and Versafine Vintage Sepia (pigment). I also like Stampin’ Up!’s Chocolate Chip, although I don’t use it as often as the other two. I do, however, use Stampin’ Up! black marker and chocolate chip marker all the time. They have a great tip for writing and drawing straight lines.
Another neutral I really like is Hero Arts Shadow in Soft Granite. The color is just the perfect gray, not too light and not too dark. I use it mostly for background stamping, so color stumps a crisp clean image.
As far as purchasing reinkers, I know a lot of people buy the reinker when they buy the ink pad. I have found that my ink pads last a pretty long time, so I don’t purchase the reinkers until I need them. After 5 years of using Stampin’ Up! inks, I have only needed to purchase one reinker. I have yet to purchase a Distress ink reinker. Maybe they will all fade at the same time and then I’ll be in for an investment!!
Okay, I hope this information helped you in your decision making. It was a fun experiment for me!