Starting my Bullet Journal Stamping Series with stamp inks for bullet journals. I decided to kick off talking about the inks first since they make the biggest difference. There are so many varieties of stamp inks out there, so I figured, before talking about your stamping basics, I would share the mysteries behind the different ink varieties first. I go a step further and test the different inks in an 80GSM, 90GSM, 100GSM, 120GSM, and a 160GSM bullet journal so that you can see and decide for yourself. You can watch the video here. It is a bit of a lengthy one but it was a lot to fit in. I created time stamps just in case you needed/wanted to skip to the part you care about the most.
There’s no set timeline for this series other than a new post/video every other week, covering the basics, techniques, and taking care of your stamps. I will put together a handy reference page for you to be able to refer back to. In the mean time, you can check out this older blog post for more information. But! Let’s talk about the inks first.
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Different Stamp Inks
There are 4 basic stamp ink types: dye inks, pigment inks, hybrid inks, and solvent inks. Each ink type has their own quirks and advantages.
Stamping Dye Inks
Dye inks are probably the most complex of the bunch. There are many different varieties of dye inks and are definitely the most common in the crafting world. But, in a nutshell, here is what you need to know:
- They are (obviously) dye based, and can be water-based or waterproof
- They soak into the paper
- Can dry very quickly
- Their colour can change depending on the paper type
- The surface of the stamp pad tends to be hard
- Water-based dye ink will fade over time
Common dye inks include: Memento Fade Resistant Dye Ink Pads, Ranger Archival Ink Pads, Color Box Dye Ink Pads, Hero Hues Dye Ink.
Stamping Pigment Inks
Things to know about pigment inks:
- They have a thicker, creamier texture than the dye inks
- They tend to “sit” on top of the page (instead of absorbing into the page)
- This means they take longer to dry (but you can heat set them if you need)
- They are opaque so you can stamp lighter colours onto darker surfaces (like blackout journals)
- Pigment ink is water resistant
- They don’t fade over time like the dye inks
Most common pigment inks include: VersaFine Pigment Ink for Fine Details, VersaFine Clare Pigment Ink, Brilliance Pigment Ink, Color Box Pigment Ink, Hero Hues Pigment Ink.
Stamping Hybrid Inks
Hybrid inks are just that, a combination between pigment inks and dye inks.
- They are fast drying
- They are more opaque than dye inks, but more transparent than pigment inks
- These inks can be a lot of fun to work with since they can be a little unpredictable, depending on your paper.
The most common hybrid ink is the Tim Holtz Distress Ink and Distress Oxide
Stamping Solvent Inks
This ink is the hardiest of all the inks mentioned. It is a solvent ink meaning it is permanent on most surfaces, and can pretty much stamp on every surface. They do smell so you need a well ventilated area when using this stamp pad.
To be honest, solvent ink isn’t the best for bullet journals. It is too strong and hardy of an ink and the journal pages are too delicate for this ink.
Stamp Inks and Bullet Journals
I wanted to make sure I had a wide variety of journal and paper types to test in, so I used the following journals:
- Moleskine 80GSM Notebook
- Leuchtturm 1917 90GSM Notebook
- Artist’s Loft 100GSM Notebook
- Artist’s Loft 120GSM Notebook
- Archer & Olive 160GSM Notepad (NML10 for 10% off)
I used the inks I already had, which turned out to be a fair variety. The stamp inks included:
- Stampin’ Up Dye Ink
- Memento Fade Resistant Dye Ink
- Let’s Color Pigment Ink (came with a popular stamp set so I tried it out)
- Studio G Pigment Ink (from Michaels’ Bargain Bin)
- VersaFine Pigment Ink for Fine Details
- Craft Smart Pigment Ink
- Brilliance Pigment Ink
- VersaFine Clare Pigment Ink
- Color Theory Pigment Ink (from Studio Calico)
- Ranger Archival Ink
- Distress Oxide
- Distress Ink
- StazOn Solvent Ink
Stamp Inks for Bullet Journals – Results
Below is a table of the results, where:
- S = Smudging
- G = Ghosting
- B = Bleed Through
- T = Transfer
A downloadable PDF can be found here:
The best journal for stamping was definitely the 160GSM paper. The thinner your paper, the more you should reconsider stamping directly into your notebook. You can either stamp on sticker paper, or any other paper, and glue it into the notebook, but I wouldn’t stamp directly in it.
Overall, the best stamp ink for bullet journals are the Brilliance Pigment Ink and the Color Theory Pigment Ink. These 2 are by far the best when it comes to ghosting or bleed through. The ghosting in the 160GSM journal is very, very minor, and the ghosting in the 120GSM journal is very light as well. They are very prone to smudging though so you’re going to have to be patient when stamping with these particular inks.
As with all stationery and inks, you are going to want to try it in your journal first. There are many different kinds of paper quality and make-up so it’s hard to know for sure.
I hope you found this part one of Stamping in a Bullet Journal Series helpful. As I mentioned earlier, I feel its important to understand the different inks before you get into supplies and techniques. Stamping in a bullet journal can be so convenient and so easy and I’m hoping these kind of posts will inspire you to try it.
If you have any questions or comments, as always, please do not hesitate reaching out.
Thank you so much for your time today!