With the huge popularity of rubber stamping, there are a number of types of pigment and dye inks available today. They're available in a rainbow of colors. Some are completely opaque, others are transparent, and still others have a metallic or iridescent sheen.
Different brands and types of inks have different properties, and it is helpful to know as much as possible about these characteristics when using them with clay. You'll probably want to research them before buying them, to be certain that a particular brand will work for your intended project. Some will need to be heat set or sealed, while others do not. Stamp pads are a must for rubber stamping, but with other techniques, it is best if you purchase re-inker bottles. Alcohol inks (such as the Piñata
series from Jacquard and the Adirondack series from Ranger) are especially popular with polymer clay artists for their vivid, transparent colors and the numerous effects they can achieve. For opaque, metallic or iridescent colors, try products such as Posh Impressions' Rainbow Ink and the Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Acrylics.
Below are just a few ideas for using ink with polymer clay:
- Stamp images onto cured or uncured polymer clay with rubber stamps.
- Hand-paint inks onto polymer clay.
- Mix inks into liquid clay to tint it.
- Mix inks into translucent or pale colored clay to tint it.
- Tint leaf or foil with inks when making mokume gane.
- Paint ink onto sheets of polymer clay for mokume gane.
- Tint shaving foam with ink and apply to beads before curing to make interesting colored patterns.
- Drop ink on shaving-foam-covered clay for marbling techniques.