Saturday, 9 April 2016

Getting Organised - Ink Swatches

I don't know about you, but now that I'm getting better at stamping and given that I've become addicted to using distress inks, I'm amassing lots and lots of ink pads, in a huge variety of colours and remembering which I have and remembering what the colours actually look like when they get stamped is getting harder.

This photo shows some of the ink pads I have, there are more to my side and I also have a box of Distress Inks, a box of Adirondack dye ink pads, a box of alcohol inks and an assortment of dye ink and distress sprays. All this and we're not yet even looking at the number of paints, waxes and embossing powders I have! All of which adds up to colour confusion.

On top of this, I've recently discovered the delights of over stamping to create images of things like flowers, using the different stamp pieces that form the flower or leaf, and a selection of dark, medium and light complimentary toned inks you can create some beautiful images. I recently got a free rose stamp and die set from Simply Cards & Papercraft, as I looked at my inks in order to begin playing with the stamp and die set, I realised things were everywhere and I didn't really have an idea of which colours went with which colours.

The above card was made using the free die and stamp set I mentioned above and was stamped using a combination of Versacolor Pigment Inks and Memento inks, for anyone interested - Main colour Versacolor pigment ink in 'Orchid', mid tone layer Memento in 'Rose Bud' and top layer Memento 'Lilac Posies'. Leaves main colour Memento 'New Sprout', mid layer colour Memento 'Bamboo Leaves' and top layer colour is Memento 'Cottage Ivy'.

I used a WOW De-Vine background stamp and stamped it with Docrafts Artiste Pearlescent pigment ink in 'Dusky Rose' on to a pink card base. The tone on tone idea I got from the lady I'm about to talk about below, a constant source of inspiration and brilliant ideas.

I'm a fan of Jennifer McGuire, she puts together some amazing cards and she also shares some fabby ideas and techniques on her blog and on YouTube, including ways of organising your crafting tools to ideas for using your stash in different ways to get the most out of it. It was whilst browsing her videos that I came across her idea for making ink swatches, so you could see the actual colours that you get on paper and you can use those swatches to mix and match your colours to get the best results, it also stops you buying an ink pad you already have!

On her blog Jennifer has a video showing her system, she cuts the pieces of card in to 2" x 2" squares that she then puts into small vinyl pockets - the kind that coin collectors use - she includes print off sheets for all the major US ink colours like Ranger, Mama Elephant, Lawn Fawn, Hero Arts etc on her blog. For those not included in her lists, Jennifer has provided a downloadable and editable sheet that you can add your own ink range to, I've done it for Adirondack Dye Pads, Memento and Artiste inks. 

I've gathered all my swatch sheets together in an A4 ring binder, I do plan to put them altogether grouped by colour in the future when I can find some coin holder pages, for now they are grouped by brand. I think its a brilliant idea, you can use the type of card you stamp on most to see what you will end up with, and organise them by colour, by tones etc. My next task on the organising front is to add stickers and labels to inks that stack on top of each other so you can see what colours they are.

Brands like Memento have a colour swatch on the side of the lid, which is pretty helpful, although the colour on the lid, isn't the actual colour you get when stamped, but at least you can identify shades and colours roughly. If you check Jennifer's blog there is a video and tips on doing this like the one above. When I've finished sorting out my ink pads, I'm going to do the same for my sprays, embossing powders and paints. When the jobs finished I'll be able to look at everything and gather together the colours I want for a project using the swatches, and then go retrieve the inks from their racks/boxes. Instead of like currently getting everything out and faffing until I've found the right ink for the job.


  1. Wow the card is stunning and you are so organised you put me to shame. Take care. Hugs Jackie

    1. Thanks Jackie :) I love that freebie stamp and die set, waiting for the larger set to come back in stock so I can make lots more, I 'love' roses so much, have lots growing in my garden. I'm not that organised but trying to be, its a case of having to be when you have small craft area. Thanks for stopping by xxx

  2. Beautiful card the pretty floWers....My inks are together in a drawers...but great to see how other crafter get organised....maybe one day i will get there....Joolsx


Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x