Sunday, March 11, 2018

Distress Oxides: Overview

I have been playing with Ranger/Tim Holtz's Distress Oxide inks quite a bit lately. My friend Pam Nelson and I were laughing at ourselves recently, because when these inks first came out, our first reaction was "oh, I'm not going to need these...don't really like them." These actually turned out to be one of the inks that I love the most, and trust me when I say I have a lot of inks.

Here's a card that I previously made and has been previously posted, using Distress Oxides. I really love this card, and it illustrates something that I think that the Oxides do best: backgrounds. Don't get me wrong! These inks stamp beautifully, and due to the pigment component in them, you can heat emboss with them - typically using clear embossing powder, or a glitter/iridescent powder such as JudiKins Iridescent Sparkle, which gives a beautiful, sparkly look to your stamping.

The original post for this card is here. It features some stamps that I designed for Magenta. The technique featured here is smooshing to get a blend of lots of colors and lots of movement.

Another technique that works well with Oxides is blending colors on a background with a blending tool. Oxides blend so well because they are a hybrid of pigment and dye inks. The pigment component in the ink stays on top of the paper for some time, so it's easy to continue to move it around when you're blending. Another factor of the pigment is that the inks are somewhat opaque, so that when you are blending, you should go back and forth with your colors so that one doesn't overwhelm or cover up the other.

Here's a card that I made using blending, and then splattered with water and more Distress Oxide ink. This card was also previously posted here. The top of the flower is foil, but the background, including the stamped sentiment is Oxide ink.

I also really like this one, using this same blending technique, and using stamps that I designed for Magenta. The images were stamped on a blended Oxide background using Versamark ink, and embossed with White Diamond embossing power from JudiKins. You can see the original post here, where I show blending with these inks.

I was talking to another friend who pointed out that these ink colors don't look just like the regular Distress inks of the same names. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to do some blends of these inks. I'm not going to show blends in regular Distress, just the Oxides for this post. I hope the colors translate well enough on the screen for you to see them.

I know this is a shock, but I DON'T have all of the colors! There are currently 36 colors out, and I have 31 of them. For blending, I grouped them into color families, and then put the neutrals together.

First are the reds: I love bright colors, and I like all of these.

Oranges and Yellows:

I'm not super happy with my photography on this one. The Spiced Marmalade really blends into the Carved Pumpkin above it, and the Wild Honey below it. In real life, the Spiced Marmalade has more of a rusty tone to it. Carved Pumpkin and especially Wild Honey have more yellow in them. Fossilized Amber turned out looking darker than I usually get when I blend with it. Squeezed Lemonade was a great addition in the latest round of colors released.


Love them all, and my special favorite is Twisted Citron, that looks almost yellow sometimes. I did not get the Forest Moss color, but may still add it to my collection. I'm looking forward to a really green, green like Mowed Lawn.


I absolutely love all of the blues, and wouldn't want to do without any of them.

Pinks and Purples:

I really like all of these colors too, and my favorite is Wilted Violet. I think it's just a luscious purple. I have always thought that Seedless Preserves is a hard color to blend. I don't know what it is about the properties of this color, but it's hard for me to blend in the regular Distress and also the Oxide. I found that with the Oxide Seedless Preserves if I press harder, I get a smoother blend. I have come to recently have an appreciation for this color because it looks to me like a dark pink, and is really pretty on a card.


Since I'm not a big fan of the neutrals, I don't have all of them. I don't really use them for making backgrounds much, and I only occasionally stamp with them. Everyone is different though. I was showing these blends to some friends and one of my friends exclaimed "oh I love these" over the neutrals. There is definitely a place for these in a collection.

Here are all of them together. There will be 2 more releases of colors according to Ranger and Tim Holtz. One should be released in the Spring/Summer and the other in the Fall. Each of them will have 12 more colors, until all 60 colors in the Distress line are available in Oxides. Although Tim has said that due to the special properties of the Oxide inks, there could not be mini pads for the Oxides, he has recently said that the chemists are working on just might be a while. I for one, wouldn't have wanted to wait to see if they are able to come up with the minis.

I'm going to be working on some cards using the Oxide blends in the next few weeks.

I'm also working on some cards using a new technique that Tim Holtz came up with called Glazed Oxide Backgrounds. These have a completely different look to them that I think you're going to like.

And making both kinds is addictive.

I'm going to include links to the Magenta stamps used in the above examples, but if you want to know everything I used in the above cards, you can link to the original posts.

07.969.F Magenta have a Beautiful day!
44.018.K Magenta Zen Dragonfly
07.869.D Magenta Thinking of You
44.024.Q Magenta Zen Bouquet
07.968.H Magenta You are Amazing


  1. Looks like so much fun.....I MUST get back into my craft cave! Thanks!!!

  2. Loved this informative and a beautiful thing to see as well!

  3. I was just wondering what sort of paper do you use? I have previously had issues when using Distress Oxides and my regular card stock so I was curious on what you use. Thanks

    1. It really depends on what I'm planning to do. If I'm just blending the inks I use Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock. (I use Neenah Solar White 110# for my base cards, but the 80# for my front panels). If I'm using water with the inks I will usually use watercolor cardstock. The wet inks will move better on watercolor cardstock, and it will not buckle. My first choice is often Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock. This is mainly because his watercolor cardstock is white, and I prefer that, especially if I'm going to have any white space on the piece. If I'm doing the Glazed Oxide background technique, then I use any glossy cardstock I have, such as Kromecoat, or glossy cardstock from JudiKins or Local King. I hope that helps!


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