Distress Inks – don’t let the name fool you

Distress ink card 2

I have a confession to make. Up until about a month ago, I didn’t really understand the fuss about Distress Inks. They don’t give crisp images when used with stamps, and the majority of times I had seen them in use, it was on vintage-themed projects or projects that had a dark, aged look to them. (Hence the name “distress”!) That’s the opposite of my clean and simple style, so I figured Distress Inks just weren’t for me … and I was OK with that.

I could not have been more wrong!

I was browsing Pinterest (of course!) for card ideas one night, which led me to some blogs and You Tube channels, where I discovered tons of other looks you can create with Distress Inks. I saw cards that were bright, fun, cheerful, and right up my alley. There was nothing “distressed” about these cards. I was intrigued and decided to give them a try. And now I’m hooked! 

Distress ink card

I love how bright and cheery this card is and it was really fun to make!

1. Start with an A2 grey cardstock base. Cut a piece of watercolor paper to 4″ x 5 1/2″.

2. Dry emboss the watercolor paper with your favorite embossing folder (I used this one along with the Texture Boutique machine).

3. Choose your Distress Ink colors. I used one of the mini sets (LOVE these) with Picked Raspberry, Mustard Seed, Peacock Feathers, and Spiced Marmalade inks.

Distress ink mini kit


4. Starting in the upper left corner, I swiped a band of pink ink, followed by orange, yellow, and then teal onto the dry embossed paper. I let the colors overlap slightly.

5. Take a spray bottle with plain water and lightly mist the paper a few times. How much water you add is totally up to you. The Distress Inks will react with the water and start to blend the colors, creating a watercolor look that’s so cool!

6. Let the paper dry or use a heat tool to speed up the process. Adhere the inked piece to the card base.

7. On a piece of vellum, stamp sentiment (I used one from this set that is out of stock now, but this or this would be fun) using VersaMark ink. Sprinkle with white embossing powder, tap off the excess, and carefully heat with a heat tool. Cut into a strip and then notch the ends to form a banner shape.

8. Adhere vellum to card using foam dots (hidden behind the sentiment) or adhesive of your choice. Embellish with a few cardstock stars.

Distress ink card 2

Want something a little less bright? Spritz the paper with more water to soften the colors. Or, try this technique on paper that hasn’t been dry embossed for a different look.

Distress ink other look

There are SO many things you can create – clearly I’ve been missing out all this time. What Distress Ink colors are YOUR favorite? Stay tuned for more ideas using them!


3 thoughts on “Distress Inks – don’t let the name fool you

  1. I love my distress inks in both the original size and the new minis. They colors are amazing and the way they react with water is amazing. There are so many different ways to use them. Glad you had the chance to try them out. Beautiful card.


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