We had an ATC background swap in our Paper Traders group and my background was made based on Jill Geraghty-Groves’ “Decaying Background” technique as described in the March/April 2011 issue of Somerset Studio magazine.
canvas or chipboard base
vintage text & images
gel medium (I prefer matte)
spray bottle filled with water
1) Use something sturdy such as canvas or chipboard for your base. This is a very wet technique so regular paper or cardstock will not hold up to the process (I've done this with success on watercolor paper; this time I used a piece of tablet backing). Prime with gesso.
2) Tear vintage text and images to desired shapes & sizes. Apply with gel medium.
3) Once dry, I trim off the excess paper with scissors and then carefully smooth the edges with my sanding block.
4) Mix some gel medium with acrylic paint of your choice. I usually use a neutral buff color. You can use baby wipes to wipe the paint off of images that you want to show through.
5) Goop on crackle paint around the edges and let dry. I used Ranger Distress Crackle Paint in “Picket Fence” and “Antique Linen”. (Because I am using this piece to make into ATCs, I marked off the sizes for each card and put the crackle paint around those areas so that each ATC would have a crackled edge.)
6) Let your paint dry thoroughly. It will crack as it dries. The thicker the paint, the bigger the cracks.
7) After your paint has cracked, you can drip alcohol inks along the edge then spritz with water and it will run down the paper and into all the cracks. I like to tip my background up on its edge with a paper towel underneath; then I run the bottle of ink along the top edge, spraying with lots of water, and tipping the piece to help the inks run and blend. For this project, I used Adirondack’s “Eggplant” first, followed by “Latte”. This step takes quite a bit of water and is very wet and messy. Let your background dry thoroughly.
8) Now you can use your background as you want.