White-Washed Background by Lisa Truesdell 01/01/2010
Happy New Year's Eve! I'm popping in here today with a tutorial to help you add a layer of frost to your winter layouts.
The January kit, Whodunit, has a gorgeous color scheme that is awesome for any season - but I wanted to make it even *more* winter-y for a page featuring my older boys sledding with friends. I started my page by drawing a border 1in in from the outside of my 12x12 cardstock, and then punching squares of various patterned papers from the kit and arranging them in rows inside my square. I used a square punch from Fiskars, but you could simply use your trimmer to cut squares if you don't have a punch. I attached each square of patterned paper to my background using just a bit of adhesive in the middle of the square.
Now, I'm loving this color scheme, but it's a bit spring-y for what I'm going for. I could have left out the greens and yellows, but I really liked the pattern that those pieces added. I knew a wash of white paint could tone down the colors and give me the effect I wanted. I used Manila paint by Making Memories, but Claudine Hellmuth's Blank Canvas paint would work just as well. I love these brushes - the set is inexpensive and they are *much* nicer than the brushes I used to pick up at my local craft store! I put a glob of paint on a paper plate and then soaked my brush in water. I dabbed the brush in the paint and then brushed it across the plate a couple times to remove the excess paint and water. Remember - you can always ADD more paint to the background, but you can't take it away - you'll want to start with very little paint on the brush. If you get a spot that looks too watery, press a paper towel over the top to soak up the excess.
I brushed my watered down paint across the background, adding more paint and water as my brush got dry. I ended up doing two coats to get the shading that I wanted. I painted a little outside my block of squares on all sides to give the piece a nice border. While the paint was still wet, I sprayed the whole background with Silver Plated Maya Mist - the Iridescent Pearl would give you a similar effect. It didn't add any color, but it *did* add a frosty shimmer. Since I only adhered each square in the middle, the water in the paint warped each piece a bit, giving the background some dimension. I hadn't planned on this, but really loved the effect.
I love the star stamps that came with the main kit, and wanted to work them into my design. I laid my photos and journaling block onto my page so I had an idea of what areas would be covered, and then added a couple of stars to each row. I stamped with silver pigment ink and embossed them with clear embossing powder - the stamping is subtle, but adds an extra bit of shimmer and interest to the background.
I cut the scallop sticker from the sticker sheet in half and added it to the top left and bottom left of my square of blocks and then I stitched a border with grey thread. I stamped the journaling stamp with black ink on blue patterned paper twice, and cut each block out. I used one whole to hold my journaling, and cut the top off another and used it as a date tab at the top of my page. I took advantage of the white space in my larger photo and layered the smaller one on top of it, and then added them to my page with foam adhesive. I wrapped the photo with red baker's twine and finished the layout with a few button accents, and a label sticker embellished with star rubons.
While I've used this white washing technique to get a snowy look, it can also be used to unify *any* collection of patterned papers. This would be a great way to use up a bunch of scraps that don't quite match. You could also add a twist to it by using a bolder mist over the top of your background.