Inking Edges Tutorial and Giveaway!

This tutorial has been a long time coming, so to reward you for waiting, I’ve got a giveaway to go with it!  Read down to the bottom of this post for details!  Sit back, it’s a long one, but don’t worry, it’s mostly pictures!

In almost all of my project instructions, you will see “ink (optional)” in the supply list and a step to “ink edges if desired”.  Inking the edges of your project serves multiple purposes.

-it gives your project a “finished” look

-it adds definition and dimension to layered papers

-it helps hide the dashed scoring lines from my templates

-it helps hide the white core of the paper you printed on and helps hide imperfect cutting

-it can create a distressed look depending on the color ink used and method used to apply it


To start off, let me show you the difference that inking your edges can make –


The blue scalloped layer was cut by hand and glued on, but it gets lost against the blue background.

It's not bad, it just doesn't pop...

Here you can see the white core of the paper...


Coordinating pink ink creates contrast without detracting from the soft feel of the card.

Dark ink was used to distress the edges of the blue paper.

Try using an ink color that coordinates with your project but doesn't match the paper you're applying it to, like the purple ink I used on this pinwheel!

So how do you do it?  It’s a lot easier than you think!  Start with a stamping ink pad.   Because I don’t do traditional stamping, I tend to stick with small pads because I don’t need a large surface area and I can get a large variety of colors without breaking the bank!

The square ones all came from the $1 bins at Michael’s, but last time I was there they were all on clearance so I don’t know if they’re going to carry them anymore or if they’re just replacing them with a new version.

This is just a few of the ones I have in my collection 😉

The Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads are more expensive, but they give a great look and are very high quality!

I’m going to show you a few ways to apply the ink, by my preferred tool is a fingertip sponge dauber:

I have one for each ink color and keep them in a super fancy ziploc bag…

I've really got to get on this craft room organizing...but at least they're all in one place, right?


For the following samples, I am using Distress Ink in Tea Dye and a digital kraft paper printed on card stock.

You can apply ink directly to the paper by holding the ink pad at a right angle to the paper and sliding the ink down the edge of the paper. How much you tilt the ink pad will determine how much ink shows on the surface of the paper.  You can also “scrape” the pad across the edge of the paper.

The problem with applying ink directly from the pad is that it is hard to control the amount of ink that goes onto the paper and you end up with harsh lines.

Here you can see the difference when you use a sponge to apply the ink.  Because it only applies a small amount of ink at a time, you can leave it light like the bottom half or layer it on for a more dramatic effect like on the top half.

You can use a makeup sponge for similar results:

The downside is that the sponge is not as dense as the daubers, so the ink will soak through and get on your finger and the paper will cut the sponge so after they’ve been used a few times you won’t get a smooth application and they will have to be replaced more often.

They don’t work great for general application, but cotton swabs are excellent for getting into tight corners or curves:

I mentioned that inking helps mask imperfect cutting.  Here are a couple perfect examples:

This is a whole lot easier than trying to trim down every white edge!

Check out the before and after on this pillow box!


You can also create a unique distressed paper –  just crumple the paper, smooth it back out some, then run the ink pad over the top.

This ink is fresh and still wet so it will lighten up and look more natural after it dries...

And just for fun, another picture of my super fancy storage…

Yep, just a plastic bin with my sponges in ziplocs.

Bonus Tip:  Store your inkpads upside down, they’ll last longer.

Bonus Tip #2: Baby Wipes.  It’s been many years since my son’s been in diapers, but I keep wipes around to clean up my crafting messes.  And believe me – I have a lot of them.


Are you ready to get inky with it?   lol I’m such a dork

I’m giving away 5 ink pads and 5 fingertip sponge daubers to go with them!

If you have any issues getting your entries in via Rafflecopter, please leave a comment or use the contact form in the top menu!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Edited to Add:

These are the sponge daubers I bought on Amazon:

I got the bulk pricing for 25 pieces because I have a lot of colors and knew I was going to give some away.

Check out search results here

Here is a really good deal for a 3 pack with caps:


  1. Anna says:

    I love the inked edge look! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  2. Theresa says:

    Love the look of inked edges – it’s the finishing touch!

  3. Jay says:

    This is the first inking tutorial I’ve seen and it was great. Loved the before and after pics; so helpful.

  4. Teri Merkins says:

    When I’ve done cards, I’ve wished I inked edges before.  I did an awesome hybrid project at Digiscrapapalooza that I did some inking on and it gives it an added cool dimension!

  5. Lisa says:

    Get tut, thank you! Sometimes I get lazy and don’t finish my edges, but I should, your projects look awesome!

  6. Tanya says:

    Oh my gosh…Do you know how many ink pads I have ruined inking the edges of paper? That sponge dauber is genius. Thanks for sharing that little tidbit, and for the chance to win.

  7. Christina R. says:

    “it helps hide the white core of the paper you printed on and helps hide imperfect cutting”



    I have this issue and wondered how to mask it; fabulous idea!

    On this card:

    I think inking would have been great, since you can see the white core, especially around the handles . I would have loved to inked with a navy to mask that and make it even prettier!

    I did ALL the entries because I’m really trying to do more hybrid stuff and get back to some traditional crafting; I superduper hope I win! 😀

  8. I need to find those daubers. I do the make-up sponges, but they get blech so fast.
    Just a quick label, and you can even have the daubers listed, so mixing colors accidentally!

  9. Christina R. says:

    Ps, I also keep my craft stuff in those same clear plastic bins from the dollar store. Better than having it all thrown in one giant box like before LOL!

    Looking at these pics again and GOSH, if I don’t win, I’m investing in the daubers and some ink pads. I want to do more hybrids but I hate how farty the edges look with the white core showing and imperfections since I don’t have a cutting machine…YET! 😉

  10. Michelle says:

    Awesome! It really does make a difference! Thanks for the chance to win Wendy!

  11. Beth Lang says:

    Wow! Love this tutorial! I love the look of the inked edges! Thanks Wendy, and thanks for introducing me to finger tip daubers! LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Linda from Arizona says:

    I love the look of the papers, it really makes them pop. I would love to win those daubers!

  13. Christina R. says:

    PSS-Thanks for adding in a link for the cheap daubers! 😀

  14. Kay Stratton says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I always ink my edges and these daubers would make that so much easier. Thanks for the chance to win.

  15. Helen says:

    I usually ‘ink’ my edges in photoshop but always wanted to do it properly!! 

    Thanks for the chance xx

  16. Never thought of the daubers, looks so much better and like you said not so harsh. Love your storage by the way 🙂

  17. Bhavana Patel says:

    Love inking, daubers are great!! Thanks for chance to win!!!

  18. Cheryl says:

    I don’t have any pictures of my projects to link up :/  However, I LOVE to ink things and loved your suggestions. I am definitely going to try that crumpled page look. I need to restock my inks, so I would love to win this!! My daughter took a lot of the ink pads when I moved. (Our scrapbooking stuff had all become intermingled, so had to divide things up when I moved away from her.) And those daubers are wonderful. Where do you get those? I must get some of those. Thanks for a chance to win this. And thank you for the great post. I can’t wait to get a project out and start inking now!!

  19. Michelle Huegel says:

    Here’s a link to my Week in the Life album. I did ink edges on most of my journaling cards, etc., but I wish I had used a different technique and done a more distressed look. I just swipe the ink pad across the edges!

  20. stacey says:

    super tutorial! thanks so much! love the projects!

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