What Is Hand Inking?

What is Hand Inking? // TheSassySeamstress.com

A common question I get asked is, “what exactly IS hand inking?”  Now, I’m not really sure that “hand inking” is a legitimate crafting term.  I made it up one day when trying to explain to a friend what it is exactly that I do for my products.

Most people assume I mean hand stamping, but there is a difference.  In fact, it’s a big difference.

Silhouette Brand Stamp Material

Silhouette Brand Stamp Material

Traditionally, you will find that many handmade goods are hand stamped.  This means that they have created or purchased an actual stamp (not unlike one you might use for making a card or to put your address on envelopes).  The stamp is loaded with a fabric ink or paint either via an ink pad or by being dabbed on by hand and then the stamp is pressed into the fabric.  This creates beautiful designs and I love the look of hand stamped items.

While I do have stamps that I have created using my Silhouette Cameo and their new stamping material, I hand ink my products.  This means that I create designs in my Silhouette Cameo software and create a stencil.  I’m currently using Con-Tact Paper for this, but am going to be testing out stencil blanks with spray adhesive to make them more environmentally friendly.

The LOVELY thing about the Con-Tact Paper is that it is adhesive.  I lay it in place, rub it to ensure good contact and then I use a variety of sponge sizes to sponge on fabric ink.  The reason I do this is that it gives a significantly different look than the stamps.  It’s a richer, deeper color, even when using the same ink for stamping VS hand inking.

Hand Inking Pillows // TheSassySeamstress.com

Hand Inking is significantly more time consuming.  When stamping one or two passes can do it, but with hand inking, I have to spend several (up to 10 depending on the design) dabbing the ink on to reach the color intensity, consistency, and depth that I desire.  And while it might seem silly to use this method when I have the ability to make stamps that would prove to be a faster process, I feel that the final product is well worth it and so far, my customers agree.