Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Distressing Techniques

Here is a great list, too:

Don't you love it when you look at a page and it just looks perfectly finished? I decided to look through many of my past layouts this week. I found that the pages I love the best are the ones that look "finished". They all just have the final touch that says, "I'm done!" And you know what many of mine had in common? They all had some form of distressing involved in the process.

Distressing seems like maybe a new trend, but it is a new trend based on the past --which is what our photos are all about. There are several ways to achieve a distressed look on your existing patterned paper, cardstock, photos, embellishments, and more. I would like to challenge you to try a new one this week from my list below.

1.) Sandpaper: Gently sand the edges or areas you want to look more antique. If you have never done it before, all you really need is a nail file (emery board) or small piece of sand paper. I actually buy large packs of sand paper at the store for furniture projects and I use the left over pieces for distressing. Keep in mind that you can do this to any paper or embellishment or even the photos themselves. Use it on embellishments that you don't use or like the color of - like colored brads or eyelets - this exposes the metal underneath.

2.) Wrinkle and Crinkle: You can wrinkle and crinkle dry papers and cardstocks with no cost at all. I like to wrinkle them, ink them lightly or heavily (you can really use any color of ink - I like the browns and blacks or distressing inks), making sure your ink pad just grazes the raised surfaces of the paper, and then spray them with a fine mist of water to spread the ink and help it to blend into the texture of the paper. Allow to dry completely before using. Iron flat on backside of paper on low heat, if needed.

3.) Steel Wool: This is kind of the same idea as the sand paper, but it works a lot better for distressing embellishments and photos. You just rub the steel wool across the desired areas to get the effect you want.

4.) Tea or Coffee Staining: Make yourself a cup of regular tea and use the wet tea bag to stain your paper. Lightly dab the paper until it reaches the shade you wish your paper to be. Blow-dry the paper and you're good to go! For coffee, you can just soak paper in the coffee. Pour coffee into a cake pan and gently lay the paper flat. Soak a minute and take out. Or you can crumple it into the coffee cup and carefully lay it flat afterward. Rubbing dry or damp coffee grounds onto crinkled paper works well too. You can also distress items with colored chalks, colored pencils, ink pens, and household items, such as strawberry/apple juice, and much more.

5.) Tearing & Curling: Yep, tearing is another way to get that distressed look. To make a more "real" look, try tearing the paper and then inking the edges. To get the rolled look: just moisten your fingers with water and roll the edges in the direction you want them to go, then let them dry. This is a fantastic way to add texture.

6.) Paint: Craft paint seems to be coming back, but full circle. Use the paint just like you would distressing inks. Use a brush, sponge or piece of cloth to apply.

If want to make distressing easier, Making Memories sells a kit with almost all of the supplies for the above ideas all in one. Make your layouts shabby chic or get an aged/weathered/heritage style. By distressing your scrapbooking endeavors, you will get that "finished" look.

By R. M. King


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