In the hobby of scrapbooking, distressing can be defined as altering paper or embellishments to give them an aged, vintage or well-worn look. It is a very inexpensive technique that can add a lot of depth and texture to your pages. Distressing looks great with heritage photos, sepia photos and black and white photos.
Dry distressing techniques
This is the first LO I created to demonstrate some of the basic techniques:
The first thing I did was cut a strip (3 1/2" x 12") of the Jenni Bowlin Turquoise Wallpaper patterned paper. I then crumpled it up:
If you want it to be more wrinkled, crumple it again. Next, I used the large sanding file from the Basic Grey Precision set to sand the paper. You will notice that it really makes the creases in the paper from crumpling it stand out.
Next, I inked it using some Ranger Distress Ink. Hold the ink pad over the paper and lightly brush it with the pad. The harder you press, the more ink will be added to your paper.
Here are some tips on using ink to distress your paper. You can hold your ink at a 90 degree angle and it will lightly ink your edges like in this photo.
If you would like more coverage on the edges, tilt the ink pad closer to the paper (making the angle between your paper and ink pad more acute.)
Here's another tip that I learned that I am not sure you knew. When you purchase your Ranger Distressing Pads, they have a flat surface like this:
You can actually pull the top flat surface. It is a great idea to wear gloves when you do this. My fingers were broken china blue for several days.
In the following picture, you can see what it does for your paper. The right edge was inked before I removed the top layer of the ink pad. The bottom edge was after. I love that the bottom looks more natural and not manufactured to make it look aged. Hope that makes sense when you look at this photo:
I placed the paper we distressed next to the original piece so you could see the difference:
I then continued to do the same thing to all of the other papers I added to my page. I kept adding layers of paper to the page. I think that with distressing, the more layers of paper you add, the better it looks. This is just my own personal preference.
Another thing I wanted to show you was paper tearing. I think it looks great with distressed papers and really goes with the worn and vintage look. You can see from looking at my LO that I tore the edge of the Turquoise Wallpaper patterned paper I used on the left of the LO. When tearing paper, I like to place the paper with the pattern face up. I then tear the paper upward. It is hard to show you the exact way I hold the paper while I tear it with one hand on the camera but I usually use one hand to hold the paper and the other to tear. By tearing it upward, you can see the white core of the paper.
The white core will also pick up and show more ink when you ink the edges. If you don't want the white core to show, then place your pattern face down when tearing.
Another distressing technique I used on this LO, was sanding. Again, I used the large file from the Basic Grey Precision Set and sanded the edges of the paper. I also sanded some of the surface of the background paper. Both add more texture to your page.
Again, here's my finished page. With these techniques, keep repeating them and combining them until you get the desired look you want on your page. If the distressing technique isn't giving you as bold of a result as you like, do it again. Keep doing it until you get the results you want.
The problem I was having when scanning these pages was that the true depths of the distressing was getting lost. Here are some photos of the page that might help you see it better.
There is another way to go about distressing your papers. It is very similar to dry embossing with the exception that at the beginning of the process you spray the paper with water. (I couldn't find a spray bottle so I used the spray button on my iron. ;) ) You then crumple it up:
Unfold it very carefully and let dry:
You can use it as is or iron it to flatten. Next, you would cut it to size, sand, and/or ink. I understand that wet distressing does shrink the paper some so cut it afterwards. Also, I have heard you should layer the paper in paper towels when ironing it.
My favorite way to distress paper edges is to use the Heidi Swapp Distress Tool. I couldn't photograph myself completing the technique because I only have 2 hands, but I will describe it for you. You simply run the distress tool across your paper edge with the edge of the paper meeting the edge of the blade in the center of the tool. The Pac-man like shape makes it so easy to do this. With the Jenni Bowlin papers we are going to use on this layout, you must be careful because they are thinner. The HS DT can tear them if you aren't gentle. Here is the layout created with this tool:
Take your time and distress the edges of the Vintage Black Bird Paper. I usually do each edge several times to get the distressed look I prefer.
I then cut a rectangle (5" x 7") of the Red Houndstooth paper and a strip (2" x 9 1/2") of the Grandma's Apron paper. Using a piece of shaped Bazzill Cardstock, I traced the edge of the scallop on the back of the strip of Grandma's Apron paper with a pencil. Cut out the scallops. ( *TIP* I keep at least one of every piece of the shaped Bazzill pps to trace onto patterned papers or other pieces of cardstock. It is one of the cheapest templates out there. ;) )
Next, sand the edges of the Red Houndstooth rectangle, the scalloped Grandma's Apron strip and a Making Memories Journaling spot. You can substitute another journaling piece or leave it off. Completely up to you.
The last thing I did was assemble the page. I added some matted photos, ribbon, buttons, journaling, and a title. I also decided to color in the bird design in the bottom in red and black colored pencil to add more color to the page. Here are some dimensional photos of the finished LO because once again, a scan doesn't capture the dimension of distressing:
With the next LO, I will show you alternate ways to distress the edges of your pps if you don't have the Heidi Swapp Distressing Tool. You can do a very similar technique with a pair of scissors or an Exacto knife. I don't think people will be able to tell the difference from looking at your pages. You need to be very careful when using the edge of a blade doing these techniques. I don't want you to get cut. I prefer the Heidi Swapp tool for the reason that it is safe and it is quicker. I had to do the following technique more time so get the same results. Here is our LO:
We will be using the Cherry Arte Vintage Papers called Vintage Bloom, Vintage Vine, and Vintage Spring. All three are thick pieces (which I prefer when distressing) and double sided. I used the Vintage Bloom piece for my background. It is actually about 12" x 12.5" with the name strip at the bottom saying the name of the company and the pattern. When you cut this off to give yourself a 12x12 piece of paper for the background, save the strip!! We will use the back striped piece for the strip in the middle of the page sandwiched between the trims.
Here, I used an exacto knife on the edge of the blade. Scrape the edge of the piece of patterned paper to expose the white core. Keep doing this until you have the desired amount of distressing.
On another edge of the piece, I demonstrated the same thing using the blade of my Cutterbee scissors:
I found that the closer the blade is to a 90 degree angle with your paper, the more distressing you will do with each swipe of the blade. Here is a photo I took of the entire edge of piece. On the left side, I held the blade closer to the 90 degree angle. Do you see the difference between that edge and the right?
I did a third side with the Heidi Swapp tool so you could see the difference in the three different methods:
Next, I cut the pieces of Vintage Vine (5" x 7") and Vintage Bloom (4" x 7 1/4") papers and sanded the edges of those. I adhered those, my photo and the striped strip of paper from the beginning (also sanded) to my LO:
I next added my trims. I love the look of pleated ribbon on a LO and thought I would show you how I got the look on my LO. I take my piece of ribbon and flip it over. I add a strip of adhesive using my tape runner (I have the ATG 714). I start by placing the piece where I wanted the trim on the left side:
I then folded it and adhered a little more. You can fold it as many times as you want. I don't try to make my folds equal distances from each other. If you like to have yours spaced out the same distance, go for it. I kind of like the random look myself. Here is another photo:
I then added 3 Jillibeans Soup Journaling Spots around my page creating a visual triangle across my page. I distressed the edges of each of those as well. I added my title and here is my finished page and the dimensional shots:
One more thing I want to mention before we go to our next LO is that I didn't ink this page with Ranger Distress ink. My papers, title and trim had white and I thought the white core showing matched my design better. If you prefer the ink, go for it. It is all about your taste and combining as many of these techniques as you like.
Dry Brush Painting
Another way to distress your pages is with paint. I like to use paints made for scrapbooking by scrapbooking manufacturers. How do they vary from acrylic paints you purchase in the craft section? They are manufactured with less water so as to not warp your paper or chipboard. I like using a sponge brush that you can purchase at any large box retailer or craft store. I often stock up when they are having a sale (think 15/$1 or 20/$1).
I save the cardboard insert from my ACOT packages to use when I paint stuff. I lay it under my paper so as not to get the paint everywhere. For this page, I will be using the Cherry Arte Vintage Count, Vintage Posy, and Vintage Basket Papers along with Making Memories Spotlight paint. I cut the name strip off of the Vintage Count piece and will be using the blue side.
I poured some paint out on my cardboard. I dipped my brush lightly in the paint.
I then ran my brush across the cardboard several times to eliminate some of the excessive paint:
I then ran the brush horizontally across the edge of the paper:
I did the same thing along all 4 edges:
It doesn't take that long to dry because we aren't adding a lot of paint. While it is drying, cut a ring out of the Vintage Posy piece of paper. My inner circle was 7 3/4" thick and my outer circle was 8 1/4" thick. Don't' worry about your edges being perfect. Mine was far from it but you can never tell after distressing. We will distress both the edges of the resulting ring using the HS tool (or scissors or exacto.) I cut a piece (3" x 3") from the Jenni Bowlin Love Song piece of patterned paper. I cut a second piece (3" x 7") from the Cherry Arte Vintage Basket patterned paper. I cut a third small piece from my background piece of patterned paper. I actually cut a rectangle (1 1/2" x 5 1/2") from the exact spot I knew my photo was going to be.
I adhered my 3 smaller pieces of pp and used a pencil to lightly draw where my photo would be. I lifted up my photo and used a ruler to draw a 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangle. Using an exacto knife, I cut out my rectangle. (*TIP* this is a great way to save money when layering lots of pattered papers. Sometime I use a large square of pp over my background piece of paper. There is a lot of paper that is covered up and in the long run wasted. You could cut out the middle of the page if you wish and save it for another LO. Who is ever going to see the back of the page other than you?)
I distressed all three of the smaller pieces of patterned paper and my circle/ring.
Here is the finished LO we have been working on:
I am going to show you another technique to take your distressing one step further. After using the Heidi Swapp Distressing Tool, I used my fingers to roll the edges of the paper upward.
Here is a dimensional view of the LO so you can see what the results look like on the page:
I added my title, a couple of posies I hand cut from the Vintage Posy piece of patterned paper using an exacto knife, a piece of ribbon tied in a bow and some Kaisercraft jewels.
Here are some dimensional views of the page:
*Edge distressing Tool- I prefer the Heidi Swapp pink but I will how to also use an exacto knife and a pair of scissors. All will give you a similar effect on a layout.
*Tim Holtz Distress Ink- there are a variety of ones available in the shop here. I have many different colors to match my papers and the effect I am going for. If you don't have any and are looking to purchase one or 2 for the class, I recommend starting with a black:
I realize the thumbnails all show a photo of the broken China color, but they are all the correct thumbnails and links from the shop. The color names (in correct order) are: Black Soot, Old Paper, Brushed Corduroy, and Antique Linen.
*File/Distressing Tool Set- I have the Basic Grey one:
If you don't' have the money to invest in one, I recommend a nail file or a sanding block (bought in the hardware section for sanding paint.) I have used both before and they both work great for sanding paper. I recommend the finer grit ones so you don't put holes in your paper.
*Scrapbooking Paint- Making Memories has the best selection of colors out there.
*Sponge tipped brush for the paint- I like the 1" ones that go on sale in the craft stores for 15 or 20 for $1.
*Scrap paper- to practice on
Scrappy Supplies from the ACOT shop that I will be using on my LOs: