Ink Lab: The Difference Between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair

Welcome to the Ink Lab!

Ink… it seems like such a straightforward medium. But, is it? There are always lots of questions circulating about different inks, how they can be used and why you need them. Like, really, how many BLACK inks do you need?! (Like licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop, we may never know…) So, welcome to the Ink Lab! I’ll be working through all sorts of inks in all sorts of ways to shed light on all of those pressing questions we have to make the medium much less mysterious.

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What’s the difference between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair?

In 2020, I was a part of Imagine Crafts’ Artist in Residence (AIR) program. It got me thinking a lot about different kinds of ink pads available on the market. So, I though I’d start a series called the “Ink Lab” to explore them and share my findings with you! brand inks. I thought I’d start with VersaFine and VersaFine Clair as they definitely fall on the “mysterious ink” list.

TLDR: The difference between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair? NONE! They are the SAME ink.

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an image of the difference between versafine and versafine clair inks. Two ink pads laying on top of various ink swatches.


Versafine was the first to market as an oil-based pigment ink that leaves crisp lines and beautiful, deep color. However, per Tsukineko, there was a shortcoming – bright colors were not really possible with the ink formulation. VersaFine is limited to 12 colors – all in the darker, more muted range.

VersaFine Clair

In their search for bright VersaFine colors, Tsukineko refined the formula a few years ago and VersaFine Clair was born! VersaFine Clair is the “tweaked formulation” of VersaFine and allows for amazing bright colors! So – that’s the skinny on the difference between the two. THEY ARE (virtually) THE SAME! These inks can be used together for ink layering as they have the same essential properties. Of course, VersaFine Clair comes in more colors – 24 as of this post. I hope we’ll see even more in years to come!

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Now that we know there is no difference between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair ink, let’s take a minute to talk about an obvious difference – packaging!

Both inks are constructed with a felt pad and linen top. The pads both sit up so the sides are accessible for easy re-inking, which, I really like as the ink is a fairly thick substance for both. That’s where their construction similarities end.

I prefer the VersaFine Clair packaging. The lid stays on secure, keeping the pad nice and inked up. It is rare that I have to re-ink a pad – even after months of no-use. It’s pretty air-tight. Removing the lid is easy, and grasping the pad for inking is comfortable. Overall, the form factor is excellent! One disadvantage is that VersaFine Clair only comes in one size – perhaps it will be released in the small ink cubes someday, but that’s not today.

VersaFine comes in two sizes – the full-size flip-top pad, which I find a bit cumbersome, and the mini 1″ cubes. Except for black, which I typically use to ink up large images, I prefer the cubes. I find that the flip top lid can get inky and then I get it on my fingers. And, is it just me, or does this ink pad like to fly from your hand and end up on a project leaving smudges too?

VersaFine vs. VersaFine Clair in the Ink Lab

Let’s take a deeper look into these two great inks in today’s Ink Lab video. (Remember, I film and voiceover in real time, so you can speed up the video and still get great, clear instruction! I prefer to watch my videos on 2x speed!)

SOLVED: VersaFine vs. VersaFine Clair | The Ink Lab

A Must Have Ink Line

I’m sure you have at least one black ink pad from these ink lines. Now that you know the difference between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair, and that there are so many other colors, I encourage you to spread your wings and give them a try. They are great for more than just outline stamping! Because of the oil pigment formulation, they have exceptional coverage for solid stamps, and they work well for layer stamping – though you might not get the results you expect. But, more on that in another post!

You can find the VERSAFINE line of inks at A Cherry on Top

You can find the VERSAFINE CLAIR linke of inks at

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11 thoughts on “Ink Lab: The Difference Between VersaFine and VersaFine Clair”

  1. I have always wondered what the differences of these two inks was so thanks for clearing that up. I really love the crispness of VF clair when you use it to stamp a sentiment. I too couldn’t find a link for a video, but would love to see one.

  2. Thank you for clarifying the differences and non-differences between the two inks! I wil feel much better buying more of them now. 🙂

  3. Wonderful video full of information for ink differences. Thank you for sharing this information. Blessings for health and safety for you and your family.

  4. Thank you for the video, nice to know, as all these brands can be a bit overwhelming and an expensive exercise if you don’t know the difference. PS. One can never have too many black ink pads….lol

  5. I just loved your video explaining the versafine and the Versafine Clair. I spent several hours this evening looking for a site to explain and there were none…and then I found you. No other site even went into any explanation comparing both nor they tell you they’re basically the same.

    After reviewing your video I decided I had to subscribe to your newsletter and blog. Looking forward.

    Thank you Thank you.

    I hope in the future they make Versafine Clair in smaller pads

  6. So happy to find such a clear explanation of Versafine and Versafine Clair ink pads!
    Now I know I can use my Versafine with Copics to color, too, without smearing!
    Thanks so much!


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