There are seven main types of ink: dye-based inks, pigment inks, embossing inks, permanent/solvent inks, resist inks, fabric/craft inks, and true color fusion inks.
Dye-Based inks come in a full spectrum of vibrant colors. Palette Ink Pads, Kaleidacolor Pads, and StazOn are dye inks. They are quick drying and leave a very crisp image. You can use dye inks on any stampable surface: glossy or matte finish card stock, wood, cloth, plastic, painted surfaces & more.
Pigment inks are water-based. There is no oil in the formulations – only water soluble, thick emollients and rich pigments that resist bleeding when dry. Pigment inks are nontoxic, pH balanced, and fade resistant. The VersaMagic and Brilliance ink pads are all pigment inks. Use pigment ink on an absorbent surface. If you use pigment ink on glossy or coated paper, you must heat-set or emboss the ink.
Some controversy exists about which type of ink – dye or pigment – is best suited for scrapbooks. While dye inks are less expensive, many scrapbookers prefer pigment inks because they are more permanent – that is, they resist fading (with proper care) and won’t bleed through pages. When using pigment inks in your scrapbooks, you must remember to always heat set the ink or it will smear (with the exception of Brilliance inks). Dye inks do dry faster so there is no problem with smearing (once dry). However, unless they indicate so on their labels, they are not fade resistant, or non-bleeding, and the lighter colors will be more susceptible to fading than the darker colors.
Embossing inks are slow drying and are used only if you intend to emboss the image. They are fairly easy to clean with a wet wipe.
Permanent/solvent inks are available in both water-based and solvent-based forms. They can be used on most types of card along with wood, acetate, shrink plastic, glass, metal, foil, leather and acrylic. Most of the time, you will have to use a stamp cleaning solution to remove all the ink off of the stamp.
Resist inks are formulated to resist or repel water-based dye inks on glossy paper. VersaMark can be used to create a watermark or tone-on-tone effect in your stamping. And, if not cleaned right away, there will seem to be a sticky residue on the stamp.
Fabric/craft ink is semi-permanent and, logically enough is used primarily on fabric. Some fabric inks set automatically but some need to be heat set so, once the ink has dried, it is best to run an iron over fabric that has been stamped with fabric ink. Again these inks can be used on wood, leather, shrink plastic and unglazed ceramics. Stamps inked with fabric ink are also best cleaned with a stamp cleaning solution.
True Color Fusion inks, by Fun Stampers Journey, represent an innovation in stamping ink technology. These unique hybrid inks eliminate all the confusion over which ink to use for what surface – because they work on everything and are non-solvent inks. Because the ink is created by fusing both pigment and dye, you get the fast drying aspects of a dye base, but the true color of a pigment. They have no chalky residue and do not fade. They can be used on all types of materials, including paper, fabric, wood, and acrylic, and become permanent when heat set on non-paper materials.
Other Inks You’ll Find in the Craft Stores:
Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens Dye-Based
Impress Dual Markers Dye-Based
VersaMagic Pads Waterproof, Pigment
Kaleidacolor Pads Dye-Based
StazOn Pads Permanent/Solvent, Waterproof, Pigment
Emboss Pads Embossing, Contains no color
VersaMark Pad & VersaMarker Watermark/resist ink
Brilliance Pads Waterproof, Pigment
Dove Blender Pen Waterproof, Pigment, Contains no color
Palette Hybrid Pads Waterproof, Qualities of both Dye-Based & Pigment