Relatives gave our little daughter some stamps (I mean the little plastic things whose front has a protuding (text or image) pattern that can be used to leave the same mark on paper many times) as a gift, together with a little box labeled "Color Box Pigment Ink Option Plate"1.

As we had never heard of these terms, in particular "pigment ink" or "option plate" (neither in English nor of their literal translation to our native language), we assumed it was simply a fancy brand name for what was simply a stamp-pad (which would very much make sense to give along with stamps).

However, upon trying it, it seems like that assumption was wrong - the "pigment ink option plate" appears to dissolve/crumble when a little pressure is applied, parts of it stick to the stamp (thereby making parts of the image the stamp is supposed to leave on the paper blurry or even unrecognizable), and the colour can be smeared over the paper much more easily than what I'm used to from stamp pads.

Trying to find out what "pigment ink" actually is has only led me to inconclusive results, in particular, that it's somehow related to the ink for inkjet printers ...

What is this pigment ink; can it somehow be used with the stamps? Or is it maybe useful for some other kind of crafting little children (child nursery age) can do?

1: It looks basically like this product.

  • I have rarely seen ink pads that seemed to be solid ink and needed wetting, but they didn't look like your picture. The ink pads I've had similar to yours seem fairly wet (and still are after being in my attic for several years) - is yours? They can actually wet some stamps too much if pressed hard.
    – Chris H
    Jan 7, 2020 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


Based on your description and on research based on the terms you've provided, I expect that you have what users would consider an ordinary colored rubber stamp pad. Unfortunately, most of your description leads me to believe that it has deteriorated due to age or exposure to air.

The pad should be firm sponge feel and slightly moist. If it had dried and deteriorated, it will behave in a manner similar to an aged kitchen sponge.

The fragments you've described sound like "chunks" of the pad breaking away. As they are typically well impregnated with pigment, when you are experiencing the smearing, it is due to the higher concentration of pigment being released from the fragmenting fragment.

  • I agree. You should be able to wash the chunks off the stamps so they can be used with any ink pad. However, if your daughter is very young, you probably don't want to use an "office" ink pad like you find in an office supply place. Your daughter (and her clothes and your furniture) may end up with ink stains that are difficult to remove. Look for an ink pad (or un-inked pad plus ink that you apply), that is designed for children, and has washable ink.
    – fixer1234
    Dec 25, 2019 at 3:55
  • If this is indeed the case, I think the ink can still be used by adding water and gum arabic as a binder to use it as a pigment ink or by adding oil to use it as oil paint.
    – Joachim
    Dec 25, 2019 at 10:48
  • 1
    @fixer1234 or in my case your child's friend goes back to their parents with purple hands because she decided to use a craft ink pad to make hand prints!
    – Chris H
    Jan 7, 2020 at 10:26

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