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Distress Inks Vs Oxide Inks

the-differenc-between-distress-and-ink-oxide-inks

What Are The Inks In Question?

Distress inks by Ranger have been so popular for many years. So many uses for distress inks have made them a essential tool in most crafters stash. I would have to say that is true for my craft space. I was so happy with my distress inks. Then Ranger comes out with a new ink called Oxide Inks. And the craft world has gone crazy.

The basic difference in these two inks starts in how they are made.

Distress inks are described as acid free, non toxic, fade resistant, water based dye ink.

Oxide inks on the other hand is described as water reactive, dye and pigment ink fusion that creates an oxide effect when spayed with water. It also has a different opacity.

So while, like distress inks, they will react with water, there is a distinct difference. You may know that often with distress inks, if you add water or try to layer the inks, the results often become muddy. Oxide inks, on the other hand are opaque like a pigment ink. So you can actually see the different layers very clearly.

Like with distress inks, you will also be able to watercolor, emboss, stencil, and blend them.

But with the oxide inks, because of their pigment property, you can get a really nice stamped image. It is a crisp image rather than a smeary image that you might get with distress inks.

One important thing to know ! It is important not to mix your oxide inks with your distress inks ! Use separate blending tools and pads. Mixing these will destroy your inks !


Distress Ink Pads

Distress ink pads come in two sizes-1"by1" and 3" by 3" both are in black cases

Distress ink pads come in two sizes-1"by1" and 3" by 3" both are in black cases

Distress Inks

When Ranger first manufactured distress ink, it was and still is considered one of the most haled products in it's line.

One of the reason for the popularity of distress inks is that it creates an aged effect that never fades over time.

Another feature that made it so popular was that it could be blended with no virtual lines. With 61 colors available, you have an amazing range of color blends to chose from.

You have a choice of using the full sized pads or the minis. The minis are a 1" by 1" size. These have a terrific price point if you have little storage space and want to build your color option. They do also have the 3" by 3" if you are ready for the full size pad.

Once the dye ink is applied to the surface it stays wet for a period of time. This makes the blending option a real option.

The other property of this ink is it's reaction to water. When water is dropped on the ink, wet or dry, a new pattern emerges. That property could also be considered a downside. Once the project is dry, you do not want to get anything wet near it.

The other thing to consider is that color tones may vary. It works very well on any surface that tend to be lighter in color. But the color looks a lot less intense on darker backgrounds

Distress Ink Tip: Build up your color by using lighter colors and then build up to the darker shades

Shades Of Distress Inks

There are enough shades of distress inks to keep your color combinations fresh

There are enough shades of distress inks to keep your color combinations fresh

Ways To Use Distress Inks

Because of the wonderful properties of distress inks there are a lot of ways to use them. These ideas will make you want to have the complete collection of ink pads.

Check out these ideas for your next project:

  1. Aging adds a grungy and distressed look to your paper. You can apply ink to the edges of any paper project with a sponge or blending tool. You can wrinkle a piece of paper by rolling it into a ball. Open the paper up and apply ink to the wrinkles.
  2. Stamping with distress ink creates a vintage look. While not a crisp look as other inks, distress inks can stamp well. You can stamp on any porous surface or paper
  3. Blending is perfect with distress inks Load ink onto your blending tool. Starting on the outside of your paper start blending in circular motions onto the paper. You can blend as many colors as you would like. There are endless combinations that can be created.
  4. Stenciling is another creative option with distress inks. Lay the paper on a craft mat, a piece of parchment or other covering to protect your work surface. Lay the paper on the mat cover with the stencil. Tape the stencil down with low tack tape. Using the same technique, apply the ink in circular motions. You can use just one color or many colors. When done remove the stencil and allow the project to dry.
  5. Reverse stenciling is another option. Instead of applying the ink through the stencil, you apply the ink on the stencil. Then you mist the stencil with water. Turn the stencil over and apply to the paper. Press on the stencil slightly. Yiou will get a custom water color effect creating a color negative pattern
  6. Water resist uses water to move the distress ink on the surface of the paper. Simply apply ink to the paper. Spritz water on the paper to create a pattern. Allow the paper to dry
  7. Emboss resist combines distress ink and embossing powder. Emboss your images on paper with white or off white embossing powder. Apply distress ink to the entire surface of the paper. Wipe the ink away with a paper towel or a baby wipe away from the embossed image. The paper will have color, but the embossed image will resist the distress ink.
  8. You can use distress ink like water color. Apply ink to a nonstick surface ( a craft mat or a piece of parchment paper laid over your work surface). Pick up the ink with a wet paint brush. Paint the image with the colors of your choice. You will want to use water color paper or a very heavy card stock for this technique. You will also want to use a water resistant ink like Stazon if you are stamping images.
  9. You can photo tint a picture. Pick up the color you want to apply with a paint brush and apply it to the photo. Allow the photo to dry before handling it.

Distress Ink Tutorials

Distress Oxide Ink Pads

Distress oxide inks are known by their gret case. They come only in 3" by 3" size

Distress oxide inks are known by their gret case. They come only in 3" by 3" size

Distress Oxide Inks

Simply out, distress oxide inks are a combination of dye ink and pigment inks that oxide whenever they are near water.

Oxidation is what happens when the ink is applied to the surface and water is applied. The spots that appear after the water is applied has more saturated color. When the color and the water dry it has a chalky appearance.

You can use them with distress inks. They are compatible. The shades might not match exactly/ But they will give you a very distinct look.

It tends to be a little thicker than other inks. Because of the thickness of the ink, it tends to dry slower. You can use a heat tool to quicken the drying process.

The layers lay on top of each other to create a unique color combination.

This combination ink is not translucent which means that you are not able to see through it easily. The colors may be less vibrant and lighter than other inks.

They are available in the 3" by 3 " sizes only. The color of the ink pad container is grey.

Ways To Use Oxide Inks

Like distress inks, oxide inks have uses that make them a must have for any paper crafter.


  1. You can blend them- one of the better things about oxide inks is that they blend faster than distress inks.
  2. The oxide inks react with water. When water is applied you get a droplet effect or a milky tone.
  3. Like distress inks, you can do water color techniques with oxide inks
  4. Oxide inks are good for stamping-especially for backgrounds. Distress inks are not effective for stamping. Rub the oxide ink all over a background stamp. Stamp right away.
  5. You can layer with oxide inks. Since the oxide inks don not get muddy, they layer perfectly.
  6. Use them with stencils-They give a crisp image
  7. Create a background. from the ink pad place ink from three colors on a craft mat. Slide a card through. Dry between layers. Create as many layers as you want to.
  8. Use them to color die cuts-make sure to spread evenly

Distress Oxide Ink Colors

The colors of the oxide inks ;look terrific on darker backgrounds

The colors of the oxide inks ;look terrific on darker backgrounds

How Distress Inks And Distress Oxide Inks Compare

the-differenc-between-distress-and-ink-oxide-inks

Mixing Your Oxide Inks

Add some color to a craft mat, but keep them separate. Spritz droplets of water and run some cardstock through the color. Dry with a craft dyer and watch the color blend. Add more color if you want. You can add as many layers as you want ! Just keep drying in between layers! There are endless combinations.

Oxide Inks Blend Nicely

Oxide Ink colors blend well. A blending tool is the perfect way to get a seamless blend

Oxide Ink colors blend well. A blending tool is the perfect way to get a seamless blend

Tim Holtz Demos Oxide Inks

Oxide Ink Bundles

The colors of the oxide inks work beautifully on craft and dark papers

The colors of the oxide inks work beautifully on craft and dark papers

The color difference on the container makes it easy to tell the difference

The color difference on the container makes it easy to tell the difference

The Ink Pad Physical Differences

Like the distress inks, the oxide ink pads are both felt pads.( In other pigment pads, you might find a more spongy material in the pad). The only real difference is that the oxide ink pads covers and bases are grey. This helps people like me who get involved in the project and forget which one they picked up. Also helps in organizing your ink pads

Do you have oxide inks?

Oxide Ink Tag

Oxide inks make vivid backgrounds

Oxide inks make vivid backgrounds

Stamping With Distress Oxide Inks

Making Plaid Paper

Different Blending Tool Options

the-differenc-between-distress-and-ink-oxide-inks

Blending Tools-Must Haves

If you are working with distress or oxide inks then a blending tool set is a must have in your craft space. The pads on my tools set come off and on like Velcro. I store my pads with my inks so that they are re- usable. That way I have one pad per color

Foam Daubers

Foam daubers are often used to blend both distress inks and distress oxide inks. There are two different types. One is a larger piece of foam attached to a handle. The other is a piece of foam with a plastic piece that fits over your finger. It is smaller.

They are considered more disposable. The larger ones, however can be saved. I would label them with the color used and store them.

The smaller dauber is perfect when you are creating things like color rainbows;

Blending Tools

The main tool used to blend these inks are blending tools. These tools have a wooden or plastic handle . At the end of the handle is a piece of tough velcro. The pad that blends is attached to the tool. They come in round, square and even domed. blending tools.

With the square and round blending tool there is a chance that you might get edges appearing on your project if you are not careful.

The domed version of this tool eliminates the harsh edges that you may get with other tools, It seems to distribute the ink better as you blend.

Stencil Brushes

Stencil brushes are efficient tools for blending both the distress and the distress oxide inks especially when you are using stencils. You can use the stencil brush to add detail and dimension. They add highlights and brush strokes that you would not get from the other tools.

Tightly Woven Cosmetic Like Brushes

These are probably my favorite blending brushes of all. They look like sets of cosmetic brushes. They are a little more subtle. So while they work beautifully, you may have to apply several coats of color if you want a bright look

Sizzix Blending Tool

Sizzix has recently come out with a new blending tool that has more than one use. It is a stylus that has a knife attachement, a tip to cap off the end of the stylus as well as a tool that will scuff up the edges of the paper. You can buy the blending brush attachment also. The nice thing about this tool, is that you can load blending heads on both sides of the stylus.

Blending Tips

  1. Always start blending off the paper and work onto it as you blend
  2. Store your removeable pads with a little velcro under your ink pad to save time and money
  3. Always put the lid on your distress and oxide inks as soon as you are finished with the color

Oxide Inks Are Meant To Be Blended

Oxide inks blend well with water-don't get muddy

Oxide inks blend well with water-don't get muddy

Introduction To Oxide Inks

Differences In Storing Oxide Inks Vs Distress Inks

One thing to consider is the difference in storing these two types of inks.

Distress inks can be stored flat or on their sides.

Oxide inks must be stored flat. If they are stored on their side, the pigment will puddle on the pad and ruin the ink

Bottom Line-Oxide Inks Vs Distress Inks

The color palettes of both the distress inks and the oxide inks are the same. The results are entirely different

Distress InksOxide Inks

Distress inks are dye inks

Oxide Inks are pigment dye fusion

Distress Inks are more translucent

Oxide Inks are more opaque

Available in 1" x 1" and 3" x 3"

Only available in 3 " x 3"

Distress inks are brighter in color on white cardstock

Oxide inks are brighter in color on dark cardstock

Distress inks dry faster

Oxide inks can be used for embossing because they dry slower

Can be used for watercoloring

Can be used for watercoloring

Can be reinked

Can be reinked

Blends a little streaky

Blends seamlessly

Can be used for embossing

Can be used for embossing

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© 2017 Linda F Correa