How to make pigment & embossong ink

If you have stumbled on to this post it is probably 2am you are in the middle of a huge stamping project and your ink-pad has run dry! No worries, you can make thick luscious pigment ink with just a few supplies you may have on hand already (even if you don’t you can get all of the necessary supplies for less than the cost of 2 new ink-pads!)

You will need: A Plastic Spoon, Artist’s Gouache (pronounced “gwash”, it is a thick opaque watercolor available at art shops or large chain craft shops like AC Moore. I use the set of 18 colors by Reeves. Cost:$10), Vegetable Glycerin (available at a health food store) * If you just want to make clear embossing ink use only the glycerin, it is exactly what clear ink is made of, some companies add fragrance but glycerin is what makes the embossing power stick, it makes a great watermark ink too. If it seems to thick you can add a drop of rubbing alcohol to it.

Directions: Grab the ink pad you need to re ink. Squirt the gouache on the pad (if you need to mix colors to get the right shade you can do that on a piece of waxed paper of leftover plastic packaging.) Add a couple of drops of glycerin to the ink pad and work the paint and glycerin in to the pad with the back of the spoon. Grab a stamp and test it, if the image looks to transparent add more paint. You made need a touch of white to make it more opaque. If the ink is to thick or dry feeling add more glycerin. If you are truly in a bind and need ink now and do not have gouache raid your child’s art box for tempera or poster paint which is the same as gouache except it has more water in it so it may be more transparent but after you ink up your pad you can try evaporating out some of the water with a hairdryer.

Invest in the gouche and the glyceryn if you don’t already have it and I promise you will never buy a bottle ofpigment refill ink again!

BTW I came up with this when I was in the middle of a huge stamping project and my ink-pad ran dry!

15 Responses

  1. Very cool Lindsay! You have the best ideas and techniques!! Keep up the great work!! Hugs, Melissa


  2. Another great idea! Thanks!!!!


  3. Great idea Lindsay! Thanks for sharing!


  4. […] Try this on your Christmas card this year, it’s quick, fun and easy! It’s a good idea to buy re-inkers for your ink pads, you can find them on line or do what I do, the next time you are invited to a Stampin Up party buy ink to match the pads you have. Yes you can re-ink your pads with different brands and you can mix colors so you don’t need to buy every color. You can also use re-inkers to re ink your Brush tip markers…More money saved. If you want to learn how to make your own dye based and embossing ink click here. […]


  5. You are a genius! Thanks for another great money-saving post. :)


  6. […] my blender pen I pulled off the plastic at the fine tip end and squeezed in a couple of drops of clear embossing ink and put the end back on. You can also work some of the clear ink into the brush end buy squeezing […]


  7. I love your blog! I am currently putting together a little zine, and would love to include this in my zine!
    email me, please?
    saint.wonderwoman (at) gmail .com


  8. LOL. I loved your intro. It’s currently around 2:30 AM here and I really am in need of making pigmented ink. Thank you so much :)


  9. I JUST found this site and I can already tell there’ll be tons of helpful hints I can use in crafting projects =)


  10. I tried this procedeure and as soon as I put the paint on the plate and added the glycerine it seperated as if to some reaction to the Glycerine!. I bought the glycerine at my local pharmacy, It works for all the other things you suggested but after I spent the money for the paint and tried this my paint seperated. ?????????


    • were you using gouache? You only need a couple drops of glycerine, maybe less if your glycerin is thick. I have never had this problem. Try adding a tiny bit of water to mix and make sure the paint you are using is water based.


      • Yes it was for the guache paint. I took your advice and bought the gouache and then the glycerine. It just seperated something awful! I then tried it with another color and it seemed to do the same thing. About this time I was very upset that I spent the money on these paints then saod one more time. I tried another color and no problem. I am dumbfounded. I don’t know why it did that to the first ink pads. I couldn’t even mix it up enough to spread it on the pads. I was wondering also if this process still keeps the pads from drying out like paint?


    • it might just need a bit of water and stirring, the paint might be old but that should not matter. The glycerin keeps it from drying out but if you live in a dry location you might need a couple drops of water too.


      • Yes, It might be older paint, Although I just bought it off Amazon for this project. The colors seem o.k it is just when I mixed the white to them to get a different shade and then added the glycerin it just seperated. It was so odd. I bought another bottle of glycerine from a health food store this time. A vegetable one. Will have to try it.Thanks for the reply.


  11. Glycerine worked as clear embossing ink for my rubber stamps but it didn’t work for my clear stamps. It didn’t ink well so not much embossing powder stuck onto it. Some people mentioned Vaseline but it’s so hard to wash off. I afraid after say a year any remaining Vaseline stuck on the stamp may start dissolving the stamp making it sticky. Do you know of a clear embossing ink recipe that would work on clear stamps yet not too difficult to clean up? Thanks!


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