How To Use Distress Ink | Definitive Guideline For Beginners

I have always been fascinated with the burnt shade of an antique book.

It has a mysterious charm that seems to grow over time. The books, sure have some stories to tell, but you have to read it carefully if you want to find out!

Those old-school books with ruffled appearance also make me ponder about their history and intrigues me to know more about the author and how long ago the book was originally written.

Here’s a fun fact.

You don’t have to step back in time to recreate those antique looks on your favorite scrapbook.

The ruffled look, torn pages and the mysterious, dark-wood appearance are all yours to explore and experiment if you only add a set of distress ink to your toolbox!

So, without any further ado let’s learn how to use distress ink in different ways and dive into the world of crafts, where creativity is the only weapon anyone is ever allowed to use!

Why Choose Distress Ink Art?

There are endless opportunities to show your talent to the world just with this single product.

From using it as a stamping ink to building an artistic background for a papercraft, distress ink rules its kingdom! 

Although, it's typically applied on paper, this tool is so versatile that it can be used on other media as well, such as wood or fabric.

If you want to give your DIY project a vintage, chic look, then this distress dye will do the job for you. It’s also an excellent idea for decorating a scrapbook of your choice.

Tools That Are Used In Distress Ink DIY Projects

Before you begin working with this dye, let’s consider what type of equipment you might need while crafting your masterpiece. After all, we wouldn’t want to disturb an artist when his/her art is in progress!

a. Craft Material

Used In Distress Ink DIY Projects


Craft Material

So, what type of projects do you have in mind?

Are you going to put an age-effect on your family portrait? Or maybe it’s the photo of that trip that you took last summer?

Sometimes, the moments we capture on cameras turn out to be an exclusive shot. And to beautify that treasured moments even further, you can add some effects with the help of your preferred ink stain.


Craft Material

The most popular crafting material for this purpose is paper. No matter what type of paper you choose and what color combinations you use, the result always comes out as unique and impeccable.

From a craft sheet to any cardstock or ordinary paper can be used to draw your favorite designs and patterns on them.


Craft Material

One big advantage of this stain is that it dries slowly, allowing it to be used on various types of surfaces.

You can color on any wooden surfaces, such as, a small ornamental box or perhaps an ordinary frame. However, once you are done with painting that object, it’s bound to look extra-ordinary for sure!

Related: Know The Watercolor Applying Process on Wood


Craft Material

Yes. You read it right!

You can even ­­stain any fabric with the help of distress ink and make a personalized piece of clothing or a handkerchief. The layered stains or a single monotone color will add volume to the character of the fabric and showcase your creativity to the whole world.

Related: Top 10 Fabric Paints List

b. Ink Blending Tool

Ink Blending Tool

Once you have selected your preferred material, all that’s left to do is to leave a stain on it.

One word of caution: Be ready to get messy!

As the dye is a water-based formula, it will go from side to side and leave its imprint along the way. If you want to take control of the situation, then you must purchase a mini-sponge or an ink blending tool beforehand.

This tool helps you blend different colors according to your choice. It also enables you to adapt a lot of techniques and create patterns of your choice.

c. Heat Tool/ Crafting Iron

Heat Tool/ Crafting Iron

Once you are done with inking the paper or any other material you choose to use, it’s best to use a crafting iron to dry it faster. As the stain stays wet a for long time, your desired pattern might get muddled if you leave it that way for a long time.

If you are precise about how the design should look on paper, then go for a mini heat tool instead. Unlike crafting iron, it helps hold the color in its place while drying.

Way To Use Distress Ink On Paper

Decorate your favorite card and make your personalized notes by correctly using this ink stain!

To give you a clearer picture, we have shared the following techniques with you. While there are numerous ways you could stain your paper, these methods are perfect for basic to intermediate level learners.

a. Aging Effect 

Use Distress Ink On Paper

Ah! It’s most probably the easiest way to get that weathered, realistic look on your paper that we all love to see!

First, take a piece of paper and crumple it as best as you can. But be careful! You don't want to have a tear in it.

Next, place it on a table and smear the ink pad on the paper as much as you like. You should be able to see the beautiful stain by now.

Then, sprinkle some water on to the surface gently. The dye reacts with water and begins to travel across the paper while leaving a beautiful footprint.

Lastly, bring on your crafting iron that I mentioned earlier in this article and press onto the paper. The stain is heat-resistant and can handle up to 800-Degrees Celsius quite easily.

b. Multiple Layer Effect

Use Distress Ink On Paper

You can decorate a paper in different ways without scrunching it up. For example, you could go with a monotone dye or use multiple layers, both of which are wrinkle-free!

To get multiple layers on your paper, First, take a non-stick craft sheet or place it on a flat surface. Then get the first color you chose and swipe onto the sheet.

Next, pick another color pad for the second layer and rub it across. Make sure not to overlay the colors on the sheet as that might taint the color pads.

Then, sprinkle some water on top of the surface. It’s a good idea to use a spray bottle with the finest nozzle in this case.

After that, take the piece of paper or card that you want to get the prints on and press it on the craft sheet. Hold it there for a few seconds and lift it to see a beautiful design already forming on top of it.

For the final touch, use a heat tool to dry the paper and enjoy the finished look.

You can go for as many layers as you want by following this process.

c. Stamping

Stamping Use Distress Ink On Paper

Who wants to color a stamp? I know I do!

First, take a stamp of your choice and pick a color to go on top of it. You can choose any color you want or a combination of multiple colors if you prefer. Just make sure, the colors don't overlap with each other.

Then, press the stamp on a card. Keep holding it in this position for a few seconds and let the color sink into the card.

Voila! Now you have a stamped card in front of you.

Related: Paint vs INK: Which One To Select?

d. Blending Tool

Use Distress Ink On Paper

Using a blending tool is one of the simplest methods you will find!

Just take a card or a piece of paper and lay it on a flat surface. Take the blending tool and press it on the ink pad. Then apply the dye on the card by moving the tool in a different direction.

The advantage with the blending tool is that you can choose how light or dark the shade is going to be with the help of your hand motion.

Process To Use Distress Ink On Wood

Turn any modern furniture into an antique one! Coating a wooden surface doesn’t require any special treatment. However, there are some slight differences which are described below.

a. Bare Wood

You can decorate any small any wooden objects such as bowl, flower vase or an ornamental box as per your wish by following these instructions.

At first, use the blending tool to coat on the wooden surface. If you want it to look more realistic and have the full-on vintage vibe, then deepen the shade of the color along the edges and use a lighter shade for the middle.

Then, let the object dry out in the air. If you want it to get dried in a short amount of time, then use a heat tool instead.

Lastly and more importantly, let the dye set in the surface and use a sealant to for a smoother surface and protect the object from any environmental damage.

b. Painted Wood

Let’s check out how we can turn any ordinary piece of wooden showpiece into looking like a family heirloom!

Before you start coating a wooden object, First, test a small area with the color you chose.

As the surface is already painted with one color, the ink stain that you are going to apply might have a hard time standing out. So, to avoid any confusion it’s a good idea to test it beforehand.

After that, you can choose to apply any embellishment on the surface by using a permanent adhesive and apply a sealant afterward.

Quick Distress Ink Techniques

1. Always Use A Craft Iron/ Heat Tool

It might be tempting to use any ordinary iron machine that is found in every household for this purpose.

However, while you press the iron onto the paper, the machine might get stained quite frequently.

So, unless you want to wear a shirt that has ink smears all over it, it's important to use a separate iron, preferably a craft iron for this purpose.

2. Be Careful With The Color Combination

If you are planning to use multiple colors at the same time, try placing them strategically. For example, you can easily put a blue color next to red, as these two combine into a green shade.

However, placing a red color next to that green color would be a bad idea, as these two colors cancel each other out and result in a muddy appearance afterward.

3. Start Slow

You can always reach a darker shade by applying more layers in the future!

However, it’s impossible to go back to a lighter shade once the color is applied. That’s why it’s highly recommended to go slowly and test each shade before applying the next layer.

4. Use One Blending Tool Per Color

You have to dip the blending tool in the ink pad each time you choose to apply color. So, it's best to use set aside one applicator for each color, so that you don't have to keep cleaning the tool now and then.

If the blending seems too expensive for you, then use a cheap alternative like a cosmetic brush or a craft sponge.

Related: Select high Quality Re-manufactured ink cartridges

Wrapping It Up

Whether you are an antique lover or just someone who likes to play with vibrant colors, the ink pad from Rangers is bound to impress you with its versatility.

The stains that are left on the paper is permanent, meaning it doesn’t fade over time. The product is also non-toxic, acid-free and environment-friendly.

With all those gorgeous colors and different techniques on how to use distress ink for a DIY project, you are sure to ace your next one!

So, what are you waiting for?

Get started and have fun creating a fantastic artwork!

By the way before read next post you may check this post about Distress Oxide vs Distress Ink


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