Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distressing Paper

I've been talking about doing more artwork and occasionally mentioning it on the good old blog here. Today, since it's my birthday and I'm not feeling too hot, (Bad headache for days and fighting a cold, somehow related probably) I decided to do a little painting and I started thinking about texture. I love texture and something that looks interesting on an art journal page. I had a great idea and I tried it out. It worked really well so I thought I should share.

Please note:
  1. I have not looked to see if others have done this technique and do NOT claim to be the first, I just know I thought of it and did it today and had tons of fun!
  2. If you are a fiber person and are therefore not interested in artsy paper stuff, scroll down, there's yarn at the bottom of this post.
I took a break from my art journal today to play computer and suddenly remembered a super fun craft I did as a kid. You take a regular piece of paper and distress it. I thought it would be super fun for art journaling or any art really so I made a little tutorial. Enjoy!

Start with a sheet of paper. I used an ordinary sheet of printer paper. Nothing special at all.

Then I tore a section out so it wouldn't have perfect and straight edges

As you can see, I'm working on my dining room table since my office desk is a mess so I've laid down a sheet of wax paper to protect the table cloth. I recommend it for this even if you don't care about the underneath surface. You'll see why.

Next, crumple it up into a little ball

Now unfold it and flatten it out (it doesn't have to be perfect at this point)

The reason it doesn't have to be perfect is because you're going to repeat these two step a bunch of times. Crumple, flatten, crumple, flatten until the paper gets softer and well worn.

Can you see the little holes worn in the paper? That's what you're looking for, a very stressed paper. It's much softer like a tissue almost and as you can see, very distressed.
Now you want it to be fairly flat, not that you need to really flatten it but lay it out so it isn't folded over and such.

Now, make a wash with watercolors. Use any color that you like of course, I'm using a nice bright cerulean blue. Brush it onto the paper using a nice sized brush, as you wet the paper you will find that it sticks down a bit and flattens out, just keep smoothing the paper with your brush as you paint it. You may find it absorbs more paint than you expect, just keep loading your brush and brushing it on.

I recommend the wax paper or something else because the paper is pretty fragile at this point and leaving it on the wax paper to dry helps keep it from totally falling apart. Depending of course on how much you distress it.

Add other little bits of another color if you wish and then press a paper towel onto it to absorb some of the excess moisture.

If you need to or want to, flip the towel and press it down again. Leave the paper to dry on the surface and check out what you made!

Here is the one from earlier with the one made in the tutorial. (I apologize for the bad lighting, dim evening in my living room)
As you can see, the paint absorbs more in the creases giving it a very cool mottled appearance (especially if you add bits of another color) and when it dries it has a very interesting texture that's not totally perfect and flat. It reminds me a little bit of handmade paper in that it's totally unique and unusual.

If you're into art or art journaling at all, try it. It's super fun!

I promised you yarn too didn't I? Here is some BFL I just finished spinning the other day.

It's 8 ounces of Frabjous Fibers in Moulin Rouge and I got about 538 yards. I think it's about a sport weight 2-ply. I like it but I'm not completely in love with it so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I was thinking socks, (Knee-high of course) it might have to marinate in the stash for a bit before I decide.

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