Avoid these 6 Mistakes With Distress Oxides: Practical advice to learn from

As with any new creative product, it’s fun try new and different approaches to using a new medium. It can be helpful to know how to avoid some of the mistakes that can ruin supplies, time and result in money being wasted. I’ve learned a lot since working with these new inks when they were released this year from Ranger. I love the oxides almost as much as the distress inks now that I have had time to play with them. Hope the advice helps.

  1. Do not use on yupo paper. While yupo paper, a new synthetic polypropylene paper , works beautifully for watercolor and alcohol inks, it does not play nice with distress oxides. It could be thought of  as a sort of chalkboard with the oxides. Just add water and watch your artwork disappear. Also, using a heat gun on it to speed up the drying will melt the paper, since it is essentially plastic.
  2. Distress oxides layer wonderfully on paper, but don’t mix them on a craft mat. Keep them separated and spritz lightly with water till they bead up. Drag the paper over the colors and wipe up residue, dry your paper and repeat if you want layers. Mixing colors while wet makes a nice mud color. So, if that is the look you are going for. mix away.  I do highly recommend the new spray Distress bottle too. I was using whatever spray bottles I had and always had to take the top off in order to drip water on something , this bottle delivers as promised and doesn’t leak when the trigger lock is on. It is a perfect travel size companion.
  3. Putting regular distress ink over the oxides will not work to darken a color. It may tint a shade darker than the oxide that is coming through but the oxide fusion will keep rising to the top and overpower everything. Layer regular distress ink first, allow it to soak into the paper and then add  drops of colors from the oxides on top as a highlight if you want a more intense color. I noted this when I first started using oxide inks in February Distress Oxide Ink-Part 2
  4. While regular distress ink can handle mixtures of colors okay and the ink pad can be wiped clean with a baby wipe, the oxides tend to merge and get muddied when other colors are mixed especially cool and warm colors. It will ruin the pad. Always use a separate foam applicator for each color, by putting two different colors onto the pad to conserve the number of pads you use it ruins your pad for the next inking. Buy a foam pad for each color, or use makeup sponges, it is worth the expense and they last a really long time. I highly recommend the foam pads though, because they take the scrubbing abuse longer than the sponges. It is a lot cheaper for the foam pads than a new ink pad.
  5. If you use photo paper or glossy cardstock the oxidized part will rub off if wiped or wet down. It will leave the die part of the ink behind when wet or wiped and the oxide look will disappear just not as obvious as the yupo disappearing act. Nice look, but the chalkiness of the oxides won’t be there, sort of defeats the purpose and you might as well have used standard distress ink.IMG_1328[1]
  6. Stamping an image and then applying the oxide ink can make the image disappear. I had this happen numerous times, but re-stamping it over the drawing with stazon or archival ink brings it back. This is also where a stamp platform is priceless in getting the image lined back up before inking and missing it.

If these tips were helpful to you let me know and leave a comment or advice for others to learn from mistakes. As always, I have included some links to the products referred to in this post. Consider it a tip for me to keep this blog running and offers the latest best prices for Amazon  to you and a small tip for me for listing the items and costs you nothing. Thanks for stopping by.


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Using Ink in Artwork 

Ever wonder how to incorporate ink into artwork? Today I wanted to share a couple pieces of artwork I made over the last year using inks and acrylics on canvas.

The first is entitled 

The Hem of His Garment 

by: Lisa McEachron 

It is an original painting by me using  book pages, acrylics, perfect pearls, sepia ink and black ink. A mixed media canvas that is “20 x 24”

I used a very old ripped up Bible and took the pages to form the robe. It has collaged onto it the actual two stories of where someone touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20 & 14:36) and were healed. 

The layers of paint and ink give a translucency that paint alone could not produce. The picture doesn’t give a clear representation of the shimmer and texture that make you want to touch it and appreciate it from different angles. It was sealed with matte medium to protect it from the elements.

It is one of my favorites and hangs in my living room to appreciate the depths of its meaning and beauty.

The second painting uses acrylic paint, ink and crystal effects gloss glue. 

It is entitled 

Being Filled

By: Lisa McEachron


The painting is “16 x 20” It is another painting that has to be seen to appreciate. It looks like it’s wet and being poured when the crystal effects are added over the painted water. The blue and teal stand out against the brown, gold and sepia in the rest of the painting.

It also hangs in my living room as another favorite of mine. (Okay, I have a lot of favorites). It has a lot of meanings to me.

  •  We are all earthen vessels filling and pouring out to one another
  • Jesus stands at the door and knocks
  • The water is the word of God  

Both paintings mean many things to different people and is what makes artwork so personal and moving. I love asking what it means to each person.
I just wanted to share a little of my artwork to show that ink isn’t just for paper, the ideas are endless. Tell me what you think?

Paper Succulent Mixed Media Artwork

Ever get stuck for some mojo?  Well, I had a canvas base for a mixed media project hanging on my wall for about 6 months waiting to be finished. I had been waiting for some kind of inspiration to hit. It was kind of an interesting moment between realizing I do NOT have a green thumb and doing something about it. I can’t even keep succulents alive, supposedly the easiest to care for plants.  So in an instant I had a cure to my painting and my horrible gardening skills. I could make paper succulents, no water needed.


The canvas is a 7″X12″ gessoed plain canvas. I had layered Ranger gold & copper paint dabbers and picket fence and broken china Distress paints on the background. When dry, I layered a petals  stencil from Hero Arts with vintage photo distress paint. The lattice-work in the corners is Sizzix thinlits die “corners and coverup” 660220 Tim Holtz mixed media. I did it on card stock and layered the paint to give it an aged patina look of copper. The decals were tim holtz   ideaology remnant rub ons . This picture just hung there unfinished to me until now.

Next I looked around for some succulent designs I liked for use on my base painting. I looked around and found some free cut files for my ancient but great working 1st generation Quickutz Silhouette machine at

I cut out one of the sheets in the 8.5  x 11 format included in the succulent download and then enlarged the flowers/leaves onto two other pages to make them more life-size. I used 5 different colors of card stock paper (burgundy, pine green, lavender, mint green and spring green). I then used my various distress and distress oxide inks to layer on the look of realistic leaves.


The layers worked best when the regular distress ink was applied first and then the oxides. When water is applied the distress oxides will take over and mute out the regular distress ink, so applying the regular distress ink as the base color will make the intensity come through. A final touch of regular distress ink on the edges when they are dry bring back some more intense color as well. I really liked the oxides with these succulents because they make it like the frosty furry look of the real succulent counterparts. I googled images of real plants to get a true color palette and chose the following inks to get the colors to come out on the papers.


After sponging on the colors, I spritzed them with water and shaped them while they were still wet. It was a test of patience to get all these done, so I worked on several at a time in various stages.  They are graduated in size so all you do is add one on top of another and alternate leaves on each level. To hold them all together I used hot glue so that they would stay put on the vertical surface that they were to be placed on. I know that from past experience some  of the paper glues and ATG tapes will fall off in time from variable temperature extremes and humidity levels.

I added a few self adhesive half rhinestone gems to the center of some of the succulents for some bling.

The aloe leaves were cut from a double sided 12×12 sheet of striped green cardstock using my fiskars deckle edge scissors and then inked and run through my fiskars paper crimper for some added texture and bendability.

The paper scraps were cut on my paper cutter and run through the paper crimper as well and glued as a base for the flowers on the canvas.

The swirls were cut using Sizzix Bigz swirl and snowflake die 658185


I laid out everything first without gluing them, and used a standard design theory of odd numbers of objects to have the best visual appearance to the eye and movement around the art piece. Once I was happy I glued the leaf and scrap base and then added the flowers.


The final result made this mixed media piece finally complete and now I can enjoy my new hanging succulent garden that needs no watering.


I have at the bottom a list of supplies I used to make this mixed media succulent garden below and consider it a tip jar if you use the links below to help pay the cost of the blog expenses. It costs you nothing extra you will still get the best prices, but Amazon will pay me a small affiliate percentage if you purchase through the links. Thanks for your support and tell me what you think.

Vintage Fathers Day Card

Just wanted to share a quickie sneak peek photo of my husband’s Fathers Day card this year. If you are stuck for inspiration think on what your husband or father does the most and go from there.

My husband works on cars a lot and while he may not necessarily love it he sure does do something mechanical or body work wise a lot.

So , the idea sprang from helping him hold his phone flashlight last evening so he could replace a thermostat on an overheating car. It gave me a gift idea and card idea at the same time. ( a magnetic flashlight to clip to engine hood)


I used a half sheet of black card stock(A2 card). I printed out the inside note and “You’re a Classic ” in     Fenway Script on my computer. I get my fonts from The Hungry JPEG site and they have super prices on their bundles which give you all the commercial licenses to use the fonts on anything you would sell. A great company to deal with.

Next I took Tim Holtz Craft core nostalgic collection paper in blue and trimmed it to be slightly smaller than card. I sanded edges to show the kraft core color and give the appearance of aged denim.

I used linen resume paper for the sentiments and stamped the images in hickory smoke distress ink using Stampers anonymous “Here and There” car and tire tread stamps.

I found some old photo corners and added them to the car and brushed on some hickory smoke and faded denim distress ink around the edges of photo. It gave a nice vintage look. I even used the scraps trimmed from the blue paper to accent the inside of the card.

The sentiments sprang from life around our home.

1 We have 10 children, yes all our own, yes one marriage to one wonderful husband, yes each born individually over 29 years of marriage.

2 Our oldest child is 28 and so vintage is considered over 25 years and we are in the vintage stage of parenting.

3 The number of times right, well my husband usually wins and if we disagree… well we ask Google.

4 My husband really is a Good, Good Father which is a currently popular song written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown but song by Chris Tomlin. Click the link above if you haven’t heard it yet.

5 He really loves his Father God and Jesus above all else and it shows in all he does.

So now you have some Fathers Day ideas and a little bit of life around our home. It is also a good reason on why I can’t put together posts every week. wink wink

PS if you want to know the flashlight I got I put it in the affiliate link below. It is magnetic, waterproof, ice proof , fire proof and can be seen 5 miles away. How awesome is that and only needs 3 AAA batteries. Shhh don’t tell my husband yet



Distress Oxide Ink Background

Thinking Spring, and  I decided to do some wildflowers for a card front with some oxide ink for the background. It looks like a window with flowers framed in it. I used Tim Holtz®  Sizzix© Wild Flower dies for a nicely detailed stand out for the front and the Tim Holtz® Sizzix © stitched ovals for the background image.

This card has a color combo that serves two purposes:

  • The colors represent sky and ground.
  • Cool colors work well for sympathy cards, or get well notes.

When you think of making a sympathy card it is good to use cool colors (purples, blues, greens) or neutrals(whites, greys, browns) to show your empathy with the person/people grieving or feeling ill. Warm colors(reds, yellows, oranges) evoke excitement, passion and happiness, while the cool colors evoke calmness, spirituality and peace. Acknowledging that it is okay to be sad,help bring some peace and a deep breath to a grieving person.

Start with a white piece of A2 cardstock. A2  cards are a half a sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, cut to 2 pieces 5.5″ x 4.25″ each.

  •  First, cut out the second largest stitched oval in white cardstock and sponge on some broken china, faded jeans and wilted violet oxide ink over two-thirds of the image. For the bottom use the broken china and picket fence oxide inks.
  • Next, spritz some water on and let dry, then add some random drips of water and let pool up to move the color around. When dry add a second layer  of the same colors and more water drips and let dry.
  • As a final coat use some water and white perfect pearls in a mini mister and spray entire image. It is your judgement when it is “finished”. I only use mini misters now for perfect pearls and pearl ex powders, because they do not clog. I have been using the same misters for three years without any clogging. They do what is expected without dripping and give a nice fine mist. The difference in perfect pearls and pearl ex is that perfect pearls have a binder that helps the powder adhere to the surface and pearl ex powders don’t. It isn’t much of a difference when made into a spray but it sure does help to have a binder when using them dry.
  • I put some peacock feathers distress ink on the edges to bring out the faux stitching. The regular distress inks soak into the paper fibers and are better for cut details like this. The oxide inks are a hybrid fusion of pigment and dye ink and tend to sit on top of the paper, which is why they layer so well and don’t get muddy like regular dye inks can.So, the combination of the regular distress and oxides work great together when you understand how they work. Remember this: Dye ink soaks in, pigment ink sits on top. Since the new oxides are a fusion of both they generally sit on top but can also be wet down and soak in as well. I use both depending on what colors I want to be more dominant.

Now for the floral elements I used white cardstock again and cut out the Tim Holtz wildflowers, saving the negative cut outs for a stencil. If you look carefully you can see where I rubbed in some faded jeans oxide ink through the stencil cut out to make a blurred background of two of the  flowers.

  • Next,I took  my scotch atg tape runner and affixed the oval to the front of the card front. I’ve used a lot of tape runners and this one works the best for me. The glue has good adhesion and items don’t fall off in time like others do. It also lasts a long time before having to refill it. 36 yards for the atg gun as compared to 25-3oft in standard tape runners. It also has very few clogs or fails.
  • I spritzed the flowers with some of the white perfect pearl solution to give them some shine without adding color.Hard to tell in photos but trust me it’s pretty.
  • Then, using some dimensional foam tape squares, I arranged the flowers on the oval .IMG_0838[2]

Okay, now I had a scrap of water-color paper with the same colors and it just seemed to be a nice touch to offset the design. Look carefully on the bottom right, see that ugly glue mark. Well, that pretty much decided where my sentiment would fit. Mistakes happen, but creative thinking comes up with ways to make it work anyway.Shh… don’t tell anyone.


For the sentiment I used a partial image from JustRite stamps and cut it out on white cardstock using the peacock feathers distress ink and a 1 ½” ek success circle punch. The edges were inked with the peacock ink and then layered with picket fence distress oxide and faded jeans distress oxide ink. For the image not to run I placed a couple of small drips of water on the edges and dried them with a heat gun.Since distress ink reacts with water wetting the image would leave a blurry mess, trust me I learned that the hard way. If you want images that won’t run use Stazon or Archival ink and you can blend till your heart’s content. I didn’t want to change the color theme so I used the distress ink here.I added a few more dimensional foam pieces to the circle and no one would ever know there is a tiny flaw at all.

The finished card is now ready to celebrate Spring and also stand as a celebration of the Resurrection of a Risen King, Jesus.IMG_0841[1]

I use affiliate links to my blog as a tip jar. If you like what you see and use the Amazon affiliate referral links a small percentage goes to my account to help pay for web costs. You don’t get charged any more for the items, I scout for the best deals available and appreciate any comments on ideas.

Items used for this card:

All This for a “Thank You” Note Tutorial French Themed

I wanted to say thank you to a good friend, who gave me the great set of Tim Holtz  Ranger distress oxide inks for my birthday. So what better way to make a thank you note than using her gift. I used a French inspired theme, because her first language is French. So Merci, Jennyfer. Lots of hints and time savers in this post.

  • I make my own A2 card fronts by taking 8½ X 11″ card stock and cutting it in half on the long side at 5½”. This gives 2 card bases and I often do up 20 sheets to give me 40 card bases ready to go. Saves time, when you need to make a quick card.
  • Pink card stock was cut using Sizzix Alterations Die Postage Stamp Frame . This die is great because it fits the A2 card base perfectly and has a nice framed impression.
  • White card stock was used for the Sizzix Alterations Tattered Floral Die flowers and Distress Oxide Fired Brick applied to flowers wet with water, curled, dried, inked again and then sprayed with a mini mister of water and white perfect pearls.
  • I use a Scotch Advanced Tape Glider (ATG) to affix paper to paper. It is consistent in its adhesion and doesn’t mess or gunk up, plus it lasts a long time compared to the small hand held tape dispensers. It has a little learning curve in getting it fed onto the gun (save the packaging instructions)but well worth it. No items falling off after time, don’t ask me the failures before I invested in this tool.
  • The images were from Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz French Market Clear Stamps. Both were stamped with the fired brick oxide ink and the Eiffel Tower was fussy cut from the blueprint clear stamp with Tonic scissors.
  • I affixed a half pearl bead to the center of the flower using Tombow multi mono glue. The Tombow glue is another trial and error where Tombow won out. I also use Glue Dots, but they tend to have bulky items fall off after time, unless you use the super strength ones.
  • The “Merci” sentiment was made with my computer font “Angelica Duo” from the hungry jpeg. The font is for commercial use and makes a nice script for greeting cards.I used size 36 font and cut it into a 3″x 5/8″ strip. A square 5/8″ hand punch cut the banner end. I then inked all the sides with the fired brick oxide ink and affixed it to the card with the Tombow glue.

So, there is the finished card front ready to give away. Voilá

So, just how much is needed to make one card? Look below at all the tools I used to make this come together, you will either give up crafting all together and go to the store to buy a card. Or you will laugh with me, because creating is a love from the heart not the head. I really don’t think my friends and family realize just how much goes into one card that I give them. I didn’t even include the computer and printer used to print off the sentiment.

What do you think about card making?

  • Buy a pre-made one and forget the hassle.
  • Making cards is a response of the heart and love for making things hand made
  • Or do you have some other reason? Let me know with a comment.

My tip jar items:   Items used for this card

Distress Oxide Ink-Part 2

I put a few of the design try outs onto some A2 card fronts made from Nina bright white card stock.They  show some of the possibilities that can be done when just trying out and playing with new art supplies. In part 1 I showed what the inks would do on different papers and here are a few more results added in to show some the Tim Holtz Ranger oxide distress ink versatility.

  • I took the insert done(in part 1) on Nina white cardstock with the mahogany distress stain and fired brick distress oxide ink and “Gothic” layering stencil . I added an “Artist” stamp from Tim Holtz’s Stampers Anonymous “French Market” clear stamps. I stamped in the fired brick and lightly spritzed it with water and then stamped directly over it with Ranger Archival black ink and it looks almost 3D. The amazing part is the color difference of the ink reaction. The mahogany paper looks pinkish with the fired brick oxide but the fired brick oxide on the white paper looks orangish-red. Same Paper, same ink, this will give you some idea of its versatility

Next up  is a card front I made with the Nina white card stock and the faded jeans oxide ink.

  • The card stock was inked with a foam applicator completely in the blue ink. I then placed a chevron stencil by Recollections Color Splash “Life Is Wonderful” set and spritzed water through the stencil and immediately blotted it with a paper towel.

It really looks like faded jeans now.

  • For the sentiment I added a stamp from the same “Life is Wonderful” set and stamped it in regular distress faded jeans ink first and the offset the image to the left a little with the faded jeans oxide ink.
  • The image was spritzed with water, dried and finally I added a some drips of fired brick oxide, by mixing it with water directly on my craft sheet to coordinate the ribbon accent.

The next image was inked with worn lipstick, spiced marmalade, fossilized amber and some peeled paint oxide distress ink. I wet the whole sheet and let it dry.

  • I  put Tim Holtz’s doily stencil and inked it a second time in each color over the inked paper. The image was backed in a cooridinating green color of scrap paper I had, in order to bring out more of the green color. The embellishment flower was done with  Sizzix Alterations Die “Tattered Florals” on white card stock. Broken china and wilted violet oxide ink were applied and sprinkled with water droplets for a nice spring rainbow theme.


The last one, is the image I made on the Canson watercolor paper with the analogous color scheme (colors next to each other on the color wheel, one being a primary color) of wilted violet, peeled paint and broken china oxide inks. I made it by simply putting foam mounting stickers on black paper and then placing the image on white card stock and edged with wilted violet oxide ink. It reminds me of Monet’s water lilies paintings, calm and inviting.

Here are all four completed images  along with a bonus card I made using peeled paint, faded jeans and broken china oxide inks with cooridinating distress brushed first across the watercolor paper. There are three different techniques shown ( direct stencil layering, stencil  color lifting, stencil oxides over dark ink  wash ) Amazing how one set of inks can give so much diversity in use. I will experiment on other surfaces soon and I will share the results with you.


Here are some of the items I used in my designs. These are clickable links to buy from I use an affiliate account to help fund the web costs. Consider it my tip jar if you like what you see and want to purchase anything, it doesn’t cost you anything and Amazon reimburses me. Enjoy