Distressing Paper with Ink, Tools, and Water

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Article Courtesy Scrapjazz.com: by Patter Cross

Oh, distressed edges!  They look so neat but how do you create that effect?  There are different ways to distress the edges of your paper so let's look at them.

Tools for Distressing

What kinds of things do you need in order to distress the edges of your paper?  Well, there are tools you can purchase or you can use something as simple as your fingernail.  Let's look at some of the things I like to use:

I actually have and use all of the items listed above.  They all work well!  So, anything that you choose to use would be wonderful.

Time to Distress

To dry distress my paper, I usually use one of the scrapers or distressers listed above.  I put my paper into the slot and start at the top corner of one side and "scrape" it back and forth along the edge of the paper.  You will get used to how firmly you need to do this.  I then continue around the paper distressing all the edges.  I suggest trying your tool out on a piece of scrap paper first.  Of course, different paper weights will require a different amount of pressure, and be ready for the paper mess.  You will probably get a little messy from the paper dust but the effect is so worth it, and it's nothing you cannot just dust off.


To wet distress my paper, I love to take a baby wipe and run it down the edge of my paper and then use my fingernail to distress the paper.  It works well and is so easy!  You can also use one of the tools but it requires a much gentler touch since the paper is damp.  Another way to dampen the edge of your paper is with a wet cotton ball or a damp paper towel.  Both will work the same way as the baby wipe.

On this piece of BasicGrey paper, you can see where I just started to distress the right-hand edge of the paper with the Making Memories edge scraper.  The other edges have not been distressed yet.



After distressing my paper edges, I love to ink them slightly.  I tend to use different ink colors depending on the colors of my card or layout.  To ink the edges, I like to use smaller ink pads instead of a full-sized pad.  Some of my favorites are by Tsukineko-either the Brilliance Dew Drop pads which are a pigment ink or the Memento Dew Drops which are a dye-based ink.  I just run the small ink pad along the edge of the paper, and it gives it a very fun look.  Here is my completed 6" x 6" page after all of the edges have been distressed and inked.  I used Memento Bamboo Leaves ink here and Pink Persimmon's stamp set called Ric Rac Rectangle. 


More Distressing Tips

My good friend Chelsea Cook (HapEMomE on Scrapbook.com) mailed this gorgeous card to me:


I asked Chelsea if she would share her distressing secrets with us.  This is what Chelsea said:

"When distressing my paper, I first use my Making Memories Edger and run it along the edge of the paper holding the edger firmly. I apply more pressure depending on the type of look I want. It is fun trying it out on different projects or even scrap pieces of paper to see what you like best. The wonderful thing about distressing is that in my book, there are no mistakes! Apply a little too much pressure to where it caused a larger tear that you didn't first plan on being there? That is okay! Leave it, don't start over.... it adds character and texture!

After all of my distressing is done, I finish my projects off with Colorbox Chestnut Roan Chalk ink. This is my personal favorite to use, but many other inks will work great as well. Just simply run the ink along the already distressed edges.

I also enjoy distressing other materials such as cardboard. You can take a piece of cardboard and cut it to the size you are wanting. Then just peel the first layer of paper off the top of the cardboard. Leave some of it there to add a neat look and more texture and dimension."

All of the techniques Chelsea described can be seen on the card she made.  Her card is so fun! Thank you, Chelsea, for sharing!

I hope you will try distressing on your next paper creation.  But be careful, once you try it, you might find you use it on every creation.  It is quite addictive!  Have fun and happy distressing!


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