All About Inks for Rubber Stamping

Dye, Pigment or Permanent Solvent Based Inks

Rubber stamping ink pads

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There are many different types of inks for rubber stamping. These are available in a wide range of colors and pad sizes. In addition to single color pads, there are also multi-colored pads available.

General inks for rubber stamping fall into three categories; dye, pigment or permanent solvent based. In addition to these, inks have been developed that are technique specific, for instance, inks for stamping onto fabric or for use with embossing powders.

The type of ink you use will effect the finished project so it's important to use the right ink for the job. If you are going to use heat embossing techniques, for example, it's important to use a slow-drying ink with your embossing powder. There are many creative ways you can use inks, as well as simply stamping with them.

General Inks

Most inks are readily available in a wide range of colors from the deepest blacks to pale pastels. This means that there's bound to be the perfect color ink available for your project or to match the theme or a special occasion. The main features of the main different types of inks for rubber stamping are as follows:

Dye Based Inks

  • Colorfast and quick drying. Good inks for a beginner to use as being fast drying, they are less likely to smudge
  • Work particularly well with white and light colored papers and boards
  • Will fade in bright lights
  • Typically sold with a felt pad

Store dye based inks upside down so the dye flows to the top of the felt pad.

Pigment Based Inks

  • Thick, rich slow drying inks
  • Color and light fast
  • Good for using with embossing powders
  • Typically sold with a sponge pad

Faster drying pigment based inks are being developed, your supplier will be able to advise.

Permanent Solvent Inks

  • Long lasting and permanent
  • Fast drying with good colors
  • Resilient dye that is suitable for over painting with water colors
  • Can be used on a wide variety of surfaces including glass and wood
  • Solvent based inks need to be used in a well-ventilated room
  • May need a specialist stamp cleaner

You can buy permanent solvent inks online, in addition to pigment and dye-based inks.

Technique Specific Inks

Inks and paints available for specific techniques include:

  • Embossing Ink: These special inks are clear or translucent and are slow drying. These have been designed specifically for embossing.
  • Fabric Dyes: Pads of inks suitable for stamping on fabric are available in a wide range of colors. These dyes are heat set and have other applications, for example, they are great for use on shrink plastic and acetate.
  • Resist Dyes: These have been formulated to repel water-based paints and dyes. Resist inks need to be set using heat and are suitable for a wide range of creative ideas.