When I mix my Vanson inks with the Pantone system, I like to keep each color instead of throwing away the extra after printing a job. I’ve been keeping the extra ink in baby food jars, but it seems like they are not completely airtight, and I also think there must be a more cost-effective option (seems wasteful for me to buy baby food, dump it out into the sink, and then just use the empty jar).
What do others use to store mixed inks?
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Instead of throwing the babyfood out, why don`t you buy applesauce baby food or something you like, and eat it and then use the jar ( tongue-in cheek but might as well not waste food).
I don’t know if anyone has used them for ink, but for camping and whatnot Nalgene makes some great air tight containers… and you don’t have to waste food!
They have small 2 oz jars for under $2 on their website.
I found these on the internet:
Plastic Vials - Polypropylene
• FDA Compliant clarified polypropylene
• Laboratory grade
• Hinged lid
• Airtight moisture resistant
No “airtight” lid will prevent oxidation of there is air in the container with the ink. Metal tubes are available from art supply sources like Daniel Smith, and some people find those effective, since you can squeeze out all the air before capping.
Some plastics are a poor choice for ink storage. These are not totally impermeable and you can end up with a skin all around the ink, not just the top surface, but against the container walls too. I first saw this with ink sold by Superior and put into plastic screwtop cans, in a material very much like what Nalgene uses for water bottles. But some plastics, for example the plastic cover sheet used by VanSon, prevent oxidation for a fairly long time, where plastic food wrap will result in a skin much more quickly. I just cover ink with vinyl stripping material cut to size and that works fine for me, ut there will always be some skin around the edges.
For very small amounts, a simple square of aluminum foil folded over and refolded at the edges will work very well and for quite a long time. I have some kept this way for two years or more. Still soft.
I buy white paper cups at the store and put the ink into the cup and write the Pantone color on the cup. The ink skins over and I usually use it within 3 months. It’s never done me wrong and easy to get into.
Inky Lips Press
One problem with plastic containers is solvent migration through the plastic, which will cause the ink to dry against the sides of the cup, especially in long term storage. This problem does not occur in paper or waxed paper cups—or in metal containers. The foil wrapped packages looks like a good idea—but then so does ink in tubes.
At one point I was given some inks stored in cardboard business card boxes. The ink had dried at the edges next to the cardboard just as it did in the plastic cans, but didn’t peel back, it adhered. You could treat the paper with anti-skin spray or other things, but metal is used in standard ink containers for long-term storage for a very good reason. I have ink 40 and 50 years old and still useable under the skin, because the metal is not permeable and doesn’t react.
I’m an ink miser so I’ve tried every method mentioned here. I can confirm that ink will skin around the sides and bottom of plastic containers. For small quantities, what works best for me is the aluminum foil packet mentioned by Arie. For larger quantities, I’ve tried small glass-topped tins, which work fairly well if you cover every square micron of the top with waxed paper. But what I’ve found very satisfactory are the tubes mentioned by Parallel Imp. As he says, they are available at Daniel Smith. If you get yourself on the Daniel Smith mailing list they often offer a free-shipping deal which is great for inexpensive items. Here’s how I get the ink into the tubes. It works very well, though you really do have to find a heavy-duty cardboard tube that fits precisely around the tube. I think the one I used was originally from a stretch-and-seal type plastic wrap.
I liked the tubes so much that I’m transferring all my ink from cans into tubes. Recently I needed just a dab of ink to run a single proof, and it was such a joy to squirt the tiniest bit out of the tube.
I’ve been using mini plastic re-useable ziploc tubs (the size of a cupcake) for the past year. I line them ALWAYS with baking cups so the ink is not touching the plastic, and cover the top with waxed paper and place the lid on top for a very tight seal. I use Vanson rubber based ink, and so far, no skinning. The best part is that when I’m down to the last bit, I just throw away the liner and the plastic is good to go again.