Steampunkery Airship – a review of Inkssentials Speciality Stamping Paper

This card was my first experiment with the Ranger Inkssentials Speciality Stamping paper.  My first thought was that it seems quite similar to the Clarity card, though it is more matte.  It has a satin sheen and is highly compressed and polished so has almost no absorbency.  It’s not my favourite type of stock to work on, but I wanted to try out the Distress Markers on it.

I stamped the airship with Ranger Archival black and painted the sky with Tumbled Glass Distress Stain.  I put the stain on an acrylic block and added water.  The card is very unabsorbent, but it does grab ink so it was quite challenging to get the colour evenly spread around, though it doesn’t really matter too much if the sky is a bit patchy.  I faded the blue out as I worked it down the card.

I experimented with the markers and found that if you draw a line onto the card, then try to spread out the colour with water it will leech a little colour, but leave a hard edge as the dye really is held fast by this card.  I coloured the airship by scribbling the markers onto the acrylic block using them to watercolour the image.  The pink on the balloon is Aged Mahogany – it comes out much paler doing it this way.

Once the airship was coloured, I decided to be brave and drew in the  hills at the bottom with Crushed Olive and Peeled Paint markers.  I saturated each hill with the marker then went over with a wet paintbrush.  That worked quite well as there was more ink on the card to move around.  It’s still very patchy, but I knew I’d be stamping over it.  For the sea I used a copic marker to get a brighter blue.

I stamped various trees and grasses from the Teeny Weeny Meadow stamp set using a mix of Adirondack dye inks and finished off with a tree using black archival ink.  The tree sits on a grassy mound, so I inked up just the grass and turned the stamp upside down and stamped a couple of times to extend the hill that the tree is sitting on.

I then sponged some Walnut Stain Distress ink around the stamped panel and even that behaved differently to what I’d find on ‘normal’ card.  Again, the speciality card grabs the ink , so where I would normally be able to rub and blend the ink, I found it made a quite messy edge – not a problem for this style of card, but difficult to get a smooth blend.

The stamped panel sits on a piece of kraft resist card which I coloured with Distress inks.  I added some photo turns and a piece of twill to finish it off.

So, my initial findings on the speciality stamping card:

  • grabs hold of ink immediately
  • stamps very clearly with dye inks – particularly crisp with archival ink
  • dries back slightly paler than shows when wet
  • difficult to create an even tone with watercolour
  • cockles slightly when saturated, but dries back flat
  • difficult to dry blend inks
  • once absorbed, dye ink cannot be ‘lifted’ with water, but will bleed a little

I had a very quick go with a Kaleidacolor pad and the brayer and it blended very nicely.

Once dry, I put a stencil over it and spritzed through a home made distress re-inker mist and it gave a great result.  The wet ink started to bleed the background (Kaleidacolor ink is not waterproof so will bleed when wet) and lightened the stencilled areas.  That then gave me the idea to try water, and I loved the results of misting with water and blotting off.  It dried back completely smooth so it looks like a resist technique or faux batik.  So a couple more things to add to the list:

  • brayers nicely, but not quite as smooth as glossy card (may do with more practice)
  • water will blot colour off a brayered background
  • spray inks over a mask or stencil give a crisp result if not too wet

Overall, I still prefer working on uncoated card when colouring an image, but I did like the brayered background and want to play a bit more with that and water.   There’s something about this type of card that I find a little bit teeth-curling and squeaky, but that’s just my personal taste.  It does give a fantastically crisp stamped image at the end of the day.

If you’ve tried it yourself, I’d love to know what you think of it.


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10 thoughts on “Steampunkery Airship – a review of Inkssentials Speciality Stamping Paper

  1. Brilliantly useful review & I know exactly what you mean by the teeth on edge squeaky blackboard reaction. I must admit I was very suspicious of this card when I first saw it advertised & your findings have gone some way to giving me more confidence in my gut reactions to cardstock!!
    Paula (PEP)

  2. I thought this card was a masterpiece of careful, thoughtful skill, and I give a huge round of applause for a magnificent performance.

  3. I found it very ‘different’ to work with. I liked the finished result with distress markers but found there was an almost chalky finish to the colour, as if the coating had blended with the markers somehow. It’s certainly good for stamping a clear crisp image and I found it works beautifully with a detailed stamp and Memento dye inks. The memento inks also brayer beautifully on this card, they are my favourite inks for brayering.
    Your card is beautiful Glenda, that stamp is a real stunner and I love the landscape you’ve created too
    Claire xx

  4. Love your finished card and all the techniques you’ve used – although it does sound as
    though you need a bit of patience to achieve this look.



  5. This is a great tutorial, and very informative. Thanks for all the detailed instructions!

    Your card is fantastic! I love the colors, and the way you’ve put the steamship in the “air” above the ground. It’s very interesting, and keeps the eye on itself!

    Have a great day, and hopefully talk to you later today. Hugs, Clare xx

  6. Love the card. I’m in two minds about the card as I have stacks of different types of card that work really well for various techniques so this review has been helpful.
    I do love these new stamps.


  7. Love this card Glenda. Thanks for your views on the card- it heps. I too have lots of card and am experimenting – sometimes with success and sometimes not. I like the Clarity Card for brayering and stamping and resist techniques,

  8. Hi Glenda,

    Great and clear tutorial about the ISSP , have it in my stash and did not tried it yet, so must give it also a try! You’ve made a steampunk beautie here and also a lovely combo with the eastern grasses and the ML papers! warm greet Miranda

  9. Thanks for the review Glenda. Your comments are really helpful and I haven’t yet tried this so will bear it all in mind when I finally get some of the card.
    Love card is gorgeous and love that balloon stamp.
    Fliss x

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