Blending Distress Inks and Creative uses for Word Stamps – One Layer Card

how to use distress inks

Blending Distress inks works best when you do it in layers. I remember the first time I blended Distress Inks – I thought…I don’t get it – why do people love these? They didn’t stamp well, and I got funky lines when I sponged the inks. But, once I viewed a tutorial on the amazing properties of Distress inks, I decided to give them another shot and started to not just sponge them onto my project, but blend them together and it was one of those ah ha moments. Really a wow for me – just like when you embossed for the first time!

Today I have two versions of this card for you – a true one layer card and a kicked up version that is matted and uses the flicked distress technique. I also thought it would be fun to see exactly how to use your word stamps along with a step by step video tutorial on how to effortlessly blend your distress inks for an amazing background.

The concept for today’s project evolved from two challenges – CASe this Sketch #112 and One Layer Simplicity Words Challenge. This project uses your word stamps as a focal point and builds a card around that by blending distress inks.

Tutorial on distress ink

Here’s are the keys to blending Distress inks:

You need multiple layers – one, two or three are not enough. Your first one is the undercoating, then you’ll build your color as you layer. Along with building your distress ink layers, you’ll also blend out any funky marks left by your sponge tool applicator.  That’s the best part about these inks – the blending quality.

For instance, when you start to blend colors together, sometimes the darker color starts to overtake your project and it just doesn’t blend well.  Come back in with your lighter shade and it will create an effortlessly blending between the two shades. That’s where Distress Inks really differ from other dye based inks.  The inks have movable properties – especially when they come into contact with water.

tips on sponging with distress inks

On that note, you can also use your distress inks as watercolors.  Yes, add water to them, and you can paint them onto your project.  Or add water to your sponged inks and it’ll react to it.  Their movable nature makes them reactive – and not so great for stamping.  You will not get a good result like crisp edges.  When I use them to stamp with, it’s with an image that doesn’t need to be so precise.

Another thing to remember is that Distress Inks are translucent, so they blend great with other colors to create new hues. That’s probably my favorite part!

how to use distress ink

Have fun with it!  Here are the Creative Tips behind these two projects:

    • Mask off 1 3/4” from the top of a 4 1/4 x 5 1/5” card.  Blend your inks as in the video starting with Peacock Feathers, Broken China, Faded Jeans and Seedless Preserves.
    • Be sure to go back over the Seedless Preserves with the Faded Jeans to get the deep blue you are looking for.flicked distress technique
    • Dry the blended background at the top where you will be stamping or set to the side until dry enough that embossing powder won’t stick to it.
    • Stamp and emboss your word stamps to create a fun sentiment across the end of the blended area.  Be sure to have your words go off the sides for a continual flow.  Stamp the remaining greeting above or below to the right or left side.  Emboss.
    • The Matted card pops the black matte up using stamping dimensionals or foam tape.

Dimensions for the Matted Card –

  • Blended Piece – 3 3/4 x 5”
  • Black Matte – 3 15/16 x 5 3/16”
  • White card Base – 5 1/2 x 8 1/2”


one layer card OLC with Distress ink

I also entered this project in a few other challenges – Virginia’s View Embossing Challenge, and the Less is More Makes me Happy Challenge.

CTS_Sketch_112 Virginias View March 2014

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on blending Distress inks. To see an exclusive video tutorial series with more great project – get our Creative Tips E-letter – see you next time!


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About Ingrid Blackburn


  1. So this post just made all the marbles in my head clicket together! Just as you described in your intro. I’ve been missing the link between the fabulousness of these inks and my creativity. Admittedly I’ve come to distress inks late in my playtime but I haven’t been able to do anything terribly profound with the mini set I bought beyond making vague patchwork quilt backgrounds (stamping the inks onto the surface side by side-ish and then spritzibg with water). Useful but not fabulousness. Your commentary comments hit all my trouble keywords – strange marks, darker colour overpowering lights, too much pressure, starting off the page, translucence! Going to play now keeping my “Aha facts” firmly pressed against the front of my brain. You just sit here in my iPad, Ingrid, next to me and cheer me on! *clicket*

  2. Ingrid, this is amazing! The blending is out of this world incredible…so smooth and perfect! It’s the perfect backdrop for words, words, words!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge!
    Susan Raihala recently posted…OLS14: Words, Words, WordsMy Profile

  3. This is a great ‘words’ card. The arrangement of different fonts looks great and the blending is smooth and superb.

  4. Congratulations on being Showcased at LIM, Ingrid! What a great post, too!! Hugs, Darnell

  5. Virginia Lu says:

    Gorgeous ink blending, Ingrid! Love the video! Well done! So glad that you join the fun over Virginia’s View “All Things Embossed” Challenge!

  6. Stunning use of distress inks – the deep rich colour is amazing! So glad you joined us at OLS!

  7. Anne Ray says:

    Sorry for my late visit, what a fab card for our happy challenge! Gorgeous depth of colour in that inking
    Thanks so much for joining us
    Less is More

  8. Wow….your card is so beautiful, Ingrid. Fab blending en lovely colors. Like it :o)

  9. Such a clever take on the sketch! Your ink distressed background is gorgeous!

  10. Beautiful cards and lovely blending! Thanks for joining us at CTS!

  11. What a fabulous mix of colours, beautifully applied!
    Great card!
    Thanks so much for joining us.
    “Less is More”
    Chrissie recently posted…Colour Me OrangeMy Profile

  12. Superb card and a brilliant informative video … I’m inspired now!
    Thanks so much for sharing and taking part.
    Sarah xx
    Less is More
    Sarah recently posted…Still here … with a couple of cardsMy Profile

  13. FAB make – I LOVE how the text makes the blue panel look more like the sea with waves!!


  14. Jennifer Wittke says:

    Your card is so beautiful! Thanks for making the tutorial, showing how to blend distress inks! I didn’t realize how they worked exactly–you make the technique so easy to understand and execute! Thanks!

  15. Oh, your blending is fabulous! Great take on the sketch!
    Leigh Penner recently posted…Pretty Pink Posh New Release Blog HopMy Profile

  16. Hey Ingrid!! Your card is beautiful. I love the distress blues you blended together. They give the words such added interest. Nicely done.

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