An integral part of rubber stamping is ink. Without it, your stamping would not be made possible.

There is a range of varieties of inks for rubber stamps ink user to choose from. Different rubber stamp inks are available in different colours and pad sizes.

Most rubber stamp inks fall into two categories: dye and pigment inks. But, because of the evolution of rubber stamps, additional kinds of rubber stamp inks have also sprung up to cater particular stamping needs.

There are lots of inks available in the marketplace, and it can be confusing because it is essential to use the right ink for your rubber stamp usage, so you have to choose wisely.

Here is a guide for you to select the perfect ink for your rubber stamp use:

Dye Inks

1 black Bottle of Black Colored Ink


Dye inks are the most common types of inks used for rubber stamping. The colours in dye inks are vibrant. It dries quickly on paper and can are perfect for glossy papers. Because it can dry quickly, it is ideal to stamp one image after another without smudging the ink. They work well in light or white-coloured paper. Dye inks typically come with a felt pad. Unless indicated in the packaging, dye-based inks are not water resistant, and contact with water can cause the ink to smear. However, you can use this as a creative technique for your rubber stamp craft by smudging your ink with a little amount of water to create softer edges. They are not UV-resistant, thus, can fade over time. It is not ideal for banners and signs or any form of exposure to sunlight. 

  • Water-based Dye Inks

This type of ink used to be the most common. It has a water base, so it quickly reacts with a water-based medium such as watercolour. They work best for card stocks and are not ideal for embossing.

  • Distress Inks

This ink is a type of water-based dye ink. It has gained popularity in the stamping industry because many crafters use this type of rubber stamp ink. Despite its water-based property, distress ink dries slower than other types of water-based inks. And because they can smear in contact with water, they are perfect for making different effects for your artwork.

  • Waterproof dye inks

This type of dye ink has a different base, so they don’t easily react with water. When this ink dries on the stamped surface, you can layer it with watercolour and will not smear or smudge.

Pigment Inks

4 Primary Colors Ink Dyes

Pigment inks differ from dye inks in consistency and amount of time to dry. Unlike dye inks, they don’t dry fast, has a thick texture and an opaque finish. They are fade-resistant and can maintain colour vividity longer, so they work well for stamping card stocks. If you use pigment ink in black paper and craft paper, the colour appears accurate and vivid. Pigment inks sit on top of the stamping surface instead of being absorbed so they work great for scrapbooking but may require heat to thoroughly dry. They also work great for embossing, and they can hold embossing powders because of the thick consistency. Pigment inks typically come with a sponge. (insert image)

Hybrid Inks

a type and set of hybrid inks

Hybrid inks are morphs of dye inks and pigments inks, inheriting a bit of character from both. They work on almost all types of surfaces though some surfaces might require heat to set and completely dry. They are more transparent than pigment inks but are a bit more opaque than dye ones.

Solvent Inks

5 different color inks for rubber stamps ink pad


This type of ink is quick drying and are excellent for hard surfaces such as wood and tiles. They are durable and long-lasting. When using solvent inks, you need to be in a well-ventilated room and are not advisable to use around children. They are not, however, suitable to use in fabrics and clothing for they can cause staining.

Chalk inks

6 square shaped ink dyes storage

They used to be known for stampers but are becoming harder and harder to find. They are very much like pigment inks but has a chalk-like finish. The chalk-like finish allows you to layer colours which are not possible for other types of transparent inks. They are great for scrapbooking because they dry fast and are acid-free. But, some may not dry well on glossy surfaces and cardstock. They can also be made permanent by heat setting, so they can also work with watercolour. They are smear-proof and fade-proof even without heat setting.

Specialty Inks

Inks specially made for specific purposes and crafts. Below are examples of speciality inks:

  • Embossing Ink

These inks are made especially for embossing. and are usually acid-free and slow drying and are made for use with embossing powder and are without pigments but can be slightly tinted, so you can see where you have stamped it. Stamp image before heating to emboss and create translucent images perfect for background designs.

  • Fabric Dyes

Specially made for fabric and cloth, fabric dyes are available in a variety of colours. They are heat set to dry.  They are also useful for shrink plastic and acetate. Before buying fabric dyes, make sure to check the label and opt for the non-toxic ones.

  • Watermark and Resist Dyes

These dyes are suitable for paper and cardstock uses. They are slow-drying and can also work with embossing powders because of the sticky consistency of these inks.


There are many types of inks to choose from for your rubber stamps. They can come with different ingredients, colours and sizes. Larger ink pads will give you more coverage for your stamps and less hassle. The quality of your stamp will also depend on the surface you are stamping on. You have to be careful with that aspect. Dye inks work well for plain paperwork, and pigment inks are great for craftworks.

For you to choose which ink is perfect for you, determine what tasks and projects you will be using them for. Choose the right ink for the right job.