Hi everyone! Today’s post is the first in a series we’re calling Scrap Basics. What are Scrap Basics? They’re instructional tutorials showing you how we do our favorite scrapbooking techniques. Even if you’re new to scrapbooking, you’ll find our tutorials easy to follow and use. Remember, these techniques are just one of many ways to achieve a certain look on your scrapbook page, and there’s no right or wrong way to do things when you’re scrapbooking.
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1) Paper Distressing Tool
There are several ways to distress paper to give it an aged or antique look. The first way is to use a distressing tool. We use this Tim Holtz paper distresser, but there are many different brands of paper distressers out there. To use this tool, you simply slide it across the edge of your paper a few times until your edges are as distressed or frayed as you’d like them to be. (Tip: Don’t have a paper distressing tool? You can get a similar effect using a pair of scissors. Just run the blade of your scissors down the edge of the paper). You can also simply tear the edges of your paper to get a rough edge. Just do this carefully so you don’t tear off more than you intended.
2) Sanding or filing
Using a nail file, sanding block, or sand paper removes some of the color from the paper and gives it a really cool, vintage look. Lay your paper flat on your work surface, and lightly sand the surface of your paper. You can do just the edges or even the entire page.
Using an ink pad is another great way to add interest and dimension to your paper. We usually ink the very edge of the paper (the white part), then bring the ink onto the front of our paper to create a type of border or frame for our page.
When using ink, we recommend inking a piece of plain white scrap paper before putting the ink directly onto the scrapbook page you’re working with. This way you can get a good idea of how the color will look before you’re committed to it. We usually choose a few different colors that we think might look good on our scrapbook page, make an ink mark on a piece of plain scrap paper, leave the ink container we used next to each ink mark so we know which ink mark came from which container, then choose which color will work best on our project.
Sometimes the ink translates a lot differently on paper than how you think it will look based on the container, so we really like using this step to ensure we’re getting the right color for our page. Our favorite inks to use are the Tim Holtz Distress Ink, and the ColorBox Chalk Ink. The Tim Holtz Distress Inks are gorgeous and are our go-to for distressing. They’re designed to spread a bit, can be diluted with water, and can be combined with other distress inks. The ColorBox Chalk Inks tend to have a softer look than the Distress Ink, and dry to a chalky or matte finish.
4) Rolling and tearing
One of our favorite techniques involves wetting and rolling the edges of the paper. This gives the paper a lot of dimension and character. To do this, we first spray a bit of water onto our work surface. (Tip: Don’t have a work surface you can spray water onto? Use a plate). Gently rub the edge of the paper into the water to dampen it, then lay it flat on your work surface and start rolling up the edge of the paper. Unroll and roll it again until the edges have the look you’re going for.
While you’re rolling, you can also create little tears in the paper. Leave the tears as is, or roll the edges of the tear to create a V shape.
Once we’re done rolling and tearing our paper, we use an embossing heat tool to dry the paper before we move on. If you don’t have an embossing heat tool, you can just let it air dry. We have this Nicole multi-purpose heat tool, and this Hobby Lobby heat tool, and use them to dry our paper between applications of ink, paint, glitter sprays, etc.
If you decide to roll and/or tear your paper, whatever you choose to mount your paper onto will show around the edges a bit. You can use a colored card stock or chipboard that compliments your scrapbook paper. (Tip: an empty cereal box can be cut and used for chipboard). You can paint or ink the edges of your card stock. You can mount a second scrapbook paper onto the edges of the card stock. Or you can tuck fabric or lace around the edges (under the paper but on top of the card stock). You can even distress the edges of your card stock with your paper distressing tool or scissors.
We probably wouldn’t use all of these techniques on one piece like we did above. After all, the idea is to make your paper look aged, not like it was run over by a truck (unless run-over-by-a-truck is indeed the look you’re going for, then we say go for it!). But hopefully you can see how a little distressing can add a lot of depth and character to your scrapbook page. If you have your own technique or tip for distressing paper, let us know about it!
If you use one of these techniques on your project, we’d love to see it! Please share with us in our comment section or upload a picture to our Facebook page, and we may highlight your craft in a future post!
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