10 Best Embossing Inks For Crisp Stamp Designs In 2021

 Embossing inks, ink pads, and silicone stamps on top of a heat-embossed card

Stamping is gaining popularity because not every card maker can draw freehand or can afford a Cricut machine. That’s why you need to choose excellent embossing ink and ink pads if you want to get crisp stamp designs for your cards.

We rounded up the best embossing inks that stay wet and tacky longer, giving you value for money. Check out the FAQ section as well, where we candidly answered some legitimate questions about embossing inks. 

Our Top Picks

Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad
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Best Overall - Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad

• Acid-free, lignin-free, and non-toxicAcid-free, lignin-free, and non-toxic
• Stays wet and tacky for an hour
• Affordable

VersaMark Inker
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Best Reinker - VersaMark Inker

• Slow-drying and sticky 
• Adheres to various surfaces
• Ideal for reinking, freehand drawing, and calligraphy

Best Budget-Option - Ranger Emboss It Reinker

• Clear embossing ink
• Stays wet for up to 1 hour
• Refills a full-size ink pad quickly

1. Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad - Best Overall

 Ranger Embossing Ink Pad in clear ink
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 Pros Cons
  • Acid-free and lignin-free
  • Non-toxic 
  • Stays wet and tacky for an hour
  • Versatile application
  • Affordable
  • Inkpad dries out fast

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Customers appreciate the Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad because it is very affordable, stays tacky for a long time, and applicable for various surfaces. It’s also pretty easy to rejuvenate if it gets too dry, either using the Ranger Emboss It Reinker or the glycerin hack you can find in the FAQ section.   

One other crafter received this embossing ink pad as a gift and can’t get enough of it, so she decided to gift it to a crafting friend. Others feel that this product is way more superior to its competitors and at a reasonable price, too.

 Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad is perfect for all stamp embossing projects. It is slow-drying, works on various surfaces, and stays tacky for a long time to hold all the embossing powders before heating them. You can even add sticky embossing powder to it, then heat it to add glitters later. 

The ink pad, measuring 3 ¼ x ¾ x 2 ¼ inches with a slightly raised foam pad that stays wet and tacky for better adhesion of the embossing powder. The foam pad is about ⅛  inch above the platform, so you can easily rub your stamps over it without touching the ink.

When dealing with silicone stamps, here’s a quick tip: Cut off all excess parts around the stamp since they sometimes mess with the design when they get into the ink. Then, touch the paper later. 

Another thing we love about the Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad because it is acid and lignin-free, so your cards, scrapbooks, and journals do not suffer from discoloration and breaking down. It is also essential to use acid-free and lignin-free paper as the ink and the paper bond and may cause deterioration later if you don’t conform to the material’s features. 

Who Should Buy It

The Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad is a perfect addition to every crafters’ supplies. Anyone who invests in it will indeed have fun working with this clear embossing ink pad.

2. VersaMark Watermark Embossing Ink Pad

 A black VersaMark watermark stamp pad in clear ink 
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 Pros Cons
  • Acid-free, clear ink
  • Works with several brands of embossing powders and chalks
  • Makes lovely watermarks on paper and other porous materials
  • Easy to clean up
  • Stays sticky for a reasonable time 
    • Inconsistent stamp quality

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    Many customers think it’s the perfect ink pad for embossing and stamping projects. They used it to embellish their cards, journals, scrapbooks, and PU leather crafts. It dries transparent so they can add any colored embossing powder of their choice. Another crafter loves how the thick ink pad holds all the clear ink, so it does not dry out quickly. 

    VersaMark Watermark Embossing Ink Pad review

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The VersaMark Watermark Ink Pad has the best embossing ink that produces crisp details on almost every stamping project. Aside from embossing, it also creates beautiful watermark stamps for a tone-on-tone effect on your card-crafting paper for more character and depth.

    The black ink pad measures 3x2 inches but the foam pad inside measures 2 ½ x ½ inches. The black body may be misleading if you’re a newbie to stamping and embossing, but the ink is transparent. At the same time, it remains tacky on paper and other surfaces (wood, tin can, glass, epoxy resin projects, plastic, leather, and faux leather). 

    The foam pad sits about ¼ inch above its casing for easier stamping and holds a substantial amount of ink. You can control the amount of ink by adjusting the pressure you put on your stamp. It is also easy to clean off your silicone stamps using an all-purpose stamp cleaner

    Who Should Buy It

    The VersaMark Watermark Ink Pad is an excellent addition to any embosser’s tools and supplies set because it can make lovely embossed designs on almost any porous and non-porous surfaces.

    3. Ranger Emboss it Dabber Bottle

    A bottle of Ranger Emboss It Dabber in clear ink
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     Pros Cons
    • Dabber-top bottle
    • Acid-free and non-toxic
    • Allows more control
    • High tack, slow-drying ink
    • Conforms to ASTM D-4236
    • Ill-fitting cap

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    The dabber ink bottle is an excellent addition to customers’ embossing supplies since it complements the ink pad and the ink pen. It also gives them more control, something that you don’t have when working with the ink pad, especially when applying embossing ink to the edges of the card.

    Another shopper appreciates that Ranger has maintained its products’ quality, including this dabber ink. It also works great with stencils so that every crafter can use it. 

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Ranger Emboss It Dabber Bottle is a fantastic tool to use with embossing ink pads and pens. It is slow-drying, takes up to 2 minutes to dry to add your designs to large areas first before adding embossing ink. It also sticks well, resulting in cleaner designs. 

    At 1 ½ x 3 ¾ inch dimensions, the bottle is a bit bulky to hold when dabbing. Don’t squeeze the bottle during the dabbing process because it forces the valve to open wider than it should, causing the cap to pop out. Just press it lightly to the paper when dabbing. The light pressure is enough to trigger the valve to release the ink. 

    If the ink is too thin, just add dab until you get the right thickness. However, you should also remember that this is an embossing ink, not glue, and any excess amount of ink on the paper results in a bubbly embossed finish. 

    Who Should Buy It

    The Ranger Emboss It Dabber Bottle is perfect for every hobby and professional crafter. You can always enhance your stamp designs with this dabber bottle. 

    4. Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Mini Ink Pad Bundle

     a bundle of Ranger Distress Mini Ink Pad
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     Pros Cons
    • 12 colors in one bundle
    • Convenient mini versions of Tim Holtz distress ink pads
    • Works best with Distress Glaze
    • Translucent finish  
    • Affordable bundle for starters
    • Small ink quantity
    • Dries quicker than regular embossing ink

    What Customers Have To Say 

    If you’re not ready to go full-size distress ink or you have a small craft room but stock on lots of colors, numerous crafters recommend this Distress Ink bundle. The colors are lovely and complimentary, so crafters got excellent results on their cards. Some users even boasted of the stunning translucent finish when used with the Distress Glaze Embossing Powder.

    Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Mini Ink Pad Bundle review

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Mini Ink Pads are technically not for embossing, but you can still use them for this craft. However, you need to repeat stamping to 3-4 times to get enough ink into your design so the embossing powder will adhere to it. It also helps to add clear embossing ink specially designed for distress inks for better results.  

    The ink pads in this bundle are mini-versions of the Distress Inks released by Tim Holtz. Each stamp measures 1x1-inch and contains about a fifth of the ink of the 3x3-inch Distress Ink pads. Because of their small size, it is best to store these ink pads in a storage tin with a transparent lid that fits all the 12 stamps. 

    Each mini stamp pad in the kits has fancy names. Kit #13 carries Cracked Pistachio (teal green), Abandoned Coral (coral pink), Mermaid Lagoon (teal blue), and Fossilized Amber (mustard). In contrast, Kit #14 has Twisted Citron (light green), Hickory Smoke (gray), Blueprint Sketch (royal blue), and Ground Espresso (coffee brown). While Kit #15 has Wilted Violet (violet), Carved Pumpkin (orange), Lucky Clover (dark green), and Candied Apple (dark salmon).

    The ink used in these ink pads is water-based with many uses. You can apply it directly on paper and spray water to have a watercolor effect, apply it with foam applicators for an ombre effect, or emboss it with Distress Glaze Embossing Powder. It also has a translucent finish, so even if you emboss over a stamped design, you can still see it under the embossing.

    Who Should Buy It

    It is the best embossing ink bundle for someone ready to move on from clear and black embossing ink and do something crazy on their cards. The inks are small but give you access to many colors without leaving a hole in your pocket.

    5. Sizzix Black Embossing Ink Pad & Acrylic Block

    A Sizzix black ink pad and an acrylic block for easy stamping
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     Pros Cons
    • Sticks on porous and semi-porous surfaces
    • Acid-free and non-toxic black ink
    • Stays wet longer
    • Comes with an acrylic block
    • Stamps clean
    • Inkpad dries up fast

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    The majority of the customers reported that the Sizzix embossing ink pad provides good coverage. The black ink stays true to color, primarily if used with black and clear embossing powders. It stays moist for a considerable time but doesn’t make streaks when used on porous materials.  

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Sizzix embossing ink is the only black ink on our list. You can use it for watermark stamps on black paper and a good base for clear and black embossing powders. The resulting color is darker if used with colored powders, primarily if you use translucent embossing powders.  

    The embossing ink case measures 2 ⅝ x 3 15/16 inches, while the foam pad is 2 x 3 ⅜ inches. The foam pad rises above the platform to ¼ inch, giving enough space between the platform and the stamp for cleaner stamping. It has a very consistent quality, meaning you get crisp stamp designs every time you stamp it. 

    You can use it on paper, wood, leather, and PU leather, though the ink ‘sinks’ when the material is highly porous, as observed in chipboard. It is best to use semi-gloss paper and avoid textured paper if stamping. The acrylic block measures 2 ¼ x 3 ½ inches with s ⅜ inch grids. The sides are also slightly curved for better grip.

    Who Should Buy It

    The Sizzix black embossing ink pad and acrylic block combo is a good starter kit for newbies to heat embossing. Although the acrylic block is a bit for some stamps, it will save you from buying an expensive acrylic block of this size.

    6. VersaMark Pigment Embossing Ink - Best Reinker

    A bottle of VersaMark acid-free watermark refill ink
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     Pros Cons
    • Conveniently reink a stamp pad
    • Versatile application
    • Clear pigment ink
    • Slow-drying and sticky 
    • Adheres to various surfaces
    • Inconsistent stamp quality

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    Crafters love the VersaMark Pigment Reinker because of its portable size and versatile use. Some users even feel it’s better than the competitor brand in terms of performance and price. According to another customer, it reinvigorates an old ink pad at a lesser price than you would spend for a new one.

    Why We Think It’s Great

    At half an ounce per bottle, the VersaMark Pigment Reinker is a very portable reinker bottle. If you’re an on-the-go crafter, this will fit nicely into your crafting bag. The good thing about this product is that you can also apply it directly to paper if you want to make bold lines or borders on your card crafts because of its specially designed applicator tip. 

    Add a few drops of this pigment reinker to a small container and use a brush to apply a layer of embossing ink to your stamp without needing an ink pad. Similarly, you can just draw your design on your card using a brush or fill a watercolor brush pen with the ink for your calligraphy and other freehand designs. 

    Who Should Buy It

    Every crafter should have this ink refill bottle in their stash for emergencies and replenish their dried-out ink pad. It is the best embossing ink for that job.

    7. Fstaor Large Clear Embossing Ink Pad

    A Fstair Large Clear Embossing Ink Pad in clear ink 
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    Pros Cons
    • Acid-free, non-toxic ink
    • Easy to clean with a stamp cleaner
    • Ideal for various applications
    • Maintains crisp images
    • Stays moist after a reasonable time
    • Inkpad is too soggy

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    According to some customers, this best embossing ink works perfectly, even if it is not a well-known brand. It is also very affordable compared with more popular brands. Many of the users are very happy with the crisp images.

    Why We Think It’s Great

    You can use the Fstaor Large Clear Embossing Ink Pad for blank paper and add highlights over finished artwork. Since it is water-based, you can use it over watercolor art, colored pencils, and marbled paper

    It is also acid-free, so even if you add highlights to your essential artwork, you won’t have to worry about discoloration, brittle paper, and other similar issues. The black casing measures 2 x 3 ⅞ inches, while the foam pad measures 1 ⅜ x 2 ⅞ inches. It is the right size for embossing to accommodate small and larger stamps. 

    The Fstaor Embossing Ink Pad also features permanent ink stamp pads that you can use for porous surfaces, then top it with embossing ink to add clear embossing powders. However, be sure to store it upright as it ‘weeps’ a lot when stored sideways. 

    Who Should Buy It

    If you are looking for an embossing ink pad to use with watercolors and markers, this is the perfect brand for you. The Fstaor Embossing Ink Pad features a clear ink with an all-purpose stamp cleaner, ideal for everyday stamping.

    8. Ranger Emboss It Reinker - Best Budget-Option

    A bottle of Ranger Emboss It Reinker
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     Pros Cons
    • Acid-free and non-toxic
    • Clear embossing ink
    • Stays wet for up to 1 hour
    • Refills a full-size embossing ink pad
    • It does not have an applicator tip

     

    What Customers Have To Say

    At the price of a half-ounce reinker from other brands, the Ranger Emboss It Embossing Ink is hands-down the best for budget-conscious crafters. It can refill a dried-out embossing pad without any issues. However, the price seems secondary for other shoppers because they prefer the embossing ink’s one-hour working time.

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Ranger Emboss It Reinker comes in a translucent plastic bottle filled with an ounce of ink and sealed with a screw-on cap. You can use it to refill most embossing ink pads or use a few drops of it to rejuvenate a dried-up colored ink pad.

    The embossing ink can stay moist for an hour, allowing you to work on large-format crafts like a DIY bulletin board announcement, a visual board presentation, even your mood board. You can do all those designs without rushing through adding embossing powders over your stamps, freehand doodles, and sentiments.

    The Ranger Emboss It Reinker does not come with an applicator tip, so you must be careful when pouring the ink into the pad. Using a pipette or medicine dropper minimizes the mess. Aside from stamping, you can also use a paintbrush to fill up large areas of your designs or add freehand designs to your signs and other projects.

    Who Should Buy It 

    We recommend this best embossing ink for newbie crafters unfamiliar with embossing crafts or work with large-format projects.

    9. Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Ink

     a bottle of Ranger Distress Embossing Ink for distress powders
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     Pros Cons
    • Fade-resistant
    • Works best with Distress products
    • Enhances the design’s distress effect
    • Acid-free and non-toxic
    • Water-based
    • Pricey for a half-ounce refill

     

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    Customers agree that Ranger and Tim Holtz made embossing easier for every professional and newbie crafter. The distressed effect gives a lovely vintage look that works best in any kind of paper. Although the users agree that it is a bit pricey, enhancing the aged look on their crafts makes it worth the price. 

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Reinker is an acid-free, clear distress embossing ink specially made for distress powders. It is water-based and water-reactive, enhancing the vintage look of your crafts without affecting the quality of the embossed finish. 

    The translucent bottle holds ½ oz (15 ml) of distress embossing ink. It comes with an eye drop applicator for easier dispensing and a black screw-on cap to prevent mishaps.

    Like other Ranger embossing inks, it stays wet and tacky for a long time. It does not reach the regular 1-hour mark like other Ranger embossing inks but gives you enough time to add all designs before you have to work with your embossing powders.

    Who Should Buy It

    The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Reinker is the best embossing ink for crafters who love working with distress inks and distress glaze embossing powders. 

    10. Wow! Clear Ultra Slow Drying Embossing Ink 

    A Wow! Embossing ink pad in ultra slow-drying clear ink
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     Pros Cons
    • Largest embossing ink pad on this list
    • Ultra slow-drying ink
    • Versatile applications
    • Acid-free, non-toxic clear ink
    • Adheres to various surfaces
    • Gets too much embossing powder over the design

     

    What Customers Have To Say 

    Most users said they are already ditching their previous embossing inks because they love the freedom when working with this brand. The ink pad stays juicy for a long time, so most crafters feel they get the best value for money.

    Why We Think It’s Great

    The Wow! Ultra Slow-Drying Clear Embossing Ink measures a generous 3x4 inches. Your cards, journals, and scrapbooks will stay beautiful for years since this ink is acid-free. Be sure to use acid-free and lignin-free paper to keep every papercraft in top-notch condition. 

    It is a versatile embossing ink because it is transparent, so you can easily add colored embossing powder or leave it bare with a watermark. A few watermark techniques offer a lovely finish to your stamped cards. You can also stencil or resist design over your watermark or add mica powder over the watermark design.

    Although we love the slow-drying ink, we feel that it attracts too much embossing powder to it, resulting in a poor image. To avoid that, don’t put too much pressure on your stamp when pressing it to the ink pad. Also, give it some time to dry before adding your embossing powder. 

    Who Should Buy It

    The Wow! Ultra Slow-Drying Clear Embossing Ink is the best embossing ink pad for crafters who work with large projects such as posters, announcements, and banners since it gives you enough time to get your designs into the paper.  

    Best Embossing Ink Buying Guide

    • Ink Color

    Embossing inks usually come in clear or black pigment. These colors allow you to have the most significant leeway when doing embossing projects. 

    Clear embossing lets you add any color using colored embossing powder. On the other hand, black is the most classic pigment in any art project and adds depth to your colored embossing powders.

    You can use colored stamp pads then overlay them with clear ink to have colored embossing, even if you only have clear embossing powder. Always use a stamping platform if you’re planning on overlaying to have accurate stamps. 

    For more vivid colors, you can also try distress inks for your embossing projects. They usually come in kits of four colors. You can also buy bundled reinker bottles and blending tools for a resist embossed technique. 

    • Purpose

    If you plan to make lots of watermark stamps and use colored embossing powders, your best choice for embossing ink is the clear one.

    • Drying Time

    You’ll want at least a minute before your embossing ink goes dry, so you can leave it tacky and moist enough to get all embossing powders to stick on the design.

    Any time shorter than one minute and you’ll need to stamp by portion, add your embossing powder, and then continue the stamping process. It can be bothersome and tedious, especially if you’re working on hundreds of cards.

    • Tackiness

    If your embossing ink is not tacky enough, there will be poor adhesion of the embossing powder to your design. The embossing ink should cover all the design parts, so ensure your ink pad is wet enough. 

    The stamped design is easier to see if you’re using colored ink. When you find that some parts do not have embossing powder, use an embossing pen to touch up. Otherwise, always use a stamping platform to make accurate stamps, especially if working with clear embossing ink.

    1. Why is my embossing powder not sticking?

    The embossing ink you’re using may have already dried out. Be sure to check on the working time of your embossing ink by trying it on a similar paper and timing how long it takes to dry. Do this for every embossing ink you use since each may perform differently. 

    Here are other troubleshooting hacks if you’re ink is not sticking well on the surface you’re embossing.

    • Make sure that the surface is fully dry. Remove all moisture and static by rubbing the surface with an anti-static tool. It comes in a bag form or powder applicator form
    • Lay your paper or whatever material you’re embossing flat on the table. Any uneven surfaces on the table can affect the stamping process, and therefore, the adhesion of your embossing powder.
    • Press your stamp with even pressure. Use a stamping roller if you want.

    2. How do you make clear embossing ink?

    Here are a few hacks and DIYs you can try to create clear embossing ink:

  • Glycerin
  • Mix two parts glycerin with one part water. Fill a brush pen and apply it to your stamp. Emboss as usual. You can also wet an empty stamp pad with glycerin. Stamp and emboss as usual.

  • Water

  • You can also use water, but it is a lot trickier to work with when embossing. You can’t stamp with it, but it leaves a beautiful, unstructured mark on your paper. You can use a watercolor brush or fine spray bottle filled with water to add your design. Sprinkle embossing powder over the watermark, tap off the excess powder, and heat as usual.

  • Glue and Water
  • Another hack is mixing 1:1 glue and water. Mix it well, and use a brush to apply the glue-water mixture to your stamp. Emboss according to your usual process.   

  • Petroleum Jelly and Vegetable Oil
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly with ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil. Add 5 ml of alcohol to dilute, and use this mixture to rehydrate your clear ink pad. It’s a lot messier than glycerin and water, but it’s readily available at home for emergencies.

    3. Can you emboss with regular ink?

    Embossing inks are unique because they are slow-drying and tacky, giving you enough time to work with your design and emboss it. 

    You can still emboss with regular ink as long as it does not turn dry immediately. We have tried using regular pens instead of embossing pens, and they did well. Stamp your ink on a piece of glossy paper, and if it smudges when you touch it, you can use it for embossing. Thirty seconds is a reasonable time frame for ordinary inks. It also helps if your paper is smooth and glossy. 

    However, if you’re a professional and want a crisp design every time, we recommend that you use the correct embossing ink. Pay attention to reviews and crafters’ recommendations. 

    4. What is the best way to store ink pads?

    Some crafters advise keeping your ink pads upside down unless you’re using a pigment ink pad, which is a lot ‘juicier’ than others. This method is beneficial if you live in a humid area where your inkpad may tend to ‘weep’ and dry out immediately. Thus, it is essential to observe how your ink pad reacts and store it in the best way possible. 

    If you have lots of embossing ink pads, it helps if you have a storage container. You can also make a DIY crafter’s drawer by adding a piece of ½ x 1-inch piece of wood to serve as dividers for your embossing inks.

    Having a crafter’s cart is helpful, especially if you have a small craft room. Also, stackable see-through craft boxes are a welcome addition if you have a wide crafter’s desk.  

    5. How do you rejuvenate a dried-out ink pad?

    To reink or rejuvenate a dried-out ink pad, you can try any of the following hacks:

    If you’re using a colored ink pad, you can use a colored reinker specified for it or try a DIY ink. You’ll need more ink than usual when rejuvenating a dried-out ink pad. 

    Add a few drops of ink into the pad and let it sink. Repeat the process until the ink doesn’t sink anymore. To hasten the sinking process, you can scrape the ink into the ink pad by running an old credit card. 

    For a DIY colored ink, thicken up a liquid watercolor of choice with some glycerin and add a few drops of DIY ink into your ink pad until it is wet and juicy.

    Another glycerin hack to rejuvenate clear or colored ink pads is to mix 4 oz of water with a tablespoon of glycerin in a small spray bottle. Shake it well, and use this mixture to freshen up your ink pad.

    Conclusion

    After a thorough review, we chose the following products as the winner based on value, versatility, and drying time. We give our vote for the best overall embossing ink pad to Ranger Emboss It Clear Ink Pad. It stays wet and sticky for an hour and works on various surfaces. Besides, you can also use it for different embossing techniques.

    Our runner-up is the VersaMark Pigment Inker. Although it is a bit pricey, it works on various applications, adheres to non-porous and porous surfaces, and stays sticky for 5 minutes after application.

    Lastly, the best-budget option goes to Ranger Emboss It Reinker. You can use it to refill the Ranger Emboss It Clear Embossing Ink Pad and other ink pad brands. It also stays wet and tacky for up to an hour.

    Which best embossing ink do you prefer? Can you recommend another brand that is not on our list? Let us know in the comments.

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