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Distressing Scrapbooks:

Distressing is defined as to dent, scratch, or stain so as to give an appearance of age.  This works particularly well when we want to achieve an heritage/aged/old look in our scrapbooks.  Or if you like the shabby chic look, distressing is perfect for you!

5 Fun Ways to Add Distressing to your Scrapbook Pages

by Dawn Stegall

Distressing is a popular trend now in scrapbooking.  Whether you like shabby chic or want to go for a more aged/weathered/heritage style, distressing your papers will give you the look you desire.  Here are five fun ways to add distressing to your scrapbook pages.

1. Distress by wadding/crumpling your paper.  Simply wad up your paper into a ball.  You may want to experiment with how much or tightly you wad your paper.  Now unfold your paper and flatten with your hands.  (You may need to wad again if you haven't achieved the results you were hoping for).  Besides using your hands to flatten out your paper, you may choose to use a brayer or even a warm iron. 


Beach Layouts by Scrapbookqueen 

Background altered with distress inks

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2. Achieve a weathered look by sanding with a fine sandpaper, emery board or sanding block (I found some sanding blocks for nails at the dollar store). Gently sand your cardstock/paper where you want it distressed. Continue to sand and alter the surface until you reach your desired look.  You can sand the edges or gently sand the entire surface for a more weathered look.  Another method is to fold your paper and sand on the fold.  When you reopen the paper it leaves a prominent line as in an old document.  Do you have some older papers or stickers lieing around with a nice slick and shiny surface?  Take these outdated products, sand them to remove the shine and give them a whole new look.

3. Easily tear or roll your paper for a vintage look.  Tearing away from you or towards you provide different results. Cardstock with a white core will have a white edge shown through. Experiment and find what you like best.  If you find your cardstock difficult to tear, try wetting lightly with a paint brush or Qtip first.  You can further age the torn edges with ink or chalk. Roll the edges for a fun look as well.


Layout by ScrapbookQueen

Used paper tearing and rolling techniques.

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4. Scrape or use a wire brush to achieve a distressed look.  Scrape the edges of your cardstock carefully until you reach the desired look.  Check for specialty scrapers made just for paper.  A wire brush can be gently brushed over your paper to weather it.  Try random brush strokes, or lines and even plaids.  Have fun experimenting.

5. Now that you have wadded, crumpled and sanded, add some color back to your paper.  You can use chalks, ink, metallic rub-ons or stains.  Using your fingertips, Qtips, sponges, tissue or whatever else you want apply using a circular motion until the desired result is reached.  You can also apply ink directly to your paper.  My favorite technique is to ink the edges by directly brushing ink pad to edge of paper.  Stains made especially for scrapbooking can easily be found now including walnut ink, stains, washes, etc.  You can also use items found around the house such as coffee, tea and koolaid. 


Family Canvas by ScrapbookQueen

This is a 16X16 piece of canvas art I did in a class at my LSS. We painted the background and then sponged it and I edged mine. Then used super sticky glue strips to adhere normal scrapbooking stuff, like a regular page (just a little bigger). The edges of the pp are distressed and the circle labels and ribbon sliders are chipboard, painted and covered in pp. The word family was supposed to be a rub-on but the store actually printed a copy out onto pp instead.

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Are you ready to try a distressed look in your next scrapbook layout?  Crumple, wad, sand, tear, roll, scrape, ink, chalk and stain to your hearts content.  Which technique will you try first?  Have fun distressing your next layout!

More distressed sample layouts...

Recommended resources for Distressing:

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