Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How to Reink your Stamp Pads

EEEK! Where did the weekend go? I hope to update here at least weekly & more often if I have something to share. So please forgive me if there isn't a daily post & keep checking back. Thx.

Today's lesson class...LOL If you're a stamper, you have ink pads, probably for more than one type of ink & in as many colors as you can get your inky fingers on, right? What do you do when the ink runs dry? Your local craft & stamp stores generally don't carry many ink refills. (Impress in Tukwilla, WA does carry all the refills for the Tsukineko & other brands of ink pads they carry, but they are an exception.) Ink refills are small, easily stolen, plus they tend to fall over & roll off the shelf. The stores also make more $ when you buy a new ink pad then when you buy the ink refill. Most manufacturers do make refills for the pads they sell, you just have to know where to find them. On line stores usually carry the refills for the pads they sell & manufactureres usually have a 'find-a-store' feature you can use to find a place to buy your refills if the maker doesn't sell them retail. (Clearsnap does, but Ranger & Tsukineko don't) Stampin' Up! sells ink refills for every stamp pad they carry. It's a good idea to buy the refill when you buy the pad. Why? Sometimes the pads aren't 'full' when you buy them & will need to be topped off. Also, don't ya' just hate it when you're in the middle of a large project (i.e. making your holiday cards) and your stamp pad runs dry? If you have the refill on hand, you'll be stamping again in a few minutes instead of spending time running to the LSS (Local Stamp Store) hoping they have the one ink you need in stock or going on line & having to wait for your refill to be delivered. How you go about adding fresh ink to your stamp pad depends on what kind of ink you are using.

Dye ink is translucent and needs to be stamped on lighter colored cardstock or you won't be able to see it very well. The color of the cardstcok will also affect what color the ink appears to be after stamping. (i.e. stamp with light blue dye ink on yellow cardstock, the result will look green) Some dye inks have solvents added to make them permanent (mosture & light resistant) but all dye inks are made by disolving the color into water or solvent so they bond & can only be separated by evaporation. Regular dye inks can be reconstituted by adding water, but this will usually dilute the intensity of the color. I can't recommend spraying water on your dye ink pads as a way to get more use out of them instead of reinking, but it will work in a pinch if you only need to make one more card and you use just enough water to get a good image. Don't try for 10 more images, they will get more faded with each stamping.

Dye inks are generally sold in a felt stamp pad that may have a woven top layer. In regular dye ink pads, the ink doesn't 'dye' the synthetic felt and as the ink is used up the edges of the pad show white where the ink has receded. (The edges may also show white when you buy the pad, requiring the topping off mentioned above.) This white line around the sides of the pad is your clue that reinking is needed, if the faded stamped images aren't noticible enough. Using a bottle of ink from the same maker & in the same color (check the label, most dye inks look darker in the bottle than they do in the pad), gently squeeze a dollop the size of a quarter into the middle of pad. (make that a dime if it's a mini pad) Now wait for it to absorb completely. If your pad sucks the ink up in 2-3 seconds, the pad is really dry & you can apply more ink in dollops until the absorbtion rate slows down & you notice the white band around the edge is filling in. The ink will continue to spread out after it is gone from the surface, so wait a few moments between dollops for it to absorb. You really don't want to over fill the pad. This is very messy to clean up & if it's permanent ink, you'll have a lovely stain on your table, your hands & whatever else is in the area to remind you to not over fill your ink pads next time. (been there, done that, can't recommend it) When reinking permanent dye ink pads you won't have the white line to tell you when to add ink or when the pad is getting full. Always do a test stamp with these ink if you haven't used them in awhile to see how dry they are (they tend to dry out faster then regular dye inks) & then watch the absorbtion rate carefully. As soon as the ink isn't getting sucked up fast, stop adding ink.

You can easily add more ink, but removing too much ink is a pain. (If you do put too much ink into the pad, grab paper towels and blot the ink up until the pad no longer looks 'wet', then go wash your hands.)

Pigment inks are very different from dye inks. They are a 2 part suspension where the ground up pigments are in a viscous base, often glycerine. These inks are usually opaque and can be used on any color cardstock without 'changing' color. (Tsukineko's Versamark Watermark ink is pigment ink without any actual pigment added and is not opaque.) These inks are sold in a sponge pad that allows the pigment & the base to absorb equally. Pigments ink often separates in the bottle & requires a serious shaking to re-blend them prior to reinking your pads. (kids 5-10 can be great at shaking up your pigments inks for you) You'll know when your pigment ink pads need ink when the color looks faded upon stamping &/or embossing powder refuses to stick to the image. You want your pigment ink pads to be moist but not drippy. Too much ink will clog your stamp images making a bloppy mess when stamping. To reink the sponge pads, you'll need the matching ink refill & an old credit card. (you can use just about any thin stiff material, but the cards are washable & reusable) After shaking the bottle well to reblend the ink (if you can see 2 colors in the bottle, you need to shake it more) apply a drizzle of ink back and forth, loosely covering the surface of the pad with an open basket weave type pattern. Now gently tap the edge of the credit card across the pad from one side to the other. You want to be pressing into the sponge enough to compress it & make it absorb the ink when it returns to it's normal state, but not so hard that you cut the pad or splatter the ink. Work your way across the pad from different sides, spreading the ink out with the card if it starts to pile up in any one area. Do this until all the ink is absorbed. If the pad sucks it up fast, add more ink. If it takes more the 2-3 minutes to work the ink into the pad or starts oozing out the sides, you don't need to add any more ink.

Hybrid inks like Brilliance & MicaMagic are also in sponge pads. They dry faster than other pigment inks, but slower than dye inks. Reink them just like you would regular pigment ink pads, but know you may need to reink them more often.

The pads that come in craft kits or tubs of stamps (dye or pigment) are usually not of good quality (the pigment mini pads from Hero Arts are the exception) & as far as I know, you can't get refills for them. Your best best for those pads if you really want to keep using them is to find a similar color of that type of ink made by another company & use it to refill the pad when it starts to run dry. Considering the poor quality of these 'sampler' pads, I recommend giving them to your kids or a youth group. Better yet, just chuck'em & buy yourself decent quality ink pads to stamp with, you get quality results when you use quality products.

I know this is a lot of info & if any of it doesn't make sense or you have questions, please let me know!

Happy Stamping!