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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, Amazon.com, and other crafts retailers.

Paint a Patriotic Flower Pot for the Porch!

I’m so excited to be sharing my patriotic flower pot project today to help kick off the annual Red, White & Blue series at Sugar Bee Crafts, which is being run as a sort of month long blog hop this year! I look forward to seeing what all the other talented bloggers who are taking part will contribute.

[Some links in this article are affiliate links which pay a commission if a purchase is made after a click. I am part of blogger programs at Cricut and Plaid, who each provided me some products used in this article.]

patriotic flower pot

Supplies Needed:

To start my patriotic flower pot, I used the white paint and a foam paintbrush to put two coats on the rim of the pot.

painting flower pot

While my white paint was drying, I used my Cricut Explore Air 2 machine to cut out five stars from Cricut stencil vinyl. I used the Cricut Design Space basic shape tool to do this, and sized the stars so they would fit nicely on the rim of the pot.

Once the paint was dry on the rim of my patriotic flower pot, I stuck down the stars, I used a tape measure to get them evenly spaced around the rim. I measured the rim, divided it by 5 to get the spacing. I then stuck down a star, and measured from the left side of it to get to the starting point for the next star. I made sure to rub the stars down really firmly, especially at the edges, to avoid paint seeping under the edge.

star masks on flower pot

The next step once the stars were in place was to paint over the white with the Apple Red paint. While I had only put the white on the exterior of the pot, I carried the red over the rim down a distance into the interior of the pot so that the pot would be red above the soil line. This detail helps make the pot look “finished” no matter what angle it is viewed from.

It took three coats of paint for me to get solid color coverage over the bright white color. Remember when brushing your paint on to brush out from the center of the star masks so you aren’t pushing paint under the edges of them! (If you do find paint under the masks when you remove them, the areas can be touched up with a small brush and the white paint.) Once the red paint was dry, I peeled off the star masks and my white stars were showing through the red paint!

To finish my patriotic flower pot, I used painter’s masking tape to tape around the bottom of the red rim of the pot. Then I painted the bottom of the flower pot in two coats of cobalt blue, and removed the painter’s tape.

patriotic flower pot

Once all of my paint was dry, I added a few cute annual flowers that I bought at the local garden center. My patriotic flower pot was ready to beautify the table on my back porch. Now, if only I can remember to water my poor flowers regularly!

Would you like to see more fun patriotic crafts? Visit the Red, White & Blue series at Sugar Bee Crafts, or my Easy Melt & Pour Patriotic Soap!

Easy Melt & Pour Patriotic Soap

Not too long ago I discovered a new craft obsession: soap making! This red, white and blue melt & pour soap project that I’m bringing you today was one of my first soaping projects, so it’s perfect for beginners or soap makers of all levels.

[Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the user when a purchase is made after a click.]

Red White & Blue Soap

To make this, you’ll need:

These items can be found at local soap specialty stores, ordered online, or are available at some local craft stores.

You’ll also need a kitchen scale, some spatulas, and a couple of Pyrex or other microwave safe glass bowls or measuring cups to melt your soap in.

To start, you need to chop up the clear glycerin soap and put it in a microwave container. I use large Pyrex measuring cups for melting my soap. Using 30 second bursts (or shorter when the soap is nearly melted so you don’t burn it) in the microwave, melt the soap to a liquid. Be careful not to boil it, though, by overheating it!

measuring melt and pour soap

Once the soap is melted, follow package instructions to add your fragrance. After the fragrance is mixed in, divide the soap evenly into two containers. Color one of the containers with blue and one with red.

Spritz your mold with rubbing alcohol. Pour each color into one section of your soap mold, spritz the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to pop bubbles that were created during pouring, and allow the soap to cool. (Ignore the round one below – that is a color swirling experiment I made with some extra soap!)

melt and pour soap

It will take a few hours for the blue and red soaps to cool enough to work with. When they have, pop them out of the mold and chop part of them into small cubes. Place the cubes back into the molds, arranged randomly. (You can use the leftover red and blue soap to make more of these red white & blue bars, or as small travel soap bars, or for other soap design projects.)

melt and pour soap

Chop up the white glycerin soap just like the clear glycerin and heat it in the microwave as well using the same method. When it is melted, mix in your selected fragrance following the package directions.

Spritz the mold and the red & blue soap pieces with rubbing alcohol. Then carefully (I highly recommend using a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout for this task) pour the white soap into the mold around the red and blue soap pieces. Stop right before the white soap level reaches to tops of the colored soap pieces, so they will not get covered up. Spritz the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that occurred on the surface from the pouring.

melt and pour patriotic soap

Leave the soap to cool for a few hours and then it can be removed from the mold! Imperfect edges can be cleaned up with a knife or by wiping the soap with a wet cloth.

melt and pour patriotic soap


And now it is time to enjoy your soap! This design makes a great way to add a festive touch to your guest bath or holiday home for July 4th.

This soap making project isn’t just for the 4th of July. A simple change in color scheme could make this a fun school spirit gift – send some off to school with your favorite college freshman!  Or make it in red and green to make Christmas holiday decor for your bathroom. The possibilities are endless, and since the soap comes in 2 pound packs, you can try several versions with your supply purchase! This is a great way to learn the basics of handling melt and pour soap.

I hope you enjoyed my soap tutorial today! If you are interested in making soap, please check out my other soapmaking articles 7 Things I’ve Learned Starting Soap Making and Celebrate Star Wars with Frozen Han Solo Soap to learn more about it!