Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Which is the Very Best Black Ink Pad?

This is a question that comes up a *LOT* in the stamping world, and a discussion/debate that I have had with many of my stampin’ friends. Because, let’s be honest, the black ink pad is pretty much the backbone of paper crafting; and even the most talented stamper can’t produce quality work with inferior tools.

Now let me put a disclaimer here before I continue. I love, love Stampin’ Up!’s classic and craft ink, cardstock, and markers. The colors are rich and beautiful and cover quite a spectrum, the cardstock is nice and heavy, and everything coordinates, which is a huge deal for me. I will *always* use SU colored cardstock and inks for my projects.

But let’s be honest -- the black ink pad is not cutting it. Not even close. It’s not even BLACK for crying out loud. And it’s not fully waterproof. And it always, always stains my stamps (not that I care so much about that, as long as they stamp a nice, clean image, they can live with me, LOL!). Do you know what’s interesting about these statements? I never really knew it how bad it was until recently! I knew that was never completely happy with the results when I used the pad, but what could I do? I didn’t know enough about any other choices to start throwing money at the problem just to test out other options that may not have been any better.

There ARE options out there though! Good ones! I have tried all the ones I am going to give the gold star discussion to (below) except the India Ink, but I only own two of the four. So some of the info here has been provided by friends during the above-mentioned discussions. ;-) They all have slightly different attributes, so you will have to choose the one (or ones) that work best with your particular style or application.

In no particular order, the best black ink pads on today’s market (IMHO of course, and that of my BFFs) are Palette Hybrid Noir by Stewart Superior, Versafine Black Onyx by Tsukineko, India Ink Black by Stewart Superior and StazOn Jet Black by Tsukineko.

Palette Hybrid Noir - This one is my personal favorite for best all-around black ink pad, and the one I always reach for. It is a non-solvent ink (i.e. not StazOn -- no stink and doesn’t dry out right away) and works on every surface. It’ll dry fast on porous surfaces (wood, paper, chipboard), but if you use it on fabrics or non-porous surfaces you will need to heat set it. It *is* waterproof and works great for water coloring and it doesn’t bleed.

Versafine Black Onyx - This is an instant dry pigment ink, so it is *very* juicy, use a very light touch or you‘ll have a big mess on your hands (literally!). It is only good on matte-finish papers (not glossy), although I have heard that you definitely need to heat set it on SU‘s Whisper White or Very Vanilla, which I know I don‘t have the patience for. But for that potential drawback, it is said to give the most rich, detailed black impression. It is also waterproof and works well for water coloring.

India Ink Black - This is supposed to be the fastest drying black ink on the market. It is a permanent ink that can be used on all surfaces and will not bleed or feather. Recommended for water coloring. [This is the one I have not tried myself, although I am including it in the list and passing along the info as it seems to come well recommended].

StazOn Jet Black - Another stamp room staple as far as I am concerned. You can stamp on ANYTHING using StazOn and it…well…staz on. I mainly use it for stamping on non-porous surfaces -- dominos, plastic, window sheets, shrink plastic, metal, glass, coated paper, etc. It can also be used on paper with good, crisp results, I just don’t use it as much for that because it’s harder to clean off the rubbah and requires an extra step (again, because it staz on…LOL -- invest in StazOn Cleaner, you'll be much happier). It is a solvent ink though (strong smell and your pad will dry out faster than water-based inks), and some people find that a drawback. It’s very fast drying and also good for *water coloring*. I have noticed that wet work like colored pencils/gamsol or alcohol markers will cause the ink to run.

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