Video Tutorial: How to make pigment ink

Have you ever gone to stamp and found that the pigment ink pad you wanted to use is dried up? Arrrrghh! Don’t worry, today I’ll show you how to make your own pigment and chalk ink with a few simple ingredients:


Watch the video to see how much of each one I use and how I mix and load them on the inkpad:


If your ink is transparent you used too much glycerin. If your ink does not feel sticky when you stamp you need more glycerin. It is really pretty foolproof 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


43 Responses

  1. Is there anything you don’t know about Frugal crafting? Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. Your blog is the best I’ve found. I need to sit here and dig in deeper to see what other gems I can find. Thanks for all you do!


  3. Great tutorial thank you so much for sharing it!


  4. So clever!!!


  5. Wow- how cool is that!!! Thanks for always sharing these great tips- i have a huge slew of Chalk ink pads…! Thanks so much!
    PS- You are really amazing!


  6. A WONDERFUL tutorial Lindsay!!!! A technique I’ll definately be trying!!!! Thank you so much!!!!


  7. Just found your blog and I’m loving it. So many helpful, “frugal” tips. Thanks for sharing.


  8. I just have to try this – thanks so much for sharing!


  9. Wow, what a lesson. I’m sure there are many who would benft fm this
    knowldg esp, as U say it generally would occur when U “need-it-most”
    cuses isn’t that a part of Murphy’s Law? Again You have proven You are so wonderful to SHARE this information w/us THANKS B 2 U for passinf it forward. U Rock! Yea!!


  10. awesome idea there Lindsay thanks so much for sharing Shaz in oz.x


  11. Great video Lindsay! I had know idea we could do this! Thanks-you are a “wealth ” of information! And you share it!! Missed you scrapping Friday! Lorraine. 🙂


  12. Great video and a really useful tip – thanks!


  13. Thank you so much for this. I have been teaching people how to make chalk & pignment ink pads too. It’s so hard without the visuals.

    I have been adding glycerin to my chalk ink mixtues. I liked the look. Never thought about the fast drying part, lol.

    I live in a major town and I can’t get refills either for my ink pads. I stopped buying ink pads and make my own now. I still use my SU full size dye ink pads. I own all the SU reinkers. Best stamping purchase I ever made was the reinkers. Second best purchase was gouache. 🙂

    Have you tried iridescent medium to make shimmery ink pads? Gorgeous look and a lot of fun to paint with.


    • that is a good idea! I have some W&N irridecent medium too and some Mica Magic pads that were never magical LOL! Maybe it is time to revamp them:)


  14. Thank you for another great idea! Now I want to use my stamp pads more so they dry up and then I can make more ink! lol!


  15. Would regular watercolour paints in tubes work for this? I have lots of those…..


    • Yes, they will but you will want to add a bit of Chinese White watercolor paint to them to make them opaque. The only diffrence between Gouache and watercolor is that gouache is opaque:)


      • That’s good to hear! Thanks so much for this and all of your great money-saving ideas. I use many of them. 🙂


  16. What a great video! I have so many old ink pads that I was just about to dispose of NOW I can bring life back to them THANK YOU!!


  17. Can’t tell you how glad I am to find this. I searched and searched.


  18. What a great idea it seems! I was wondering about 2 things though:

    1) Is the homemade pigment ink acid free and fade resistant like the store bought? And how does the glycerine affect that ?

    2) Is it archival/permanent like the store bought pigment inks or is it “water reactive” and bleed when spraying the stamped image with water?



    • yes it is acid free, the paints are acid free and AP nontoxic and all pigment ink contains glycerin oops, the big secret’s out, that is all embossing fluid it too, ha ha! Yes, it is archival as long as you get good paint and the stuff that inkpads use is about the same quality as student grade. Heat set it to make it permanent just like you would any pigment ink. I cannot tell the difference except in some cases I like it better. You might experiment with your cheapo inkpads or the ones you do not like the color of as you can get the hang of it and make custom mixes. You might want to keep a recipe card for each color if you are particular, I think it is fairy easy to eyeball it:) good luck!


      • Thanks a lot ! I am definately going to experiment as soon as I find an old ink pad!
        Sorry but here are some more questions for you 😉

        1) Can I reink my Versamark embossing pad using just veg. glycerine? Is that the only ingredient in an embossing pad!?

        2) Is the only difference between gouache and watercolor the opacity??
        I think I read somewhere that gouache is a mix between watercolor and acrylic paint.
        Does that mean the gouache has the properties of the acrylic paint also (50% at least)?

        3) What do you think about using acrylic paints in homemade ink pads instead of watercolor/gouache? Have you tried it and does it mess up the stamps?

        4) If you would want to have a none bleeding result using watercolor tubes (lazy to heat set stamp image:)), is there any binding agent I could add to the watercolor and glycerine?
        I guess If you would want a shimmery result you could always add some perfect pearls mica powder which also has a binding agent.

        5) I have some watercolour pans that I want to mash down into a powder and mix with glycerine.
        Do I need to add some water to the pigment first since I´m using powder instead of watercolor on tubes?

        6) What about the rubbing alcohol spray – is it necessary for keeping the pad fresh or is it just for easier mixing?
        I live in Sweden and don´t know how to find this. What is it exactly, is it a hand disinfection spray ?
        We only have hand disinfection on bottle but it has a thick consistency and can not be sprayed.
        I have a “surface desinfection” for cleaning which is very strong and is not to be used on skin.
        So what do I use?

        7) The vegetable glycerine I managed to find online I think 🙂
        Is this the right one (cost ~13 US dollars) ? –>
        What can it be used for other that homemade reinkers and for stamp cleaning? Have you any good organic shampoo recipe? 🙂

        8) I have only been using Brilliance ink pads so far and have enjoyed them but I can´t find reinkers here in Sweden and therefore I haven´t been using them as much lately.
        I´ve never used dye-based ink pads except for the Distress ink pad once which I didn´t like at all mainly because it didn´t stamp good no matter what I tried.
        A lot of people use the Stampin´ups dye-based ink pads and I´m curious about these especially since they switched to the “firm foam” pads from the previous felt-based.
        According to what I read online they are more juicy and stamp better now.
        Should I purchase SU dye ink pads (since they have reinkers!) or are they just like the distress ink pads? And do they stain your stamps?
        What do you recommend?


      • Hi Ana, let me go through your long list of questions:
        1. Yes, you can, add a few drops of glycern just as you would a refill. You might need a drop or two of water too.
        2. Gouache is opague watercolor, that is the only difference. It does not have the binder that acrylic paint does therefore can always be reworked. Acrylic paint goes through a chemical transformation when it dries and becomes a plastic.
        3. Do not use acrylic paint to reink your inkpad, when it dries (and it will) your inkpad will be as hard as a rock and unusable and if you don’t get all of the acrylic paint washed off your stamps before it dies they will be ruined too.
        4. You could spray it with a fixitive afterwards or simply heat emboss. This would only be needed if you wanted to watercolor over the image.
        5. spray the paint pands with water and let it soak in then with a brush add more water to the pans until they are a thick paste then you can add shimmer or whatnot. It the paint is nice you can try reinking a in inkpad with it.
        6. It is to refresh and moisten the inkpad. You should be able to get it at a drug store, it is intended for cleaning cuts, it comes in a bottle and you would put it in a spray bottle. You could use water as lond as it is pure such as distilled.
        7. That is the right stuff:)
        8. Distress ink is rubbish for stamping, it is NOT a stamping ink, it is a special effects ink, sometimes I stam with it if I want a certain look. I have tried the new stampin up pads and they are wonderful (I don’t have any 😦 ) and the reinkers are worth the price. I would recommend them, their reinkers cost less that other brands and you get more ink too. SU black is waterproof too! I also like memento inks. Memento black is good for coloring with alcohol markers.

        Hope this helps!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks again!!!
    I really would want some distilled water but it might be even harder to find here.
    It is useful for so many homemade projects such as reinkers, stamp cleaning spray, glimmer mist…

    It´s nice to have you confirm all the positive things I´ve been reading about the SU new ink pads lately.

    Now I really want the new pads especially because of the reinkers which are both eco-friendly and cost-efficient!
    I´m never going to buy ink pads that don´t have reinkers again because without reinkers I become a cheapo and dont dare to use the ink pads as much : )
    That´s why I really tried to like the distress inks (because of reinkers and color variety) but they didn´t stamp well and they are also very water reactive which I don´t want.
    They are good for distressing though and also very gentle on the stamps and don´t stain them.

    The only problem is that SU products doesn´t exist in Sweden and I can´t order them.
    An acquaintance is going to UK soon and will be able to bring me some SU pads.
    I have no idea what colors to choose and need your opinion since you have the ink pads.

    I need basic colors for background stamping and so I´m considering: Old Olive, Baja Breeze, Certainly Celery, Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake, River Rock.
    What do you think about them, any recommendations?
    Do you know if they are going to be retired which I really hope not because of the reinkers? How long have they been around ?

    I will also be needing more intense colors from SU but since they are accent colors and I will not be using them as much I was thinking to get the reinkers only (not the pads).
    This way I could mix them to the colors I want to reink smaller pads.

    So this is what I was wondering; Can I use the SU dye-based reinkers to reink a used VersaColor pigment ink pad (the small squares)?
    Have you ever tried it and do you think it works?

    I have a lavender VersaColor pigment inkpad that I want to reink with SU Wisteria Wonder dye-based reinker.
    Do pigment inks even blend with dye inks? They also have different type of pads (soft porous foam vs firm foam or felt) and I don´t know how that will affect the experiment.


    • Hi Ana, OK first of all how much do you have to spend on SU ink? I would get the Basic Black dye based ink (it is waterproof so you can paint over it with watercolors!) in a full size pad and reinker. they you might want to consider buying the stampin spots and the reinkers to match. They are sold by color family and you can by the reinkers by color family and save a few $$ that way per reinker and also get more colors for your $$. You really do not need the full size pads (except black, you will use it everyday!) because you can refill them when thy dry out and they have a raised pad so you can ink any size stamp with them. I like the bright and the soft subtles but you should pick the color families you like, also by purchasing a whole color family you now the colors will work well together. That is what I would do. This will also be easier for your friend to pack or ship to you:) I use my su reinker to reink any of my DYE-BASED pads but do not use them for the pigment pads, just use the gouache/glycerin homemade ink.

      You can make your own distilled water, it is easy, just boil water and collect the steam! The steam will be distilled and free of bacteria and minerals. The reason you use distilled water and not tap is because if there is mold or bacteria in your water it can make your ink pads go moldy. Have fun choosing you ink and let me know if you have any more questions:)


      • By the way I love your blog name “the frugal crafter”!!
        I´m always looking for eco-friendly and cost efficient crafting solutions and it is a fun challenge I think.

        I have no idea how to collect the steam from boiling water to make distilled water 🙂
        Would need an equipment for that maybe.

        The SU catalog I´m “ordering” from is this one (prices in pound):

        It´s hard to choose colors from a computer screen but I think I´m going to use those 6 colors the most for background stamping (baja breeze, river rock etc).
        Do you know how long those colors have been around and if they are going to be retired or not?
        I know that the “In colors” come and go every other year but are the bright/subtile/regal/neutral collections permanent or do they also retire?

        I have a Versafine black oil-based ink pad but I hardly ever use black. I use dark brown instead and that´s why I wanted the SU “chocolate chip”.
        Yes it´s cheaper to buy the whole color family (10 brights or 10 regals etc) but I wish SU would let the consumer pick 10 colors from any collection instead of all from the same collection.

        Ok so I shouldn´t reink pigment ink pads with dye-based inks 🙂
        But is it ok to do that if I wash the pad before reinking it with the dye ink?
        Then there isn´t going to be any pigment ink left BUT will this kind of pad work with the dye ink?

        I wish they would sell empty ink pads in different sizes. This way you could mix your own colors and ink a pad in the right size for your project.


      • Ana, you can make your own custom pads with baby wipes and reinkers, just grab a 1/4″ thick stack of baby wipes and squirt on some reinker, you can make raindow pads this way too! Store in a plastic bag or shallow container. Also there is a product called Cut & Dry foam that is designed for this pourpose:)


  20. Thanks for the tip but I think it is less messy and less ink go to waste if I just reink an old ink pad cause I need airtight containers.
    But I don´t have any : ))) so I´m going to have to buy the small VersaColor ink pads.
    The only problem is that they are toooo tiny (1×1 inch square pad)!!! I don´t understand why they make them so small.
    Can´t find bigger size here so I´m not sure what to do.

    We only have distress ink pads, adirondack, small VersaColor and some Memento(in very feeeeew colors and very feeeeew stores).

    Sometimes I think it would be both cheaper & easier to get scrapbooking products if I lived in UK or US.
    Here everything seems more expensive and harder to get.

    By the way do you have any scoring tool such as the Martha stewart scoring board or the simply scored from SU?
    What do you think about them? I don´t know which one to choose


    • I really like the scoreboard from Martha stewart, and I got the smaller one for cardmaking with the envelope template on the back.


  21. Hello! Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial.. I’m excited to try this out. I can’t find any ColorBox suppliers here in my country so I still have to ship from the US. o_O Thanks to you, it seems like I no longer have to! ^_^

    I would just like to know, which would be more cost-effective in the long run: (1) Buy ink pad (2) buy empty ink pad then make the ink with the gouache?

    Also, will the gouache ink pad dry more quickly or will it stay just the same as if i bought a ColorBox ink pad?

    Thank you! 😀


    • well, in my experience an empty ink pad costs about the same as a full one so I’d get a full one and refill it myself when it dries up;) I fine no difference between colorbox and my ink. It is the glycerin that keeps it from drying out;) If it did dry out because you left the lid off (not because it was out of ink) you could give it a spritz of water and a drop of glycerin to activate it,you might need to if you live somewhere hot and dry;)


  22. Do you happen to know how to rehydrate dried out waterproof dye stamp pads? Specifically Ancient page. Thanks


    • I think if you put 2 ounces of water, 1/2 teaspoon of glycern and 1 teaspoon of water in a spray bottle and mist the pad and recover it and let it sit overnight you will be in business. Let it sit right side up the first night then you can go back to storing it upside down to keep the ink fresh and at the ready at the top of the pad;)


  23. Hi, my name is amal I am from kuwait and I love ur vidoes


  24. thanks, this tutorial is just what I was looking for and you answered so many questions. Yay! thanks again. just love your videos.


  25. Hello Lindsey,

    I enjoyed the live broadcast today but I only found it by chance. I forgot what question I had been looking for the answer to which is: How do I rehydrate an archival inkpad? I bought the large sized pad and have had it for a few years, but haven’t used it enough for it to be running out. I have the perfect ink refresher but it isn’t for use with oil-based inkpads. Can you tell me what I can add beside buying a refill to resume the crisp permanent images I got when it was new?


    • That is my go to ink for watercolor now so I recommend you get a reinker and refill it until the pad will not absorb more, then just make sure you keep the cap on. I think you could spritz it with a bit of rubbing alcohol if it dries out but a reinker is a good idea. You might want to consider storing it in a ziplok bag if you are not using it for long periods and you live in a dry climate to preserve it.


  26. […] Source: Video Tutorial: How to make pigment ink […]


  27. I so appreciate all you do for helping us learn techniques and still not feel like we have to run out and buy something new thing! I know this is an old post, but I have a question about the chalk ink. All I saw was gauche and rubbing alcohol mixed. How is this chalk ink? It sounds like it would be the same as plain dye ink. Thank you!


    • P.S. You also mentioned a stamp maker, but can’t find information on it in other posts. What is it?


      • it is the TC stampmaker from Imagepac, it has a uv light and packets of clear gell that turn into stamps using transparencies


    • because it does not contain the oily glycerin, you can also take chalk pastels and grind it down with water and sop that up with an inkpad as well.


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