Making Printable Backgrounds for Stamping, Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking
Paper Crafts Project by Carolyn Hasenfratz
Copyright © 2011
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- Tools and Materials
- Make the Parts
- Enhance With Digital Techniques
Combine collage with monoprinting and Adobe Photoshop to make exiting printable background and accent papers. You will need at least some basic knowledge of Photoshop to complete the project.
The first part of the process in this project was inspired by an article called "Distressed Scraps Backgrounds" by Trish Bee. Check out her web site Techniques Zone for lots more interesting mixed media techniques.
Tools and Materials
Assorted paper scraps
Large piece of sturdy paper
Acrylic medium (optional)
Rubber stamping ink
Baren or rubbing tool
Computer with scanner and Adobe Photoshop
Make the Parts
- Tear or cut scrap pieces of paper and glue them to a sturdy piece of drawing, printmaking, or watercolor paper. PVA glue is a good choice.
- Water down some white gesso and brush over all. The amount of water you add will determine how transparent the gesso wash will be. Test your mix on some scrap paper to make sure it's what you want. If you add so much water that the wash will not cling to slick paper, add some acrylic medium to help it stick better. You can use white acrylic paint if you don't have any gesso. Set this sheet aside to dry.
- Now make a random, grungy rubber stamped texture that will be scanned. Roll out some dark rubber stamping ink of your choice with a brayer and randomly place pieces of paper on top as a mask. You can also make marks in the ink with a variety of tools. Place a piece of white paper over it and rub with a baren, brayer, or rubbing tool of your choice. Pull print and allow it to dry.
Enhance With Digital Techniques
- Go back to your torn paper collage after it's thoroughly dry. Scan it in at 300 ppi one corner at a time if your scanner is not big enough to accomodate the whole piece. Rotate as you go.
- Get your inked grungy piece after it's thoroughly dry and scan it in at 300 ppi. Open the scan in Photoshop, and turn up the contrast so the design is reduced to stark black and white. Rename your first layer so you can use transparency. Using the Select > Color Range tool, remove all the white.
- Create a new file that is 300 dpi and 8" x 10.5". Paste your black layer into it. Use CTRL-A and then moving your arrow key up once then down once to make a selection. Save the selection and name it a name that makes sense to you. You can now make this layer invisible.
- Bring one of your scanned textures into this file and adjust size if needed. Make a copy of its layer.
- Select the layer containing one of the copies and load your selection outline. Hide it with CTRL-H.
- Select the burn tool, select range midtones, and exposture to 10%. Increase your brush size to about 1000 pixels. Burn the image until the pattern shows itself to a satisfying degree.
- You might find that you need a color overlay of the grunge pattern to tone down the burn areas a little. In this case, turn on your original layer and use the eyedropper to select a neutral color.
- Make a new color and name it overlay. Your grunge pattern should still be selected, use CTRL-H to turn it back on and see the outlines. Use the paint bucket tool to fill with your unifying color. Deselect and change the transparency of this layer to 20%.
- The order of your layers from bottom to top should now be original, burn layer, and grunge pattern. Make sure they are all visible. Adjust the transparency of the burn layer until the pattern looks satisfactory. In my sample the burn layer is set at 50%.
- If you would like your design to be lighter to make a better background, create a layer above all the other layers and fill with solid white. Adjust the tranparency until the design is to the desired lightness.
- Now print out your finished pattern on the paper or cardstock of your choice and have fun making things from it!
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Carolyn Hasenfratz, Author
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