Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Ink Comparison

A few years back, when I transitioned from red rubber stamps to clear photopolymer stamps, I noticed that I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my inks. They just were not performing as well as I liked.

Then SU introduced their new firm foam ink formulation, and I thought that solved the problem. Initially, I loved the coverage. But then I quickly noticed that what you gained in coverage, you lost in crispness.

Last month, after much reviewing online, I decided to purchase a boatload of new Hero Arts ink pads. I opened five, used them for a weekend, and decided that these were really not the solution to my problem, either. I wanted to love them. I love the range of colors that Hero Arts inks provides (probably why I am not a fan of the Ranger Distress inks...the colors are just too muddy for me, and I'm not a fan of the dark moody palette). But again, I found the coverage was good, but the crispness was spotty. Another thing that reviewers of Hero Arts Shadow Inks will not tell you...they stain your photopolymer stamps pretty heavily.  I returned all of the unopened ink pads and was back to square one.

I really really wanted to try the ink pads from Papertrey ink. After all, the company sells photopolymer stamps, so maybe they know something that the rest of the crafty world doesn't, right?

PTI had their anniversary sale this month, and I decided it was time to purchase the ink pads. Only this time, I bought the mini cube ink pads. It was a small investment to make, and at $1.86 for each ink pad, it was worth it! (These regularly sell for $2 each, and I still need about four or five colors that were out of stock at the time to complete my collection.)

A new rainbow of colors to play with...what could be more fun?

I got to work sampling a few and comparing them with my old ink pads, and here is what I found:

I like them! I really really like them! You do have to work at it a bit to ensure full ink coverage, but when you do, you end up with very good results. Full ink coverage AND crispness to boot!

I think these may work for me for several reasons:

*The cubes are so easy to store! I have them in the pullout drawer of my work area, easily accessible.

*PTI sells refill ink as well, which will be important, especially for the little cubes.

*The inks match the excellent card stock from Papertrey Ink that I have come to love.

*The color palette is so fresh and pretty!

Here is a wonderful tip that I learned this month from the PTI web forum boards. Before inking up you clear photopolymer stamp, rub your thumb over it. The natural oils on your thumb will coat the stamp, and make the ink adhere much better. I found this tip worked like a charm!

Now the question remains: will I keep my old ink pads or sell them off in time? Hmm. I suppose that if they collect dust, then I will know that they have outlived their usefulness. I am planning my annual spring garage sale for April or May (weather permitting), and we shall see what makes it into the "sell" pile!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

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