This is the only way I can ink over dry-embossed paper. I take a little piece of this foam & using the hard, black side, dab it on my ink pad and then run it lightly over the paper. The ink goes on the raised pattern. I can't seem to get good results with anything else. Because the black side is so firm, the sponge hits only the raised areas. Anything softer would get ink onto the lower surfaces.