Archival ink has a wide range of both professional and personal uses and just like many other types of specialist inks on the market, we often see people reaching out about what archival ink actually is as well as a number of more specific questions about it. Due to this, we have decided to publish this article covering all of the common archival ink questions that we see asked on a regular basis to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Thankfully, over the last decade or so, a number of advancements have been made not only to increase how long an archival stamp will last but to also reduce the cost of the production cost of archival ink. This means that there are some excellent quality, cheap archival ink pads and archival ink pens available these days that don’t break the bank but perform very well for a large number of tasks.
What Is Archival Ink
Archival ink was developed to ensure that any ink mark created using an archival ink will last for as long as possible. It has unique properties to make it resistant to weathering, fading, and wear and tear of the paper that it is stamped on to ensure that it will last for as long as possible. Although the older, effective types of archival ink were expensive due to being more difficult to produce than regular ink, prices have fallen over the last decade or two due to brands such as Ranger Archival Inks putting a lot of time, effort, and money into improving their production methods for the specialist ink.
Professional uses of archival ink range from stamping library books with checkout dates to archiving business documents that require important information to be on them for a long time. Due to the reduction in the price tag of archival ink, it has become popular in many personal hobbies too such as scrapbooking, specialist types of drawing, and a number of other hobbies that require the ink to last for as long as possible.
Although some people do recommend that you use archival paper for the best results when using your archival ink, this is not really as important as it used to be. Modern archival inks perform much better than they once did on regular paper and will last for a long time on the majority of commonly used paper types. That said though, archival paper does still technically offer the best performance and will allow your archival ink mark to last indefinitely if required.
To be officially graded as archival ink, the ink must be resistant to fading while also offering a firm hold on the paper ensuring the best possible performance for the user. Although many modern inks can be resistant to some types of fading, especially in the short term, they will often fade within a decade or so. If you think of a legal document such as the leasehold infomation for a property, this infomation will have to last for upto a centuary depending on the country so archival ink is essential as a regular ink will simply fade too much to be readable in the future.
Although not officially a requirement of archival ink, modern archival ink products are also resistant to moisture adding an additional layer of protection for the document. Please note though, being marked as resistant to moisture and as resistant to water are different ink gradings and unless specifically listed, most archival inks are not resistant to water.
The Best Archival Ink On The Market
The best archival ink for your specific task at hand will actually depend on your requirements and how you have to archive the document. Modern archival ink is available in a number of different forms for different uses and all offer the same excellent, long-lasting characteristics. Due to there being a wide-ranging use of archival ink, we have decided to just link to our recommended archival ink products for the three main ink types that cover all uses of the ink.
Is A Sharpie Pen Archival
With the Sharpie brand of markers being so popular all around the globe now, we often see people reaching out and asking if Sharpie markers have archival quality ink or not. Although a regular, standard Sharpie market than you can purchase from the majority of stores does not have archival quality ink, Sharpie so offer some specialist archival sharpie markers but they are better to order online or in your local specialist art store as it is very rare for a regular store to carry them as standard stock.
What Type Of Ink Is Archival
Over the years there have been two main ways to make archival ink and the vast majority of modern archival inks still stick to these two ink types. The first is a pigment based ink that is slightly more popular for personal use and the second is a dye based ink that is slightly more popular for professional use. Although pigment based archival inks did used to be the better option, the methods for creating and using dye based archival ink have come on a long way and realistically, the advantages of using one over the other these days in minimal.
Both types of archival ink will be able to permanently change the paper color of their markings when using standard black ink. Depending on your task at hand, you may require a high-quality, colored archival ink rather than standard black ink. Both dye and pigment-based colored modern archival inks perform well and are budget-friendly with dye-based being slightly cheaper than pigment based products.
Is Archival Ink Permanent
All certified archival inks are permanent due to their fade-resistant properties. Depending on your country, some long-lasting inks can also be classed as permanent if they will remain fade resistant for over a decade but these are not necessarily archival inks as they will end up fading eventually. A certified archival ink can be considered truly permanent and fade resistant and can last for much longer time scales than a decade.
Is Archival Ink Alcohol Based?
The majority of archival ink products on the market are water-based rather than alcohol-based to ensure that they will be able to last for as long as possible. If you are planning to write over the initial ink marker with an alcohol-based pen then something like Memento Fade Resistant Ink may be a better option as it will work with alcohol pens. That said though, Memento inks are not classed as archival but are long-lasting but this is the trade-off with water-based and alcohol-based inks.
Is Archival Ink Safe For Skin
Although reputable archival ink is non-toxic and safe to have on your skin, we would not recommend that you willingly apply archival ink to your skin due to it having been designed to last for as long as possible. Although you are able to remove archival ink from skin, it can take a long time and a surprising amount of effort to remove with standard household items.
If you do accidentally get archival ink on your skin then you should start by washing the area with the ink with warm soapy water. Some shampoos can help to remove archival ink from skin quicker than regular soap but this can be hit and miss so regular soap is usually recommended as it offers more constant results. Regular, gentle scrubbing of the area with a washcloth or loofa is then recommended but remember to take extended breaks between scrubbing sessions to prevent irritation to the skin.