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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.

Memento Luxe Ink Review

Of all the crafty supplies that I’ve acquired and hoarded over the years, there is one that I never get rid of: inks. I love them. They come in so many different shapes, colors, and formulations. There are pigment, distress, hybrid, shadow, and archival inks, just to name a few. Over the past seven plus years of crafting, I feel like I’ve tried them all.

After all that trial (and some error), I have to say that Tsukineko’s Memento brand inks are in general among some of my top performance inks. They provide a lasting and crisp inking to almost any stamp, and I find that their inks resist fading as some other inks tend to do.

So when I got the chance to write the Memento Luxe Ink review for Craft Critique, I just had to find out if these inks lived up to their brand name. I couldn’t wait to try them, and share my results!

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Black Ink Comparison

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk

In the past few years we have seen Copic, Big Brush and Memento markers become popular for coloring stamped images. Do certain markers work better with certain inks? Which inks are the darkest and blackest? And most importantly: Is there an ink which is really black that doesn’t smear when colored with markers?

In 2008 Craft Critique’s Technical Editor, Dana Vitek, did a very detailed comparison of black inks called, “The MOTHER of all black ink tests…“. As a follow-up to Dana’s well-researched comparison, I have created a similar but simpler test to compare some of the newer black inks. All of the inks (except one) used in the test are part of my stash of art supplies. The exception was the Jet Black StazOn ink (and cleaner) which belonged to a friend.

Methodology:
I printed the testing matrix on Georgia Pacific white cardstock and Stampin’ Up Whisper White cardstock. I stamped each type of ink four times on each sheet of cardstock (three for testing and one as a control). I started with the StazOn ink and afterward cleaned the stamp with StazOn cleaner. For the remainder of the testing, I used Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner before changing ink sources. All of the ink air dried for approximately 14 hours before I tried coloring over the image with markers (I didn’t plan to wait 14 hours but life happened). After coloring each image with marker, I scribbled it on scrap paper to remove any black ink transferred to the marker tip.

Cardstock:
Stampin’ Up Whisper White
Georgia Pacific White

Markers:
Copic Y11 Pale Yellow
Faber Castell Big Brush Light Yellow Glaze 104
Tsukineko MementoPear Tart PM-703

Inks:


Below are my results (click on the photos to make them larger).


It is important to note that Copic markers which are meant to be blended, so by design Copic over Copic will blend (aka smear). However, Memento over Memento and Big Brush over Big Brush did not smear.

Biggest Surprise- The Nick Bantock ink did not smear with Copic or Memento markers but there was some smearing with Big Brush markers. This ink was also very easy to clean off the stamp and did not stain. Secondly, the Stazon did not smear but the stamped images feathered and the black didn’t seem as dark as some of the other inks.

Overall- Stazon, Memento and Big Brush did not have any issues with smearing. Memento images were slightly crisper than Big Brush. I’m not sure if I had been comparing a black Memento marker to Big Brush if the results would stay the same.

Bottom Line- If I had to pick one ink that stamped crisply, had a rich black color and didn’t smear when colored with markers, I would choose Memento based on my results.

What brand of black ink do you use with markers? Please share your thoughts with our readers.