Do you find yourself using a lot of the 'B' sides of pattern paper - those little polka dots, stripes or other small designs that are often just a darker shade over a lighter background in the same color? If so, you probably like the tone-on-tone look and you can easily get this with cardstock and stamps - ones you probably already have.
If you are new to stamping or an occasional stamper, the one type of ink I'd recommend you buy is Versamark or another brand of clear watermark ink. This type of ink will give you more mileage out of your stamps than anything else you can purchase. Take it one step further and get some clear embossing powder and a heat gun. Versamark is the easiest and cheapest way to achieve tone-on-tone affects.
With a tone-on-tone look you can create your own pattern paper. In this sample, I wanted to compare the depth of color I would get in three different ways of doing tone-on-tone.
On the far left is an image inked with Versamark and stamped on the cardstock. That's it. I did let it dry as Versamark is a sticky ink that takes a few minutes to dry. This is the most subtle look.
The center is stamped with the same color ink on the cardstock. In this case I used Brocade Blue ink on Brocade Blue cardstock from Stampin' Up! (My handwritten notes say Bordering blue but it is really Brocade.) This color has been discontinued but the idea works with any color or any brand of cardstock that sells a companion ink. It is also the one that gives you the most variation from color to color. Some colors really pop like this and some are more subtle like the first example. Experiment on the back of your layout as I'm doing here.
The last one on the far right is stamped with Versamark, sprinkled with clear embossing powder and heat set. It gives a glossy finish and some texture in addition to the change in color.
I'm still deciding what I want to do with the layout I'm working on. It is wonderful to have so many options with just a few products.
Thanks for visiting!