Video: Reactive Distress Ink + Giveaway

Hello! Today’s technique is a unique one that is out of my comfort zone. But I think that is what makes it fun! It takes advantage of the reactive properties of Distress Ink for a messy-but-artsy-and-fun watercolor look.

Reactive Distress Ink Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Affiliate links used. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]

I will admit – I love how cool this technique is, but I usually shy away from it since it is so out-of-my-comfort-zone! However, today I decided to just go for it and stick with it until I had completed cards. And I am glad I did.

Reactive Distress Ink Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

Distress Ink reacts when it comes in contact with water. By spritzing a stamped image with a tiny bit of water, the ink dances and moves out like fireworks. The effect is really fun! (And MUCH more intense with bold colors. I went not-so-bold.)

By the way – I find I get best results when I spritz the image very soon after it is stamped.

Reactive Distress Ink Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

These My Favorite Things Sketched Blooms Stamps are perfect for this technique. So much fun! I also like the My Favorite Things Friends Like Us greeting. Such a great sentiment.

Here’s the matching envelope…


Oh – and I cut the background with a large pierced-edge die from the My Favorite Things Blueprints 21 Dies set.

I encourage you to try something that it out of your comfort zone. It can be a lot of fun!


Here are some other videos you might find helpful:


The My Favorite Things Sketched Blooms Stamps I used in this video are part of the newest release from My Favorite Things. MFT keeps impressing me more and more each month – and I am not sure how that is possible! Such great designs. Incredible designs. You can see all of new products HERE.


How would you like to get your hands on a stamp set from this newest My Favorite Things release? One lucky winner will! For your chance, leave a comment below by 11:59pmEST on 1/10/16 telling me if you, too, struggle with messy-but-artsy-and-fun techniques. (The winner’s name will be randomly selected, emailed and posted on my “Winners page” after the giveaway closes. International folks are eligible, too!)


Interested in the products I used? To make them easy for you to find, I have listed them below. (Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. All products were personally purchased except those from MFT and the Distress Inks.) Click on the letters below each picture to go to a favorite store: Simon Says Stamp (SSS), Ellen Hutson (EH), Amazon (AZ), My Favorite Things (MFT), etc.

Leave a Comment

748 thoughts on “Video: Reactive Distress Ink + Giveaway”

  1. I love the messy look, but find it hard to emulate! Even watercolouring is hard as its so adhoc! But I shall presevere and master this style!

  2. Like you I struggle with the messy art look. When I have tried the technique it looks like a child made the card. lol

  3. I like things just so and messy doesn’t always go that way. So yes I have issues with messy and artsy techniques lol.

  4. I do struggle when I begin a messy technique , but I always enjoy the playfulness of the process and I’m usually surprised by the outcome.

  5. I love that artsy look and this is a great way to achieve it. Thanks for sharing. Also, I think I must have those stamps and dies…

  6. I like messy but I don’t do it often because I don’t have the space. But I like distress ink b/c you can confine it to a craft sheet and use every bit of precious ink up, so little waste and cleanup. Thanks for the tut.

  7. Your videos are so great. They move along quickly and when you goof, you acknowledge the goof and show the repair. The little extra tip about the paper sander was so helpful.

  8. Hello!!!!
    I think sometimes messy things happens even it’s not in purpose, but if the results are good I don’t mind if the proyect or the place I work or the tools are a little bit messy, this kind of things happens 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. I loved that technique! I am always looking for new ways to use my wonderful Distress Inks, and this is one of the coolest! I loved those little flowers and the wonderful saying, too!

  10. I love to see other people’s “messy” artsy creations, but I always feels like when I try it my creations are just messy and not every artsy!!!

  11. AI love artsy things. Maybe that’s why I take a painting class. I’m not always successful at achieving what I want but I sure love to try.

  12. Liking the artsy/messy looks, but not yet getting results I like very often. Thanks for all your techniques! Very fun to try them all out.

  13. Hi,

    I am new to card making and water colors, your video helped me out alot. I was using way to much water and my colors ran. Thanks for the advice on how to clean mistakes up and lift off color.

  14. I am just getting into stamping and card making and really enjoy trying all the new techniques, although I like things to look just right so messy can sometimes be hard for me!

  15. i definitely struggle with messy but fun techniques that is until I understand how freeing it is too–you don’t have to be perfect!

  16. I have recently gotten into water coloring. I didn’t really care for it at first because my results weren’t what I wanted. The colors didn’t move how I wanted them to. However, now I just go with it and don’t worry about how it looks initially. Since then I have been happy with my cards. If I were able to post a picture here I would. Thanks for your fun and informative videos showing fantastic techniques. You’re awesome!!

  17. Artsy/messy is something I’m working on. Its a look that I like… sometimes and have trouble with getting it to look the way I like, but I’m working on letting myslef play more and in turn getting a better handle on the look that I’m after.

  18. I have never tried this and you made it so easy. I have been watching every video and you have taught me so much. TY TY I would like to winner this stamp sets, I have been looking for this type of overlaid flowers but did exactly know when to look… Your Christmas Cards were beautiful… God Bless

  19. I am just starting to create cards so I’ve still got to experiment with my own style but I can tell you that anything messy has always made me uncomfortable. I’ve watched the video and I think that it such a beautiful mess. Very inspiring.

  20. Nope, I do not shy away from messy projects and ideas. My craft room is already soooo messy, that I figure a little more cannot hurt anything.

  21. I definitely struggle with the artsy look! I love it when I see it done by others but struggle with doing it myself since I always think it looks messy!

  22. I just received this stamp set today and now I can play. Messy cards is not my style but I wan’t to try this. Cute, cute card!

  23. Loving these cards so much and that pop of colour from the bases just make the motif even more eyecatching! So well done, and I am even mooooore tempted to order from MFT again. 😉
    I don’t shy away from messy, but I shy away from simple and artsy, because I feel as if I cannot pull it off. However, with this video in my YouTube-playlist, I am now convinced. I can do it!
    Thanks for the inspiration! 😀

  24. I prefer the clean look and struggle with the artsy/messy look. I really enjoyed your technique and will try it for sure 🙂

  25. I don’t struggle with messy techniques much. I like to play with colors and shapes, so I often end up with a messy look. I guess I mostly struggle with keeping things clean!

  26. Jennifer, that is a really great look. I teach a card making class and I’ll have to try that with my girls. You are such an inspiration!

  27. Yes, I struggle with messy artsy. Initially I had no interest in watercoloring but watching all your videos has inspired me to try it. I got some Distress inks and watercoloring paper for Christmas for that purpose. I hope u have a chance to try it soon!

  28. I love the messy- artsy look of coloring cards
    ….and the techniques but can get very overwhelming to be organized and have enough counter space to let the papers dry. Then the tables and counters are a MESS!!! But I want to try again. Thanjs for sharing.

  29. WOW – they look FABULOUS and FUN to create!!!
    GREAT video … I confess that I long to try this, LOVE the artsy look but I know it will be a challenge to let go of the firm grip I have on my ruler to do it, but I will do my best 🙂

  30. Artsy and messy I do try now and then…it’s so easy for good project to get messy but try to imitate or create messy is really hard…it’s a real mistake sometimes I do get it but most times looks like a child’s painting..sometimes it’s so hard to let go as we always want everything perfect!

  31. Thanks for another great video tutorial Jennifer.
    I tried this technique several times today, with varying success. I used white Bristol cardstock, Tim Holtz watercolour paper, and Langton not pressed (rough) watercolour paper. The colours bled as expected on the Tim Holtz paper, much less so on the Bristol card, and hardly at all on the Langton watercolour paper – even after adding much more water. I’m really pleased with the effect on Tim Holtz paper but disappointed that I haven’t been able to get the distress inks to react on other surfaces. I have loads of watercolour paper left over from painting so it’s frustrating that I need to buy more specially!
    I also discovered today that Micropore tape is no use for masking with this technique – the inks bled right through it. Painter’s tape works but I find it tricky to remove without tearing the paper.

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