What to Consider When Buying Inks + Free Download

Buying ink pads can be a stressful and expensive experience. You want to make sure you pick the best ink pad that is great quality, works well, and isn't splotchy when dry. There are many things to take into consideration when you're buying ink pads, and I'm here to help!

1. Full Size or Mini Ink Cubes?

If you get the refills, it ultimately doesn't matter which size of ink pad you get. Felt Ink pads also will last you years before needing to be refilled if you use them to just traditionally stamp. Mini Ink Cubes are a way to save a few dollars and give the inks a try, but they come with about 1/4 of the ink of a full pad. So you need to consider whether or not you'd like to have more colours but less longevity without a refill or whether you'd like to invest in full size and the possibility of no extra costs since the pads say juicy for a long time. If you're buying a foam pad ink, I recommend buying the refill straight away or shortly after your ink pad purchase.

2. Check out a Demo

If possible, try them out in person or watch a demo on YouTube. Don't trust reviews on written platforms, you want to see them in action! You'll be able to see if the inks stamp well or if they don't.

3. Coordinating Supplies

Are coordinating supplies important to you? Which ones? Most people appreciate having coordinating cardstock, some prefer envelopes too. There are lots of companies that also have coordinating foils, sprays, markers or watercolours.

4. Brand vs. Colour

Did you know that most inks that are made in the USA are made by the same manufacturer? This is why I say buy the colours you love rather than buying a full set of one brand. It's your choice in the end, but a lot of companies have extremely similar colours and some are the exact same. So be careful you aren't buying unnecessary inks when investing in full sets of inks.

5. Felt or Foam

This is a personal choice in the end. I, personally, prefer foam pads but I know the needing a refill may not be for everyone. I like the fact that I can stamp with no issues with foam. I stamp lots of solid images and I like that my inks aren't splotchy. Felt pads, on the other hand, have a long shelf life. They are great for people who are heavy-handed. The pad is more durable as well.

6. Ink Pad Types

There are so many types of ink pads on the market. For beginners, just begin with a standard dye ink set. Next week, we will be going into the different types of inks and what their properties are!

Free Download

My FREE Ultimate Ink Pad Guide has the pros and cons of most of the inks that I've tried in the industry. These are the ink pads that I've tried and I personally would recommend and I have listed the positive and negative aspects for each brand so that you can choose the best ink pad based on how you intend to use them. Enjoy!


9 thoughts on “What to Consider When Buying Inks + Free Download

  1. Dear Justine
    Thanks a bunch and a ton for your advice. I am waiting to buy ink and it was the right time i got your advice. I first heard of you from Cathy Racoosin. Now i follow all your videos and have learnt alot. Your voice is very calming I am from the pearl of the indian ocean Sri Lanka and these days due to Covid-19 I cannot get any stuff from USA. I hv some inks i bought locally but they are good for nothing. I am waiting to buy the inks from US. Even though i spend something extra it will be well worth it. I am still wondering whether to buy the ink refills. I am mobile between Sri Lanka and New Zealand and i have to be very carefuk with the stuff i buy as i have to carry it up and down, Thanks a gain sweet lady. Blessings to you and yours

  2. Justine, thank you so much for this information, You made me finally realize full set syndrome was not just me, lol
    I first purchased spectrum Noir dye inks the full set because I had a couple of their alcohol markers, I wish I hadn’t lol
    I have since bought Simon hurley ink pads which I love and started collecting Tim Holtz Distress oxides, I doubt I will ever get all the oxides as there are just so many of them. What colors do you recommend from the oxides, that are the most useful.
    Thank you again 😀

  3. I appreciate all that you do for us to get the best bang for a buck and also I learn from your mistakes like full set syndrome which I no longer have! Took a while but I agree with you! I do have one question for you. I want to start foiling and I need to know what machine you would recomend? I also want to be able to laminate with it as well but want great coverage and quality for my foiling. Thank you in advance for your opinion! Blessings!

  4. Justine love all your how-to and info videos. I have enjoyed ☺ all of them and love your take on industry products. Keep up the great job!

  5. Love all your know-how and learning videos. Have learned so much from you. The video oh various inks brands was eye-opening! Thank you Justine and Happy new year 🎉.

  6. Hi! I have been following you for awhile. You are so easy to understand! I tried to download the ink page and could not do it. I think I already get your newsletters, but would enjoy getting them. Do you buy from Aliexpress?

    Thank you for all you do!
    Minnesota, USA

    1. Thanks so much for following me. I’ll take a look into why the ink page won’t download. That’s strange. I don’t ever buy from Ali Express, most are stolen designs. I’d rather support small artists and businesses. Just my personal preference!

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