What are Some Different Types of Ink?

L. Hepfer

Inks can be very versatile if you know their properties and how to use them. They are often used with pads that come enclosed in plastic containers with a lid. The ink pads can be used for business or personal purposes. Businesses will use them for stamping different messages on paper and envelopes while a person who makes a lot of paper crafts will use them to decorate their projects.

Washable inks are water-based varieties usually designed for children.
Washable inks are water-based varieties usually designed for children.

Although the pads come in just about every shade imaginable, the basic black is the most popular. They come in solid colors or a variety of colors on the same pad, similar to a rainbow. To achieve the best results, the different types of ink should be considered before attempting any project that involves them.

Pigment ink is typically resistant to fading, smearing and running once dry.
Pigment ink is typically resistant to fading, smearing and running once dry.

Water-based dye inks are the most popular type. These are the type of pads you will find in an office supply store to use for a business. This type is created for using on paper and comes in a variety of sizes with the surface of the ink pad varying from felt, sponge or cloth material.

Water-based ink dries more quickly than other types. Most of these inks are acid-free, but the colors can fade over time if the paper is not treated with an ultraviolet fixative. This type tends to run when it comes in contact with water. Sometimes an artist will use drops of water with this ink to smear it, imitating watercolor paints. It is easy to clean off the stamp by using a baby wipe or a damp paper towel.

When making cards or scrapbooking, dye-based waterproof ink may be preferred. Since it is waterproof, it will not run or smear with water once they are dry. This type is often used to stamp the outline of an image because other colors and water may be used in conjunction with one another to color in the image without the worry of smudging the original outline.

Dye-based waterproof ink does not wash off stamps well. Although a solvent-based cleaner can be used to wash the stamp, it may still leave a stain. This type is not recommended for stamping on fabric.

Pigment ink can be used in a variety of situations. This type is thicker than water-based or dye-based inks. It dries on top of the paper or project it is applied to, rather than being absorbed. It also takes much longer to dry. A small embossing gun can be used to heat the pigment and speed the drying process.

This type will not dry on coated or glossy surfaces no matter how long it is allowed to sit. Pigment ink is more difficult to wash off stamps, but it will wash off with warm water and a toothbrush or a special cleaning pad designed just for that purpose. It comes in solid colored pads as well as the multi-colored pads that resemble a rainbow.

Permanent inks are solvent-based. They will dry permanently on the surface without a heat setting. This type will stain the stamps it is used with and is difficult to clean off the stamp, even with special cleaners.

Washable inks are water-based varieties usually designed for children. They come in the form of pads and markers, and they are usually non-toxic. While washable types are designed to wash off the skin and clothing, they may still stain certain fabrics.

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Discussion Comments


you can get it at funtown.


I was hoping you'd have disappearing ink here. Does anyone know how to make Disappearing Ink? I'd like to use it on fabric and paper for drawing straight lines to write on, then have them gone. Thanks for any help.

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