How to Use Tim Holtz Distress Inks

  • 01 of 06

    Distress Inks

    Using Distress Ink
    Kate Pullen

    If you have seen rubber stamping projects that use wonderful distressing techniques and have wondered how they are done, read on! Distressing paper creates unusual and interesting results and is great fun to do. 

    What Are Distress Inks?

    Tim Holtz Distress Inks by Ranger Inks have been specially formulated to give an aged finish to projects. They can be used in many different ways, from creating unique aged backgrounds for rubber stamping on, for stamping images, adding color to photographs and much more. The water-soluble dye inks have been designed to bleed and blend on the paper. They are great fun to use and wonderful results can be achieved quickly and easily.

    To use Distress Inks all that is required is paper, a rubber stamp, a fine spray bottle or a 'spritzer' and, of course, a Distress Ink pad or two!

    Tip: Practice and explore the technique on scrap paper. Make a note on the paper of how you achieved the results and keep this in a reference file. This will be useful to refer to when planning future stamping projects.

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  • 02 of 06

    Crumple Paper

    Crumple Paper
    Kate Pullen

    To create an all-over distressed background for rubber stamping projects the paper first needs to be crumpled. This isn't as easy as it sounds as a too enthusiastic approach to crumpling could result in the paper getting torn! For best results try to achieve an even all-over crumpled effect.

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  • 03 of 06

    Rub the Ink Pad Over the Paper

    Rub the ink pad over the paper
    Kate Pullen

    Spread the crumpled paper so it lies as smoothly as possible on a flat work surface. Take the ink pad and rub the ink pad over the paper. Keep the pad as flat as possible to the paper to give an even coverage of ink.

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  • 04 of 06

    Spray the Paper With Water

    Before and after spraying with water
    Kate Pullen

    Spray the paper with water and the ink will start to spread. To build up a more dense effect, carefully re-crumple the paper and repeat the process. The paper will be fragile when wet, therefore handle it with care - particularly when crumpling and uncrumpling.

    The picture shows how the paper looks when it has first been rubbed with ink, compared with how it looks after it has been sprayed with water.

    See below for a variation on this technique.

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  • 05 of 06

    Stamping With Distress Inks on Wet Paper

    Stamping on wet paper
    Kate Pullen

    Distress Inks have been formulated to bleed on the page when wet. This gives a lovely blended and organic feel to a project. A variation on the basic 'crumpled paper' technique is to use the Distress Ink to stamp onto paper that has been dampened with a light spray of water.

    By alternating stamping and spraying, the colors bleed from the stamped image creating an unusual effect. The wetter the paper, the more the ink bleeds, therefore the end results can be controlled and varied. Try letting the paper dry a little before stamping the last images. This will create a more distinct stamped image on the page.

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  • 06 of 06

    Distress Different Papers Such as Paper Doilies

    Apply Distress Inks to a doily
    Kate Pullen

    Experiment using Distress Inks. Why not have a go with these exciting inks and see what types of effects you can achieve. The image above was created using distress inks on a paper doily.

    These are just a few of the different types of ways you can use inks to create interesting backgrounds and effects in your crafting projects. These are simple to do and the end results are often stunning.