Distressing ideas

No, I don’t mean things that will distress you, silly! I mean the kind of distressing you can do to your scrapbook pages to bring interest and dimension to your layouts! I’m gonna show you some ways to do that today.

Sorry I have been such a bad blogger recently. Sometimes other responsibilities kind of take over and blogging gets put on hold for a while. I missed you all. I hope you missed me too! 🙂

Today I’m sharing a tutorial on distress techniques that I did a couple of months ago for 52 sketches 52 weeks. I thought you all might like to see it as well. I know there is at least one of the pages in this tutorial that I have already shown here on my blog, but I hope that’s OK.


Distressing doesn’t only have to be limited to vintage pages. This is a fun, brightly colored page I did on my son at the pool. To give the page more interest and depth I ran my fingernail along the edges to rough it up a bit. I like to tear the paper a bit here and there too. This is a great way to add more interest and dimension to your pages. I often just use my nail to rough up the edges of my paper because I like the look I can achieve with my fingernail better than the look I get with a distressing tool, but there are several distressing tools on the market that you can use to achieve much the same look and save your nails.


I also painted some chipboard and when it was dry I sanded it off in areas to give it a worn, casual look.


On this page I used lots of ink on the edges and crinkled the paper to achieve the worn look. I used a sponge to apply my ink on this page for a softer feel.


Here’s a fun technique to try on tags or other small areas of your pages.
You’ll need some tags, distress ink, water spray bottle, and a heat gun.

Start by brushing the ink all over the tag, then quickly spray with your water bottle.

working quickly, dry the water and ink using your heat tool. Your finished product should look something like this:

On these I started with a yellow tag and added Ranger Vintage photo distress ink.

Here are some I made using white tags and Antique Linen distress ink by Ranger.

You can play around with this technique for an unlimited amount of options. I used these tags on this page:

A few other techniques I used on this page are painted edges,painted and sanded hardware, and sanded photos. You could also sand your patterned paper to tone down too bright colors or to sand off an area for a fun distressed look.

Or crumple and ink card stock. Here, instead of using a sponge to apply the ink I used what is called the direct to paper technique where you swipe the ink pad along the edges of the card stock. I also brushed the ink pad over the paper after I had crumpled it. The raised parts of the paper catch the ink when you do this.

Here’s another fun technique to try out.
Take a piece of paper, in this case I’m using a Basic Grey tag. Swipe the entire piece with your Versamark pad.

Then cover it with clear embossing powder and heat set.

After you have embossed it, gently crumple the paper to make cracks in the embossing enamel. Don’t worry if you tear the paper. We’re distressing it, remember. 🙂 This is what it should look like.

Then take an ink pad and swipe it across the paper. The ink will seep into the cracks you made in the embossing enamel. Wipe off any excess ink with a tissue and you will have this:

There are a few distressing techniques I haven’t covered in today’s tutorial. One is what I call spritzing or flecking. Using a marker and a spritzing tool you can make tiny flecks of ink on your paper. Or you can make flecks of paint using watered down paint and an old toothbrush or paintbrush. Either of these techniques can give you an interesting distressed look.

Another technique I haven’t covered is tea and coffee staining. There are several ways to stain paper, fabric and lace using coffee and tea and there are numerous tutorials on the web to show you how this is done. I can’t get into all of that here, but if you’d like to learn more about this technique I recommend you do a search on coffee and tea staining on the internet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve shared with you today about distressing. In some ways I think this is de-stressing, because there is something strangely therapeutic about tearing and crumpling and inking. So, go have some fun!

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