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Dye Ink “Stamping Off” Comparison

Hi All,

It wasn’t until I created this gift card set that I realized each brand of dye ink performs differently when it comes to “stamping off”, also known as “second generation stamping”. It’s when you ink a stamp, stamp it onto the paper, then stamp it again on paper without re-inking the stamp.

I decided to try out a variety of ink pads for comparison purposes. I used mostly dye inks but did do a couple of pigment inks to see what would happen. I used Stampin’ Up! paper with Stampin’ Up! inks and Neenah paper for all others. I did try other inks on Stampin’ Up! paper but got the same results as with the Neenah. I used a solid photopolymer stamp. I also noted the approximate age of each ink pad, none of which have ever been reinked.

The first two are dye inks: Hero Art Shadow ink (11 months old) and Simon Says Stamp ink (6 months old). These inks are known to have the same properties. That is, they absorb into the paper more evenly over time. Here are the results:
Stamp Off Test

Stamp Off Test

As you can see, the second stamp is a little splotchy for both of them. There are white spots mixed in with the color. I waited at least 15 minutes before taking the photos, so the ink had a chance to absorb. I think the colors of the two Hero Arts images complement each other, but the second stamping of the Simon Says Stamp ink seems a lot more purple than the first.

The next two inks are also dye inks, Ranger Adirondack (1 year old) and Memento (1 year old):

Stamp Off Test

Stamp Off Test

For some reason, the Adirondack did not fully cover my stamp when I inked it (see the middle of the flower?). That could have been user error. But in any event, the second stamp actually looks really good. Not splotchy. A nice, lighter shade of the first stamp. I like it.

I was kind of disappointed with the Memento. Both images are kind of splotchy.

Next up are the inks that did the best in my Dye Ink Comparison: Hero Hues (1 year old) and Stampin’ Up (4 years old). (Note: The Dye Ink Comparison used a non-photopolymer stamp for testing).

Stamp Off Test

Stamp Off Test

Wow, the Hero Hues first stamp is amazing. Clearly the best of all of them. But then the second stamp… odd. It’s very faded and the outline is not clear. I guess it used all its power in the first stamp. The Stampin’ Up! result is very similar to the Adirondack – very solid and sharp. However, I think the Stampin’ Up! first image is better than the Adirondack first image.

I went ahead and tried a few pigment inks. First up is Memento Luxe (both 1 year old). I did two examples because my Rose Bud pad was a little dry. The Blue Danube was extremely juicy.

Stamp Off Test

Stamp Off Test

These results are just different. The second stamps have a clearly defined outline, I think because the ink was pushed to the edge of the stamp on the first image (keep in mind that pigment inks go on like paint). The drier pad had a more faded second image, and it was also a little more uneven. I kind of like the outline though.

One more just to have a pigment ink comparison to the Memento Luxe – Avery Elle Raspberry (11 months old).

Stamp Off Test

This pad was a little dry also. It gave results mostly consistent with the Memento Luxe, although it didn’t have as much of an outline. Again, could be the dryness.

In summary, I would say that Ranger Adirondack and Stampin’ Up! came out on top. I would put the pigment inks in a far second, over the other dye inks.

Hope you enjoyed my little analysis. Have a great weekend.



  1. wrote on January 16th, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Carol B

    Great analysis of second generation stamping, thanks for taking time to test out the inks.

  2. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 10:30 am


    Thank you, that is important info to use when second generation stamping. Each dye is a bit different. Thanks for sharing your time.

  3. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 10:40 am


    I really love my SU! ink pads! I think if I got into all the other brands it would just overwhelm me. Thanks for the comparison! =)

  4. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Miss Robin

    Thank you for the comparison Darlene! It takes a lot of time to do these tests and I appreciate it. I seem to always have trouble with the Adirondak inks on polymer. I can never get complete coverage with one stamping.

  5. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 1:26 pm


    Thanks for this. Great information!

  6. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    mary w

    I bought two 12 packs of Stamp’n Up! inks over eleven years ago, then got very busy with something else and never used them. Once I got back into crafting, I began with Distress Inks and loved them, forgetting I even had the first inks that were so old. I cleaned out a cabinet last year and found the Stamp’n Up! inks and was about to throw them away but decided to try them first in case my 4 yo granddaughter could play with them. To my amazement, they worked FINE. They didn’t need re-inking! I now used the pretty colors along with the Distress inks and am so glad I didn’t toss them assuming they were too old!

  7. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 2:24 pm


    Thanks for the comparison. It’s really helpful.

  8. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Jan Richardson

    Thank you for the stamping off comparison. I do enjoy your videos as they are very helpful and informative.

  9. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 3:08 pm


    Great information, thanks!

  10. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 3:37 pm


    Thanks for the comparison…I did something similar with my inks and papers, though I don’t have Neenah paper. I found the results to be pretty much the same as yours. I was very surprised how well the SU! inks stamped second and even third generation.

  11. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 3:48 pm


    Thanks Darlene. This is very valuable information. I like playing with the suppkies more than making cards. Lol.

  12. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 4:16 pm


    I love reading your segments. It’s informative, interesting and so easy to understand. I find its so helpful. Thank you ! 🙂

  13. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 4:57 pm


    Thank you for taking the time-Great information.

  14. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 5:46 pm


    Thanks for the great info.

  15. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 7:06 pm


    Very useful information thanks so much.

  16. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Kylie Adams

    I have always been impressed with how stampin up’s second generation comes out. None of my other ink pads work anywhere near as well. Interesting to see your comparison too.. Thanks

  17. wrote on January 17th, 2015 at 11:16 pm


    Great info. I have read on other blogs that Studio Calico Color Theory inks work really well for this technique… I’ve never tried them – have you?


  18. wrote on January 18th, 2015 at 9:27 am


    This was a very useful comparison. I thank you for taking the time to make it for us.

  19. wrote on January 19th, 2015 at 10:37 am


    Good morning Darlene,
    Can you please advise the attributes and differences between:
    – chalk ink,
    – dye ink, and
    – pigment ink.

    I believe that each ink attribute is specialized in certain areas, which I am not clear.
    Can you please help clarify them, if feasible?
    Many Thanks.

    • wrote on January 19th, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Wkuan. Dye inks absorb into your paper, dry fast, and generally give a very crisp image. They work great with water and are very suitable to classic stamping on paper. Pigment inks are more like paint. They lay on top of the paper. The benefit of pigment inks is that you can heat emboss with them (the powder sticks to it). However, they do take a lot longer to dry. When you use a pigment ink, the color of the ink pad is exactly the color that will stamp. The third type you mention, chalk inks, are in between dye and pigment. They dry faster than pigment inks, but not as fast as dye ink. They are meant to give a more pastel/chalky look, although I have gotten good crisp images with black and brown. Personally, I have found that my chalk inks have dried up faster than my other inks. I did a Pigment Inks 101 post with lots of information on pigment inks. I also did a Dye Ink Comparison post if you’re interested in comparing several of the dye ink brands. Hope this helps!

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