Saturday, August 18, 2012


Hey, everyone...hope you had a great week.  Mine was busy, busy, busy with household stuff that needed to be done as well as finalizing product for Spring Edition, the upcoming event I am teaching at in New Zealand.  So many details in an event like this that can easily become overwhelming (anything that involves international shipping is at the top of the list) but Nic and Lucy have been great to work with all along the way.  Thank You!
All my Heart tray class from Spring Edition Event, New Zealand

So on to today's tutorial, I was recently asked by a friend to create a simple project for a small class of beginning crafters. I thought an introduction to Distress Ink was an easy way to jump into crafting and feel successful, I know I always do when I use them.  So here we go...easy, fun, cheap and not a lot of time.  Sounds like the perfect project to me.

The picture frame -
I went Walmart and picked up a 8 x 10" frame for $3.  It was one of the only frames ($3 and under) that was made from wood not plastic although it was dark brown.  When I got it home, I painted it black and sanded it.  Now I like it much better.

The mat -
The frame came with a thin mat.  As you can see, it does not have a beveled edge but that's okay, in fact probably better.  I got out my Distress ink and inked up the mat using Dried Marigold, Tumbled Glass and Crushed Olive, but really any combination of Distress Ink colors will do.  When mixing colors I try and stick with 3 to start (not counting a brown just for darkening the edges) since 3 can make multiple combinations when layered on your surface.

When the coloring was complete I used Tim's spritz and flick technique to make the water spots. Just spritz a bit of water in the palm of your hand from a mini mister and flick it on to your surface.  Give it 10 seconds and dry it with a Heat Tool.  Super easy technique I learned at Ranger U a few years ago that always makes an impact, possibly making you seem smarter than you actually are (at least in my case it does).
Once the mat was dry, I stamped it with black Archival ink and a great Christy Thomlinson - SheArt Print Texture stamp.  Perfect message for this class and this age group.
 I stamped, and stamped until I covered the entire mat.
...and here is the finished mat.
I also sprayed it with Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold to give it a shimmer.
The center - 
Next, something for the center of the mat.
I cut out a simple heart from plain manila cardstock and inked it with Dried Marigold, Scattered Straw and Frayed Burlap.  I used the same water flick technique as on the frame to remove ink from the heart.   The quote stamp is from the SA - Going Somewhere stamp set which I stamped in Archival Ink - coffee.  I use the same plant stamp (SA - Nature's Discovery) from my last tutorial to add in some blue (Archival Ink - Aquamarine).  Then finished it off by distressing the edges with the Tonic distress tool.
I painted some random chipboard letters with Claudine Hellmuth paint - classic teal then distressed them with a sanding pad.  I inked the white spaces with Scattered Straw Distress Ink.  There are letters from 3 different letter sets...a great way to use up left over letters.  The paint color makes them look like they go together.
So, just in the name of experimentation I created 3 different backgrounds.
Background No.1:
Distress inks used: Broken China and Crushed Olive.
Stamp: Mixed Media, Distress in in Crushed Olive
Test #1
Background No. 2:
Distress Ink: Broken China, Crushed Olive, Frayed Burlap
Stamp: Papillon with Archival Ink in Coffee
Test #2
I might have liked this one better if I had used a lighter shade of ink on the butterflies.  Hummm...lets keep going.
Background No. 3
Manila cardstock
Distress ink: Frayed Burlap
Stamp: Postcard, spills and splatters with Archival Ink in Coffee

The Postcard stamp is hard to gauge whether or not it is straight on the block so I used Tim's acrylic blocks with the lines.  I can place the cling stamp on the block using one of the lines as a guide.  Super simple.
Use my frame as a guide.
(I do know my frame is upside down in this picture but I was just using it as a guide at this point)
 and now it is stamped nice and straight.
I used the spills and splatters stamp to make it look old.
Note: I did stamp off some of the brown ink before stamping since the ink was dark.
And here is the keeper.  Background number 3 is the winner.  Sometimes it takes some trial and error to get it right!

This project is easily adaptable to any stamp set you might already have and any Distress Ink colors you want to use.  Seriously, super easy project. 
cheers for a great weekend!


  1. This is just lovely Paula. I love how you used the 'she' stamp--isn't it funny how we all have these things like stamps, and never think to use them in a different way..until we see someone else's creativity and get motivated. I was looking to create a canvas today, and I just love the inspiration. Thanks.

  2. What a fun project! Love the colors! And I love the All My Heart piece - beautiful!

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  4. This is so beautiful. I use the word Shine in every card I make and a lot of my home decor projects because my full name is Lucero-it is spanish for Bright Morning Star-and stars SHINE. I love what you've done. I am going to have to "art-lift" it!!! But I will give you the credit!!! Thanks for sharing such an awesome tutorial!!

  5. Really like the way you showed the products you used at the end. Now that I have the postcard stamps I will be able to copy you!!

  6. I love your Shine project! Thank you for the step by step instructions. I think I'll have to do something similar and put a picture of the grandkids in it.

  7. I love this project! It's fantastic! TFS barbarayaya

  8. ADORABLE! fabulous inspiration, i will be trying this tomorrow!

  9. That is beautiful, thanks for all the very helpful photos.

  10. Another great project!

    Here you are jetting off to half way around the world again. St Pete IS in the same country, you know! No passport needed!! Just sayin.......

  11. Love, love this! Thank you for the great tutorial. But now I have to ask, what is the great piece standing up behind your tutorial piece???

  12. WOW! I am up early looking at your blog and enjoying my coffee. I really enjoyed looking through all the steps of this wonderful project and I LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing this - my brain is spinning with new ideas!

  13. Wonderful project...soo pretty!

  14. Yeah, that background would have been my choice too. Very nice. I love that she stamp.

  15. Diane D,
    the piece standing up at the back is an artist pallet I picked up at my local antique store, Ruby Rose. I borrowed it for the 7gypsies booth and I bought it when we returned from the show. The colors were just too good to pass up.

  16. Wonderful tutorial for a wonderful project - so great to see you experimenting with the backgrounds, and how each one changes the piece completely. Thank you!
    Alison x

  17. Gorgeous project. I'm teaching a class to beginners soon and I Planned on using Distress Ink but was going to do a card. This is more interesting so I think I will try this concept instead. But of course I will have to ad some glitter somewhere.

  18. I wasn't sure how things were going to end up at the beginning, but what an wonderful result! Love that postcard background and all the colors and layers of detail you added! Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. I definitely like the last background - love the post card stamp!

  20. Adore the colours and the finished project too! It's great to see the trial and error as well.

  21. Great project. Thanks for sharing all the steps.

  22. Well how cool is that? So awesome!!! Thank you :)

  23. Such pretty finished projects... I love all three designs! Will definitely have to give this a go. M x

  24. Love it!! I LOVE eveything you do!!

  25. Paula -

    I really love how this turned out! So beautiful and inspiring.

    Elaine Allen

  26. Wonderful! Love the great tutorial and the alternate backgrounds. Great introduction for anyone to Distress Ink techniques!