Ranger Ink’s Distress Stickles

Reported by Susan Reidy

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I firmly believe that into every project a little bling must fall. But what if your style is less flashy/glitzy and more shabby/vintagey? Try Ranger Ink’s Distress Stickles by Tim Holtz.

According to Ranger, this brand of Stickles combines “variegated glitter sizes and a matte look to complement the nostalgic palette of Distress products.” Translation: Compared to regular Stickles, the Distress line has more muted colors and less sparkle, which is great for vintage and shabby projects.

In the picture below, you can see how Distress Stickles compare to the standard Stickles, more shine in the traditional, more texture in the distress version. As promised, the Distress Stickles do provide “a thicker, bolder application.”

Distress Stickles come in a .5 fl. Oz. bottle and start at about $2.49 per bottle.

I love me some Stickles, so I had to give these a try. The first thing I noticed is that the bottle tip has a wider opening, which makes sense since the glitter in the Distress Stickles is chunkier.

I found both pros and cons to this feature. On the plus side, the glitter glue flows rather easily from the Distress Stickles (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used my paper piercer to open up the tip of my traditional Stickles). This also makes covering larger areas easier.

On the negative side, the glitter glue flows rather easily. I know — same point, different view. Because it comes out so easily, if you get a little excited while using it (isn’t crafting fun?), you may end up with great globs of gluey goodness. But if you’re working on a shabby project, that’s the look you want anyway, right?

The point is still fine enough to more or less accurately get it where you want it, even if it’s only around the edge of an item. Below, I used Peeled Paint to highlight the edges of my flowers made from vintage sewing pattern paper. The Stickles worked well, even on this delicate surface.

Distress Stickles are currently available in 29 colors, which match the other Ranger line of Distress products including ink pads, embossing powders and crackle paint. And you’ve got to love the names — Broken China, Fired Brick, Dusty Concord, Shabby Shutters, Worn Lipstick and more.

The products match nicely. Here’s antique linen in Distress Stickles and crackle paint.

I liked using these together on my project below for a tone-on-tone look. It gave the butterflies some nice texture and a touch of sparkle, without going over the top.

And here’s a little trick I learned from the Ranger web site. You can ink the Distress Stickles for a tarnished look on the glitter. That’s a pretty cool look. On my heart below, I used Worn Lipstick Distress Stickles and rubbed Old Paper Distress ink pad over it once it was dry.

Overall, I think Stickles are still the easiest, cleanest way to add glitter to a project and a multitude of surfaces. With the distress version, I like that it matches the other distress products and it gives you texture and dimension without looking like a Vegas stage show.

Distress Stickles are available from a wide range of retailers, including Michael’s, Jo-Ann, A.C. Moore, Archiver’s and several online sites such as Amazon.


  • Easily adds texture, and some sparkle.
  • Great color choices, which match other distress products.
  • Ideal for vintage/shabby projects.
  • Works on a variety of surfaces — patterned paper, chipboard, cardstock, etc.
  • Glitter glue flows easily from applicator.


  • Can get rather pricey, especially if you want the whole color collection.
  • Glitter glue flows easily, which can make it tricky if you want to do super fine detail work.

[Editor’s Note: Distress Stickles have been discontinued by Ranger Ink, but they still produce regular Stickles in a wide palette of colors.]

Have you tried Distress Stickles? What do you think? Do you like them more/less/the same as traditional Stickles? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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13 Responses to Ranger Ink’s Distress Stickles

  1. Avatar
    Pam May 23, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Love them, have used them. General I just rub them on my project with my finger to give my items some bling, bling

  2. Avatar
    Sherry Cheever May 23, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    In all of Tim’s classes when working with distress stickles, he will tell you Distress Stickles are made to be rubbed and spread, unlike regular stickles.

  3. Avatar
    Maria Matter May 23, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    I wondered about these, thanks for a super review.
    I’m a big fan of regular Stickles!

  4. Avatar
    rush8888 May 23, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    i don’t have any yet, but they are on my list. i only have a few distressed ink pads, too. what i should have done is purchase both the pad and the stickles together. i will do that in the future for sure.

  5. Avatar
    Becky May 23, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I have stickles and love them, but have not tried distress stickles yet. Glad Sherry cleared that up how to use it. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Dawn May 23, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    I love my Distress stickles as much as my regular ones. I like the muted tones and use them frequently on my more masculine items.

  7. Avatar
    Doris May 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I recently got into the stickles and then inquired about the distress.. I learned more here today – thanks. I LOVE stickles and the color variety. They seem to work with almost anything and the look to o with the “manly” projects…
    WANT to learn more about them! Thanks

  8. Avatar
    janine May 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I love my Distress Stickles!! I’ve been getting into it more lately with some of the things I’ve made.

    I noticed at my local Michael’s this weekend that they have some of the Distress Stickles on clearance—along with some other Tim Holtz products (Texture Hammer and some of Tim’s masks).

    Thanks for this great review!!

  9. Avatar
    Cindy Shepard May 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    The names alone make you want to use them, thanks for the review…not a big glitter person but these sound perfect for me.

  10. Avatar
    Tona May 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I love my distress stickles but when I use them I rub them across a surface…not squirt them.

  11. Avatar
    Karla Anderson May 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    I love them! They are used differntly than regular stickles – so I still use the normal ones for lining or fine details and love spreading the chunky distress over shipboard shapes and letters or all over a background.

  12. Avatar
    Savannah O'Gwynn May 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Never used stickles–but I hear a lot about them! Thanks for the info and review:)

  13. Avatar
    Mary Anne / MA54K May 24, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    I have both kinds and I do tend to use the regular Stickles more. Most times, I am needing a wee bit of sparkle.