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Black Inks Product Review

Black Inks Review

Update – March 16, 2015

As promised, I purchased three more inks for my comparison: Hero Hues Black Dye Ink, Ranger Black Tie Dye Ink, and My Favorite Things Hybrid Ink. The results are reflected in the chart below. Some notes from my additional testing:

  • I was NOT expecting the absolutely fantastic stamping ability of the Ranger Black Tie ink. But, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. For as great as the distress inks are for water techniques, this dye ink is that much greater for general stamping. I wasn’t planning to buy these inks in various colors, but I’m going to have to try a couple to see if the colors match up to the quality of the black. Okay, and not only that, it worked with the Blender Pen! And watercoloring! Downsides for this ink? Not good for Copics (it doesn’t claim to be) and it smells terrible. I’m not talking about a smell that some people like and some don’t (I can inhale StazOn all day). I’m talking a foul smell. I guess it’s the price you pay for the amazing stamping qualities. I’ll pay the price.
  • The new My Favorite Things Hybrid ink was quite impressive. For general stamping, very good, but not as dark black and crisp as you get with some of the others. I would call it more of a charcoal color. I tried some of the colors and found that it stamps similar to the Hero Arts Shadow/Simon Says Stamp inks. HOWEVER, it works with the Blender Pen, watercolor, AND Copics!! That’s a lot of media! Plus, even though it’s a hybrid ink (which means it is between pigment and dye), I didn’t have to heat-set it for anything. If you’re looking for one single ink to buy, this might be the one, as it covers everything. Maybe it’s not the BEST at everything, but it works for everything.
  • I originally marked the Stampin’ Up! ink as not good for acrylic/silicone stamping. Since I was basing this assessment on my experience over the years with all the various colors, I decided I really should have done a separate test for the black. I did, and the stamping was good. I say “good” and not great because even though it seemed like I had a lot of ink on my pad, it was a little faded. Also, I would only recommend it for Stampin’ Up! paper. On Neenah, it wasn’t good.
  • The Hero Arts Dye Ink is a very crisp, dark ink. It’s a good ink for watercoloring too. Not sure I would say it was very special in any way. With the other choices available, I wouldn’t pick it as my favorite for anything. But I do like the darkness of the black.
  • Originally, I picked just Versafine as my preferred watercolor outline ink. However, because it has to be heat-set, I decided that if I wasn’t going to heat emboss, I needed another choice for quick watercoloring. I chose the Ranger Archival. It is the clearest, darkest black of all the inks. And for that reason, it’s also my second pick for general stamping.

So there you go for the update. Hopefully this helps – see the chart below for a summary.

Hi All!

Before I start, I have a few small things to mention:

  • Polling! I had my announcement of my polling buried inside a post last week, so there hasn’t been much of a response. Please take a minute to check it out! You will be able to access it anytime by clicking “Polling” in the right margin.
  • I bit the bullet. I bought the iMac. It should be here next week. I can’t wait!
  • I bit another bullet. I bought the Misti. I’m so weak. I couldn’t stand the peer pressure!!

Okay, now for the real stuff. Over the years, this question pops up all the time… which black ink should I use for which media? There are so many black inks out there, so it’s overwhelming!

I put together a chart of inks and applications. It was a really interesting and eye-opening project for me. I tend to gravitate toward the same inks for certain things out of habit, without considering other inks that may be better suited to my technique. When I first started putting this chart together, I based it not just on my preferences but on what the manufacturers recommend. I then thought to myself… if I’m going to put this chart out there, it needs to be something I can stand behind. So, I conducted the tests for myself. Wow, I was really surprised by the results. Apparently I am a very tough judge, because I didn’t get some of the results touted by the manufacturers. Unless it has ZERO bleeding, I counted it as a no for that application. The blender pen I used was by Stampin’ Up!. I used Neenah Solar White cardstock for all tests, with the exception of Stampin’ Up!. For the Stampin’ Up! ink, I used both Neenah and Stampin’ Up! Whisper White. I got the same results with each.

There were several inks that are supposed to be waterproof or Copic-proof, but they weren’t waterproof or Copic-proof to my standards. I even waited 15 minutes and tried again (on an untouched portion of the inked image), which I noted in the chart. Oh, and just to be safe, I checked it again after letting it sit overnight. My picks are highlighted in bright green.

There were a few inks on my list that I didn’t have, so I took them off the list until I can test them for myself. I will be ordering them this week, so stay tuned for these additions: Hero Arts Hues Black, the new Ranger Dye ink, and My Favorite Things hybrid ink.

Some interesting discoveries:

  • Whenever I’m not heat embossing before watercoloring, I’ve always used Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink. After applying water directly to the ink immediately after stamping, it was bleeding a lot – probably the worst performance of all of them. Then, after 15 minutes, I tried again and it was bleeding in a purple-ish color. Check it out:
    Black Inks Review
    I even heat-set it. Still not good. This was probably the weirdest result I had. Maybe it has something to do with my ink pad? I’d be interested to know if anyone else experiences it.
  • Maybe it’s because I just reinked my Stampin’ Up! pad, but I had to heat-set it for watercoloring. Even after 15 minutes it was still bleeding. After 24 hours it was ok, but who’s going to wait that long? I still described it as fast-drying because that has been my typical experience with this ink.
  • Versafine Black Onyx pigment ink is still my favorite ink. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it works well with watercoloring, after it has been heat-set. I almost always clear emboss it before watercoloring.
  • Ranger Archival Ink works great on acetate!
  • Although Memento didn’t fare well in the watercoloring department, it was absolutely perfect for Copics. Just untouchable compared to the rest.
  • Staz-On was the only ink that didn’t bleed with the Blender Pen. Super interesting.
  • Based on the chart, it looks like Distress Inks are good for nothing, lol. But actually, they are not really made for stamping. These results just prove that they are in a special category all to themselves. 🙂

So here we go with the chart. Click it to enlarge.
Black Ink Review

Hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for the remaining ink comparison!




To purchase at Ellen Hutson, click the EH link. To purchase at Simon Says Stamp, click the SSS link.

Stampin' Up! Basic Black Ink
Stampin’ Up! Basic Black Ink
Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink
Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink
Ranger Black Archival Ink
Ranger Black Archival Ink
Simon Says Stamp Black Ink
SSS Black Ink
Black Soot Distress Ink
Black Soot Distress Ink
Versafine Black Onyx Ink
Versafine Black Ink
Memento Luxe Tuxedo Black Ink
Memento Luxe Tuxedo Black Ink
StazOn Black Ink
StazOn Black Ink
Ranger Black Tie
Ranger Black Tie
MFT Black Licorice Hybrid
MFT Black Licorice Hybrid
Hero Hues Black
Hero Hues Black


  1. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:16 pm


    I agree with your findings, Darlene. Through practice and contact with the inks, these results are what I have found to be true.
    The polling is a good idea. I like it. Stay with it. Congrats on a new Mac! Wow!

  2. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:18 pm


    I am assuming by blender pen, you are referring to the Stampin’ Up blender pen? I didn’t see anywhere that you specified. I have the SU blender pen and the Marvy. Ya know honestly…I never remember to use either of them. I always reach for my Ranger aqua pen. LOL Thanks for the review. I look forward to the addition of the pads you are ordering for further testing. =)

    • wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:20 pm


      Oh and my birthday is coming up quickly…I’ve requested the MISTI!!! Glad you bit the bullet and ordered one too. Please let us know how long it takes to receive it?? I’m so excited I almost pee myself everytime I think about it!! HAHA

      • wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        Darlene DeVries

        Believe it or not, I just got an email that it shipped! I think I happened to catch it while it was in stock.

        • wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 11:27 pm


          When did you place your order Darlene?

          • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:13 pm

            Darlene DeVries

            I placed it on Monday and it’s supposed to arrive Friday. 🙂

          • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:20 pm

            Darlene DeVries

            Oops, I thought you meant my SimonSaysStamp order, lol! I order too much. I ordered the Misti on Sunday and I got an email that they shipped it on Monday. I don’t know when it will arrive.

      • wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 11:26 pm


        I ordered the mist I last week…still backordered.

        • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 1:45 am


          I’m going to email them to be sure my order wasn’t lost. I placed my order a week before you but haven’t received an email saying it has shipped!

    • wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi SandraMaria. Yes, I am using the Stampin’ Up! Blender pen. I will update the post to specify. Thanks for asking.

  3. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Mary Jane

    I’m laughing at the MISTI comment! I keep saying I don’t need it but every time I make a mistake lining up a stamp on a card I just curse at myself for not having one. The scrapbook expo is this weekend here in CA so I’m hoping someone has it there and is going to offer some sort of deal on it. (yeah right! But you just never know)
    Anyway, love the cards as always and don’t beat yourself up for running with the crowd! The MISTI is a great product!

  4. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Peg C

    It’s Monday! Oh happy day a post from my favourite blog! Good luck with the Mac, I’m hoping to get mine in the states soon so much cheaper than UK.

    Thanks for the review on the black ink pads x

  5. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:39 pm


    Love this chart. I very much appreciate your doing the comparisons and charting the findings. Thank you.

  6. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:45 pm


    Oh my gosh Darlene!! so funny you mentioned the MISTI because I just watched a video on utube from this lady who invented it? I love it, it’s pricey but I think it will pay itself by how much I will use it. I’ve used the Stamp-a-majig forever but this tool really is better for all stamps that are not wood ones. I’ve also been thinking of getting the entire collection of SU acrylic blocks but they are ever so darn expensive (plus the SH+tax adds almost $9.00 to the price) so I’ve held on sticking with 3 blocks for all my stamping. This tool really is worth it so, I will also bite the bullet and get it.
    Now, my favorite medium to color my stamped images is Water Colors so, Stazon Jet Black ink is the one for me. Memento is not good for WC but I do have a pad, sometimes I use it just for sentiments.
    I never use Blender Pens, my Aqua Painter is the only tool I use for coloring.
    Thank you for this chart and for all the work you always put on everything you do.
    Ah!!! and enjoy your Mac!!

  7. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Kylie Adams

    Thanks for the info. I too caved and got the MISTI….

  8. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 1:58 pm


    This is really useful! Have you tested the best ink for Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol?
    I really enjoy using these products but am always frustrated by the ink bleeding. I was
    taught to use StazOn with a smooth card stock like Cougar or Beckett Expression Super Smooth. Since StazOn is not recommend for clear stamps it can be limiting. Any ideas? Thank you!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Debbie. Gamsol has been on my list for a long time and I’ve never gotten around to using it. You’ve reminded me to bump it up on my list!

  9. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Michelle Early

    I’ll await your review of the MISTI. I’ve watched the videos and wonder if it will help with the rose stamps we have. Thanks for the black ink chart.

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      I was thinking the same thing Michelle!

  10. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Sherry W.

    Your research is really helpful. Thank you! Also, can’t wait to see if you feel the MISTI is worth the investment. You seem to do so well with just the stamp-a-ma-jig. I’ve been eyeing the MISTI, though….

  11. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Lesley S

    I’ve also ordered the Misti. I think it will be great for colouring stamps with markers. I’ll be able to do just one colour at a time (maybe less huffing overall?). Thanks for the review and chart. Can’t wait for the balance of the review with the other inks.

  12. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:47 pm


    Thanks for the chart I’ve printed it up to keep in my craft area. I’ve learned so much from you.

  13. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:54 pm


    Oh, so happy to see that you ordered the MISTI. Mine came on Friday and I will anxiously (but impatiently) await your tips and tricks after you get yours and have a chance to use it. Thanks for the ink comparisons and the chart. I just printed it and will keep it with my inks. for reference.

  14. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 3:04 pm


    Well, this is useful. You’re right about the bleeding with blender pens. That’s my experience, too.

  15. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 3:05 pm


    I bought the Misti. LOVE IT Totally has changed my stamping abilities. I will be interested in what you think of the mac. Thanks for the black ink chart.

  16. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 3:23 pm


    This is really helpful. thanks

  17. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Patty Beers

    I was happy to hear about Ranger Archival for acetate. I needed that info. Thanks.
    You are going to love the iMac. I have had them for years. Always kept moving up because of needing more memory. The last one I have had for 4 years and it is going strong. I love it.

  18. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 4:51 pm


    Well thanks for the in-depth info on black inks. I have blender pens but don’t use them because I think they dull the colors, but that’s just me.
    As for the MISTI you will love it. I’ve had mine for a few months and I can say for sure that it has saved many an ink mistake. I do use the Ranger archival black ink and it never covers my stamps well so I usually end up with a blotchy sentiment or image but….not anymore thanks to my MISTI!!
    It’s wonderful for mass producing. Also Iliana posted a template that you can print out on a transparency to use for perfect sentiment placement. See it under “downloads” on mysweetpetunia.com

  19. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Nancy R.

    Got my MISTI in today’s mail! Can’t wait to try it out!! I’m loving everything I’m seeing on here, Darlene!! So glad I’m a part of all this! Keep up the great work!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Thank you Nancy! 🙂

  20. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 5:35 pm


    HI Darlene, thanks for taking the time to list your faves. I have good luck using StazOn for both watercolor outlines and acetate stamping. 🙂

  21. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    D Furlong

    Could you please clarify the word “acetate” in the last column in your handy-dandy black ink chart? I assume, because the prior two columns mention TYPES of stamps — (1) polymer and rubber stamping and (2) acrylic and silicone stamping — that “acetate stamping” means stamps made of acetate……..or do you mean stamping ON acetate? Thank you.

    • wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 1:16 am


      She means stamping ON acetate. I don’t think there are stamps in existence made of acetate. I’m still fairly green at card making, but I’ve been watching videos and have become quite familiar with the tools of the trade, and I’ve honestly can say I’ve never ever heard of that. I can say with 99.9% assurance she means stamping on acetate, like if you wanted to stamp your sentiment on the clear window of a shaker card, for example. 🙂 Hope this helps!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Sorry about that – I meant stamping ON acetate. 🙂

  22. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 6:28 pm


    Thanks for the info on the inks. It’s a big help. Congrats on ordering the iMac. You are going to love it. After using PC’s for over 30 years I switched to the iMac about 3 yrs ago & I will NEVER go back to using a PC again. It was so easy to learn & has way less problems than the PC. Good luck with it and thanks for all your wonderful videos!!

  23. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 7:23 pm


    I can’t wait to see what you do with MISTI. I bought one and got it in December. I absolutely love, love, love it. I is an unbelievable tool!!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Oh my gosh, who DOESN’T love this tool??

  24. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 8:13 pm


    Hi Darlene,
    I have just received my MISTI. It was fun to learn that Iliana lives in a small town near me right here in West Central Illinois. Can’t wait to use it. I gave up using Stampin Up! black ink a long time ago. I will try these others. When in doubt, emboss!! Thanks for the tips.

  25. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 9:43 pm


    Ok this is pretty awesome! I was recently considering purchasing a StazOn Black Ink pad specifically for stamping on acetate. But seeing here that Ranger Black ARchvieal ink will work just saved me both a trip to the store and about $10! So thanks for sharing this!

  26. wrote on February 23rd, 2015 at 11:21 pm


    I don’t know if it’s just me or if others find your font difficult to read. It would be so much easier if you could make it darker (or bold) as some of the other posts have been. I truly love reading the things you share with us but am having some difficulty due to size of font and lightness. Sorry to sound like I’m being critical. Just thought maybe some others feel the same as I do and the feed back would be helpful. Love your new Blog otherwise!

    • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 12:45 pm


      You should be able to adjust that to suit your needs in y our own browser. If you are using Firefox, go to Tools—->Options—->Content. If you are using Chrome go to Settings, all the way to the bottom and click on ‘show advanced settings’ and then go to Web Content. If you are using Opera…(LOL I think I have too many browsers!) go to Settings—–>Preferences——>Web Pages. Hope that helps you out. =)

      • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        Darlene DeVries

        Thank you SandraMaria!!

        • wrote on February 27th, 2015 at 12:02 pm


          Glad to help! =)

  27. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 12:53 am


    I know you didn’t add it to your list of products you intend to test next, I was hoping you’d rest the new Lawn Fawn black liquorice ink, too!? I’m interested to know how it would work out (although I can already say it probably won’t fare well for the water coloring, as they’re apparently made to watercolor with with). I’m curious to know if it would replace Versafine add your fave ink for crisp stamping (Versafine is my fave too for that)….as KellyMarie claims. It looks super and can be used with Copics, I believe she said after you hit it with your heat tool..(or my new Stampin Up heat tool I won…woo! Lol)
    Anyway, in thinking of investing in their new line and I totally trust you 🙂 I’m also curious how well they layer on top of I’ve another to create a darker version of the same color, like if you were using the Altenew flowers stamps but only had one of each color…since they’ve only got ten colors as of now. Thanks! God bless! Xoxo

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Mary. I didn’t order the Lawn Fawn because it seems like just another dye ink, and I was guessing it might perform similarly to the Simon Says Stamp inks. I ordered MFT because I was curious about this whole “hybrid” concept. I will report back! To be honest with you, Stammpin’ Up! is my favorite brand of dye ink for general stamping. Memento Luxe is my favorite brand of pigment ink. 🙂

      • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 12:48 pm


        I have actually wondered about that myself. Seems they are all manufactuared by the same company, just have their own colors and labels — but if you look at the pads, they are all the same design? If anyone could edumacate me on this, I would really appreciate it. =)

        • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Darlene DeVries

          Hi SandraMaria. It’s a good question. I unfortunately don’t have an answer. At one time, I was investigating stamp manufacturers and brands were kind of secretive about who manufactures their stamps. Perhaps inks are the same way. There are definitely brands with very similar properties (SSS and HA shadow, SU and Hero Hues). I tend to buy similar brands based on color. For example, I don’t think you need all SSS inks and all HA Shadow inks. Does anyone else know anything about this topic?

  28. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 2:28 am


    Hi Darlene,

    I’m wondering if the black Stampin’ Up ink is the old formulation or the new one? I know they were having problems with the black ink after they switched to the new pads and formulas. I was going through my pads and found the new pad completely dry, whereas my old linen pad was still juicy. Hmmm…

    Anyway, I’ve often wondered if SU ink would work with alcohol markers. I should experiment with other colors and see.

    Someone else here asked about the new Lawn Fawn black ink. I’m hoping you review that one, too. I’ve seen others use MFT hybrid and they seem to love it for both watercoloring and copics, so I’ll be interested in your review of that one, too.

    Thanks for the chart!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Irene. My black ink pad is the new style. And in fact, it was completely dry when I started the test. My old one was juicy for a long, long time. I wonder if the new ink pads don’t hold as much ink as the old ones. SU knows their ink doesn’t work with alcohol markers, which is why they sell Memento in their catalog.

      • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:24 pm


        Ah. I thought they were selling Memento mostly because they’ve had so many problems with the new black ink formula. They’ve even asked demos to stop promoting it (from my understanding — or at least none that I know do). Plus, with the addition of photopolymer, stazon isn’t as great for those.

        I am aware that the new pads dry out sooner and need to be reinked more often. I have some, but lately I’ve been doing so much coloring with other mediums that I rarely use my pads anymore. I should go through and test them. lol

  29. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 3:55 am


    This is great information to have thanks for doing all the investigative work for us!

    I got a MISTI in January and ABSOLUTELY love it. I still use my stamp-a-majig but for making multiples of the same card, like I do for Christmas Cards and most recently invitations, the MISTI can’t be beat. I LOVE it so much I bought another one a couple of weeks ago just as a back-up.

    Thanks again.

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Holy cow Jean, that’s quite a testimonial on the Misti! Now I really can’t wait to get mine. 🙂

  30. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Barbara Gertrud

    Thank you for these tests. I had better results with StazOn on acetat, the archival ink smeared. Maybe it was the type of acetat, I don’t remember the brand.
    I am too dreaming of the MISTI, I wonder, when it will be available in Switzerland, and at what price!
    Thanks again,

  31. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 9:33 am


    Thank you Darlene for all your great post. I’m always excited to see a new one in my email and can’t wait to watch it and learn.

    Thank you again, Janet

  32. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 10:10 am


    Yesteday, I was trying to water color an image with Distress Inks and stamped the outline of the image in Momento. I couldn’t believe the amount of bleed I was getting. I kept scratching my head thinking, “this is what we use with Copics, I thought this is what everyone was using for water coloring, too”. So, your chart is very well-timed. I’ll certainly try the Versafine for my next project. I LOVE the way it stamps greetings, but felt that it stayed wet too long for water coloring. I’ll try heat setting it first and see if that does the trick. Great product review. Thank you.

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      I’m glad to hear you had the same experience Teresa. I love Versafine too!

  33. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Miss Robin

    Love this post and that you are willing to do the research for us!! I would also ask you to consider trying the Lawn Fawn black that Marymoxx mentioned–just in case it is what they say! Would LOVE to find an alternative to Memento for copic coloring. I think I NEED a Misti just so I can get the Memento ink just a little darker for my liking!! I’m thinking with just your Christmas cards you will be grateful for the Misti!! My question for myself for the Misti is, since I don’t make Christmas cards, would I use it on a regular basis to do my stamping with? Jennifer McGuire makes it look pretty darned handy, but I don’t know. Is it handy enough to remember to use it? I’m lucky if I remember to dust my paper with powder before I heat emboss! I have used iMacs my whole adult life and love them. Just make sure you get the most memory you can get on one. If you keep pictures on your hard drive because you want easy access to them, the memory dwindles quickly. We’ve had one of our iMacs now for 8 years. Still working great!!

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi again Robin. I had (and still sort of have) the same concerns as you about how much I will use the Misti. However, I use my stamp-a-ma-jig A LOT. So, I’m thinking I will use the Misti a lot too. We’ll have to wait and see. You’ll know if I like it – you’ll see it a lot! I don’t have Lawn Fawn on my list, but maybe I will do that one later. MFT is supposed to be a hybrid ink that does amazing things – I can’t wait to try it. And I upgraded my memory to 16GB! 🙂

  34. wrote on February 24th, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Miss Robin

    Darlene, I also wonder about the Misti–Distress ink is not for stamping with right? With the Misti you can restamp to get better images. Just how good of an image might you get with the Misti? If you aren’t expecting a high quality image and accepting the “distress” look of the ink, just how good of a solid image could you get? Sometimes, especially for words you need a certain color to make the card just right–would the Misti help make the Distress inks usable for that?

    • wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Robin. Stamping multiple times does help. I have used my Stamp-a-ma-jig to do this lots of times, especially with stamps that are low quality (made of silicone and/or acrylic). The problem is that the outline is still not going to be as crisp as you’d like.

      • wrote on February 26th, 2015 at 11:18 am

        Miss Robin

        Ah, I see. I do like crisp edges. Bummer! I never even thought to try it with the Stamp-a-ma-jig!

  35. wrote on February 25th, 2015 at 2:05 pm


    I didn’t find the comparison valuable–I tend to buy the ink I need after viewing videos using it. I don’t try to use inks for things they are not supposed to be used for. I only use MFT Black Ink for Copics, Archival Ink for watercolor and Versafine for words etc that I don’t color.

  36. wrote on March 7th, 2015 at 9:56 pm


    Your product comparisons are so helpful. Thanks!

  37. wrote on March 14th, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Barb H.

    I am anxiously awaiting your additions so I can print out the chart and keep it by my craft table. I have heard a lot about the MFT black licorice hybrid ink and want to see if it’s worth buying. I already have memento, stazon and versafine. You mention not to use staz on cleaner for certain stamp types. What cleaner do you recommend?

    I just bought a membership to your site a few days ago, so maybe you already have other comparisons for other products that I haven’t seen. As a possible suggestion, I would like to see comparisons of papers (Neenah solar white 90lb, 110lb, stampin up whisper white, MFT smooth white etc) for stamping. I am also overwhelmed with the amount of glues and adhesives out there. Last, I have found that not all clear stamps are alike. I have bought sets that have a clear crisp image and others that are messy looking. Are there true photopolymer sets and others that are vinyl or some other cheaper compound? How can you tell? I know Stampin Up has the higher quality sets, and I have been pleased with Lawn Fawn, but what about Hampton Arts, Hero Arts, and all the other companies? Is there a way to tell before you buy?

    • wrote on March 15th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Barb. I mostly use baby wipes to clean my stamps. I also use the Stampin’ Up! Scrub pad and Stampin’ Up! Mist Cleaner.

      Regarding the clear stamps you are purchasing, there are photopolymer and non-photopolymer. The photopolymer ones stamp very well, similar to rubber. Non-photopolymer stamps are generally made from silicone and/or acrylic. They can feel a little “mushy”. They will not stamp as well, and they also do not take dye inks very well. Photopolymer stamps usually state their material on the packaging. I’ve found that non-photopolymer don’t state anything. Hope that helps.

  38. wrote on March 17th, 2015 at 1:14 pm


    Well Darlene, what a great chart, I just printed it to have it handy next to my work table. You did an amazing job trying and documenting everything there is to know about black inks, you are so kind and so generous with your time and talent.
    This information is great to have so, when we go shopping for black inks, we know exactly what we need for the different mediums.
    You are a gem, Thank you so much.

  39. wrote on March 17th, 2015 at 1:45 pm


    I had to laugh at your comment about Staz-on’s smell — to me it’s like candy. I could smell it all day, too. I don’t understand how people don’t like the smell. lol

    Thanks for the update. I bought MFT’s hybrid in brown and I wasn’t happy — the pad seemed really dry and took half of the reinker to get juicy enough for my taste (and can we talk about the SIZE of that reinker for the price?) But it could have just been that particular pad — everyone has an off day. I’ve only heard good things since, so I’ll give their black a try.

    I’m dying (pun intended) to try Lawn Fawn’s new black ink — from the videos it looks like it is super-crisp!


  40. wrote on March 17th, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Miss Robin

    Hello Darlene, Thank you for the update on the black inks. Very informative and you’ve been quite thorough. These days, when talking about ink, you have to consider how the inks clean up. Did they all clean up with just water or did they need the stamp cleaner stuff to keep the black from integrating with the next ink color when you change ink colors?

    • wrote on March 17th, 2015 at 10:38 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Robin. I cleaned all of them with a baby wipe without any problem. I did use Staz-on cleaner to clean off the Staz-on. I know you’re not supposed to use Staz-on cleaner on clear stamps, but I do it anyway. I usually stamp off a few times on scratch paper after cleaning to make sure everything is off. Staining, however, is another story. Several of the inks stain stamps, but honestly, I lost track because my stamps were already stained! I think you’d have to get a bunch of different, new stamps and test each ink to measure staining. But as far as cleaning goes, I put the same amount of effort into each one. Kind of surprising, because I expected some of them to be more difficult.

      • wrote on March 18th, 2015 at 11:20 am

        Miss Robin

        Thank you for that info. Staining is not an issue for me as much as how much work is it to clean the stamp off so that there is no residue mixing with the next color. Plain water! That is great news. I’m not really set up for “special cleaning” inks. I have some of those, just to see if I get annoyed with the process of cleaning, but I would prefer plain water inks that work great! I know, I want the world! Thanks again.

  41. wrote on March 18th, 2015 at 1:53 pm


    Thanks for doing this test, this will be my go-to chart when stamping with black ink. I am glad you are picky, cause I am too. I really appreciate all the time you spent doing this.

  42. wrote on March 28th, 2015 at 6:53 pm


    Hi Darlene, I tend to agree with you most of the time. However, I bought the Ranger Black Archival ink and found it inferior to the Versafine when stamping my sentiment on watercolour paper. Maybe it will work better on a different type card stock to watercolour paper. But since you gave it one of your preferred for watercolor, I am wondering what i may have done wrong to get such a bad result.

    • wrote on April 8th, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Darlene DeVries

      Sorry for the delay in my response Connie, but I wanted to try it again for myself to be sure. I didn’t have any problem with the Ranger Black Archival on watercolor paper. I used the rough side of the Ranger watercolor paper. Maybe your ink pad is a little dry?

  43. wrote on February 16th, 2017 at 1:17 pm


    Thank you for this post. I’ve been thinking that I have to go through your posts because every time I try to watercolor or use copies, I can never remember which black ink to use. I’ve printed out the chart and will have it nearby.

  44. wrote on February 24th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Colorful Card Maker

    My favorite black ink is from VersaCraft. Not only do I make cards, but I also stamp on fabric and I use black along with colors to stamp things. Versa Craft is for fabric, paper, wood and more. I wish all ink could be used on fabric and paper. I need to get a reindeer for my pad though as it’s not as black as it used to be. I love my Memento Fade Resistant Dye Ink but I didn’t know that about the bleeding. I’ve never used water colors with it I guess. Then I love my Memento LUXE because again, you can use it on fabric and paper. When I water color, which isn’t to often because when I color, I’m not always near water, I guess I never noticed any bleeding. I’ll have to pay more attention. I don’t have any of those other inks so I can’t comment on them. Thanks for the great help with all the inks!

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