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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?

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Review | Ranger Foil Cardstock

Foil-CardstockI love working with Ranger products, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this product. Ranger Silver Foil Cardstock has a shiny, mirror-like quality, and it’s sturdy enough to run through an embossing machine (such as the Big Shot).  You can use mediums like alcohol inks and acrylic paints to embellish its surface.

I decided  to go ahead and bring out my Big Shot – along with some dies, embossing folders, and some Prima chalk inks – to see how well they worked with the foil cardstock. You can see the results in the photos that follow. Continue Reading →

Review | Introduction to Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Glitter

Ranger Tim Holtz Distress GlitterHere’s another winner in the deep product line from Tim Holtz and Ranger Industries, which is always well thought out with perfectly matching colors and attractive packaging.

Distress Glitter comes in 24 different colors and coordinates with the nostalgic palette of other Distress products . Somewhere between a fine glitter and a glass glitter, the blend is best described as a vintage mica creating a unique glitter product. MSRP is $5.49, in my opinion a good value for a quality product that will last you quite a long time! Continue Reading →

Review | Tim Holtz Distress Glitter

Tim Holtz is know as “The Man” in the scrapbooking industry for many reasons. He is the most famous male name in the scrapbooking community. Tim’s Distress line of color mediums manufactured by Ranger Industries is immensely popular with all styles of crafters from the shabby chic artist to the clean more graphic style artists, and he also creates products that are gender neutral since they appeal to both males and females.. Tim is also know for his innovative products that advance the industry toward more user friendly multi-functional products. For that reason alone, I knew his new Distress Glitters were going to be something special and they did not disappoint!

The Ranger Ink website describes Distress Glitter as a nostalgic pattern of unique glitter that mimics the look of vintage mica. A quick Google search gave me a better understanding what mica is:

Mica is a mineral that comes in a variety of colors and can be easily separated into thin transparent sheets.In addition to being beautiful, it’s non-toxic, tough, chemically inert, transparent, and waterproof. via MicaSnow.com

Based on the images I found online, vintage mica was used largely to represent snow or provide shine in Christmas decorations and other crafty projects in the early 1900’s. I remember seeing it on the edges of pine cones in the winter. I may even remember using it in an arts and crafts project in school.

Distress Glitter very much resembles mica because of its shine properties. I found that the Distress Glitter, unlike traditional glitter, has a color cast shine to it. What does that mean? It means when you tilt your project it doesn’t reflect silver as traditional glitter does. It, instead, gives off the color that it truly represents in a beautiful subdued glimmer.

Distress Glitter MacaronUp

Continue Reading →

CHA Winter 2013: Innovations Showcase Products (Part 1)

Each show, CHA holds its Innovations Showcase, which serves as a combination media event and buyer preview. The top 20 entrants in the Innovations Showcase (as pre-determined by  a panel of celebrity media judges) take part in a speed round of presentations to the audience, and then attendees get a few minutes to visit each entrant’s booth around the outer edge of the room to talk to the various manufacturers about their products. (At CHA Winter 2013, Craft Critique’s own editor Nancy Nally was one of the celebrity media judges!)

CHA Winter 2013

Needless to say, we arrived with our cameras and notebooks in hand to get the most information possible in the short amount of time allowed for our readers. Our first stop was to see Julianna C. Hudgins demonstrating her new jewel loom from Beadalon.

Beadalon Jewel Loom by Juliana Hudgins

Beadalon Jewel Loom by Juliana Hudgins

Continue Reading →