All About Ink Pads!

Hi friends, today I have everything you ever wanted to know about inkpads but were afraid to ask! Hopefully simplified so you will be able to determine what inkpad to use for your next project. This is a follow up to to an article I wrote a few years ago. BTW if you want more information about drawing (liquid) inks you can read all about them here.

If you are new to stamping I highly recommend checking out my free Stamp School series. You can learn everything from how to ink up a stamp and make a card to choosing versatile supplies to get you started on a budget.

What’s with all the different types of inkpads?

Inkpads mainly come in two types: Pigment or Dye. There is also a third type call “Hybrid” that combines some of the qualities of both (fast-drying, solid images, can be used with watercolor and alcohol markers) but still resembles a dye pad more than a pigment to me anyway. Dye-based pads are usually transparent because they absorb into the paper and they dry quickly. They are usually water-based but can be solvent-based like Staz-on or oil-based like Ranger Archival. Some pads are waterproof (like Archival and Staz-on) and some are water-reactive like Distress, Harmony, and Prism. the pads you choose depends on the type of stamping you like to do and the mediums you like to use.

My recommendations for dye pads:

*Refill inks are available for all recommended brands. Ink pads made by Stampin Up, Stewart Superior (they make most stamp companies inks), Tsukineko and Ranger are all top-notch as well. Use what you have or is easiest to find. Stick with name brands here and purchase reinkers as needed to save money. No-name brand inkpads have never lasted or provided proper results. Buy quality and buy it once!

Pigment-based pads are slow drying and tend to be opaque because the ink is thicker and it sits on top of the paper. They are good for heat embossing. Often you can use these on fabric and heat set them for permanance. They can be oil or water-based. They tend to resist fading due to pigments rather than dyes being used. Some are waterproof. Oil-based pads like Versafine are waterproof, have excellent coverage, and capture fine detail. They are great for embossing and watercoloring. You can also get clear pigment pads for embossing, watermarking and resist effects. Water-based pigment inkpads often have a spongy surface, some are waterproof when dry and some are not. The Distress oxide pads have a hard pad and are very water reactive leading to fun effects if you like to great inky backgrounds. *for oil-based pads I purchase reinkers. They usually have a hard pad. **for water-based pads I make my own ink with gouache, glycerin, and water. These are not waterproof.

If you have any favorite brands of ink I haven’t mentioned please let me know in the comments. It will also help other readers who may have access to different supplies! If you like this post feel free to share it using one of the handy sharing buttons below, I sure do appreciate it! Happy crafting!

*This post contains affiliate links

6 thoughts on “All About Ink Pads!

  1. Dear Lindsay,
    I’ve used the momento ink with alcohol markers, I think the Lawn Fawn Black ink gives a crisper inked image, and also works well with alcohol markers…
    just sharing😊💕


  2. I have old Marvy pads and re-inkers from when I learned to stamp. It was a big investment. Can’t find them now. Hate to be wasteful. What to do? Thank you. You have educated so MANY people. I admire your work.


  3. Thank you, Lindsay, for such useful info – and for the links to yet more useful info!

    I’m relatively new to stamping and have heard of “Ink on 3” (‘fadeout’ ink) and wonder if you would recommend it for inking stamps prior to watercolouring (English spelling!):

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you again, Gillian 🎨

    sender: Gillian Hawkins (Mob: 07548954051)



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