Mementoes In Time


All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part Eight)

Posted on May 24, 2017 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part Eight)

Things That Shouldn't be Glossed Over!

Today I am continuing our series on Distress Oxides, with a look at some of the results you get using glossy papers instead of normal cardstock. I am actually using photo papers for my examples, as I didn’t have any actual glossy cardstock, so there may be a difference in the effect you get.

I have added inks directly to the paper here and in fact you can see that this has resulted in a very blocky finish, as the ink had stained the paper very quickly and you end up with the square shape of the ink pad showing. I used a direct to paper effect as I found the normal technique of dipping the paper into the wetted ink on the craft mat did not work well, as the inks just blended too much and the overall effect was of a very feint washed out background.



As the inks dry, they leave a quite dramatic oxidised effect with a fine, chalky, dusty finish that you can see in the photo.

Here is another example with some different colours and an even more evident oxidisation effect.


Quite by chance I noticed that if you gently rub the photo paper, the oxidised finish will lift off, leaving the stunning and vibrant colours of the ink behind.

Note: If you wanted to keep the chalk effect, or maybe rub some of it off and leave some of it, you would have to seal the surface of the photo card to capture it. I haven’t tried this yet, but any direct application of say a wax or anything similar would lead to the chalky finish to be rubbed off, so you would need a spray fix or something similar perhaps. This is definitely a case of try it and see.



Tip: Use the right stamp!

Back to the first example, I decided that such a bright and beautiful background required a dramatic stamp, so I decided to try this Fiskars stamp from my collection, without testing it out on another piece of paper first. The stamp itself was not a completely blocked out design, it had a more distressed finish and I don’t think that worked well. A stamp that gave a completely blacked out image would be better. I also felt that it dominated the background too much.This is an example of what NOT to do!

Here is another example of a background with the oxidised effect removed. A lovely glossy finish of just the beautiful inks.

Stamping on the Glossed Background

This background one was particularly beautiful and rich, much the same as the effect you would get with the Normal Distress Inks.You could stamp directly onto this with the raw Oxide ink, as I have done in the bottom left hand corner.




You can also use the stamps to create a white effect on your background as I have done with this Script Stamp.Simply wetting my stamp with water or dabbing it into a puddle of water on my craft mat and then pressing down firmly onto the background, means the water oxidises the ink underneath and creates a whited out effect as you can see. Once dried, some of the oxidation rubbed off, so leaving a mix of both, which was an interesting effect.

For this next example, I am stamping my butterfly with Stazon,  which is the best ink to use on a glossy paper like this

I have chosen my colours of Distress Oxides and wiped them on the sheet with some sprayed water added

After dipping, you can see that the effect is very watery and feint as the inks move about a lot more on this glossy paper

After letting it dry and adding several layers, the colours become more vivid

I deliberately wanted this water effect you can see here

If you think you have overdone it, then gently dab off any excess with a cloth. Make sure you use a clean one and not a filthy one like I have here!

Here is another example using a different stamp and colours

Just rubbing off some of the oxidisation and leaving some

Not so pleased with this one but interesting experiment none the less.

I will be using these examples to make up some demo cards that I will post later but that is it for now!

Thanks for joining us for this latest part of our series on Distress Oxide Inks. Next up, we will look at some stamping techniques and another gloss effect you can get.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 7)

Posted on May 23, 2017 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (1)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part 7)


Being in the Background

I thought I would post a quick demo actually showing the process to get a basic wet background. Really, if you are used to working with Distress Inks then it is exactly the same process. Apart from the Direct to Paper and Blending Techniques which we have already covered, you can create the most beautiful backgrounds from adding wet ink to your paper.


Distress Inks and Oxides are both highly reactive to water and blend so well, to create something different everytime you set to work, whether you are using the same ink colours, the same papers or whatever. You can see the difference between the Distress and Oxide Ink backgrounds in the photo above.

I have chosen three colours I like here but the palette works so well with any of the colours blended together to get different themes. I am using a basic medium weight cardstock so you will get different effects using glossy card, which we will look at in another post


Swipe the pads across your craft sheet to give a block of colour to work with. You may need to press down a little on the pad to release the ink which is suspended below the surface. Leave some room between each colour or else your pad will pick up the ink and become dirty. If you get anoher colour ink on the pad, all you have to do is wipe the top with a cloth to remove the ink. The felt pads are quite easy to clean this way.

Add some water to the inks, I am using an old room scent spray bottle here as I get fed up refilling the much smaller mini misters so often. The added benefit is a nice smell on the paper too!


The ink will start to bead up on the sheet and eventually, as these are oxides, you will start to see the oxidisation occuring as they dry on the sheet. I prefer to get going as quickly as possible and let this oxidisation happen on the paper rather than the sheet but you can always re wet the ink with another spray of water.


Now you can start dipping your cardstock into the ink, moving and turning it around to get a good spread of colour on the surface.Dip just two to four times and then let you card dry a little. You can use a heat gun or let it dry naturally. This will allow you to build up layers of colour and hence get a depth on your background.


Note: You can just drag or swipe your card through the ink which is what I did when I first started playing with these ink. The inks will blend but you will end up with a much flatter looking background, where you have no layering but just one background with all the colours merged together. If you dip and make sure that you dry before dipping some more, you will build up layers.

Either is nice depending on your project.


I have stopped here and had a look to check coverage. You may need to add more ink to your craft sheet or more water. You can also add water to the card and move it around to create runs and blend te colours more but again, this will create a flatter effect rather than depth.


You can go back and redip your card as many times as you like until you get the effect that you are looking for.

I am giving my card adrying off here with a heat gun. The great thing is that you can still go back and add some colours at this stage or maybe try some Distress Inks on top to really make your background come alive. You can also go back and respray to blend any areas you want but be aware that some of the ink will have settled and will not respond to water at this stage.


As is often the way with crafts, less can be more, so it really is a matter of trial and error. Making mistakes is a good think as that is how you learn what you like. I personally think it is quite hard to make real mistakes with this though!

I decided to spray the card directly at this point to get some run marks and a messier look and then dried it again. Then back onto the craft sheet to add a bit more Wilted Violet as I wanted a more lilac/purple tone for my background.



Finally, I splattered water onto my background using my hand to get some bigger splotches, which gives a lovely effect as you can see. I am very happy with this one!

Here is another example, this time with even more water splattered on the paper then dried to give a lovely cloudy effect where the water has spread.

Next up, we will be looking at using these inks on Gloss Papers for a completely different effect. After that, I will be looking at another stamping technique and then using stencils. That will bring the series to a close, so join me again here on the blog if you are enjoying following this in depth review of Distress Oxide Inks!

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 6)

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Can't resist Distress Oxides!


I hope you are appreciating my bad puns. You guessed it, today we are looking at a few resist techniques, as usual with lots of photos to refer to. This is a standard technique used, I know it is not rocket science but I am just trying to show what happens when you are using the Distress Oxide Inks. Some of the results are lovely, with the pastel background effect and a highlighted image.

Example 1 - Using Clear Embossing Ink Wet

Here I have stamped my flower image in Versamark ink and applied the background right away while the ink is still wet. The wet embossing ink attracts colour to give a darker impression

Example 2 - Using Clear Embossing Ink Dry

Two examples of this technique. I dried the Versamark first before adding the Oxide background this time. This gives a very faint impression and in fact as your card dries, the impression can disappear altogether. I tried adding some wax to the image, using darker inks but there didn't seem to be a right or wrong way to capture an impression. Trial and error I'm afraid, which is a shame as I really liked this batik style result.

Example 3 - Embossing Powder Resist

I'm using a clear embossing powder for this one which I have heat set before adding my background. The impression is much clearer as you would expect and works beautifully with the pastel oxide background. This is reminiscent of chalks for me but with the extra depth and vibrancy of an ink.

Adding some splashes of water, reactivates the ink and leaves a lovely effect that works well with this resist technique to give a gorgeous batik style piece

Here I am just demonstrating the effect with adding ink in a direct to paper fashion. You can polish off the excess ink on the embossed images to get a clearer impression, which I haven't done here.


Tip: If you want to remove the raised embossing, you can iron the paper or card on the reverse and on a low heat. This will melt the embossing powder and give you a smooth finish on the front side.

Example 4 - Reverse Resist

This last one isn't really resist at all but I will stick it here. After creating your background with distress inks and a direct to paper technique works best for this, as you want a good strong colour, you then stamp onto the ink with a stamp which you have either sprayed with water or dipped into a puddle of water on your craft sheet.

After several tries with a dipped background, I am not sure that this technique lends itself to this. Better to use a solid block of colour that you get with a direct to paper background. The effect is very subtle but of course it depends on the look that you want.

Tomorrow's post will be looking at a basic wet background, followed by another stamping technique and a quick look at using stencils so join me again if you would like to follow along!

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Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

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All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 5)

Posted on May 20, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Today, I am posting some more card projects made with backgrounds that don't look too promising to show almost like a 'before and after'. Some are just simple backgrounds showcasing a stamp and others involve using the background to make an embellishment. I hope you can see that in your adventures with these inks, that there aren't really that many mistakes, as even if you think they look awful, sometimes all you have to do is look at it a different way. I am very happy with all these backgrounds even though most don't look that great to start with!

Ok, this doesn't look too promising at this stage. Once dried you can see that the ink has oxidised badly along the folds. Probably too much water involved. The paper was scrunched before adding ink from the craft mat, with lots of water but I am not sure what to do with this.


As this is quite a large piece, I decided the best idea would be to cut some shapes. This would hide some of the over-oxidised areas. I am using our Flower Layering Template Number 2 here to cut three flower shapes in decreasing sizes. The paper has a real tough, leathery feel to it, quite different to how it was before scrunching and inking.


Here is the simple torn paper card. The brad was coloured with Paint Dabbers to co-ordinate with the flower. The mix of colours on each flower layer is lovely and layering them creates added interest. Not such a bad outcome. I am quite happy with this.


A pastel mix here adding more colours as I went along. Actually, I was very happy with this one.


A stamped and embossed flower in white with a simple stamped sentiment is all that is needed against this beautiful background


This background had a mix of mainly Oxides with a bit of Distress to highlight and make bits stand out


Three more flowers, this time from the Retro Flower Layering Template Number 4


Mounted on a tag with a stamped background. The ink used for the stamp was also Oxides, designed to co-ordinate with the flower layers


Another flower, using our Daisy  Flower Layering Template Number 3. I haven't even got a photo of the background I did for this as it was so uninspiring. A lot of water and dragging the paper through the ink rather than dabbing, caused quite a flat image with not a lot of definition. I am not that happy with this tag but it was at least a use for the background I had made and you can never have enough tags!


That example on black cardstock I posted in the first post on Oxides, really reminded me of a galaxy scene. I was quite happy with this one and it was perfect for the card, I eventually made


This was made to celebrate my daughter passng her driving test, which unfortunately she didn't! Nevermind, it will go in the drawer for another occasion, as she has exams coming up soon. This wooden star was covered with the absolutely stunning Vintage Platinum Glitter from Tim Holtz and the embossed sentiment was from an old See D's stamp set I had.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post, we are only part way through this series, so drop in again soon for more. Next up, we will be looking at some more stamping and stencilling techniques.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 4)

Posted on May 18, 2017 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Lets Be Direct About This!

I hope you are enjoying our series examining Distress Oxide inks. We have covered a bit of ground but there is still a lot more to come. When I get around to doing tutorials or ‘how tos’ I like to be thorough and try to cover it all, which means it can take some time to do and everything else gets left while I do.


A very short post today, showing a comparison between traditional Distress Inks and Oxides when used in the ‘Direct to Paper’ technique for those that like to use their inks this way.


Here I have chosen four inks and using the same colours from both Distress and Oxides to compare, by simply dragging the ink pads across a piece of cardstock.


The inks go on about the same but as you can see the Oxides (at the bottom of each piece) are a little more opaque, a bit like a paint chip card. The inks are slightly darker and more transluscent but the difference is greatest when you apply them, the Distress inks go on much darker but when they dry the colour moves towards the same tone as the corresponding Oxide ink and it is almost impossible to see a difference with some of the colours. I had to do the Broken China chip twice as I thought I must have made a mistake because they were so similar.




There is really not much between the two using this technique (assuming you are not adding water to them). You could use many of the colours interchangeably and just choose the tone you like best. When you add water, they both blend and move about but the Oxides dry slightly differently.

Next up, I will be looking at some Resist Techniques, not rocket science for most but a demonstration of the effects you can get with this ink, so join me then!.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 3)

Posted on May 18, 2017 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part 3)

A Lovely Blend of Old and New!

Today’s post continues the series on using Distress Oxide Inks. One of the most used techniques with traditional Distress Inks is to use them with a blending tool.Rubbing around the edge of the paper with your old favourite Tea Dye Distress is the 'go to' technique most people have tried and like to use. The blend around the edge somehow gives your project dimension and depth and is a unique finish.


Distress Oxides work the same, although I have to say that I detect slightly more resistance in blending these onto my paper, which is not a big issue if it is the case. This is likely due to the mix of dyes and pigment inks, rather than the pure dye of Distress Ink.


1.Distress and Oxides basic blending two colours

The Oxides are on the left and the Distress Inks on the right. For the Oxides, the colours are bolder, the blending line is less subtle and as noted above, the ink doesn't slide onto the paper as easily. The result is a more matt and opaque finish.

2.Distress and Oxides blending around the edge of the card

Again, Oxides on the left. The colour is more muted, it doesn't apply as easily as Distress and my personal preference is to stick with Distress for this. However, the Oxides do a perfectly acceptable job at this task and the colour is lighter and it is a matter of prefererence according to your project.

3.Distress and Oxides blended together

The two inks blended quite nicely together here, it was actually quite difficult to tell them apart on this card. The comments made already about ease of application can be repeated. If you add water to the card, you get different effects, which can be interesting if you have used both on your project.


These inks do blend quite nicely. The colour you get on the paper is very vibrant and solid. Blending is a staple of Distress Inks and it is good to see that these new inks can be blended also, so you can get the same wonderful depth and dimension from using them in this way. I remain a fan of original Distress inks however, so I like to view this as just another tool in my toolbox and take the attitude of mixing and matching as I wish for each project I do, depending on the effect I want to achieve.


For the next post, I will be looking at Direct to Paper technique and following that, we will cover some resist technique examples, so please visit again if you are enjoying this review.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 2)

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Life in A Distressing World, Adventures With Oxide Inks (Part 2)

As promised for Part 2 of our series on Distress Oxide Inks, here are some projects made using the backgrounds created last time. None of these were planned in any way, I just made a background and then came up with ideas to use it. I love creating like this!


This is just the first three projects, so there will be more but I hope it will give you some ideas and maybe inspiration for things you can do with these lovely new inks from Ranger.


Where possible, I have included before and after photos so you can see how something quite nice can result from something that looks like a complete mess to start with!.

Project 1 - A Pastel Delight

Beautiful pastel, chalky background created using all the light colours in the Oxide collection gave the perfect backdrop for a paper rose and flourish arrangement. The fact that the paper shredded a little from too much water actually gave the finished piece a lovely roughed up texture, similar to handmade paper.


The chipboard flourish was dabbed with Distress Paint Dabbers to co-ordinate with the matt background from the Distress Oxides. Word stamps also look fantastic over the top of these subtle backgrounds

Project 2 - A Surprise to 'Note'

Ugh! Better throw this away!

A brown mess that when dried and stamped with butterflies formed the cover for a notebook. The chalky Oxide finish gives the paper a really unique and very pleasant quality to handle (it almost seems tougher than the paper had started out), which was perfect for my notebook. It is so nice to handle that I can't stop picking it up just to feel the finish.

Project 3 - Scrunched Silhouette Scene 

No I wasn't getting fed up and throwing my toys out of the pram, I just wanted to see what would happen if I scrunched up my paper first before adding the inks

OMG what a disaster!!!!

All the ink has collected around the creases where it has concentrated. I can't imagine this drying into anything nice.

But wait, turn it over and look at that! Wow!!! The ink has bled through to the reverse to create an effect that is very natural and stunning, the photo doesn't do it justice. I was just about to throw this away...

A really good 'mistake'

This lovely pattern made me think of a sunset scene, so I wanted all my embellishments to be in silhouette. The die cuts are all coloured with Distress Paint Black Soot and the cage is then dabbed with a little bronze to give a worn appearance. The birds are from a Quickutz die, the flourish is from a Tim Holz die and the bird cage is a chipboard embellishment from my stash. The sentiment is stamped with Versamark and brushed with Perfect Pearls.

I just love the atmosphere of this card and quite surprised to salvage it from the throw away pile!

The point of today's post was to demonstrate that these inks are incredibly forgiving. What starts out looking like a disaster is not necessarily going to be once it dries.You will get in a mess playing with them but that is half the fun. Just look at the piece of kitchen roll used to clear up one of the palettes I set up. Even that looks beautiful!

Join me again for some more examples if you are enjoying this short series on Distress Oxides. If you have any questions or comment then please leave them below in the Comment Section beneath this post or if you are shy you can use the Contact Form on the left hand sidebar.

Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.


I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!

All About Distress Oxide Inks (Part 1)

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Life in a Distressing World (Part 1), Adventures With Oxide Inks

I thought it was about time we ran another series of reviews, or as I prefer to call them ‘make it up as you go along because it is more fun that way’ sessions.


I do not profess to be any kind of expert but I like to try things out and share what I find. There is never any plan, I just like to sit down with my materials and play to my heart’s content. If you are like me, then you will enjoy this series of blog posts on the ‘newish’ Distress Oxide Inks. I am not sure where it will go but you are welcome to come along for the ride!


Important Stuff

Please ask if you wish to use our content - words, photos or designs. You can contact us here and we usually just ask for attribution links to be added.

I would like to say that this article is NOT sponsored in any way, I do not receive any remuneration and any enthusiasm for the product is genuine and without any kind of financial incentive whatsoever!



I guess I am relatively new to the Distress Oxide party but that never stops me. My re-inkers turned up first, missing three bottles (that is why there are only 9 in the photo below), which was annoying and actually they haven’t turned up yet and may never appear. I am in dispute with that company at the moment.  Anyway, I have a feeling I am going to be needing these re-inkers soon as these new ink pads have already taken quite a hammering to produce all the demos!


Never-mind, the ink pads are here now, so let’s get going. First, we had better do a bit of an introduction to Distress Oxide Inks.


What are Distress Oxide Inks?

According to the promotional blurb, Distress Oxide Inks are a water-reactive dye and pigment ink combination or ‘fusion’. At the time of writing, they are available in 12 colours, all from the Distress Ink palette and Tim Holtz has said that the colours were chosen pretty much randomly as it was very difficult for him to choose from such a big range of lovely Distress colours. I fully expect there to be the whole Distress palette available soon though as these inks are really different and interesting, as we shall see. Here are the colours availalable now.

So They Are a Dye/Pigment Fusion, what does this mean?

Traditional Distress Inks are Dye based and as such they tend to be translucent in nature, compared to Pigment inks which are more opaque. Although both are strong colourants:

  • Dye Inks contain much finer particles dissolved into liquid and they tend to be absorbed into the material to which they are added.
  • Pigment inks have larger particles which are coloured and suspended in liquid and tend to bond to the surface to which they are applied rather than being absorbed by it.

Here you can see the difference between the Distress Ink on the right and the Distress Oxide on the left. Both are Cracked Pistachio but the Oxide pad with its mix of both Dye and Pigment Ink is very vibrant and has a more opaque paint like quality

Here is a close up of an Oxide ink pad which is a felt pad, in keeping with the Distress Ink range

Distress Oxides are different as they are both Dye and Pigment Ink, in the same ink pad and this means that they are going to react in different ways, with the Dye ink running and blending and the pigment part being more stable. Not only that, they react in a particular way with water to create a white, dusty, chalky effect, not unlike an oxidisation, hence Oxides!


You can see the lovely chalky, pastel effect you can get with these inks, which lends itself perfectly to subtle backgrounds. This was my very first attempt and the paper started to disintergrate a bit as I had added so much water to a non-watercolour paper but the rough texture was actually surprisingly nice and was perfect for an absolutely stunning card that I will share in another post

With original Distress inks, apart from dry blending, you can of course add water to them and use various techniques such as direct to paper or ‘smooshing’ , dragging or dipping to create lovely effects and backgrounds. This is the big thing about Distress inks really, as they react with the water and allow you to spread them around, blend colours and generally create a beautiful ‘distressed’ or aged look with so many people love. There is no doubt that Tim Holtz has had a huge impact on the craft world with his techniques and products and Distress Inks are the flagship of that.


The good news is that you can do all of the same things with Distress Oxides, you just get an equally beautiful but different effect!


For this demo, I have saturated the paper and ink with water, using a spray bottle onto the paper itself, creating a complete mess that looks as if it is not going to end well!

I am dabbing or lifting off some of the wet ink here as to be honest I was panicking a bit but you don't have to do!

After drying you can see the chalky matt finish. The one on the left shows the piece above which looked like it was going to be a mess. It dried to a lovely rust effect finish quite by chance, with the addition of a couple more colours and using a heat gun to set the ink. I completed a nice project from this that I will share in a later post.


How Do The Colours Compare to Traditional Distress Inks?

If you swipe the Distress Oxides across a craft sheet, you will notice that the colours are very bright and vibrant, almost garish compared to traditional Distress Inks. I haven't done a photo of Distress inks to compare side by side but I think you can see from this photo that the Oxides are quite bright and more opaque than normal Distress inks.

When you add water spray, bubbles are formed and then when you start to dip your paper into the ink the colours appear a little less vivid.

As you dry the ink with a heat gun then the colours mute even more, to give a distinctly chalky, pastel finish as we noted above. The colours are there but they are just much subtler.

The effect using exactly the same colour palette of normal and oxides results in really quite different results. So, even though the colours are the same the final effects will be pretty different. The Distress Inks end up having a more vibrant, vivid and translucent quality, whereas the Oxides have a much more muted tone and a pastel, chalky finish.

I am using a mixture of Peeled Paint, Broken China, Faded Jeans, Fossilised Amber and Cracked Pistachio. The normal Distress Inks are on the left and the Distress Oxides are on the right.

A bit closer. Different effects but both stunning

With Distress Inks, if you keep adding colours, you can overdo things and end up with a brown mess. You may want a brown mess but then again if you don’t then it is very frustrating and wasteful of ink to ruin your project by just being a bit over-enthusiastic.


As Tim Holtz says, 'wet on wet' to get blends

and 'wet on dry' to create layers.


With Oxides, the colours do tend to stay true when you are adding wet ink to wet ink. However, if you add colours bit by bit and dry in between, then you can layer up the inks and get an even more vibrant effect. So if you add orange on top of a colour, you will get an orange. We will look at this in more detail and demonstrate that in a later post.


Also, you can mix the two types of ink in a project, so you have normal Distress and Oxides on the one piece, which can look fantastic! The Distress Dye inks make the design 'pop' against the chalky backdrop.

This is an example where I have used both Oxide and Distress inks. I love the mix of pastel and subtle tones with the richer ink of the traditional Distress on top.

What Papers Can I Use Them On?

Dye inks being more translucent do not work well on darker cardstocks, or on Kraft type cards. The vibrancy of the colour doesn’t show up at all. Pigment inks work a little better here but it depends on the brand you use. I personally have had little success stamping directly onto black card and have always had to add some embossing powder or perfect pearls to show up the image. .


However, Distress Oxides can be used quite effectively on darker cardstocks, as the Pigment part will show up and allow them to be seen. I have also used them on pearlescent card/paper and this creates a lovely effect also.

Using the inks with water to show the effects on different surfaces:

On Black Card, a milky effect reminiscent of a galaxy

On Kraft Card, a lovely warm background

On pearlescent paper, stunning with the pearlescent paper shining through the gaps

A couple of examples of the inks used on glossy photo paper. I find this particular surface stunning to work with, as the colours are so rich and vibrant as you can either end up with a super glossy look like these examples or a really chalky finish, as the oxidation is very noticeable on this type of paper. We will be looking at that in a lot more detail in a future post, so more about that later.

What Happens When I Stamp With Distress Oxides?

When you stamp with the Oxide ink, it will create a lovely, pastel, chalky look.

Here is an example showing Distress Oxides, Distress Inks and a standard water based Pigment ink, each simply stamped in a range of colours on black cardstock. The Distress inks don't show at all, the normal pigment inks barely show if you squint and the Oxides show up the best, reminding me of chalks writing on a black chalkboard.

If you take a mini mister and lightly dust a stamped image with water, it will ‘Oxidise’ and become whiter and chalkier in appearance. The more water you add, the more the dye ink will run and if you dab the image, you are left with a lighter 'shadow' image.Here is an example using a butterfly stamp and the Walnut Stain Oxide ink.

Two images stamped with the same ink

One sprayed with water

Excess water and ink dabbed off - which you don't have to do but I am just demonstrating the result

You are left with a softer image (on the left)

The more water you add, the more effects you can achieve. Adding more water will allow more of the Dye based component of the ink to mobilise and spread.


Try stamping into a puddle of colour you have left over from creating a background. Quite a nice watercolour effect

Can I Use Them For Anything Else Other Than Stamping?

Like normal Distress Inks, they can be used very effectively for stamping as we have touched upon above and will cover a bit more in a future post. My own personal opinion however, is that Oxides really come into their own when creating backgrounds for stamping, die-cuts etc. You can create some stunning backgrounds on different papers and by using different colours and more or less ink, or more or less water. With that many variables, you can see that the scope to achieve different looks is huge and that is what makes these inks so interesting and exciting to use.


You can use them with stencils, with dry and wet embossing, and blend around the edges of your projects exactly like you would do with Distress Inks and we will look at some of those techniques in our following posts.


To be perfectly honest, when I first started using them, I wondered what on earth the big deal was. I guess I fell for the hype and wanted to get them but wasn't at all sure what I would do wih them. However, after I had played with them for a while, seen how the dried pieces turned out and used them in my card, tag and other projects, I was pretty much won over. You will have to try them out for yourself I guess.If you would like to see more on my Adventures With Distress Inks, please join me for the next post where I will be showing some before and after photos and then after that, moving on to cover a few techniques with stamping, embossing and stencils.

If you have any questions or comments on this post, please leave them in the comments section below this post or if you are shy you can use the Contact Form on the left hand sidebar.



Christmas '16' Wrapping Paper Bags

Posted on December 15, 2016 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Our final project for this year, is to make some lovely gift bags for your presents using either backing papers for smaller bags or a piece of wrapping paper, to make bags of more or less any size.The video below uses a sheet from our Scandinavian Knit themed papers set and will make a small bag for maybe some chocolates or a piece of jewellery but if you use a piece of wrapping paper you can make much bigger bags that co-ordinate with your other gifts. Here is a bag using that same paper we used to make our crackers/bon bons.

So here is a quick video tutorial showing the folds to make the gift wrap bags!

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Quick Video to show how to make the Folded Circle Trees

Posted on December 7, 2016 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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Here is a quick video 'how to' to make the folded trees featured on the cards in our last post!

Making the Folded Heart Short Tutorial

Posted on February 10, 2016 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

As promised, here is a short tutorial showing the folds for the Folded Heart projects which we featured in earlier posts on the blog and which uses the free Member's template.


You can use this to make an exploding heart insert inside a card or use it as a standalone pocket which you can slide a notelet inside.

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Short Tutorial - Origami Tree

Posted on December 21, 2015 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

As promised, a quick video showing the basic folds to create the origami tree using our Member's free template.

Christmas '15' Series Making the 3D Pinecone

Posted on November 25, 2015 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I am just posting a couple of notes and photos to show how to make the 3D pine cones used on the decorated pillow boxes and gift bag projects.

Cut out the cones from the template. I find the easiest way is to cut out the shape roughly and then glue to the reverse of your paper, using this as the guide to cut the detailed shape. If you have an electronic cutting machine, well lucky you!


I am using a brown paper here and added some extra dimension with my distress inks. Work with at least two shades of brown and put the darker shade on the tips. I am using Frayed Burlap and Brushed Corduroy here.

I have then bent back the petals as you can see above, so that they will splay out when you start to roll up the cone.

Next roll up the cone as shown. You can wrap it around a cocktail stick or just use our fingers, shaping it as you go. Secure with a good strong glue. Add some white glitter for a snowy effect.

Spectrum Aqua Pens Projects - Direct to Stamp

Posted on February 13, 2015 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Today, we are covering the last in our mini series, using the new Spectrum Aqua pens. These pens are watercolours, so you can blend and use them just like watercolour pencils or crayons but with a much more vibrant colour.


If you would to read our other posts on these pens, scroll back through the blog.


I've managed to find some time to play around and today, we are making some cards, using a combination of background washes and 'direct to stamp' technique. I've had some serious fun with this, so I've made quite a few little cards, as you can see above. I have to say that the original idea for this came from the Hobbycraft blog but I've definitely made it my own!

To create the background for my stamping, I've added colour to my acrylic block, just in a rough fashion, using two colours. As these are watercolours, you need some water to get them to blend and you can do this in different ways.

I've dampened down my watercolour paper before stamping and then lightly sprayed the block before adding the block to the paper. Push the block down and allow the ink to blend underneath, you can even leave it for a bit if you like to let some of the colour sink into the paper.

Lift off your block carefully. If you don't like the colour, you can go again with your pens, until you get the effect you like.

Let the paper dry, or use a heat gun to dry it before you start stamping. Actually, it doesn't matter if it is a little damp, you will just get a slightly blurred image from your stamp but this might be what you are looking for. Add colour directly to the stamp, using different tones to create some depth. This can be a bit tricky as you are almost working 'blind' but you could always do a test print on a separate sheet to see how it looks before doing the final image.

As it takes a little while to complete, the ink can dry, so you can either a very small spray or better still breathe heavily/huff on your stamp, to reactivate the ink.

After stamping, you can then use the fine end of the pen to add some detail. The eagle eyed ones amongst you will have noticed that this image is different from the one in the earlier photos. This is because the stamped image just didn't give a good effect - it was a bit blurry, so I've gone for a simpler one. These stamps are from the stunning Darkroom Door Collections by the way.

Here is my image, matted and layered up, with a simple ribbon. I think this makes a lovely elegant card. This technique is such fun, that I have made a few more, all on a similar theme.

For this card, I've just used the technique above to create a background, then added a stamped and heat embossed image in white. A little distressed ink around the edges and a simple mount on black, with co-ordinating ribbons, completes this card.

This next card is as same as the first one. You can see that the image has run a little because the paper was wet but this gives quite a nice effect.

For the butterfly card, I have heat embossed in opaque black and just used the fine detail end of the pen to colour in my butterflies. The background was made as before.

Now a couple of small notelets, using up my scraps!

Distress inks around the edge of this next one, really give a lovely dimension.

I hope you have enjoyed our exploration of watercolour markers. If you haven't read the earlier posts, you can scroll back on the blog to find them. Join us for more projects soon!

Spectrum Aqua Pens Project - See How They Run...

Posted on February 10, 2015 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, I did promise another post on the Spectrum Aqua pens, so here is today's ramblings. Actually, I haven't had much time to play around with my crafty things recently but I have forced myself to sit down and do some very quick projects with my new pens.


See how they run!

The intention here was to create a background wash to stamp over the top of but I got distracted by something else, so I will just post the photo of what happened when I simply put a stripe of three colours across a piece of pre-dampened watercolour paper. I was going to continue with this right down the page but as always, I got interested in something else. Anyway, you get the idea! I was pleased with how well the inks run on the damp paper and I am sure you could get some quite interesting effects with this.

Hard to Resist!

In this next little project, I was going for an emboss resist background. I've arranged some heart stamps on my acrylic block and stamped and heat embossed them in white.


You could use any colour but I wanted to create a batik effect with the colour wash over the top.

Next, I've chosen a couple of colours from the Primary Collection - Crimson and Scarlet and just scribbled them onto my acrylic block. The pens are pretty wet, so this was easy to do.


So now, I'm just waterbrushing the inks across the paper. Compared to the previous technique of just applying the ink direct to paper, you get a much more subtle effect here, which was what I wanted. Interestingly enough, the colours mixed together produced a very surpisingly vivid pink, which got brighter when dried, although the photos don't show this at all. A lot of my posts are done at night, so the colours are a bit dim compared to the daylight!

Tip: Experiment with your colours a bit, as you might get something you didn't expect!


Now on the last post, I did say that I never really use the fine detail nibs, so I have tried extra hard to use them for this blog post. I'm adding some little details with the fine end.

Having finished and dried my background, I decided that it was quite small and so I have just made a tag from a torn piece, mounted onto a black tag with some silver embossed wording and a simple heart embellishment.


This tag will be used on the bags of heart chocolates I bought the other day. I just need to make sure that the person they are for actually gets them, as I am not good around chocolate!

Join us for Part 3 of this series using the Spectrum Aqua pens. I'll be making another little tag but using the pens slightly differently.

PS Please note that all photos labelled as 2014 should be labelled 2015!


Bubble Wrap Backgrounds - An experiment that worked out well!

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (2)


A couple of blog posts back, I mentioned that I am currently up to my ears in packing boxes and bubble wrap! I should be spending my time packing but of course the creative bug hits and you end up getting distracted onto doing something crafty. Here is what I ended up doing for an hour or so...

I've wrapped a piece of bubble wrap around an acrylic block and inked over it with a brayer. This is the new one I found on Ebay, rather than the much better Fiskars one which disappeared in my garage sale but it does the job.

Then stamping onto a piece of card, you get a lovely bubbly effect. The photo doesn't really do it justice but it is really nice. You get a textured effect on the dots themselves. I've mounted this on a piece of green paper with a stamped image.

The image wasn't the best but as I can't get to all my lovely rubber stamps, it was the best contemporary one I had to hand. Ignoring the image, the point is that plain old bubblewrap can create a really lovely background effect for your stamped projects, so why not give it a try?

All about Resist Embossing Part 6 - Layered Emboss Resist

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Here we are with Part 6 and the last of this mini-series on Resist Embossing. I hope you have enjoyed following our posts. If you want to read the previous parts, just scroll back through the blog posts, or you can find this technique and heaps more in the Projects and Tips section of the website.

Today, we look at the Layered Emboss Resist again. For this card I have stamped the background with an oriental script using a distressed ink pad. I've then stamped over the top with a flower stamp and heat embossed with an enamel embossing powder.

This just gives an enamel effect rather just a clear embossed image but either will do. The truth is that I lost my clear embossing powder when I was making this card, so had to use this enamel one! Next I have gone over the whole image with distressed inks in green shades to build up the depth.

After polishing off the images, you can see the background through the embossed parts and this is the way that you can create the layered depth.

Here is another example of the layered embossed resist, in reverse. This time we are using a shadow stamp so the background will be embossed and the image itself will remain unembossed and able to be coloured.

First off, I have stamped my background with the trusty script stamp and a light colour ink (Willow adirondack). You want a light coloured background for this one. Next I've stamped and embossed with my shadow image stamp. I was very pleased to pick up this gorgeous shadow stamp from my local craft store for $2!

Now we can go in and colour the image itself, as the background is protected. Using your inks, or other medium, colour in the design.

You can blend your inks with a water brush to get a lovely watercolour effect.

I hope you have enjoyed this six part tutorial. Please post and comments or questions below.

All about Resist Embossing Part 5 - Joseph's Coat

Posted on June 14, 2014 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (2)

So here we are on Part 5 of this mini-series on Resist Embossing. Today we are looking at a variation on the Emboss Resist, called Joseph's Coat. No don't worry, you haven't stumbled onto Broadway musical's site, this is just the name for the multi-colour result you get with this technique.


I've made a couple of demos for this, here is the first. First of all, you need to create your rainbow background effect. If you have a multicoloured inkpad (the ones with several colours in a stripe across them) then you can just brayer across your card. I have no brayer, since it went missing in a garage sale a couple of years ago. I think someone bought it but I have no recollection and can't really understand why I was selling it in the first place!


Anyway, I have to resort to using a household sponge cut up into little pieces and a selection of Adirondack inks. When you have a background you are happy with, you can go ahead and stamp your image and emboss it with a clear embossing powder.


Next, you need to cover the whole of the image with a darker colour. I've gone for black to get the maximum effect but you could choose any other dark colour. You are just trying to cover up the background. Again, a brayer would have been useful for this but I went mad stamping away with my black ink pad.


Now, just polish off the image and there you have it!  I have added some Perfect Pearls (Kiwi) to the wings to give a nice shimmer effect.


You can also get this kind of effect using scrapbook paper as your background.

For these two cards and tag, I have stamped and embossed in black onto a piece of stripy scrapbook paper and then just blackened up the background as before. I ended up cutting out the flowers on this one as well and mounting them on different backgrounds but you could just do this to create a backing paper for your card.


This technique works really well with leaf stamps. I would show a demo but after spending half an hour pulling stuff out of packing boxes, I have given up searching for one, so you will just have to have a go yourself!


Next up, another layered emboss resist card and then there will be one more post to conclude this series. If you have missed any, then just scroll down the blog posts, or you can look under the Tips and Techniques section of the left hand side bar. If you have enjoyed reading about this technique, why not have a go yourself and post your photo on our Member's Gallery.

Thanks for reading!

All about Resist Embossing Part 4 - Glue Resist Again

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (2)

I'm having so much fun with this glue resist thing, I thought I would post another example, this time using a different medium for the background - Twinkling H2Os. Actually, I did mention in a previous post, that I had heaps of these things and I wasn't joking! 


Here is the current collection which runs to more than a hundred of these little gems. I feel obliged to use them as I have so many, so expect to see them turning up like a bad penny on these blog posts.


The nice thing is that you need so little because they are concentrated cakes of pigment. I am pretty sure these paints are going to outlast me so I shall make sure I include a clause in the will to ensure that they get buried along with me in the casket!


Anyway, for this image I have chosen a trusty old flower stamp from Stampin Up.  After stamping and embossing with white embossing powder, I've gone over the whole card with a light wash of inks, deliberately trying to get. a stripy effect. With hindsight, I might have tried for a lighter wash but you know what they say, 'you always learn from your mistakes!'


The next part is to cover the petals with the watered down PVA/white glue and then let it dry or use your heat gun.


Next go back and put your darker wash on top. Again, I think I could have put a darker wash than I did but the effect was still quite nice. Again, make sure you rub over your stamped images with a cloth. You can see the lighter effect on the flowers in the photo above.


I found that the card did warp a bit, as the H2Os are quite wet to use and this did cause a crease in the image, so I decided to cut up the image and create two small cards and a larger one.You can see the stripy effect going both ways on each of the smaller cards, which adds interest.



This is such a nice technique, especially using the sparkly H2O paints, which gives a lovely contemporary look and are a real pleasure to use. For the next post, I'll be looking at stamping onto scrapbook paper to get yet another effect.

All about Resist Embossing Part 3 - Glue Resist

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (2)

I am managing to keep myself busy with posting these little tutorials but unfortunately this of course means that no packing of boxes is taking place!


Anyway, here is Part 3 of this series of Tips and Techniques on Resist Embossing. If you would like to see Parts 1 and 2, you will find them below this blog post and they are also posted under the Tips and Techniques Section on the left hand side bar. This next technique is really just a variation of the previous one but with the addition of a little extra ingredient - white glue/PVA.


First off, I've stamped some images from an acrylic stamp set I picked up as a nice little bargain last week. No real design to this as it is mainly to demonstrate the technique. Ok, so I've heat set this with some black embossing powder.


Next I've chalked my background as I wanted to have a light colour initially.

Now the clever bit. Take some PVA glue and cover the images with a little glue watered down a bit. Let this dry naturally or carefully with your heat gun. I didn't want a cracked effect of the glue drying too quickly, so I was careful with this. Actually, a cracked background might have looked quite good with this but maybe with larger stamped images to get the best effect. The glue works just like the embossing powder and will resist any inks or colours put over the top.



Next I've gone beserk with the distress inks to build up the colour over the whole image.



Now you can go back over the design with a cloth and polish off any stray ink on the images. This will make them 'pop' out of the page. I then decided to cover the whole image with a script stamp, to give the layered effect which adds lots of depth.



It is a bit difficult to show on a photo but hopefully you can see the effect I was looking for. The stamped images are highlighted against the darker background. Sorry, the picture is a bit blurred but night time photos are never the best.



I've just mounted this on a piece of black card to co-ordinate with the black stamps.  This is such a nice technique that I'll include another example of this in the next post, using Twinkling H2Os instead of chalks and inks, so you can compare the different effects you can get. Stop by again soon!

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