DIY Tutorial: Ink Distressing

If you’ve seen even just a little bit of what I sell, seen my craft area, or anything else I create, you hopefully would have felt a rustic vibe.  Every part of me loves anything rustic: rusted metal buckets, weathered (barn) wood, mason jars, twine, old trucks (like our friend’s awesome old suburban that the hubby and I hitched a ride in from our wedding!), burlap…pretty sure you get the picture by now!  So much joy comes from experiencing, seeing, owning and creating rustic things.

Despite my longing for anything rustic, I know many other people don’t quite have the same feelings as I do, or at least not as strongly as I feel them! So, I needed a way to create within the limits of my passion, without excluding those who aren’t quite as passionate.  Solution: ink distressing.  When done right, it adds just enough rustic feel to satisfy my tastes and not too much that it overwhelms the less enamored.

The technique may seem obvious to some, especially fellow crafters and artisans, but for those of you who don’t tread much in those areas, this post is for you.

Tip #1: use a soft foam inkpad.  Firmer ink pads produce harsher line-type edges, versus the softer, gradient distressing shown above.  While for some projects I do use a firmer ink pad (mostly in cases when I only have a firm one available in a particular color), it doesn’t quite produce the same effect.  It’s more like a modern, edgy feel (not that modern and edgy are bad, just not as rustic) like this:

Tip #2: use an old soft ink pad. Sort of like when I use my firm ink pads, the newer ones just give me too much ink!  Instead of gradient textures, it becomes splotchy and unforgiving.  My old ink pads give me a light coating, then I simply re-ink until my rustic heart is satisfied.  Another reason you want to use an older ink pad is because this distressing technique tends to wear out the foam on the pad, especially when you catch a corner of your paper on the foam (I do this often!).

Tip #3: ‘brush’ the paper with the ink pad. The easiest way I have found to get my desired finish is to hold the paper in one hand horizontally, parallel with the floor or desk.  Then I hold my ink pad in the other hand, vertically, then ‘brush’ downwards onto the paper.  This way, it produces gradient inking, with the edges slightly darker.  Also, doing it this way as opposed to laying the paper flat on a desk with scrap paper underneath (like I used to do), saves my ink as I don’t waste any good ink on scrap paper.  Doing it this way also enhances the gradient texture, as I used to mess up a lot more and have jagged, line-type ink marks from laying the paper directly on a flat surface.

When you do this, though, you should be careful and mindful not to ruin the paper you’re distressing.  Sometimes my papers get crinkled, but sometimes I like that, it just adds to the charm!  But other times I want to avoid crinkling the paper, and have to hold onto it a little less tightly when inking.  It’s really your call and your taste.

Take some time and practice, it shouldn’t take long to get the hang of  it.  It will soon just come naturally.  So, what do you plan to do with ink distressing?  Figure it out, then you can share it with the rest of us!

Have any other ink distressing tips or even distressing techniques for other materials, like fabric or wood?  Leave a comment or send me a message!


1 Comment

Filed under DIY + Tutorials

One response to “DIY Tutorial: Ink Distressing

  1. Great tips… I love that look of fading off the edges.

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