• Distress Inks & Oxides

by Kristine Mysah Khatri February 24, 2018


The Distress Inks and Oxides by Tim Holtz are my absolute favorite inks when it comes down to card-making. The range of colors are gorgeous and they are both easy to use and blend, but each have their own traits, which I'll discuss in this blog post along with how to make the cards above. Both of these cards were made using kraft card stock and the same colors. The card on the left was made using Distress Inks, and the one on the right, with Distress Oxides. Same colors, same paper, just different inks that give you a different look.


Distress Ink pads have a range of 61 colors and are available in sizes of 3"x3" and minis (60 colors only) which are 1"x1". The Distress Oxides on the other hand, come only in 3"x3" and in 60 colors. They both also have re-inkers available, which you can use to re-ink the pads or use the re-inkers as a watercolor, since Distress Inks and Oxides are both water-reactive. Both ink pads can also be used for stamping and embossing, they can also be applied using daubers, blending tools or blending brushes. The color range is identical (in my opinion) when both inks are first applied, but you'll see the difference (in the slideshow above) how Distress Inks and Oxides behave on different papers.

Distress Inks

The Distress Ink are dye inks, which give them a faster drying time and they have a transparent finish which is more evident when they are applied/stamped on colored paper. They remain vibrant on white paper, but are lost on dark colored paper. These inks are great too if you want to add a tint of color to a light colored paper. Slightly harder to blend since they dry quicker.

Distress Oxides

The Distress Oxides are hybrid inks, a fusion of a water-reactive dye and a pigment ink. They are opaque when applied, have a slower drying time than the Distress Inks, but when activated with water, these inks oxidize and take on a unique coloration. They appear less vibrant than the Distress Inks, and have a hazy/milkier look, but they still remain opaque which makes them ideal to use on dark colored paper. (Tip: use on papers darker than the color) Blending with Distress Oxides is easier, because they don't dry as quick as the Distress Inks and you get a creamier/smoother result.

Which is better?

I can't say which one I prefer over the other, since both inks give a different look. Which ink I choose depends on what I want to use it for and on what I'll be using it on.

Now on to card-making!

I wanted to go for an ombré effect and used the shades, Faded Jeans, Broken China and Cracked Pistachio on a kraft card stock. Using a light hand, I blended the colors with a mini blending tool till I had a light coverage that was visible on the card panel. Do the same for the card base, except apply the colors in the same way on the opposite end. This will give the card panel some contrast to the card base. I then take a stencil and tape it to the card panel, so it won't budge while I blended more of the same colors on to it.

Stacking up

Do the same ombré effect on a smaller piece of kraft card stock, and die cut your greeting from it. (For this card I used the "Kind Card Frame" add-on die from Concord & 9th) Die cut two more on plain kraft card stock, and glue these together, one on top of the other. Use an acrylic block or anything flat and heavy to press and hold your greeting down. The next step is optional, you can cover half of the greeting die cut with Versamark embossing ink; then cover it with some embossing powder and heat it up. I used Ranger's Gold Tinsel embossing powder in this card. I kind of over heated it, I think, since quite a bit of the glitter bits melted, so be careful when heating glittery embossing powder.


Stamp on, any supporting sentiments before you stick your die cut greeting on to the card panel. I first place the card panel on my stamping platform, then place the greeting where I want it, followed by the sentiment stamps. Then I remove the die cut and proceed to stamping. Then when I'm done, I stick the card panel on to the card base, and add embellishments where I think it's needed.

Kristine Mysah Khatri
Kristine Mysah Khatri


Loves cats and crafting, and is currently adding roller skating/blading to the mix. Hopes to spread her love of crafting to others and someday do a drop in at the skate park.

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