How do you decide what color ink pads to buy?

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Posted 1/20/2013 by pinkabella in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 486,481
October 2010
Posts: 1,108
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Loc: SF Bay Area, CA

Posted: 1/20/2013 9:10:53 AM
There are so many!

A little background: my stash is relatively small. I have mostly pigment ink pads from my days of heat embossing. Now that I don't do that as much, I tend to use a couple memento pads: black and brown. I use them on cards, minis and Project Life...all for words and less so for images.

So many stamps have large portions for color these days, a la the banner look where the word is in the negative space. So color is important. I just don't know where to start. I can't go out and buy the whole rainbow, so how do you decide?
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Oh For Peas Sake

PeaNut 540,243
January 2012
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Loc: PA

Count: 104
Posted: 1/20/2013 9:32:05 AM
You could try the small ink pads, like the memento dew drops, colorbox cats eye or hero arts has cube ones too.


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PeaNut 1,583
October 1999
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Posted: 1/20/2013 9:48:59 AM
You could start with basics. Green, red and maybe a light blue. I'm a fan of Distress Inks and also JBS inks (not sure of those are still available).

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PeaNut 477,798
August 2010
Posts: 1,590
Layouts: 49

Posted: 1/20/2013 9:50:52 AM
I'd look at your layouts and see what colors you go to the most, then get coordinating colors. I'd also invest in a Versamark ink pad.


PeaNut 575,620
December 2012
Posts: 40
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Loc: South Carolina

Posted: 1/20/2013 10:21:28 AM
I primarily use my distressed inks, I've got only 2 of each color so that I can do shading- I tend to use a water pen and use the inks as a colorant for stamps pretty often. I also have a Versamark, an embossing ink pad, Staz-On in basic black, brown and white, and a small selection of pigment inks including metallic gold and silver. Sometimes I admit to feeling limited, but with chalk and glitter I can usually match any LO.
Since you already have black and brown, I'd get a couple metallics, a Versamark, and a selection of primary and secondary colors that you use most in your LOs. Maybe start with a couple shades of each.

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PeaNut 52,171
October 2002
Posts: 17,687
Layouts: 105
Loc: Froogville

Posted: 1/20/2013 10:24:57 AM
How much I like the color. I pick the ones I like best.


PeaNut 555,886
May 2012
Posts: 326
Layouts: 5
Loc: England

Posted: 1/20/2013 10:27:22 AM

I'd look at your layouts and see what colors you go to the most, then get coordinating colors. I'd also invest in a Versamark ink pad.

^^ This

Or, when you buy a paper collection or pad or however you buy your paper, buy one (or two) of the little dewdrop/cube inkpads to coordinate with it and collect them like that. I never buy full size inkpads and don't have any problems with inking the stamp evenly with the small ones - and they are very cheap


PeaNut 573,903
December 2012
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Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Posted: 1/20/2013 11:26:57 AM
I started with the little dollar inks from Ms. Then I figured which colours I used the most and took it from there.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 51,456
October 2002
Posts: 14,144
Layouts: 84
Loc: VA

Posted: 1/20/2013 11:39:27 AM
For its about what colors I tend to scrap with and what coordinates with those colors.

Right now: Navy Blue, Red, Gray, Pink and Teal

Last year: Sage Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Tan

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PeaNut 520,709
September 2011
Posts: 265
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Posted: 1/20/2013 12:37:54 PM
I started with basic colors - browns and black, for stamping and inking. After that I bought some "color" inks for inking the edges mostly. I chose colors I use most in paper.


PeaNut 556,456
June 2012
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Posted: 1/20/2013 12:55:36 PM
I agree with Versamark! It will give a darker tone on tone look to any cardstock.

After that maybe try asking yourself if you were going to stamp what color would you use? Do that for a few layouts and then start with that color.

I have always been a stamper so I have a TON of inks, but when I started picking up distress inks I started with my favorites and bought two shades in the aqua family for blending.
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PeaNut 577,311
January 2013
Posts: 178
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Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/20/2013 1:05:51 PM
I love my Distress inks and use them all the time.

I have a problem deciding which colors to buy, so I end up buying an entire set. I did this with the SU ink pads a few years back.

~~Melani....once upon a time I was Sailorslady, now I'm just the fish


PeaNut 201,789
April 2005
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Loc: Bothell, WA

Posted: 1/20/2013 1:13:53 PM
If Tsukineko makes it I got it. I have 8 plastic drawers of just ink pads, because I don't know what color I need. As an example; The right shade of brown depends on the shade of orange you use.

Brooklyns Mama

PeaNut 501,350
March 2011
Posts: 2,327
Layouts: 5

Posted: 1/20/2013 1:14:04 PM
I use to like he pigment ones WAY BETTER. But that was like 5 yrs ago when I used those for inkin edges (insert cringe here). However, a ear and a Hal ago I started gettin into actual stamping on my layouts (thanks to scrapbook stamping by Nichol Magouirk) and I started collecting ink pads. I bought he complete line of Jenni Bowlin ink pads and refills to start out because I liked the colors, there was a large variety, and hey were inexpensive (I think $4.50/pad?). Now, I just bust the colors I know I will use. And I try to get a good mix of brands so I can see how I like the different ones. I bought a black memento, white staz on etc. then this weekend I ordered the grey and a teal hero arts blenders (I think that's what they are called) to try. I selected those colors to go w my seafoam PL kit.

Best advice - collect a few at a time based on what you're working on. For me, my most used colors on layouts are black, brown, white and pink (I only have 2 girls). So you could start w neutrals, and most used colors and maybe a couple that coordinate w project life

Completed in 2014
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PeaNut 52,171
October 2002
Posts: 17,687
Layouts: 105
Loc: Froogville

Posted: 1/20/2013 1:23:41 PM

If Tsukineko makes it I got it

I don't have a ton because I feel wasteful buying a bunch of inkpads when I have enough to use. But if I were to start all over, I'd probably only buy these.

Mystik Nat

PeaNut 108,721
September 2003
Posts: 244
Layouts: 253
Loc: UK

Posted: 1/20/2013 1:25:49 PM
I really like the prima chalk inks for stamping both greetings and more blocky designs. Great coverage, relatively inexpensive and a great choice of colours. I see they are bringing out some light pastel shades, cannot wait. Have to say that the grey tones have become my go to colours for greetings, softer than black but so crisp and clean. Really like the teal and worn jeans shades too. oh and the white I'd great for edging and stamping.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 35,782
April 2002
Posts: 5,098
Layouts: 1

Posted: 1/20/2013 2:18:21 PM
I agree, if you are wanting to add colors the mini pads are a great way to not only try out different colors, but also to try out different brands or types of ink pads.

Also remember that pigment ink pads aren't just for embossing. I use pigment ink pads almost exclusively because I prefer their color saturation (the ink sits on top of the paper vs. dye ink which soaks into the paper). I do have to wait for it to dry a bit, but I don't mind that. I could also heat set them and avoid the wait. I rarely heat emboss.

Debbie in MD.


PeaNut 257,567
April 2006
Posts: 385
Layouts: 121
Loc: Lexington Park, MD

Posted: 1/20/2013 2:26:53 PM
My go to stamps are a Color Box Espresso pigment and a Black pigment for "distressing" edges. I feel like I use those on everything. I like having 2 sizes of both colors, the ColorBox cat's eye queue's size as well as the block size. The ColorBox cat's eye queue's is good for awkward shapes that you want to distress and the block size is good for a large stamp like a woodgrain background stamp.

I also always use pigments because they don't dry out as fast as chalks do. The downside is pigments stay wet longer so the dry time is longer than a chalk would be but you go through chalks faster because they don't have as much liquid in them.

Lastly the ColorBox cat's eye queue's are the best because they come with multiple colors in one stack so you can start off with a few colors for under $10

Pea with a Pen

PeaNut 70,644
February 2003
Posts: 19,346
Layouts: 785
Loc: Southern California

Posted: 1/20/2013 3:16:31 PM
I have more than a few different kinds of ink pads now, but not a huge number. I'm pretty sure, every time I bought one, I just had to have that particular color for me to be completely happy with one particular project, and I knew the ink pad would get more use after that.

The last one I think I bought was the faded denim Distress Ink. (It was January of last year.) I was trying to ink a page about a beach trip, as well as stamp some seashells onto the page. Black and brown ink weren't going to work, but my old dark blue Cat's Eye inkpad was drying up. I'd seen some good things done with the blue Distress inks and the green ones. So I needed another blue one.

Either that was my last inkpad purchase, or the ink I thought was white but really was clear. I think I bought that one in February of last year. So now I have Versamark and another ink that is similar.


PeaNut 543,140
February 2012
Posts: 123
Layouts: 3
Loc: Hillsboro, OR

Posted: 1/20/2013 3:32:26 PM
I have a serious problem with this...

I have sixty CTMH inks (all of them plus some retired colors), and all the Distress Ink pads. I have a black StazOn that I hate and I REALLY love my Ranger Archival black and Coffee so I'm looking to buy a few more colors of Archival ink. I also need all the new Hero Arts NEON inks!

- Leashah


PeaNut 410,684
February 2009
Posts: 123
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/20/2013 3:56:20 PM
I buy the primary and neutral colors and stick to that.
I also pick up a few other colors that I use a lot in scrapbooking and card making.


PeaNut 472,447
June 2010
Posts: 151
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/20/2013 4:10:05 PM
I still have so many Stampin Up ink pads and I can usually come pretty close to most colors I would want with those. I have no idea where I would start outside of black and brown.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 268,201
July 2006
Posts: 5,579
Layouts: 8
Loc: Northwoods

Posted: 1/20/2013 4:23:51 PM
I think it totally depends on what you want to do with your inks. If you are card making, using it on scrapbook pages, etc. Do you want to stamp and color something in, or stamp IN color the first time? Do you want ink that allows you to then play with a variety of techniques?

You might even decide you want something that's non-traditional ink - like Faber-Castell Big Brush Markers or Gelatos!

Have you watched the free Think Inking classes here on 2 Peas? Prior to watching them, I had a black ink, and a brown distress ink pad. Now I have most Distress Ink colors, several Hero Arts Shadow Inks (GREAT for soft "negative space" stamping) and a few others.

If you are stamping fine detailed Images - Versafine ink is FANTASTIC! It comes a several colors and also sold in little cubes (that somehow last forever.) Versamark has so many uses - not only for water mark stamping, heat embossing etc, but also can be used under other inks to get a better stamped image .

Personally, I would start with the Thinking Inking series (there are 2 of them) and start to build on what interested me most from there. I also often see something used on a blog and end up adding it to my stash as well.

Have fun!


PeaNut 557,109
June 2012
Posts: 8
Layouts: 0
Loc: Florida

Posted: 1/20/2013 7:44:12 PM
I get colors that coordinate with the collection or kit I'm going to scrap with. Love Prima chalk inks!
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PeaNut 413,587
February 2009
Posts: 5,966
Layouts: 51
Loc: Western NY

Posted: 1/20/2013 8:11:47 PM
I would buy the colours you like and would use the most.

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PeaNut 116,687
November 2003
Posts: 1,623
Layouts: 256
Loc: Florida

Posted: 1/20/2013 8:16:48 PM
When I began buys pads, I started with a variety pack of smaller pads and then added the larger versions of the ones I liked best and used most.


PeaNut 556,376
June 2012
Posts: 958
Layouts: 34
Loc: Bay Area University

Posted: 1/20/2013 10:32:29 PM
I like Colorbox inks, so I started with the variety packs - the petals and the stacks - which you can get for 40% off any day, up to 60% off on a good day. Over time I invest in full-size ink pads and/or ink refills. Right now I keep a black, brown, and dark grey, as well as a Versafine black and a Versamark (both with reinkers). I just ordered a Terra Cotta ink pad because after much use of the two wedges I had, they're pretty much dead. I'm thinking the next full-size I'll get will be Harbor, which is a solid rich blue, and also possibly Dune and Copper. (Copper is a great "darker" gold stand in.)

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PeaNut 90,289
June 2003
Posts: 10,379
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/20/2013 11:18:23 PM
I exclusively incorporate stamping into layouts. Considering the majority of my inks are pigment (e.g. VersaFine, VersaColor), I suggest using the inks you already own! If you want to boost your existing collection, then buy the sample-sized inks (e.g. VersaColor 1" cubes) in colors that you use frequently but do not already own. You can have 3-4 different colors in the cubes for the cost of just one full-sized pad! Or, you could opt to buy a couple neutral (e.g. Pumice Stone, Antique Linen) or frequently-used colors in dye inks, such as Tim Holtz Distress, for variety. HTH & happy shopping!

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PeaNut 163,613
August 2004
Posts: 78,773
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Loc: *Sunny Southern California*

Posted: 1/20/2013 11:37:20 PM
I try to only buy ink that can be used on many projects.

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PeaNut 292,577
January 2007
Posts: 5,245
Layouts: 51
Loc: In the deep-fried south.

Posted: 1/21/2013 3:39:05 AM
My ink pad total at one point was over 90. I am still not quite sure how it happened. I purged a lot and gave to my mom a while back when she became an avid stamper. I used to buy only chalk inks, and usually when HL had them 1/2 off. I also got a ton of the little cat's eye and dew drops (dew drops are the bomb diggity!), and they are quite useful. I picked up a few Distress Inks, just in the browns (have you ever SEEN so many browns??) and loved them so much that I started to add the "colors". Watching the Thinking Inking videos really unlocked the possiblities of those for me, and I am an avid (okay, Rabid) fan of those pads. I ADORE them!

Well, how 'bout that? I guess I DO know how it happened!

Oh! As far as the Distress Ink pads, I am loving Broken China, Peeled Paint, Worn Lipstick, Fired Brick, Dried Marigold, Old Paper, Antique Linen, and Tea Dye. I want Pumice Stone in the worst way, but can never seem to remember to order it and haven't seen it locally.

Happiness looks good on everyone!


PeaNut 405,405
December 2008
Posts: 442
Layouts: 1
Loc: Burpengary, Queensland, Australia

Posted: 1/21/2013 6:07:06 AM
I have used every ink under the sun over the past 8 years. I recently bought a whole heap if stampin up inks because they have been the best. In the past I have bought the same cubes and the tear dropped shaped ones but I find them too difficult to cover even medium sizes images. When I bought my first lot of stampin up inks I chose colours which were frequently used in my Scrapbooking; pinks, green, blue and orange. From there I just added. It is too difficult, financially to get all the colours you want straight up. I budgeted for 2 new pads a month. Now I have a heap of them. When I'd finally got nearly all the colours I decided to join stampin up. Should have joined then bought the pads. Silly me. I just love them.

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PeaNut 171,792
October 2004
Posts: 1,161
Layouts: 72
Loc: somewhere between going & crazy

Posted: 1/21/2013 7:54:08 AM

I'd look at your layouts and see what colors you go to the most, then get coordinating colors. I'd also invest in a Versamark ink pad.

It's always good to have the basics: black, brown, white, gray, and a versamark. I'd totally look at the colors you tend to gravitate towards. Then go from there.

Lisa DV
16 cards and 52 layouts for the 2014:


PeaNut 546,161
March 2012
Posts: 493
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/21/2013 8:20:46 AM
I bought two of those little Martha Stewart ink stacks when they were on sale and I have ended up using them a lot! They are small enough for me to take with me when I go to scrap at a friends or something. I also use Stampin up ink. The small 'Stampin spots' are cheaper and the colors are great!

Also make sure u have basic black, brown, white, versamark. I use those a lot.

I recommend getting some packs of multiple inks like Martha Stewart or anything else. I think you will end up selecting the colors that appeal to you anyway which are probably similar to the paper you use.

Like another person mentioned, Stampin up ink quality is really good. Look into that too! There is a sale going on right now too. I can help you find Stampin up inks you might like. Pea mail me if u want. I might be able to get you a discount!

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