A Ball of Ink

Seal ink is made from oil, color, and a binder of some kind to hold everything together. The binding material is usually a plant fiber, though I’ve been told silk floss is also used. If your seal ink is flattened, as in a tin, and you tamp your seal stone straight up and down into the ink, there’s a tendency for the stone to pull these fibers up out of the ink which stick to the stone, causing a smudged, blurry seal impression. If you roll your seal ink into a ball, rather than pressing straight up and down into the ink—which will flatten it–swipe the face of the seal stone across the side of the ball. In this way you’re much less likely to pull fibers from the ink. It helps to pick up the seal container and turn it in your hands while swiping the stone—this will help to keep the rounded shape of the ink ball.

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