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What is the difference between original Distress Ink and Distress Oxide?

Tim Holtz recently announced that twelve new colors are being added to his new Distress Oxide ink line, bringing to a total of 24 the colors available in that line. But this new announcement of expansion in the Distress Oxide color palette may have some of our readers who haven’t tried the inks yet asking “what is the difference between the original Distress ink and new Distress Oxide ink?”

Let’s take a look!

[Disclosure: This article contains some affiliate or sponsor links.]

Distress Oxide ink pads

To run my comparison, I used the six Ranger Distress Oxide inks that I have purchased, along with their matching inks from my collection of original Ranger Distress Inks (some of which were provided to me by Ranger at the time of their release).

As an initial comparison, I stamped the inks side by side on plain white cardstock. I specifically chose these Tim Holtz silhouette stamps because their large solid stamping areas are the type of design that make it challenging to get a perfect impression. Plus they give a really good look at the color tones of each ink.

The male silhouette in each pair below is stamped in original Distress ink, and the female profile is stamped in Distress Oxide ink.

Distress Ink vs Distress Oxide stamping

At first glance, most of the pairs don’t seem that different. The color tones on most are fairly close to each other. However, one thing is evident after closer examination (and has been seen in my other use of the ink). The new Distress Oxide image is cleaner, with fewer light spots, than the original Distress Ink in most of the images. Because the Oxide ink is juicier, it is more forgiving in creating a good quality image with a challenging stamp design and on a less than optimal surface.

Distress Ink vs Distress Oxide stamping

Moving to stamping on manila tags, a better surface for the inks, and the difference in quality is somewhat less obvious between the two inks, but still slightly noticeable.

One of the key features that is being promoted for Distress Oxide is that it “oxidizes” when exposed to water. But what, exactly, is oxidation? According to Wikipedia, oxidation is “the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.” Say what? What does that mean in craft terms?

Distress Oxide vs Distress Ink

Distress Ink (left) and Distress Oxide (right)

Above, these two tags have been dragged through ink that was rubbed on my craft sheet, and then had water dripped on them. Both tags end up with light looking spots where the drips were. But if you look closely at the spots, there is a key difference. When water was dripped on the tag with the original Distress Ink, the spots “bleached” and got light. It’s almost as if all color has been removed from those spots. In comparison, on the Distress Oxide tag, the spots still have plenty of saturated color in them even though they appear lighter from the water. That is what oxidation looks like in Distress Oxide ink!

Distress vs Distress Oxide test

original Distress ink (left) vs Distress Oxide (right)

Another major difference – translucency – becomes obvious between the two inks when I tried doing a direct-to-paper technique on a dark colored background on these animal cards cut from some idea-ology paper. You can see above how much more opaque the Distress Oxide inks are on the bear and the kangaroo cards than their counterparts in original Distress Ink on the pig and elephant cards. The difference is especially obvious on the Cracked Pistachio inked cards. On the elephant card, the original Distress ink is almost completely transparent, just tinting the card but not impacting the visibility of the image. This is a huge contrast to the Distress Oxide of the same color on the kangaroo card, which completely obliterates the image!

Distress vs Distress Oxide comparison

The more that you handle and manipulate these inks, the more subtle differences that you notice. For this test above, I rubbed the ink pads on my craft sheet, spritzed the sheet with water, and then dragged the tags through the ink. Both tags resulted in a marbled look with this technique. But if you look closely, you’ll see on the right above that the Distress Oxide ink pooled and flowed more, whereas the original Distress maintained more structure. You can even see striations in the tag on the left from where it was dragged, whereas the other tag is more shapeless in design.

Distress Ink layered tag

Distress Ink layered tag

Another of the things you will notice is how differently these inks layer. One of the big advantages being touted by Tim Holtz in his Distress Oxide demos since the product’s introduction has been that the product can be layered without getting muddy, and you can see in these examples I created how that works.

Above, I created a tag with five different original Distress Inks that were applied in three different layers, by swiping on the craft sheet, spritzing with water and then dragging the tag through. You can see that by the last layer, at least part of the tag had turned to muddy brown.

Contrast that to the tag below, created with the same five colors of ink but in Distress Oxide, and using the same technique. Although original Distress got muddy at three layers, this tag is still showing vibrant color after five layers of inking with Distress Oxide.

Disress Oxide layered tag 2

Some of the differences are subtle, and some not so subtle. But they add up to Distress Oxide being an ink that is an excellent complement to original Distress ink. Used together, the two inks give paper crafters and mixed media artists the ability for almost granular control over the properties of the ink at each stage of their project. Do I want my purple to blend or pool? Do I want my green to be transparent or opaque? Do I need my colors to layer, or not? You can decide the look, and select the appropriate ink – while staying inside the Distress palette.

Distress Oxide ink pads

Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Oxide ink pads have an MSRP of $5.99. Twelve colors were released in Winter 2017, and an additional twelve colors have just been announced and are currently shipping to stores. Distress Oxide is available at Scrapbook.com, A Cherry On Top, Amazon.com, and other crafts retailers.

5

Review | Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy

Every so often, a craft tool comes along that is so simple, yet so useful, that I wonder how I ever got by without it. The Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy is one of those tools.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Lawn Fawn provided the Stamp Shammy that was used in this review to me for a separate project outside of this site, but I loved it so much I decided I wanted to share it here. Some links may be affiliate links that pay this site a commission when a purchase is made after a click, or advertiser courtesy links.]

Lawn Fawn Stamp ShammyAt first glance in the package, the Stamp Shammy (Amazon, Scrapbook.com, ACOT, Simon) is quite unassuming. In appearance it’s just a piece of turquoise cloth that is slightly under 5″ by 7″ in size. But once out of the package and soaked in water, it shows its true magic.

After being soaked in water, the Stamp Shammy turns into an all-in-one stamp cleaning solution. In my tests, it cleaned rubber and clear stamps of all inks – leaving no color behind on the stamp – except for solvent based inks such as Staz-On and Ranger Archival. Even with those solvent inks it left the stamp clean enough for the stamp to be re-used, but just left behind staining on the stamp. This included tests of pigment, dye, chalk, and hybrid inks from multiple brands.

Cleaning stamps with the Stamp Shammy does leave behind marks on the shammy cloth, but those are just cosmetic and do not mean that area cannot be used to clean another stamp. The staining may be an irritant for neat freaks, however.

Using the shammy is a simple, single step process. Just tamp or wipe your dirty stamp on the cloth until the stamp is clean. Then the stamp can be put away or immediately reused. The Stamp Shammy can also be used to wipe off my stamping block if I get ink on it while using a stamp.

Because of how simple it is to use, and the fact that it uses no consumable supplies, the Stamp Shammy is perfect for large scale repetitive stamping projects. The first project that I used my shammy for was to swatch some inks, leaving behind all of these small circles on the shammy. The shammy makes it ridiculously easy to switch colors for a project like that where you are stamping multiple times with multiple colors with the same stamp. Just stamp, swipe on the shammy, and then ink with your next color!

Lawn Fawn Stamp ShammyAnother project that the Stamp Shammy is perfect for is bullet journaling or planners. I just used it while setting up a new bullet journal, which meant stamping nearly 1000 impressions for calendar dates and events. When I was done, the cloth was quite stained from the black ink, but my shammy was cleaning fine. (The picture below was taken partway through the stamping.)

The shammy really decreased the amount of time it took to complete the calendar stamping versus my last time doing it to set up a new journal. And it made it so easy to do the special events on the calendar in a variety of colors!

Stamp Shammy Bullet JournalSince the shammy is wet while being used, I usually keep it on a thrift store plate (or a foam one) on my work surface to keep the table surface and other items from getting damp.

Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy

Since getting my Stamp Shammy I have drastically cut back my use of baby wipes to clean my stamps – great for both my budget and the environment. I use them only rarely now!

Its size and simplicity makes the Stamp Shammy the perfect stamp cleaner for stamping on the go at the crops or while traveling. It’s small, lightweight, and there’s no containers of liquid to haul (and potentially spill). Just find a sink to run some water on it and activate it, and you’re ready to go. One shammy could serve the stamp cleaning needs of an entire table of croppers! When you are done, throw it in a zip bag to take home. (Don’t keep it sealed up too long, though – be sure to lay it out to dry so that it won’t mold while sealed up wet!)

So what is the cost of stamp cleaning miracles? The price of the Stamp Shammy – an $8 MSRP – is affordable enough that prolific stampers can buy several and stash them where they use them most – their planner kit, their stamping supplies, their crop bag, or wherever they need it. I’m already plotting to add a second one to my supplies for my planner stash!

Pros:

  • Affordable ($8 MSRP)
  • Easy to Use
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Ink stains the shammy (but it still works)
  • Won’t take out solvent inks entirely

The Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy is available in retail stores and from online retailers (Amazon, Scrapbook.com, ACOT, Simon) for an MSRP of $8.

Mommy Lhey February 2017 Little Bits Box Unboxing | Review

Mommylhey Little Bits Box

For those who love adding cute and colorful paper accents to their planners and traveler’s notebooks, the Mommy Lhey Designs “Little Bits Box” is a fun way to do it. I love planner supplies, but with my work and school schedule I don’t seem have time to go to very many stationary and planner shows. I have some favorite designers that I keep an eye out for, but otherwise I just don’t have time to do much searching for new products. When I heard that Mommy Lhey had a created a monthly subscription box which started in January, I jumped up and ordered it. I have purchased the “Little Bits Boxes” in the past when they were sold individually, however they sell out fast and I missed out on quite a few of them. Lhey Ralston is one of my favorite designers. She designs these adorable whimsical box sets that just make me smile every time I look or use bits and pieces from a “Little Bits” box.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box

The Mommylhey “Little Bits” Box works a little differently than some of the other subscription boxes that are available. You pay for the box a month in advance. So since I joined in January 2017, my first box was the February 2017 box, which I just got two weeks ago. She pays close attention to the items she includes in each box, and if something does not come up to her standards, the box may be delayed a little so she can get it resolved. Each monthly stationary subscription box includes a card from Mommy Lhey that has all the items in the box listed. For those who are visual people like me, I am going to list what came in the Little Bits planner supply box and add a picture of each item. The theme for the February 2017 Box is “Fresh Picked” and it contains a variety of stationary items. She personally designs the papers for each box and makes them two sided so you can choose which side you like best. Below are the items that were included in the February Fresh Picked Stationery box.

Mommylhey Little Bits Box Pattern Papers side A

There’s three sheets of  colorful patterned papers (with front and back designs on them) with the sweet “fresh picked” theme.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Pattern Papers Side B

The package of six journaling cards are very colorful and still small enough for me to use in my hobonichi planners.  These were in the same color family as the die cuts.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Journaling Cards

The Mommy Lhey die cuts are really well done and made of a thicker card stock than most.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Die Cuts & Ephemera

The box also contained a package of enamel dots, which is probably the only thing I was not excited about. I tend to not use them because they add too much dimension to my planner pages.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Enamel Dots

There was also this great package of  watermelon slice sticky notes!

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Sticky Note pad

The box also contained a package that held eight Sticker Sheets which is one of the largest amounts of stickers that I found a monthly subscription box to have without paying an extra fee for more stickers. Most boxes have two to four pages of sticker sheets. Below is a sampling of the stickers that came in the box:

Mommy Lhey Package of Eight Sheets of assorted stickers

Mommy Lhey Planner Stickers

Mommy Lhey Box Planner Stickers

This month, Mommy Lhey included a cute 2″x3″ stamp set that is the perfect size to use in my various planners ( an A5 Planner, Personal Planner, and some  Hobonichi planners). I am so glad that she used the fruits for tiny accent stamps and  had a little girl eating a watermelon for the larger stamp. I don’t think I would have had much use for a large fruit stamp. Since the stamp set is so small, these stamps also worked well in my micro traveler’s notebook. If you use them in a Hobonichi, just be careful what ink you use, though. Some inks really show through on the Tomoe River paper.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Stamp Set

She always includes a planner clip and charm in each box. For the February 2017 Little Bits box, she has included a cute little girl planner paper clip and an adorable cactus planner charm.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Planner Clip & Planner Charm

I’ve looked a long time for one stencil that works in both my A5 planner and my Hobonichi Weeks Planner. I really like this stencil because it is small enough to fit in my Hobonichi Weeks box and it has a great assortment of useful designs like squares, flags, arrows, circles, checkmarks and more. She manages to fit quite a bit of shapes into a small stencil. You can see that there is some slight excess plastic on the arrow cut out, so I just cut it with scissors and smoothed it out with a nail file so that it would work perfectly.

Mommy Lhey - Planner Stencil

There’s also a pom pom pen and a “MyPrima Glue Pen” by Prima Marketing. I love this glue pen. It fits right into my pencil bag and I can easily carry it around with me. It also works very well at adhering my paper items. My daughter loved the pom pom pen because it had a fun plaid design on it.

My Prima Glue Pen and a Pom Pom Pen

Of course, it would not be planner supply box if she did not include a roll of washi tape. This month’s washi tape has a strawberry theme.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Washi Tape

I feel this monthly subscription box gives me a lot of value of the monthly fee of $24.99 (plus shipping).  I really enjoy all of Lhey Ralston’s designs and look forward each month to her new releases. You can see more of Lhey Ralston’s design on her instagram page @mommylhey or her Facebook page.

[Note: this is an unsponsored post. I am a paid Mommy Lhey subscriber.]

Test | Best Ink Pad for a Bullet Journal or Planner

2017 is coming fast – where did 2016 go? Like many people, the new year coming means I’ve been working on setting up a new planner. You’ll be reading about my new bullet journal blog planner soon, but before I could finish it I had a lot of stamping to do. So I decided to do a test to see what was the best ink pad for a bullet journal or planner!

[Some links in this article are advertiser courtesy links or affiliate links that pay a commission when product is purchased after clicking.]

black-ink-pads

In my search to find the best ink pad for my planner, I tested black inks in a wide range of types from Ranger and ColorBox:

Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black – Scrapbook.com, A Cherry On Top, Amazon.com

ColorBox Archival Dye Ink in Wicked Black – Scrapbook.com, Amazon.com

ColorBox Fluid Chalk in Blackbird – Amazon.com

Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Black Soot – Scrapbook.com, A Cherry On Top, Amazon.com

ColorBox Pigment in Black – Amazon.com

Since all of the tested inks were black, that eliminated differences in the stamping test results from different color tones.

I also decided to test my favorite watercolor palette, the Sakura Koi 24 color Field Sketch Set, since watercolors are another way to add color to a bullet journal and I’m doing some color coding of headers.

Sakura Watercolors

To test the inks to find the best ink pad for a bullet journal, I just turned the last page of my new blog planner into a sample page. My new planner is a Moleskine Hardcover Classic Extra Large Squared journal. I stamped the ink samples onto the page with the new Hero Arts Calendar Pieces stamp set that I’m using to create my blog planner’s calendar pages.

At the bottom of the ink test, I did a couple swatches of watercolor to see how it would perform on my journal’s paper. I also stamped the winning ink from the tests at the top of the page on one of the watercolor swatches to see how they would layer.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal-test

From the front, all of the inks gave acceptable results. But what about the back? Bleed through to the reverse of the page is a big concern with stamping inks when you are using both sides of a text weight paper page.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal-test-2

The results from the back of the page were much more definitive than from the front. The top ink on the page, Tim Holtz Distress, bled through the page much less than the other inks. When stamped on top of the watercolor at the bottom of the page, it was barely visible from the back of the page.

The page also stood up well to the light application of watercolor – from the reverse of the page you can see that some slight wrinkling is evident but not enough to make the paper unusable for writing on. The watercolor showed through the paper only as a slight shadow. Compared to the more definite markings of the stamped inks, this makes it a good option for color coding headings and other items.

Below, in actual use, the difference between the inks becomes very apparent. The month/year header is in a bright blue ColorBox pigment ink, which is my go to ink when I want nice juicy color. But on this paper, the bleed through is very distinct, making it not a good choice for this application.

The Sunday and Monday headings on the top right of the page are in black ColorBox Fluid Chalk. Again, this is one of my favorite inks for when I want a nice matte finish look – but in this application it gives terrible bleed through.

The Tuesday and Wednesday headings in the upper left, along with the numbers on the calendar grid, are in black Distress ink. The difference in bleed through is quite apparent – a shadow versus the distinct, readable marks of the other two inks. The back side of this page is not perfect where those inks were stamped, but it is most definitely usable.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal

So the clear winner of best ink pad for a bullet journal or planner appears to be Tim Holtz Distress ink based on my tests in my Moleskine journal. The Moleskine’s pages are quite thin compared to many planner calendars, so the ink should perform even better in many of today’s most popular planners.

The Tim Holtz Distress inks have another feature (besides low bleed through) that makes them perfect for use in journals and planners: portability. The entire Distress palette of inks is available in 1.25″ square Mini ink pads [available ACOT, Scrapbook.com, Amazon], a very practical size for using with most planner stamps. And they can be re-inked with Distress re-inkers!

Some other inks are available in mini pads, but the Distress Minis have a secret weapon that makes them extra portable.  The affordable Distress Mini tin case [available ACOT, Scrapbook.com, Amazon] is available that securely carries a dozen of the Distress Minis – enough to keep you supplied for almost any planner project.

tim-holtz-distress-mini-storage-tin

I’m assembling myself a custom color palette in my Mini Distress Ink Storage tin that will work for the color coding that I am planning for my planner. To do this, I’ve started by purchasing two of the Distress Mini four packs: Kit #1 and Kit #14. The other four colors (black, red, purple, and probably another green) will be filled in individually, since the Distress Mini Ink Pads are now available open stock. With all of those colors, I will have a full rainbow color palette, plus black, brown and gray, for versatile planning!

tim-holtz-distress-mini-colors

What ink do you use in your planner? What do you like about it?

Father’s Day Gift Wrap with Graphic 45

Looking for a quick last minute way to wrap dad’s Father’s Day gift that will make you look like a pro? We’ve got the answer for your Father’s Day gift wrap dilemma!

(Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission that supports Craft Critique if you make a purchase after clicking on the link. Graphic 45 and Buttons Galore provided product to Craft Critique that was used in this post. Nally Studios, the owner of Craft Critique, manages social media for Buttons Galore.)

Masculine Gift Wrap

Supplies:

Gift wrap is so often seen as a feminine thing – frilly and fancy. How do you approach wrapping a gift for a man without making it look, well, plain? Vintage is a great way to go!

I started with Graphic 45’s rolled DIY Craft Paper to wrap my box. This particular design has a text based print on one side and butterflies on the other, making it versatile for any occasion of gift wrapping. Once the box was wrapped, it needed some embellishment.

A bow might be too frilly for Dad, but rosettes are another story! I created this one by cutting strips of paper and gluing them on top of each other, alternating over and under to create depth. (Make sure they are glued very securely with something like a glue gun so the rosette stays together.) Finish it off by cutting a scalloped circle and gluing it on top, and topping with a button with the shank removed.

The best part about this rosette is that it can be adjusted to any size package! I use 3/4″ wide by 7″ long strips to create this one, but a smaller or larger rosette could easily be created by simply adjusting the size of the strips used.

Finally, for the tag, use one of the ATC-sized Alphabet Banners. This one says “D” (for Dad, of course!) and the stencil cut-out is backed with a paper from the 8×8 paper pad. Glue some embellishments to the tag, and use twine to attach it to the top of the package!

This design could also easily be adjusted to package wedding party gifts (with black and touches of the Bride’s colors), or used for birthday wrap. Whatever the occasion…masculine doesn’t have to mean plain!