Hello ink lovers!

Since Distress Oxides came on the scene around this time last year they have been nothing but amazing.  Their versatility is incredible.  If you have been to a class this year with me at all, I use them constantly it seems because there is so much you can do with them!

But first let me back up, some of you are reading this and saying “what the heck is she going on about”.  As it states on the Ranger website, Distress Oxide Inks are: “water-reactive dye & pigment ink fusion that creates an oxidized effect when sprayed with water.”  Ah, clear as mud for you right? They seem simple enough to understand the concept but yet so darn deep and endless when using them.  Let’s break it down (insert hip hop music here).  Dye ink is what you are used to in a normal ink pad, while pigment ink you are most familiar with when you think of white ink or chalk ink.  Pigment ink is rich and creamy and often dries with a chalky like finish.  That is because pigment particles need to be carried in some sort of medium generally.  Dye ink is water soluble, an important part of what makes the biggest difference between oxide inks and normal distress inks.

In the past we blended backgrounds with dye ink but we were reluctant to use too much water.  The colours could become muddy quickly and it was not very pleasing. Now we can blend back grounds and keep the colours more distinct.  Oxides allow you to layer multiple colours and see the colours individually if you so desire.  When layering, dry after each layer to create some pretty cool effects with water. In this photo you can see the yellow behind the blue. You can control where and how much colour with water applied.  Hard to tell in the picture but there is a chalky look as well.


If you add more water you can actually get several shades from one ink pad.  Using the smoosh technique, you smear some of the ink pad on your craft mat and spritz some water on it to see small bubbles.  Smoosh your paper into it and dry.  Add more water to further dilute the ink and get more shades.  This background is actually made with one colour of ink pad.   By varying the amount of water applied there is an illusion that multiple colours were used.


These effects can be achieved because the pigment (remember that word?) needs a carrier.  It doesn’t dissolve like dye.  Less water more pigment available and a deeper colour.  More water, less pigment diluted colour.  Take notes because there will be a test for extra credit.

Now these inks don’t just need water to be amazing.  They blend like a dream!  So smooth and creamy almost like a paint.  They can remain distinct or completely cover up another colour. But even though they are dry, they can still react with water!  Mind blown yet?  Told you they were cool!

This card was made by layering distress oxides over top of one another and then lifting the colour off.  For time and simplicity I kept it to two colours but the sky is the limit.  The lighter colour was applied first onto a piece of water colour paper (always water colour when using water and ink, well almost always).  Then on top, a darker colour to completely hide the lighter colour underneath.  The paper needs to be completely dry before embossing over top.  That’s another use for pigment ink, did you know you can heat emboss with it?  That’s a whole other article!  Using a water pen, the top colour was removed to reveal the colours underneath.  If I wanted to remove more colour I still could months later, it will always react with water.

These are just a few of the uses and ways you can manipulate Distress Oxide Inks.  I could go on, I probably have!  You can just stamp with them as well.  It gives a richer colour than its matching Distress Ink does. You can use them on glossy paper, vellum…whatever you imagine you can probably do it with oxides.

Sorry for the long article but so many people have been asking what’s the deal with oxide inks that I thought I should try to explain.  Hopefully you aren’t further confused and have gained the desire to try these things out!  I promise you won’t be disappointed!


PS – if you have a question you want answered in great detail with pretty pictures, send me a message and I will see what I can do