Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making Your Own Background Paper Part 1: Using Rubber Stamps

Have you ever driven yourself near mad just trying to find the absolute right piece of patterned paper to go with your scrapbook layouts or handmade cards?  Let me share a secret with you....I am having a love affair with paper...especially patterned paper and handmade paper.  Believe me, I have A LOT of it!  However, from time to time I just can't find exactly what it is that I want in my stash nor do I have the time to run out and look for something at my local store.  So, out of the love of craftiness, I have started making my own papers to coordinate with whatever I am working on.  (yes, I have a HUGE stamp pad collection, too!)

The sample above is a piece of background paper I made using a few simple supplies.  You will need:
  • White or a fairly light colored piece of card stock or scrapbook paper
  • Permanent Ink (I like to use StazOn by Tsukineko)
  • Dye based ink (I like to use Tim Holtz's Distress Inks)
  • Stipple brushes
  • An assortment of rubber stamps

The first thing you will want to do is take your largest images and begin to stamp those randomly onto your solid colored piece of paper.  To make it interesting, stamp some of the images off the page.

**Something important to note....when using this technique, you want to make sure you are using PERMANENT ink.  If you try to use dye inks to stamp your background, they will smudge when you go to colorize it later.

Start with your largest stamps.

Next, stamp your medium and smaller stamps to fill in some of the white space.  Again, use a random pattern and stamp some of the images so they are "hanging" off the page.  Also, overlap your stamps.  It looks really cool!

Add your medium, then small stamps.
Next, use a filler stamp, like the checkered patterned stamp I used below, to fill in some of the wider areas of white space.  Overlapping images looks really cool, so don't be afraid of it.  Once you've done that, it should look something like this:

The checkered image here fills in some of the white space.
I think that looks pretty good, but there is still too much stark white space.  To deal with that, I used this textured stamp and stamped it all over the areas where there were white gaps.  This creates texture and makes the over all look much softer.

Create texture by randomly stamping this type of image over stark white areas of your paper.
If you don't have a textured stamp in your arsenal, that is just fine!  You can create texture in other ways.  You can "stamp" with the following:
  • a stipple brush and tap the bristles onto the paper 
  • a crumpled piece of wax paper or even tin foil
  • a piece of steel wool 
  • the scrubby side of a sponge
  • a sea sponge (which will be right by the sea shells in your local craft store) 

Once you have added the texture, your paper will look like this.  

I think this is really pretty.  In some circumstances I would leave it just like this, however, this paper was going to be used in a vintage style layout, so I added some color using Tim Holtz's Distressed Inks.  

Using my stipple brushes (ya know I can't help myself!), I stippled the lightest color first using a sweeping motion.  Then I highlighted specific areas with the middle color. Finally, I used the darkest color just at the edges of the paper for some contrast.

When I was done, it looked just like this:

I hope you are inspired to make some of your own background paper.  I have been doing this a lot lately and have more ideas to share.  So check back for part 2 very soon!

Just a heads up to you...soon I will be moving this blog to another space along with a new URL.  I will keep you posted.  I hope you will join me there.  I'm very excited about it.

Artfully yours....


  1. Theresa~quite looks fabulous! You are a very creative and talented person. I think I might start playing with my stamps now! :)

  2. I absolutely love your scrapbook layout! Its amazing how you overlap the faces. Looking forward to your part 2!

  3. So cool Theresa. Would make amazing wrapper paper for a special gift


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