Easy Distress Inking

Hello and welcome. Today’s video shares how to do easy inked backgrounds. This technique is simple to do and the only tools required are ones we all have!

Inked Backgrounds Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links used at no cost to you. To watch the video in HD on YouTube, click HERE.]

Today’s technique is fun, fast, and functional! I hope you will give it a try. I used the new Tim Holtz and Simon Says Stamp exclusive stamp + stencil set, but you could also check out all the new holiday stamps from Tim HERE. It is a great release!

After white heat embossing a few images from the new Tim Holtz and Simon Says Stamp stamp set on watercolor paper, it is time to get inky!

Inked Backgrounds Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

Because I wanted a bit of shine to my backgrounds, I started by making a “pearlized water” mix with water and Perfect Pearls in a mist bottle. You could use plain water if you want.

For each card I chose three or so colors of Distress Inks (see thumbnails below) and applied them to my craft sheet. After a few mists of my spray, I used my fingers to pick up the color and apply it to the paper. (The embossing will resist the ink.) I know many people don’t like getting inky, but I promise it’s fun! It’s like finger painting.

Inked Backgrounds Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

The great thing about using your fingers is you have control of where the color goes. I put a lot of color down – many layers. The more color you add, the more intense your piece will be. Oh, and don’t waste the ink left on your craft sheet! You can put it to good use by swiping another embossed piece through it to create another card.

Inked Backgrounds Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

To get a finished look to the inked backgrounds, I applied one of the colors of Distress ink to the edges using an Ink Blending Tool. I also added a faux stitched border along the card’s edges using a die from My Favorite Things. I like that it doesn’t cut but rather pierces the paper.

Inked Backgrounds Video by Jennifer McGuire Ink

You can do this technique with other dye inks, but Distress Inks work the best because they react so well with water.

Again, the stamp set I used today is an exclusive and there are limited supplies! But also be sure to check out all the new holiday stamps from Tim HERE.


Interested in the products I used? To make them easy for you to find, I have listed them below. (Compensated Affiliate links used at no cost to you. Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. All products were personally purchased except those with an asterisk. As always, this post was NOT sponsored.)

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70 thoughts on “Easy Distress Inking”

  1. Who doesn’t love inky fingers!?! right?? 🙂 the distress inks look so perfect for this finger watercolor technique! who knew..

  2. Distress inks are my favourite tool and I simply love the messy unique look of theirs. Brilliant video as always. Thanks you for sharing.

  3. Looks like fun and the results are beautiful! does your craft sheet handle this water being sprayed over? I usually keep sheet of typing paper behind when I stamp but I think it won’t work good with water

  4. What wonderful cards and they look so simple to make! I am definitely going to try this technique very soon! Thank you once again for all the inspiration and education you provide!

  5. Beautiful cards and looks like a ton of fun to do! This could be done with children and simpler images for them to send to grandparents.

  6. These cards are stunning. You really break the technique down so that we know that we can do to too. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I’ve been following your blog for many years and despite the fact that my style isn’t always as clean and simple as yours, I just can’t stop watching. I think you are an *amazing* teacher. Your videos are so clear, instruction is detailed, many options given, the list goes on and on. After a long break from card making, I’m jumping back in and so excited about it. You are *awesome* at your job! Since you work for yourself, I thought it might be nice to hear that from time to time. I love your new house, and I’m sure you will make it a wonderful home for your family. Just remember to breathe and rest sometimes! LOL. Sending lots of good wishes and appreciation to you. ~ ellen.

  8. What lovely cards and such a great technique that I will be trying. I just love the look. I am also going to try the perfect pearls mix. I just love your videos. You teach me how to do things I never tried before.

  9. Great video and great technique…….I can see this with a flowery stamped images……
    thank you Jennifer for sharing your ideas…

  10. WOW!! These are so rich and elegant looking! Will be watching the video later tonight when I am snuggled in for the night!! TFS!

  11. What a great technique Jennifer, WHO on this planet doesn’t have OR want TH Distress inks! They are THE best!
    Love your cards!

  12. Love how simple and lovely this technique is! Thanks for another great video, Jennifer. Awesome new stamps from Tim, as well – I agree some of his best!

  13. Love that retro tree with rays of light. I saw your cards on Tim’s video highlighting this release and headed over to see your video.
    as someone who just moved this summer (after 18 years in the same house with a jam-packed craft room), I’m impressed with how quickly you’re set up to make videos. My craft room was the last to be unpacked since we also had guests shortly after we moved! I repurposed shelving and cabinets for my new craft room, and my husband built shelves for the closet. I also donated lots of supplies I no longer use to the Montessori school. There was an adjustment period, but I really like my new space.

  14. Beautiful cards and what a fun technique. You always deliver such great tips and techniques in your videos. I love to watch them.

  15. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I like inky fingers or not, I usually have them. So I think using this technique wouldn’t be a problem. I like the control you seemed to get with the Distress Inks ( my favorite product from Tim & Co. ) and loved the results on these beautiful cards. I have a poinsettia stamp of Tim’s that would make a beautiful card using this technique. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Hi Jennifer-
    I love how you take something so incredibly amazing and lush in color, and break it down to such simple steps! I’ve been finger painting since I was two-years-old! I know I can do this, but I never would have thought of doing it! I think my husband may even join in with getting started on next year’so cards!

    Traci Starkweather
    [email protected]

  17. I love your beautiful cards, Jennifer and who cares about inky fingers if you can come out with these results!

  18. Your cards all look fantastic! I just ordered this stamp set and I will defiantly be giving your technique a try. Thank you for the great tutorial as well, I think this technique really is awesome and I love the color combinations that you used.

  19. Jennifer – thank you so much for your blog today. I tried the technique using distress inks wild honey, mustard seed, spiced marmalade and fired red – it turned out fantastic. I was reminded of when I was taking a water color class at my local art center and the instructor was telling us different things we could use to enhance our paint, such as cotton, salt, plastic wrap, craft knives, etc. I said I found a new one – my finger tips – and she (literally) scoffed at me. I feel much better now!! Please keep sharing with us.

  20. Oh my! Jennifer these cards are gorgeous, the technique you are sharing looks so much fun with astonishing results. Thank you for the inspiration ????????

  21. I opened a Simon stamp email before I opened this one and the tree you did in red was in it. I was busy at the time. When I went back to my emails I saw your posting. I should have known that you made it. I Always love Everything you make, you are such an inspiration to all of us who follow your blog.
    I’m signed up for the wild card class. I can’t wait.
    Bless you for all of your hard work. I get absolutely giddy when I see another email alert that you have a new blog post, I’m sure we all do.

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