The present invention provides a novel ink jet ink which is semi-solid at room temperature. The subject ink combines the advantageous properties of thermal phase change inks and liquid inks. More particularly, the inks of the present invention comprise vehicles, such as glyceryl esters, polyoxyethylene esters, waxes, fatty acids, and mixtures thereof, which are semi-solid at temperatures between 20.degree. and 45.degree. C. *The ink is impulse jetted at an elevated temperature in the range of above 45.degree. C. to about 110.degree. C., at which temperature the ink has a viscosity of about 10-15 centipose. The subject inks exhibit controlled penetration and spreading, but do not remain on the surface of most substrates where they would be prone to burnishing, cracking or flaking. *These inks further comprise 0.1 to 30 wt. % of a colorant system.