Ink Pads and Markers…My Thoughts

By | 07/03/2018

I got a great questions from my stamping friend, Anita.  I started to reply and realized that this might make a good quick post for everyone reading my blog.

Anita’s question:

I am having a bit of trouble deciding what brand of markers to start practicing with. I have one pack of Stampin up markers but I feel those are best to color on the stamp itself and for some stamps with smaller spaces. Then I have one pack of zig markers that are so vibrant that for some things they are too bright. Copics are way over the top for me. Too much of an investment as you say to use to perfect your coloring. Do you feel the Altemew markers would be better than the Stampin up? Would love some direction from you. Also I decided to stick with my Stampin up inks since I have already invested in that collection and I love the matching paper etc. I have purchased one set of the mini cubes from Altenew and I think I will slowly make that color collection with all minis. And…… do you think this is good as well? 

My response:

Stampin’ Up! has two kinds of markers now. If you have the Stampin’ Write markers, those are perfect for coloring and using directly on the stamps to ink up the stamp and get a nice image. Those are dye based markers just like the ink pads. These are great for using with the Aqua Painters and doing some pretty watercolor techniques as well.  They have a brush end and a writing for fine coloring or journaling.

Stampin' Write Markers

Stampin’ Write Markers


If you have the Stampin’ Blends, these are alcohol markers and they are perfect for coloring images and they blend beautifully using the alcohol marker coloring techniques that you see all over the internet.  These should not be used directly on the stamp.  These are for coloring in the image.  You could use these in place of investing in Copics.  They are great for learning and they come in sets of 2 colors that blend nicely.  Stampin’ Up! just added more colors of these markers, so you have lots of options.  The price point is great as well.  I think it is helpful that there aren’t like 300 or more colors to collect.


As crafters, we are collectors at heart!

Stampin' Blends

Stampin’ Blends


I have some Zig markers that my husband gave me at least 20 years ago for Christmas and they still work! I was a scrapbooker exclusively in those days and I used them for decorating and lettering in my scrapbooks. I still love these, although I have not purchased any new ones in 20 years.


I love the Altenew Artist Markers which are alcohol markers. For $125 (or wait for a sale) you get a set of 48 with 3 or 4 in each color family plus the neutrals. They blend beautifully and I love the brush end. I’m happy with these because they were a more affordable option as far as alcohol markers go and since I’m just learning techniques, I don’t feel bad about experimenting with them. Originally, they were sold in 3 sets. Now you can get them in sets of 4. I purchased one set at a time so that I didn’t break my budget and I waited for sales. Altenew has a lot of coupon codes, but the best one is the free shipping on orders of $200 or more. Free shipping is 2 day shipping so it’s like hitting the order button and running up the stairs to gather your purchase at the door. (It takes 10 days for me to get an order from Stampin’ Up! and it the shipping is 10% of my order total.) I wait for a good sale and then place an order that is just over $200 to get that free shipping with the sale prices.

I have to say that I do hope Altenew adds more colors as I learn more!

As far as ink pads, if you have invested in one set of dye ink pads then you probably don’t really need another set. I love the Stampin’ Up! ink pads. I also love Catherine Pooler’s ink pads as well as the Altenew ones.  If you have one set of full size pads, then it makes sense to get the cube ink sets from the other companies.  Altenew has both full size pads and cubes in all of their colors.  SU and CP have only full size pads.  Hero Arts, LDS, Simon Says all have cubes as well.

The cubes are a great way to have other colors and other brands at a more affordable and more easily storeable size.


The Stampin’ Up! pads are foam and they just ink up an image beautifully.  I love those foam pads.  I just wish they would stop changing the color families.  This is the 3rd new configuration of color families in the last 6 years and it gets expensive to keep up with the changes.  I do like a color refresh and it is nice to get new colors occasionally.

Catherine Pooler’s inks are also foam pads and they blend and sponge on so beautifully.  They have become my favorite set for blending and sponging.  She has beautiful, vibrant colors in her collection.

I love Altenew’s inks as well.  They also blend and sponge beautifully.  These are not foam pads and it is the only thing I would change about them.  The colors are beautiful and I love how they sell them in sets of 4 colors that layer together so perfectly.  It takes the guesswork out of which colors to put together.  LOVE these.

Any one of those sets would be all that you need really.


The other things that I would add to my collection:

You need some permanent black inks like Staz On.

You need a watermark ink like Versa Mark.

You need a black ink for your alcohol markers like Memento or Altenew Permanent Black ink.

Delicata has pretty sparkly ink pads and several other companies have their own brands as well.  In fact, most of the stamp companies have their own inks.  I’m trying to control myself!

I LOVE the Tim Holtz Distress Oxide ink pads just for the techniques you can do with them and I LOVE playing with these.  They blend, they spritz well with water.  I just love them.

There are so many more options out there…I could go on even more about inks!  Versa Mark has a whole new color collection as does Staz On and don’t even get me started on the original Distress Inks!


One thing to keep in mind as you add to your collections…storage!  You need to be able to organize your stuff so you can find it easily and use it!  Don’t buy stuff you don’t have time to use.  That just leads to guilt and stress!


Happy stamping!

2 thoughts on “Ink Pads and Markers…My Thoughts

  1. Anita

    Kim thank you so much for this post. You certainly helped me decide to stick to my original plan. I did purchase some Neenah white Cardstock to use with my Altenew mini cubes. That is the other thing with having too many brands of ink, the cardstock. Stampin up inks work best with their cardstock, SSS inks should be used with their cardstock etc. My plan is to work on getting close to full sets or enough colors of each collection along with the best white cardstock and keep the color cardstock with Stampin up. It is very overwhelming and like you mentioned, the storage. At this point I am organized and can find what I need easily. I just eventually would like the organize more or stamp and storage ink and marker storage units. I already have memento for coloring and versa mark pad and pen for embossing. I am getting there very slowly. Thanks again for all your suggestions, tips, tricks etc. Happy summer,

    1. kim Post author

      I have also been experimenting with different papers and card stocks. I like the Neenah white and you can get really good deals on Amazon. I really love the Canson Bristol paper for ink blending and I’ve been using the Ranger blending tool instead of the sponges. The difference is amazing. I love that Bristol paper and I can get it at my local craft store on sale quite often. I plan to stick with the Stampin’ Up! color cardstock as well, although I find myself using less of the colored cardstock and more white these days. I finally got everything unpacked and organized and there is nothing nicer than being able to find you supplies and having a system that makes it easy to put stuff away and maintain the order. I love the Stamp-n-Storage pieces that I’ve purchased, although I have heard great things about organize more also. Happy summer!


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