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Ink Pads


by Allyson Bright

These days, ink pads are a hot product for scrapbookers.  Given their myriad uses (distressing, stamping, aging, and more), it's no surprise that many scrappers have dozens of ink pads in their scrap area.  Of course, when ink pads aren't organized correctly, they can pile up and become difficult to sort through.  Also, when a system isn't in place to help you keep track of them, you can even end up losing money by purchasing duplicates or replacing ink pads that have become damaged due to improper storage.

Factors to Consider
While it doesn't always seem that way, ink pads are indeed a consumable supply.  When stored correctly, many ink pads will last for quite a while before you'll need to replace or refill them.  However, if ink pads are not properly taken care of and stored, they will become dried out much more quickly.

Ink pads are best stored flat.  Each pad is filled with liquid ink, and this ink can travel throughout the pad over time if not stored properly.  For example, if you stored your ink pads vertically, over time the ink would drop to the bottom edge of the pad, and you would no longer be able to get a fully-inked image when you tried to use the full surface of your ink pad.  For this same reason, it is highly recommended that you store your ink pads upside down.  This will keep the ink flow at the surface of the pad, rather than allowing the ink to seep down to the bottom.  This is especially important for dye-based ink pads, as this ink is thinner than some other inks and will migrate through the pad at a faster rate.  Ink pads containing thicker inks, such as pigment ink, can be stored face up.

Sorting Your Pads
Before you choose a storage solution, it's important to take stock of your current inventory of pads.  This will save you from buying a container that is too small or that won't adequately hold your entire collection.  Start by gathering all of your ink pads and sorting them using one of the following methods.

By Color.  If you're a stamper or scrapbook artist that works primarily by color, this will be the option for you.  Sort your pads into basic color groups, with additional groups for neutrals and rainbow ink pads.  If you choose this method, you'll be able to easily access the perfect ink to coordinate with your current project, regardless of the size of the pad or type of ink it contains.

By Manufacturer.  This method is ideal for artists who like to work with coordinated products.  If you like to buy inks, papers, and accents all from the same manufacturer in coordinated sets, this is the best option for you.  You'll be able to find the ink you need to match what you're working on without a problem.

By Ink Type.  If you're an artist who works in several different mediums, or simply if you like to use different types of inks for different projects, this is the perfect choice for you.  Most of your ink pads will probably fit into one of two categories:  dye ink pads and pigment ink pads.  However, leave some room for specialty pads, such as watermark ink pads, interference ink pads, mica ink pads, and solvent ink pads.  Sorting in this manner will allow you to quickly and easily find the ink type most suitable for the medium you're working with.

By Size.  Finally, perhaps you're one of those people who simply likes to keep things that fit together in the same place.  If you own a lot of oversized ink pads or very small square ink pads, this can be a great choice for you.  Sometimes it can be more difficult to sort odd-sized pads into standard categories or fit them into standardized containers, so this can be an excellent choice.

Once you have your ink pads sorted, take a quick inventory count.  Note how many total ink pads you have and the various sizes of each.

Choosing Your System
Now that your ink pads are sorted and counted, it's time to select the best method for long-term storage.  ...continued...

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