DLP: all you ever wanted to know about Distress inks, according to Krisje


Hi there polkadot!

Come right in, take the thermos with you and have a cuppa.  Let’s talk Distress ink.

To be honest…  I have a bit of an issue.  My name is Krisje and I have a color addiction. You have seen my markers. Now comes the ink.  *sigh*  Ever had a supply that you bought and it really made everything better and easier? I have.  It is called Distress ink. No kidding.  In those days I was scrapbooking full time.  I have always loved busy floral papers, preferably the vintage looking kind, no matter what color.  But sometimes, the pages I made didn’t get that ‘everything works together’ feeling, they remained separate pieces of paper stuck under pictures.  Then, I think it was in 2005 – I know, crazy-  I did a workshop and learned how to edge my papers with a cut ‘n dry foam and distress ink.  It was like the little lightbulb  you see in the old Looney Tunes cartoons above my head went: PING!  And then there was light.

It took me some time and yet another workshop by my lovely crafty friend Els, to really, REALLY, get hooked.  The best addictions are always the ones you share with friends, right?  That ink didn’t only make my separate elements come together, it could change them entirely to something completely different!

After a whole decade of collecting stuff in the Distress family, it is only in the inks that I have the complete collection.  For the new colors that come out every first Friday of the month in this year, I’m waiting on the mini size to enlarge my collection.

So, imperative for the whole Distress family is the ability to change their appearance when water is added.  Look at it as a family trait. This is nice to know, because you can watercolor with them, make spots with the water, let it wick…

The downside is:

  • even when dry it isn’t permanent. The best thing you can do if you want it to stay exactly as is, is to spray over your page with a fixative. In my experience though, it isn’t that big a deal as with the cousins: the dylusions inks.  Those are really vibrant and really something else 🙂  The Distress does know how to play nice with other art supplies if you take in account its specialty.
  • you need a porous surface for it to take and stay in place. But that is a bit of a pickle.  You know, when you let it cure overnight, you can get it to stick in my experience.  For instance, I coated my page with gesso, and still the color remained.  Of course it was less vibrant, but that was the look I went for. You can use gesso as a resist to create other effects with the inks too!


There are several store bought solutions available to store the inks, for me it is this drawer at the time.  In an Alex cabinet bought at Ikea! I have had different solutions at times, but for now, seeing my inks aren’t transported anymore, this works perfect for me.  The plastic baggies you see hold a cut and dry foam per color.  You absolutely don’t have to have one by color, but yes, I get that way 🙂


How I’ve built this page. 


  1. For this page I started out by gessoing my page, I wanted a more soft tone.
  2. Then I took out my steel rule dies, I have some of those Tim Holz Tattered Floral ones and I die cut one of the sturdy plastic packaging of some art supply to make a stencil and mask.
  3. I took some foam and started colorizing the background.  After the first layer I sprayed some water in my hand and let the drops fall onto the page. I took away the drops with a clean kitchen towel.
  4. I took out my stencils, homemade and store bought and started stenciling with a foamtool.
  5. make sure to combine a light color and a darker one for your edges.
  6. I let it dry overnight, just to make sure my layer was dry.
  7. I took my marker and pencils out and drew in some details like for instance the centers of the pink flowers.
  8. Where I found some empty spots, I stencilled in some texture through a stencil with a foamtool.
  9. Added a title with clear stamps (and Archival ink) and handwriting.

Thanks for letting me go on about this wonderful supply.  I hope you can get yours out and give them a go in your art journal too. I promise they will behave.

See ya next time!


One thought on “DLP: all you ever wanted to know about Distress inks, according to Krisje

  1. Your page is a glorious explosion of summer colour. I can almost smell those flowers.

    I’ve never used distress inks. Maybe I should dip my toe in the waters with buying one should I have the funds spare.


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