ink pads

We talked last week about choosing the best ink pad to use for embossing with a heat tool. Regardless of the brand or color, a “juicy” ink pad is the best kind to use.

A nicely inked pad goes a long way for the success of your embossing. So when picking a “wet” ink pad, do you choose one with color or one without?

That’s a great question and it really depends on what you’re looking for in the final result. Here are some of the observations that I have found in using both types of inks.

Clear embossing ink with clear embossing powder: PROs-great as a resist or raised watermark effect; CONs-difficult to see unless using a high contrast ink Direct To Paper (DTP) over it.

Clear embossing ink with colored embossing powder: PROs-great when the EP is opaque as the true EP color is seen, no color interference from the ink; CONs-if there is some clear EP mixed into the color the image will look splotchy or incomplete, the same will happen if the EP is translucent or holographic.

Tinted embossing ink or Colored pigment ink with clear embossing powder: PROs-gives nice effect to the stamped image like an epoxy sticker; CONs-color is not dimensional, only the clear part is.

Tinted embossing ink or Colored pigment ink with colored embossing powder: PROs-gives rich color throughout the raised image and tends to hide spots with low EP coverage, can give the EP a different tone depending on the transparency of the powder; CONs-may change the color of the embossed image.

(click picture to enlarge)

Embossing Powder Doctor

In the trial above, the colored ink pad was Ranger’s Sail Boat Blue Pigment Ink and the colored EP is Close To My Heart’s Star Spangled Blue.

The best advice that I can offer is to try the combination first before you are working on the “real” project.

One of the things that will greatly affect heat embossing is the ink pad.

My #1 recommendation is to ensure the ink pad is “juicy”. Whether you’re using pigment ink, embossing ink, Distress Ink or Versamark, your ink pad needs to be wet. I’m not talking dripping, running off the sides of the pad kind of wet. I’m talking moist to the finger and 1 tap to a stamp will leave a nice amount of ink.

Why? The embossing powder is dry and needs something to stick to until it is heated to bond with the paper. A wet ink pad will enable you to stamp a nice, solid image that will get coated with embossing powder the first time on the paper. It will also help keep that powder there in case you aren’t able to use the heat tool right away.

I personally use Ranger’s Embossing Ink pad for 99% of my heat embossing. I LOVE the cinnamon smell of the ink and it just plain works – ALL the time. With any stamp – detailed, bold, large, small – it’s all good. With any paper, vellum or acetate. With any type of embossing powder – detailed, regular or thick.

I also use Clearsnap’s Top Boss Embossing Ink pads occasionally which yield similar results to the Ranger pad. I find Ranger’s has more consistent results than the Clearsnap one.

Many people use Versamark mostly because it stays wet I think. It seems to have become synonymous with embossing ink, but honestly Versamark breaks down when it’s heated and really shouldn’t be used for heat embossing. It’s a great ink for watermarking and to use with chalks plus a fixative. Versamark will eventually dry, so that’s the reason for using a spray fixative when using chalks.

Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll answer. Thanks!