i have the inkssentials applicator and sponges for every color but end up using the cheap makeup wedges. it's gentler on the paper i've just distressed, and wastes no ink (as opposed to swirling on/off the paper using the applicator). or you can use a round sponge cut into 1/4s; pinch the middle and secure it with a tiny binder clip. use one for every color. very easy and mess-free!