Welcome back to another installment of In Detail. I’m switching gears this week to talk about black stamping inks. I’ve collected 11 different black inks to investigate. There are several more black inks available at Ellen Hutson than those I’ve included in this post, but I’ve chosen a wide variety of inks. You’ll find Ink Pads in the subcategory Pads under Inks in the Storefront and Reinkers in their own subcategory.
First, let’s take a look at the inks that I tested. I’m including information in the descriptions below that has been provided from the manufacturers. Please note, unless specified as such, the use of the word “marker” does not mean Copic.
Hero Arts Black India Ink is quick-drying, acid-free, archival, non-smearing, fade-resistant and designed for both porous and non-porous surfaces. It can be used for watercolors and markers.
Hero Arts Blackboard Mid-Tone Shadow Ink is formulated for good coverage with solid stamps. It’s water-based, acid-free, archival and fade-resistant.
Hero Arts Night Chalk Ink is quick-drying, acid-free, archival and fade-resistant. It offers a gentle mid-range color.
Memento Tuxedo Black Ink is fast-drying, acid-free and fade-resistant. Its works well with Copic and other markers as it will not smear. The ink is offered in a Dew Drop size and a reinker is available.
Archival Jet Black Ink provides permanent results on many surfaces. It’s designed to work over water-based inks and markers, acrylic paints, water colors, Adirondack Alcohol Ink or Perfect Pearls pigment powders. It’s acid-free, waterproof, and permanent on matte and glossy papers. A reinker is available.
VersaFine Onyx Black Ink is a natural oil-based pigment ink that dries quickly on matte cardstock delivering great stamping results for fine detail. The ink works with watercolor and markers. The inkpad is designed to last 3-5 times longer than regular inks. A reinker is available.
Adirondack Pitch Black Pigment Ink provides opaque coverage that air dries on matte paper surfaces. The ink is embossable and can be heat set on gloss paper, vellum, shrink plastic, metal and glass. A reinker is available.
StazOn Jet Black Midi Pad Ink is an acid-free, archival, fast-drying solvent-based ink, designed for decorating non-porous and semi-porous surfaces, such as metal, shrink plastic, acrylic, cellophane, aluminum foil, leather and some glass surfaces. A reinker is available.
I wanted to test the inks for myself, putting aside the descriptions provided by the manufacturers. I’m primarily interested in using these inks for stamping in the creation of cards. I don’t do a lot of mixed-media, and my interest is not currently in the creation of home décor projects, so I did not test the inks on plastics, glass or clay.
Most of the 11 inks I already owned. I repurchased the Brilliance as I found mine to be somewhat dry. I purchased the Adirondack as I did not own it. I didn’t reink the pads before beginning my tests, although, in general, I do reink the pads on a regular basis (for those that have reinkers). Additionally, while I’m sharing photographs of the stamping, nothing compares to looking at the stamping first-hand. I’m interpreting the findings for you in the information below.
To begin, I stamped each of the inks on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White cardstock using the Hero Arts Hello Bubble wood stamp. I wanted to test the inks’ coverage with a solid image. To note, I stamped the pads with the stamp, rather than inking the stamp with the stamp pad.
Of the four Hero Arts inks, in the top row, the India Ink and the Blackboard ink gave the best coverage. The Blackboard color is a different black than the India ink, almost like a dark gray. The Chalk ink does not come with a reinker, and I’ve had my ink pad for awhile. To be honest, I’ve seldom used the ink. Moving to the second row, the Ranger Archival and Memento Luxe gave terrific coverage. Finally, the Adirondack gave the best coverage compared to the Versafine and the Brilliance. I’m simply noting coverage here; depending on your project, the surface you’re working on and other considerations, you’d have a preference for one ink over another.
I wanted to test the inks on a detailed sentiment, so I chose one from the Avery Elle Red and Goldie stamp set. Again, I stamped the stamp into the ink and then onto Neenah cardstock.
All of the inks stamped adequately, although on close inspection, the StazOn sentiment is a little fuzzy. The Memento Luxe, Versafine and Brilliance (all pigment inks) gave the most legible results with good coverage.
Next, I stamped and heat embossed the same sentiment on Neenah cardstock with all of the inks, using Ranger Super Fine Clear embossing powder. Obviously you won’t be able to truly see the embossing in the photo.
Initially I wasn’t going to even try this test on those inks that aren’t typically heat embossed, like the Hero Arts or Memento dye inks, but I figured I’d try heat embossing them all. Surprisingly, all of the inks grabbed some of the embossing powder. In fact, the heat-embossed Hero Arts dye ink and Hero Arts chalk ink sentiments both looked better than their stamped (and not embossed) counterparts. Of all of the inks, the embossed Memento Luxe looks like best. Of course, there are a number of factors here affecting the results, including my heat embossing. Furthermore, the environment may affect results. The Pacific Northwest (where I live) is fairly humid. That being said, in the future, I’ll be more inclined to try heat embossing dye inks with the super-fine powder.
Now, let’s move on to other surfaces. I stamped a different sentiment from the Avery Elle Red and Goldie stamp set with the inks on a piece of acetate. When stamping on acetate, you have to stamp carefully, as the ink has a tendency to slide on the surface. Again, I stamped into the ink, rather than stamping the stamp with the ink pad. I stamped with StazOn twice as I slipped on the first take.
I let the inks air dry and then went back and wiped them with my finger. As you can see, the StazOn and Ranger Archival were not smudged, the StazOn being the most resilient and the Ranger giving a clearer impression. Some of the inks could be wiped off as if they were never stamped. After several days of drying, the Hero Arts inks, the Ranger Archival and the StazOn cannot be wiped off.
Next, I stamped the same sentiment onto foil paper with each of the inks.
After air drying for about an hour, I swiped the inks with my finger. Only the Staz On (which again I’d stamped twice, this time because I lost track of the order in which I was stamping the inks!) was not smudged. Even after several days of drying, the Memento and Adirondack Pigment inks can be wiped off completely. With sufficient dry time, the Ranger Archival would be fine, and it stamped well on the foil. Please note, results with heat setting may have been different, but I only let the inks air dry.
I also stamped the same sentiment with all of the inks on vellum paper and let it air dry.
I swiped the inks with my finger and found that the Adirondack Pigment and Versafine inks smudged, whereas the other inks did not. In terms of clarity, the Brilliance ink looked the best. On the other hand, the Ranger Archival ink soaked into the vellum and blurred the sentiment. Again, heat setting the pigment inks may have prevented their smearing.
I stamped the bear from the Avery Elle Red and Goldie stamp set with the inks on Distress Watercolor Cardstock, added some scribbling using a Faber-Castell watercolor pencil and then applied water to the images using one of the Studio Artist Brushes.
The Hero Arts Chalk, the Memento Luxe and the Brilliance inks did not stamp particularly well on the paper. The Memento Luxe, Adirondack Pigment and the Brilliance reacted with the water and are not recommended for watercoloring without heat embossing.
I looked through the cards I’ve made over the past several months to determine which black inks I use most often. I’m sharing close ups of the cards as examples of the ways I use these inks most frequently.
Versafine: This is my most often used black ink. I use Versafine ink to stamp sentiments, embossed and not. It seems to be the most forgiving ink when stamping sentiments. I emboss Versafine for watercoloring images and coloring with Copics. A word of caution, I have had some discoloration with light-colored Copic markers and heat-embossed images. I might have tried to color too soon after heat embossing or there might be an actual reaction that I only notice with the light-colored inks.
Stamped Versafine ink for Sentiment
Heat-embossed Versafine ink for Copic coloring
Heat-embossed Versafine ink for watercoloring
Ranger Archival: I most often use Ranger Archival when working with mixed media projects because of its waterproof nature. I also use it for watercoloring when a stamp image is too fine to heat emboss.
Ranger Archival ink on Sprayed Mist Background
Ranger Archival ink for Watercoloring
Memento: I use Memento when I am working on a Copic-coloring project. Memento black ink was one of the first inks I purchased for its all-around versatility. I’m not as fond, however, of using it for stamping sentiments as I am of the Hero Arts dye inks.
Memento ink for Copic coloring
What was the first black ink you purchased? Which black ink do you use most often?
Want to know more about the best inks to use for Copic Markers? Check out this article by Sharon Harnist.