Rough It Up

Last Updated 10/14/09

by Tammy Jackson

The well-worn, scruffy, vintage look known as "shabby-chic" has taken the scrapbooking world by storm. Who would have thought that making things look old and worn out would become so popular and that it could be so much fun? A lot of manufacturers have come out with scrapbooking products based on this shabby vintage look. I love these products, and I buy a lot of them. However, I also enjoy finding different ways to achieve the shabby-chic effects myself. Let's first look at papers and cardstock. There are a myriad of techniques that can be used to make papers look old and worn.

Tear the paper to give it a rough edge

Crumple it

Sand the paper with sandpaper

Rub it with metallic rub-ons

Dry brush it with acrylic paint

Smear it with ink (see "Scrappers, INK" article by Libby Weifenbach)

Rub it with chalks

Peel off layers

Paint it with crackle finish paints

Paint it with faux finish paints

Roll the edges of torn paper

Dip it, spray it, or smear it with walnut ink

The possibilities for "roughing up" paper are endless, and the look is fabulous. If you have copies of your photos, don't be afraid to rough them up too. Just be sure that you're roughing up copies and not your one and only original. Now, let's look at embellishments and how they too can be made to look "shabby". These are just some of the techniques I like to use on my pages:

Sand buttons and metal or wooden embellishments to make them look worn.

Paint just about any embellishment with acrylic paint and then wipe off the excess. This gives a really wonderful old look to items.

Dip twill tape, cheesecloth, or other fabric-like items in walnut ink. The brownish tinge is great for making fabrics look ancient.

Use faux finish paints to make any item look rusted or give it a verdigris patina.

Splatter acrylic paint or walnut ink on a tag, die-cut, or sticker to make it look like it once belonged to Grandma.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Some of my best layouts have come about by experimentation and accidents that happened while playing with paper and "roughing up" techniques. It's only paper after all. Let loose of your pent up energy, and put it to use turning your layout into a shabby-chic work of art.

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