Tuesday Tutorial: Applying and Blending Distress Ink

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Today I wanted to share with you the technique I use for applying and blending Distress Inks onto my stamping projects.  I received an email from a blog reader who said that her inking didn’t turn out the way mine did.  I thought that perhaps it would be easier to demonstrate in a video how I apply ink.  Hopefully it will be helpful to anyone with questions about applying different colors of ink into a blended background.  After the video I am following up with photos of additional steps to show how I created the tree branches tag above.

I was trying out a new microphone and the sound is a little soft so you may want to turn up the volume when you watch.  I am a video novice so don’t be too hard on me!

And now for the rest of the tag…

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

After inking the tag as shown in the video, mist the center of the tag generously with Biscotti Perfect Pearls Mist.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Use a dry cloth to absorb the excess mist.  (I use cloth diapers for art towels.  They are super absorbent and wash up nicely.)

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Dry the tag with a heat tool.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Scribble Walnut Stain Distress Stain onto a script stamp.  This script stamp is from a Christmas set.  You can’t read the script so even though it is from a Christmas themed set, it is a great stamp to use all year long.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Randomly stamp the script onto the tag.  (On this tag, I inked the stamp only once.  I stamped lightly and quickly  several times for a very broken image.)  Make sure to not stamp too much text in the lower area where the sentiment will be.  Text on text will be very busy and make the sentiment hard to read.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Dry the Distress Stain.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Ink the flock of birds stamp with Coffee Archival Ink.  Stamp the bird image in the upper part of the tag.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Ink the tree branch stamp with Jet Black Archival Ink.  Stamp the image along the left side of the tag toward the middle.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Not shown: Lightly ink the edges of the tag directly with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  Sprinkle clear embossing powder on the wet ink.  Heat the powder to melt it.

Stamp a sentiment in the lower part of the tag below the tree using Jet Black Archival Ink.  If the sentiment is long, try using a t-square or corner ruler to keep the lines of stamping straight.  You can accent select words and break up the visual of a large block of text by stamping some words on scraps of manila cardstock.  After stamping the word, cut it out in a block shape.  Ink the edge of the block and adhere it in stamped sentiment.  This technique is a great way to disguise any mistakes in spelling of bad stamping. (I stamped the q sideways and had to use this technique to hide that!)

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

Many times when I create a tag, I make the tag first and then find a sentiment that works with it.  This time, I was searching for quotes that described my mood before creating the tag.  With the recent tragic events in Connecticut I had such a heavy heart and wanted to create something that spoke of comfort and strength in trying times.  When I came across the quote I used on this tag, I could immediately picture the scene.  When I went to my stamps and saw that I had this amazing tree branch image… well, it just felt like the art was meant to be.  I love when art happens that way.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

I love that there is a subtle sheen on the tag from the Perfect Pearls Mist.  It gives such a soft sparkle, just like the sun should in this scene.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

I have always loved this flock of birds stamp.  Along with the tree, it was simply the perfect stamp for what I wanted to create.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

The bold, dark edge of Walnut Stain Distress Ink with clear embossing powder is a perfect way to frame this image.  It is bold and dramatic, just like the scene.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

I ran out of space for the name of the author below the quote.  I like to always include the author’s name so I was a little miffed at myself that I hadn’t started my stamping slightly higher and had let myself run out of space.  I ended up adding it to the side of the tag above the tree.  It is a happy accident because I really like it on the side like there.  It lets the quote stand alone and be the last thought.

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink

And finally, the quote:

In times of quietness, our hearts should be like a tree, lifting their branches to heaven to draw down strength which they need to face the storms that will surely come in life.  -Salesians of Don Bosco

It is as if that tree stamp and that quote were made to create art together.  I am so happy that they both found their way to my art on a day when my heart was heavy.  There is something in the imagery of a tall and strong tree reaching for the heavens that fills me with comfort.

tammy tutterow

stitched supplies1

Ranger Manila Tag #10 (sss|ie)
Ranger Manila Cardstock 8.5×11 (sss|ie)
Tim Holtz CMS014 Regal Findings (sss|ie)
Tim Holtz CMS026 Anthology (sss|ie)
Tim Holtz CMS053 Letters to Santa (sss|ie)
Hero Arts: Printers Type LC (sss|ie)
Scattered Straw Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Mustard Seed Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Dried Marigold Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Wild Honey Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Rusty Hinge Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Tumbled Glass Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Broken China Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Faded Jeans Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Bundled Sage Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Peeled Paint Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Pine Needles Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Vintage Photo Distress Ink (sss|ie)
Walnut Stain Distress Ink (ie|ie)
Walnut Stain Distress Stain (sss|ie)
Ranger Jet Black Archival (sss|ie)
Ranger Coffee Archival (sss|ie)
Ranger Clear Embossing Powder (sss|ie)
Perfect Pearls Mist: Biscotti (sss|ie)
Ranger Mister (sss|ie)
Tim Holtz Grid Blocks (sss|ie)
Ranger Blending Tool (sss|ie)
Ranger Craft Sheet (sss|ie)
Ranger Heat Tool (sss|ie)
Tim Holtz Tonic Scissors (sss|ie)

Tammy Tutterow | How to Apply Distress Ink
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  1. anni says

    U have inspired me to clear a space on my craft desk and start creating …so love playing with distress inks snd stains.

  2. acorncrafts says

    Thanks for all the effort you have gone to here with the video and the photo step outs. Lovely tag.

  3. WilmaB says

    Wow, thank you for sharing and taking time for a video. Love your egdes with embossing powder. Great effect.

  4. paula says

    perfect sentiment for this week…as my heart is so heavy too. I do not own either of these stamp sets so it was nice to see it use. That always makes me want to buy it! thanks so much tammy…p

  5. SusanK says

    Gorgeous tag and the sentiment is so fitting. I enjoyed learning how the thought process behind it all..thank you!

  6. Nancy Peralta says

    What a beautiful tag and sentiment. I love your tag. Thank you Tammy for making this video and sharing your style. Your blending style helped me. I went back and re blended the holly on canvas and it came out really nice this time. I like your idea of having a separate blending tool for each stain. I like the effects of embossing the edges. Your instructions are always perfect and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing. Nancy P.

  7. Sue Borrhello says

    What a beautiful tag. Everything goes together so beautifully. The quote is inspirational and is conveyed in the stamps. Thanks for sharing

  8. says

    The tag is beautiful, and the video is perfect. You have no reason to think otherwise. You did a wonderful job, as always, both with the tutorial and the creation itself! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and creativity!

  9. Sue H says

    The video tutorial was excellent… thank you. I hope to improve my inking and blending technique now. Sue

  10. says

    Gorgeous!! I’m so glad you did this tutorial and explained how you only use half of the sponge to apply the ink. These inks make amazing background when splashed with water. Love it!

  11. Patsy / Anchorage, Alaska says

    Amazing, amazing, I LOVE your work. Thank you for sharing, and showing how you create your creations.

  12. Faresa says

    Wow, is all I can say! Great explanation of techniques and a wonderful heartfelt project! I am very inspired. Thank you!

  13. says

    ThanksTammy not just for the clear understanding of your blending technique, but also for that quote that resonates for so many of us right now!

  14. Malena says

    You are right, the tree stamp and the sentiment go together, it was very touching to me, just a beautiful tag. Wish that sentiment was already a stamp.

  15. Julie Martindale says

    Thank you for sharing! I love your videos! & thanks for telling us about the meaning in this tag. I will always look at trees a little differently from now on. Especially when my heart is heavy! God bless all those who are hurting!!!

  16. Nena says

    I just love your work! Thank you for the awesome tutorial! I feel like I can do this now! Where do you find the giant tags? Or do you make them yourself?

  17. Gloria says

    Tammy – your tage is beautiful, and your choice of sentiment is so appropriate. I love this tag.

  18. Jean says

    Thanks! There were a lot of good tips in that little tutorial! I have a question about the applicator, do you think that the handle really makes a difference? I have several. one for each color family, but I am thinking about creating wooden blocks without handles to attach the foam. It would be easier to store them without the handles and then I could have one for each inkpad. I do think the colors muddy a little bit when switching from one shade to another, as I sometimes do now. What do you think?

  19. says

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful quote and your thoughtful post. Your tag is beautiful and illustrates the quote well. I like the author’s name along the side. I never gave much thought as to how I hold my blending tool, thanks for the great tips also.

  20. Lynnette says

    I loved your video and your instructions were so easy to follow. Love the colors you used for the tag and the quote was so perfect as others have said.

  21. Renee M. says

    Such a lovely, meaningful tag! Thanks for the video too. Very cool to see how all the layering is done and I like the tip about embossing powder on the edges. Also got a chuckle about you getting miffed at yourself. But the mistakes can usually be creatively turned around into something out of the box :)

  22. Jacquelene L. says

    Thankyou for sharing this beautiful, uplifting tag. I learned a lot from watching the video, it was very helpful, I am a visual learner. You are an excellent teacher. The quote uplifted my heart too. Have you heard about the 26 random acts of kindness in memory of all the people killed, to honour them. I think all of us should participate in this.
    Jacquelene L.

  23. says

    Tammy, it’s truly a wonderful combination of stamped images and sentiment (not to mention your gorgeous color blending). Thanks for sharing the video as well as the process pics.

  24. Carrie says

    This is one on my all time favourite tags. Love the tree and birds, two of my most liked images. The colours are stunning!

  25. Jan says

    I just found your site from Ranger. Your work is beautiful! Love the colors and designs. I am new to art journal and distressed ink.
    What is a good source for quotes?

    • says

      I usually just google key words of what I want to convey. I think for this tag I searched for “strength” and “heart” because those two words were on my mind. I tend to end up a lot at Good Reads, Think Exist, and Brainy Quotes a lot.

  26. says

    I love the tag. Thank you for being so generous with sharing your techniques. I have never tried layering color families for extra dimension nor the clear embossing powder on the edges. So I learned a few tricks and I’ll be trying those soon. Thanks again.

  27. Pam says

    Thanks for the clear tutorial. I love working on tags and think your idea of using the clear embossing powder on the edge is genius. What a great look it gives!

  28. says

    Tammy inking genius, love your tutorials, keep them coming. Appreciate all your love of the craft and your generous heart to share with all of us.
    connie fossenier paxman

  29. says

    Love, love, LOVE this tag! Looks so involved to make but then your tutorial shows how really easy it is! Love your work and your site. I look fwd to more beautiful scrapcrafting items!!

  30. says

    this is a beautiful tag ……. I thoroughly enjoyed making it into a card ….. your tags and tutorials are so good , colorful , creative and class ……..