When you are first starting out with paper crafts, all the different types of inks and colors can sometimgs be a bit confussing. Today, I will try to shed a little light on this topic. The basic types of ink are water-based dye ink, pigment ink, solvent ink, watermrk ink and alcohol ink. Because I have limited experience with the alcohol ink, I will not be discussing it today.
All four of these inks are carried by Stampin' Up! and are in the SU! catalogs. They can also be found at most craft stores and many department stores. All four of these inks are acid free and archival quality.
The most widely used ink is the water-based dye ink. This comes in tons of different colors and shades. Now only does SU! carry it in 50 different colors and shades, but you can buy an unlimited number of colors and shades at your local stores, including stamp pads that have several different colors on the same pad. Dye based inks are the easiest to wash off (but still not too easy) but are still fairly permanent. If you get this ink on your clothes, it will wash out, usually with a lot of soaking. This ink is most commonly used in card making and scrapbooking. This ink dries almost instantly.
Pigment ink or craft ink is much more permanent. Heat setting is often required with this ink. If you are going to do heat embossing, you will want to use a clear pigment ink or the watermark ink. The pigment ink works well on difficult surfaces, such as the backs of dominoes, some plastics, wood and fabric. After you heat set it with your heat tool, it is permanent and will not come off. This ink requires more drying time, usually 3 - 5 minutes.
The most common solvent ink is Staz On. Staz On, as far as I know, only comes in jet black and brown. It is a permanent ink that is often used when a person is planning on watercoloring their image. When you use SU! Watercolor Pencils(#101879), it is usually best to stamp your image with Staz On so that when you use the blender pens for the watercolor effect, the black ink will not smear.
Versa Mark Watermark ink stamps an image that is very difficult to see. It looks like the watermarks on the old types of paper that you had to hold up to the light to see the mark. That's where the name came from. When you look, you can see where the image is. This is most often used when heat embossing. The embossing powder sticks to the ink. When you heat it, the embossing powder melts onto the ink and card. Occassionally, this will be used as a faint image directly on to the cardstock.
I hope that I have helped a little in your understanding of the different inks. On Thursday, I will talk about some of the different ways to use inks on your projects.