I apologize that I have not had time to create a tutorial this month. I have two I have researched, to see if they were feasible, but both require I be in the basement studio to create them. Since it isn't ready yet, and since we had another nearly 9 inches of rain over the weekend, I wasn't about to try to make art down there. Also, it's so hot in my main floor craft room, I can't stay there long, especially since the fan I use in the craft room is still removing excess moisture in the basement.
There are lots of new readers since I posted this tutorial in 2008, and since it's one of my favorite backgrounds, I thought I would post it again. Be aware, my camera back then was definitely not the best, or even very good.
I call this "making a background from ugly scrapbook paper." Of course, you can just as easily use this technique when starting with a blank page.
I usually make my own backgrounds, and love the grunge look. However, I've never seen a tutorial on how to take a sheet of ugly scrapbook paper and turn it into something that can be used in altered art. That's what lead to this tutorial. I was just playing, pulling out my supplies, and adding layers until I got a page I liked. No two backgrounds will ever look the same.
I started with this really ugly sheet of lightweight scrapbook paper,
and turned it into this. The main colors in the original page were lavender and yellow flowers, and green leaves. This is the palette I decided to work around so some of the background could still show.
I started by placing gesso on the page. I didn't try to cover the entire image, because I wanted some of it to eventually show through the grunge. I told you my camera sucked. I wasn't joking! That's why I'm always saying how much I love my "new" camera.
After I had toned the paper down a bit with the gesso, I spritzed it with green (Bottle) color wash. I then allowed the color wash to dry. If I were to create another page similar to this today, I would use some of my handmade shimmering mists, but I used what I had at the time.
Next I added a silver glaze, covering some of the piece and leaving some of the original background intact.
All the glazes meant to be used on walls were picked up at my local Household Hazardous Waste Swap and Shop, a county run facility that takes items you can't send to the landfill. I've said this before, I pay for this service with my property taxes, so I feel I get my money's worth. I've picked up lots of "freebies" like paint, floor cleaner, and anti-freeze (for my car). I know my friends in Europe and Australia have great recycling programs, so if your city has one, you should check it out.
My next color was Cranberry color wash.
I used a dry paper towel to wipe some of it away.
It spread into the still slightly wet silver glaze for a really nice effect. I then repeated this step in another area of the page. Since color wash dries quickly, you should work in one small spot, then repeat, rather than trying to work with the entire page at the same time.
For my next step, I sanded parts of the page, being careful to not damage the thin paper.
Using the edge of an old faux credit card, I added white paint. I specifically left the lines rather than spreading the paint around.
I used a different faux credit card to spread gold metallic paint around, but this time, I didn't just create lines. Instead, I scraped a few places.
Next I used the same credit card without cleaning it to add a green glaze. I bought this glaze on clearance at a big box craft store in the US.
I again added just lines with the green glaze, much like I did with the white paint.
Next I swiped white pigment ink on the page, using the direct to paper method. I poured clear embossing powder over the ink and heat set. I did this in a few places only, and not all over.
Although I didn't photograph this step, I added some lavender paint using the same dirty credit card. And finally, I dipped a bottle cap in the same lavender paint and created the circles. From ugly to grungy, and now I have a background I will use in my art.
And use it I did, although I can't find the post that shows where I used it. Of course, my favorite grunge page starts with plain white paper and fewer steps.
Supplies are simple:
12 X 12 sheet of scrapbook paper, or any substrate of your choosing
Various paints and glazes of your choice
Gift, old faux credit, or hotel key cards (be sure they are plastic because the paper ones don't hold up well)
Begin by spreading two complimentary colors of acrylic paint on the page using your faux credit card. Note that I used inexpensive acrylic. You don't need the good stuff here, because much of it will be covered anyway. I chose red and yellow because I love that warm color combination.
To that, I added lime green, covering some of both the red and the yellow. This helped create even more color and depth.
Next, I dipped another faux credit card in dark green glaze and using only the edge, swiped lines into the center. I then filled in the remaining empty spots on the page using the same glaze.
I repeated the above step using dark blue glaze.
Then I swiped orange glaze in select areas using a clean faux credit card.
Here is the completed piece. If someone had told me that red, yellow, and lime green paint, along with deep green, royal blue, and orange glazes went well together from a color standpoint, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. But, since I tried them all together, I really like the results. Hope this inspires you to create your own grunge background.
Note that I added no texture, other than embossing powder to the first page. Since I first created these pages (after all, it WAS 2008), I have acquired a few stencils, bubble wrap, punchinella (sequin waste), and masks that can add depth and perceived texture.
I hope some of you enjoyed this reposted tutorial. I am going to try to get a post later in the month that will take the place of August's second Thursday tutorial. In the meantime, thanks for looking. I'm really glad you dropped by!