Saturday, February 5, 2011

Distress Ink Swatch Book

UPDATE - I've updated this post with written directions & YouTube video which you can check out by clicking ---> HERE.

I love using Tim Holtz (TH) Distress Ink!  I think I was completely won over when I learned that the browns didn't turn a muddy green color when added with water -- you know that's right!  When I first started using these inks I kept them upside down (which I still do), but aside from reading the name of the ink, I wasn't able to see the colors.  So, I swiped the ink onto a square of white cardstock and glued it to the bottom of each ink pad.  As I added to my collection I also created white tags inked with the colors of each ink pad & labeled -- that way, when I'd be crafting and looking for a particular color to match my project I could just flip through my ring of tags.  I would take my Distress Ink (DI) tags to the store when I was looking to buy more, so I didn't repeat ones I already had -- this worked out nice at first, but then I'd get annoyed trying to separate the tags to look at each one. 

Did you know that Ranger Industries website has free PDFs of their color charts & labels you can download?  That's when I decided to make this swatch book for my DI.  I cut out the individual swatches and used TH blender tool to blend the color onto each swatch, then I swiped the ink over the top of the swatch for a solid color visual.  I adhered the swatches to the the 2x2 squares cardstock sheet of TH Vintage Shabby paper stash (cutting off 2 rows of squares I didn't need).  I made two cuts, and created a folding technique I was happy with, decorated the front with some flat TH embellishments and used a binder clip to hold the ribbons together for a closure.  After trying several closure options I liked the clip best -- when I released the clip to open the book, I could wrap the ribbon around the back of the front cover and re-attach the binder clip while I flip the swatch card back & forth -- no more dandling ribbons, lost clips, etc. 

I love that this swatch book lets me see my color families at a glance -- and I can see what I am missing since those particular swatches aren't inked (including the pull out tag on the cover that lists what I still need), and it's small enough to fit in my purse and my storage container.   Speaking of my Snapware container -- I got mine from JoAnn Fabrics, and I love it!  I used the DI titles from the swatch sheets and inked them according to the basic inks I have in each compartment which I also labeled:  earth tones/black, red/orange/purple, and blue/green.  Did I mention that there are currently 36 different DI colors available?  I am still missing 7 of those -- but I have plenty of room in my containers for the ones I'm missing.  Besides my ink pads, each compartment also holds a blending tool, cut n dry foam for blending, AND mini misters too.  I like that it doesn't take up much room on my desk either since it's stacked. 

[RePurposing Note:  I used the shoulder ribbon from an outfit for my binder clip.  I never liked those ribbon straps that hold up the outfits on hangers, and I'd cut them off--now I use them for all sorts of things.]

If you need further direction in making one of these, please let me know--hopefully the pictures below will help.  And Hey -- Thanks for stopping by!  Lisa


  1. I love your Distress Ink swatch book~so beautiful! The pictures are good, but I still don't understand all the folds, but I may make mine an acordian fold album because I know how to do that! Thanks for sharing, Lisa, your blog is great! ~Erin Glee from ATT

  2. Your book is terrific in itself but the idea to include in it blanks of the ones you don't have is PRICELESS. I love that you have it all with you and can see at a glance what you need.


Thank you for your LoveLee Comments!