The Difference Between Distress & Distress Oxide Inks: Part 1
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Editor’s Note: We’re happy to have designer Deborah Nolan as our guest on the CardMaker blog today!

It’s a pleasure to be a guest designer sharing a project that utilizes Ranger Distress Oxide inks.

If you’ve missed a chance to play with these inks or don’t understand the difference between the original Distress inks and their Oxide version, I’ve written a brief overview of this innovative blend of dye and pigment inks.

The Difference Between Distress & Distress Oxide Inks

The original Distress ink is a water-based dye that is primarily used as a technique medium and is not suitable for stamping images. Like watercolor paint, this product is translucent and is quickly absorbed and disappears on dark paper. Building up layers of color is not an option as each layer will bleed into the next.

1. Distress Oxide ink is a unique marriage of dye and pigment. The addition of pigment is the game-changer here. First, the ink reacts to water to produce a beautiful oxide finish: a rich color that looks and feels like a chalk ink but which doesn’t require heat-setting.

2. Oxide ink is opaque and sits on top of the paper, making it visible on dark cardstock. It also stays wet longer—allowing for embossing—and has a thicker, creamier consistency for an easier, smoother blending experience than the original Distress ink formula.

3. Oxide inks can be layered an infinite number of times because each layer is distinct: colors can be increased and intensified. In contrast, layers of Distress ink bleed into one another and can quickly produce a brown puddle.

4. Like pigment ink, Oxides will produce a crisp, clear stamped image. Mist with water, and the oxidation pops the image off the page.

5. Oxides work on watercolor paper, Tim Holtz Distress Mixed Media Heavystock, and glossy and regular cardstock.

Available Colors & Products

There are 24 Oxide colors. Although they share the names of existing Distress inks, the hues are slightly different. They’re packaged in 2 x 2-inch gray plastic to differentiate them from the Distress inks’ black packaging.

Don’t hold out for a mini version because, according to Tim Holtz, the complex formulation of dye and pigment need a surface area greater than one square inch to properly interact. Re-inkers are available, however!

Create A Layered Background Card

Because Oxide ink behaves like a pigment ink, there are a variety of ways it can be manipulated or used. The simplest technique is layering inks to create a stunning background. This can be done with or without water. Adding water activates the “oxidation” which results in a chalk-like finish that increases the colors’ depth and vibrancy.

Step 1. Firmly press and/or drag ink pads onto a craft sheet to create swatches of three (or more) colors. Alternatively, apply ink directly to the paper or to an acrylic block and drag across the paper.

Step 2. Generously spritz the ink swatches, paper or acrylic blocks with water.

Step 3: Tap/push the paper into the swatches to pick up ink.

Step 4: Dry with heat tool.

Optional: Spritz/mist water onto the paper as it’s drying and/or blot excess water with a paper towel or fingers to manipulate the color as desired.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1 and 2 if needed; use the same ink colors or add new ones.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4 as desired.

Step 7: Make card base from white cardstock.

Step 8: Die cut sentiment and adhere to background panel.

Step 9: Trim border panel sides and adhere to card.

Step 10: Adhere gems and enamel dots.


Supplies: Tim Holtz Distress Mixed Media Heavystock, Distress Oxide inks (peacock feathers, salty ocean, twisted citron) and Tim Holtz Distress sprayer from Ranger Industries Inc.; enamel dots from My Mind’s Eye; gems from Prima Marketing Inc.; Thanks on a Line die from Simon Says Stamp!; Stick It adhesive from Stick It Adhesive.

One Response to The Difference Between Distress & Distress Oxide Inks: Part 1

  1. Carla Hundley says:

    Thanks for explaining
    the differences. I’m
    excited to try my
    Oxide inks.
    Carla from Utah

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