Tim Holtz created the Distress line of ink pads and re-inkers with Ranger Industries. Ranger's home and manufacturing offices are located in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Distress Inks consist of twenty-four colors, are acid-free, fade resistant, water-based dye inks, and are made in the USA.
Distress inks are the ideal perfection of a product made specifically for creating vintage effects, a natural weathered look, and/or aged effects with paper, fibers, photos and other media.
Distress inks were formulated to maintain their color and tonal value when they come in contact with water. They are a dye ink, but do not dry immediately, and blend beautifully as a result of their longer dry time. Dry time is about 15-20 seconds give or take; longer in moist climates and shorter in dry ones.
Archival Inks are also made by Ranger. Ranger's Archival line are oil-based, dye ink pads, acid-free, waterproof, fade resistant and non-bleeding. Safe for paper and photos, and an ideal ink when paired with Distress inks, as this ink refuses to bleed and dries almost immediately.
Today I'd like to cover three very basic techniques (techniques developed by and courtesy of Tim Holtz) that demonstrate the incredible effects you can easily achieve with Distress ink pads: Wrinkle Free, Nostalgic Batik and Wrinkled.
Wrinkle Free is an easy technique for creating a quick custom background. For this technique, begin by smearing a few Distress pads onto a non-stick craft sheet. Ranger's craft sheets are glass-infused mats - a thin, wonderful work surface, non-absorbent, and I have yet to find an adhesive or product that sticks to them. The inks sit obediently on the surface of the mat, tempting you with ideas...
Mist the swipes of ink well with water from a Mini Mister, then drop a piece of white cardstock into the wet ink (size of cardstock used: 3" x 5" - this size is used throughout all three techniques covered in this post). Lift cardstock and heat set with a heat tool. Repeat dipping and heat setting, until desired look is achieved.
You can begin by stamping on the altered cardstock, or, alter it a bit further with a mask (Ellen carries an enormous selection of fabulous masks in the store). For this sample, I applied the mask, then sponged Peeled Paint Distress ink using an Ink Blending Tool. Wipe mask clean then remove.
Altered, masked and stamped cardstock was simply matted and added to a Lagoon card base. Matching Lagoon envelope was stamped using Jet Black Archival ink.
Stamp image using any Distress ink. Since Distress ink has a slower dry time than traditional dye-based inks, you can emboss with any Distress ink. Sprinkle clear embossing powder over image and heat set.
Begin blending cardstock using a variety of Distress inks and an Ink Blending Tool. The Ink Blending Tool contains a piece of Cut 'n Dry Foam, also manufactured by Ranger. A Cut 'n Dry Foam piece looks similar to a makeup applicator sponge; however, it is a closed cell foam, and will not fully absorb the stamp pad ink. This will conserve your stamp pad ink and allow you to blend colors beautifully.
Scattered Straw Distress ink provides an overall warmth to the piece. Scattered Straw could easily be described as my 'secret weapon' when an aura of warmth is needed. Once all colors have been blended and you've achieved the desired look, wipe the embossed, stamped image with a clean, dry cloth or dry paper towel.
Next, remove the clear embossing powder by placing a clean piece of newsprint over the stamped/embossed image, and ironing with a craft iron. This process simply re-melts the clear embossing powder and the newsprint absorbs it, removing it neatly from your project.
Memory Box 'Just a Note' sentiment and Paprika envelope were stamped using Jet Black Archival ink; Bird Branch image was quickly matted with Licorice cardstock and a Paprika cardbase partially covered using Graphic 45's Shutter Speed.
The incredible popularity of distressing everything from paper to clothing to furniture has continued to thrive. It is incredibly satisfying and enjoyable to take a perfectly pristine piece of cardstock and alter it beyond recognition into a gorgeous aged art piece.
To begin, break the tension in the cardstock by pushing on the center of the cardstock scrap with your thumbs, then continue to crumple the cardstock gently into a ball. If you simply ball the cardstock up without first breaking the tension at the center of the paper you run the risk of tearing the cardstock.
Flatten the crumpled cardstock with your fingers, then swipe a Distress pad over the entire paper surface. Hold the open ink pad in your hand and repeatedly sweep over the crumpled cardstock surface. Vintage Photo Distress used here. This is called DTP, or Direct to Paper technique.
Using a Mini Mister, spritz inked cardstock generously with water and watch the ink flow and bleed across the paper surface.
Use a hot craft iron (working over a non-stick craft sheet or towel) or a heat tool, and heat set the water and ink, and iron the cardstock dry and flat.
To create a unique card embellishment, use Graphic 45 Postage paper and punch a mini Library Pocket, score the punch, then form a nifty little pocket. Next, let's make something to attach this miniature pocket to:
The small tags above display the progression of Distress ink application, and how beautifully the Distress inks blend and create to an aged, vintage look.
Finished card with Wrinkled cardstock and miniature pocket above. Memory Box Tiny Packages interior sentiment is from Memory Box; found vintage dictionary sheet snippet and pieces of Graphic 45 Shutter Speed cardstock. Card base with matching envelope is Cranberry.
Cranberry envelope and message insert above: the gorgeous Cappa Flourish stamp is from Memory Box.