Best Black Ink Pad
I suppose if there were an easy answer to this question there wouldn’t be so many brands of ink pads. I’ll tell you which are my favorites and why and I’ve love if you’d comment to weigh in with your opinions.
Basic Stamping on Plain Cardstock: My favorite, hands down is the Onyx Black VersaFine Archival Ink Pad. The construction of the pad is exquisite. It ink goes on evenly and smoothly and stamps the best image possible, showing all detail with no bleeding. It is also waterproof and has become a favorite of watercolor artists. Invest $9 in the full size pad you may never have to buy a reinker. My pad is over 10 years old and I’ve never reinked it. How is this even possible? I don’t know but I’ve heard this from many stampers. So if this pad is so fabulous, why continue?
Well it has downsides: It is oil based so it will not dry on coated card stocks or any non-porous surface. It is also not completely stable for use with alcohol markers or alcohol ink.
Stamping on non-porous surfaces: Staz-On Jet Black Ink Pads have become a stamping staple. It’s the best ink for stamping on acetate, metal, or glass. It dries quickly and I find I need to reink mine almost every time I use it. The ink pad alone is $8.50 but it’s worth the $6 to buy a reinker with the pad if you plan to use it for more than a couple projects. If it feels tacky when you pull the stamp away from the surface you stamp on you need more ink. I suspect that over time you should replace the pad because the stickiness has gets worse over the years. I don’t ever use this pad unless I’m working with a surface that requires it. Palette Noir Black Ink Pad will also work on these surfaces. I do not find I get as dark an impression, but it is easier to clean and is a better pad for an all over multi-purpose ink. It also costs just $6 and you can get away without a reinker much longer. Neither of these inks should be used on fabric.
Stamping images to color with Copic or other Alcohol Markers: The Memento Tuxedo Black Ink Pad has the most stable formula with alcohol inks. You can rub across it indefinitely and not only does it not smear, it doesn’t seem to get pushed into the paper by the alcohol, so the image stays dark and detailed. $5.20 buys a fabulous all around nice ink pad. It dries permanently and is fade-resistant. It will not dry on many non-porous surfaces like glass or metal.
Distressing with Water: The Distress Ink Black Soot Ink Pad is a slow drying ink so if you would like to give it the look of a water weathered item, this is your ink. At $5 the price is right. This ink is not permanent and is really only for use on regular and Kromekote or Ranger’s Glossy paper.
Stamping on Fabric: VersaCraft was originally called Fabrico because it is the best ink for stamping on fabric that will be washed. This ink pad is about $8. The ink should be heat set with an iron prior to washing. The main problem I have with this brand of ink is that the manufacturer has discontinued so many colors that there isn’t much choice besides black anymore. The good news is that VersaMagic is a very similar formula and costs just $6.50. We have provided images of several tests with various ink pads stamped on fabric here: Inks by Usage
I am not reviewing any basic dye based ink pads like Marvy Matchables or Adirondack Dye Ink pads or any basic Pigment Ink pads, like ColorBox, VersaColor or Adirondack Pigment Ink pads. These are basic ink pads, and generally cost a little less than the specialty ink pads. I also don’t find a huge different between the brands. For every person I find who likes one brand best, I can easily find another who prefers another brand. This is not the case with the ink pads I listed above.