The one question I see most often regarding the Silhouette Mint is whether or not other brands of ink will work with the stamps you make. It’s a good question…especially if you’re a stamper who has tons of reinkers laying around and gathering dust like I do. So, I set out to experiment with several different types of ink that are commonly used by stampers, many of which are readily available in your local craft stores.
Note: The Mint works by printing a “3D relief” of your design onto stamp sheets, but the image does not have the kind of raised edge that you find with typical rubber or photopolymer stamps. Therefore, you can’t really use an ink pad with a Mint stamp, but instead you can apply different inks via a reinker.
I’m not going to go into too many details about the Mint Studio software (another post, another time), but I thought I would provide a few screenshots of my process here in case you are completely new to this little machine. I recommend designing your stamp in Silhouette Studio first…the tools in Mint Studio are very basic but can work well if you are creating a text-only stamp. My monogram was created in Silhouette Studio using this design, and opened in Mint Studio by clicking on the folder icon (red arrow).
I used 30mm x 30mm sheets for my stamps because I thought this design would make a nice accent for the flap of envelopes. It also incorporates a lot of intricate detail in a tiny stamp…this way I could really push these inks to their limits. Select the appropriate size for your stamp (red arrow) and then resize your design to fit.
Click on the leaf icon in the upper right corner of the software to send your design to the Mint. The software will automatically flip the design over to print in the correct orientation.
Click on “Start Mint” and then insert your sheet gently into the back of the machine. It will automatically feed and print.
I made a separate stamp for each ink I wanted to test because I feared that one ink might prime the stamp for the next and skew the results. Yes, the stamp sheets can be a little expensive…but I had purchased several during the Black Friday sale last year to do this testing, so it wasn’t so bad.
I compared these three inks to the Silhouette black ink first – Memento Luxe Tuxedo Black (fast-drying pigment ink), Memento Tuxedo Black (dye ink), and Versamark (watermark ink). Since the Silhouette Mint ink is an oil-based pigment ink, I expected my pigment inks to give me the best result. Note that the pigment ink and Versamark did not absorb into the printed design as well as the dye ink and Mint ink though. Inks were left to absorb into the stamp material for about an hour (to give the pigment ink a better shot at success).
I was most encouraged by the results with my dye ink (results below!), so I decided to make two more stamps and try a colored dye ink (Stampin’ Up Bermuda Bay…one of my favorite colors) as well as a black My Favorite Things hybrid ink that I had on hand (just in case the unique properties of the hybrid ink yielded better results). Both inks seemed to absorb into the printed designs well.
I stamped each ink out ten times (after the initial “stamping off to clean” period) and chose a representative sample of each to punch out and display here. These samples were applied to smooth Neenah Solar White cardstock…your stamping surface will affect your the crispness of your image, and I felt this cardstock would yield the best possible results for all inks.
- Silhouette Mint ink gave the clearest and most consistent results. This makes sense since it was meant for this purpose!
- The dye inks performed very well. Although splotchy at times, if you already have a few dye-based reinkers laying around in colors you really like, I don’t see the harm in trying them! I, for one, really like knowing that I can customize a stamp even further with a specific color already in my collection. However, it’s certainly possible that you will need to re-ink the stamp more often with these than the Silhouette ink.
- Pigment and hybrid inks really don’t seem ideal for this use. The results were faint and splotchy.
- Versamark ink adds a whole new layer of fun! The sample above was stamped in Versamark, sprinkled with gold embossing powder, and heat-set to yield a beautiful raised metallic finish. You have to be careful when using Versamark with your Mint stamps though, because this sticky ink can remain around the edges of your design even after stamping off to clean. Apply light pressure and get rid of any extra specks of embossing powder with a tiny paintbrush before heat-setting.
Even though I will stick with my Silhouette inks for most of my Mint stamps in the future because of the crispness of the impression and longevity, I was happy to learn that dye inks and Versamark will work as well. I hope that I’ve convinced you that you don’t have much to lose by trying out a different ink for that special project that is begging for your favorite color or some classy gold (or any color) embossing. I was thrilled to find a way to spruce up plain white envelopes with a gold-embossed monogram.
Once I’ve tried a few more inks in my collection, I’ll be back to share more results. Thanks for stopping by today and I would love to hear your comments!