• Layering with Distress Inks

by Kristine Mysah Khatri January 21, 2020

Can it be done?

I had tried a couple of times to layer with Distress Inks but never really had much success. They are mainly used for creating colorful backgrounds using either a blending or smooshing technique, which I used to make the background of this card. On a solid shape stamp, Distress Inks have the tendency to bead on the surface, no matter if you've prepped the surface well enough. 

Let's get to it then!

Since I was going to use a moderate amount of water, I decided to forgo my usual cardstock and instead use Strathmore Watercolor paper to do my background on. I was using the Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat for this, but you can use any slick, non-porous surface to apply your Distress Inks on. Using mostly Tumbled Glass, Cracked Pistachio and a little of Evergreen Bough, I applied them on the white area of the Glass Media Mat, to see the colors. It would be a good idea to place the colors next to each other and not on top of each other as that would change the ink pad's color. They would blend on their own, once you spray water on. I'd then pat/dab my watercolor paper on these pretty pools of color and dry it. The key to getting pretty markings with Distress Inks on your paper and not just mud is to dry between layers. I'd use my Heat It tool to speed the drying process, and then keep adding color until I was pretty much happy with my background.

Now the hard part!

When it came to stamping out my flowers, inspiration struck me, and I thought what if we added water? So I again, I used Strathmore Watercolor paper and my trusty stamping platform to do this. You can probably do this with a stamp block, but odds are you'll miss and your stamping will look like a cross between watercolor and splotches of ink. Using the first solid layer of a flower from my Altenew Vintage Roses Stamp set, I tested my idea out. I first misted the stamp with water and quickly before the water beaded up, I stamped it. Since I am working with water, time was of the essence! I quickly inked up the stamp with Abandoned Coral from the Distress Mini Ink Kit #13 and stamped it before the water had a chance to dry. Success! Well, just a bit. I found if the ink still transferred a bit splotchy, I could just mist your stamp again with water and stamp and that would make the ink flow. This would also leave some streaks or pools of concentrated ink, which I would just dab away with some tissue. Another key thing was to resist the urge to press down hard as you stamp, this would lead to the water and ink spreading out. The results are quite pretty, they almost look like a watercolor image of your solid stamp. You can check the embedded video below or visit The Craft Depot YouTube channel to watch how I did this technique.

On to the second, third and for some, the fourth layer

Before stamping the second layer with the same ink (Abandoned Coral) I had used for my first layer, I made sure that the stamped flowers were dry. I didn't want my succeeding layers of stamping to bleed/mix into each other, so I used my Heat It tool to make sure it was dry before proceeding. If some areas remained stubborn to the ink, I'd mist the stamp a bit with water and stamp, if that too failed, I used a small brush and paint the color on. For the leaves I used Dew Drops and Aqualicious from Altenew's Sweet Dreams Mini Ink Cube set. I did use the leafy stalk from the Vintage Roses set, and another from Altenew's Build-A-Flower Coral Charm set. Once done with all my stamping, I die cut the images using their coordinating die sets. 

Sentimental over a sentiment

When it came to the sentiment, I used the word happy and Valentine's Day from Concord & 9th's Happy Words stamp set. I stamped the word happy using Abandoned Coral and embossed it with Ranger's Clear embossing powder. I wanted it to stand out so I used Concord & 9th's Every Day Circle dies to die cut the circle and added the stitched starburst to the top and bottom of the circle. I didn't have the right color cardstock so I went ahead and used the Aqualicious dye ink to make my own. I stamped my sentiment with Galactic Stream and Versamark. I wanted only the sentiment to be embossed on my sentiment strip, but in my own haste, I didn't test if the inked paper was completely dry. So when I poured clear embossing powder on it, the whole thing got covered! Oh well, next time, good thing it turned out ok?


I first planned out where I wanted the sentiment to be, and placed the flowers and leaves around it. I kept moving things here and there just to get it right. Once I was satisfied I used a combination of glue and foam tape to adhere the card elements on to the card panel, which I then stuck on to a 4.25" x 5.5" card.

This card did take some time and effort to do, but once in awhile, putting in a lot of elbow grease is not so bad, especially if you end up with a beautiful card to give to a special someone. 

Hope you enjoyed this post, see you next week!



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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