When to use Ink versus paint for stenciling?

 Both paint and ink can be used for stenciling very effectively.  Both can provide a great look and create long-lasting stencil.  However, each medium has its particular strengths and weaknesses.  This blog will discuss and explain the pros and the cons of both Ink and paint.

What are the Benefits of Paint? 

Paint is great a great medium for stencils and the most commonly used medium. It has lots of positives

  • There are paints for any surface
  • You can get virtually any color.
  • It is readily available.

What are the negatives of using Paint for stenciling?

  • There is usually clean up with paint
  • They can create fumes or require a
  • It requires clean-up of the paint and the applicator.
  • Paint is thicker and will build up on stencils faster than ink so if you are using a stencil many times you will have to clean it. 

 What are the benefits of ink for Stenciling?

Stenciling inks are great and especially good for certain types of work. Stenciling inks have can be great

  • Easy to set up and apply and put away.  
  • They do not require a special space or ventilation.
  • Stencils can be used many times before cleaning is required.

What are the limitations of stenciling with ink?

  • There are a limited amount of colors.
  • The applicators are great but are very difficult to change to a different color.
  • They do not work on asphalt or grass.

What is stenciling Ink? 

Stenciling ink is designed to be permanent and to stick to most porous and non-porous surfaces.   The inks that we sell are good for cardboard, paper, wood, metal, and most plastics.  They are designed to dry and harden on any surface. Stenciling ink is different from normal inks which are designed to be absorbed and which are hard to control while stenciling.  They can over-absorb into paper and this will create bleed.   Our stenciling inks are a great choice

  What are common uses for stencil inks?

  1. Marking packaging or shipping containers whether Wood, cardboard, or plastic.  Can add logos, standard shipping symbols, and even addresses.
  2. Marking warehouse locations.
  3. Wine crates and whiskey barrels. 
  4. Wood products of all types.

What different applicators for applying stenciling inks exist?

                There are many different tools which can be used to suit. Whether it is a seldom or a high volume use.

There are three different applicator types .

  1. Low volume ( least expensive set to start with. This is a simple ink roller, an ink pad and some ink.  It is simple to use and the least expensive set of tools.) They work well but are not as automated and reloading the roller can take some time.
  2. Medium volume; This is the One Shot ink roller with plastic ink cartridges.  ( The roller head is expensive  $69 for the starter 3 inch kit) However this is a well built steel tool which will last forever with replaceable rollers and plastic cartridges that screw into the base.  There is no chance of spilling with this system so it is clean and neat.  It works flawlessly.  However the ink cartridges hold 4 oz of ink which goes a long way still the ink cartridge is much more expensive than ink bout in quarte containers.  The system is self-contained and clean and can be stored to use for the next time. It is easy to control and can be used in a busy environment like a packing and shipping floor and not cause a mess unlike any painting system. 
  3. High volume.  The Marsh Fountain rollers. These are slightly more expensive as each handle is a metal bottle that is loaded directly with ink. The ink purchased this way is about twice as expensive.  The system works great and is perfect for high volume uses. 


What are the benefits of Stenciling Inks:

  1. The biggest benefit of inks is that they are easy to use and control.  Once the roller is covered with ink it is very quick to apply the ink with the stencil and then the ink roller can be recovered to use again.  For continual use, there is nothing much better than an ink roller.  The ink is already contained and can stay usable for days.  There are no paint cans to stir or open.  There are no brushes or rollers to clean.  Unlike spraying, there is minimal ventilation required and no masking.  Application is quick and easy to control. Also, the ink dries fairly quickly.  ( it is the one medium that I do not get all over me when I use it.  I have painted a lot and always find paint somewhere where I did not intend for it to go.
  2. The second benefit is that the coating itself is thin so it dries quickly, does not build up on the stencil, and still covers well.   Stencils with ink do not get clogged up with paint and require cleaning after every few uses. 
  3. Because of this, the cost per use is fairly low.  An oz of ink covers a lot more surface area than an oz of paint and much less is wasted in clean up or in setup.  The level of savings can be significant, especially versus spray aerosol.
  4. Finally, they can be used on so many surfaces.  We have tried on many and almost all have worked. The only surface that the ink did not stick to was CPVC plastic  ( It does work on both polyethylenes that we have tried.)

 What are the cons of Stenciling inks

  1. The biggest issue is the color limitation.  There are only a few colors available and once a tool is loaded with a certain ink color it is a lot of work to change to a different color.  
  2. The tools itself is relatively expensive and while great for repeated use is not as good for just a one off stencil 

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Brilliant White Krylon Professional Striping Paint - Solvent Based
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