Monday, 14 April 2008

A Background Story

Welcome to my first ever blog tutorial. It takes a lot of planning, so cherish it - it might be the one and only!
I want to show you step by step how I created the background I used on my son's birthday invitations early last month. He was delighted with them, and many of the parents at school complimented me too. So here it is:

Step 1
I started with some cardstock in this aqua/spearmint green colour. It needs to be cardstock that is not too flimsy (nothing thinner than Bazzill).

Step 2
I stuck some torn pieces of old book to the cardstock using PVA glue. I don't normally like to use PVA because it has so much water in it, and buckling paper is a look I don't always want. For this background it was perfect.

Step 3
I embossed a grungey-looking number 8 with embossing powder that is similar in colour to the cardstock. You could also use clear embossing powder, but I wanted more of a "milky" look and not the gloss of clear EP.

Step 4

Now it starts getting messy (my favourite bit). Slap some white acrylic paint on with a credit card. Don't cover the whole sheet with it - it needs to look streaky.

Step 5

Fill in some of the gaps with aqua acrylic paint. You still want to see some of the plain cardstock underneath.

Step 6

Give the whole thing a wash with 'uszhh'. This is a Michael DeMeng thing - it's a watered down mixture of Golden Acrylics: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and Mars black. It gives everything an old, worn, settled-in, been-here-a-long-time look. Here's a close up:

Step 7

With the edge of the credit card, add some lines with white acrylic paint.

Step 8
Using some watery white acrylic paint and an old toothbrush, spatter some white acrylic onto the page. Step 9
This is the step that hurts - time to cut it up to use. I used some white cardstock as the base of the invitation. I had printed the invitation details onto a transparency, so I cut the background to size and attached the transparency with a couple of grungey-looking staples. Just for fun, and because these are a boy's 8th birthday invitiations, I added a spider brad I bought from Queen and Co years ago.

Voila - my first tutorial. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Also promise me that if you make one of these backgrounds you'll show me a photo! I'd love to see that.


  1. Jacob is a lucky boy that he has such a talented mother, the tutorial was great, I hope you do more.

  2. Wow Teresa!
    Enjoyed the tutorial and found the step by step instructions and matching photo really helpful to understand. Feel inspired to get down and messy.

  3. Gorgeous Teresa, just what I need to make me give it a try, I never know where to start! I love your april kit too!

  4. this tutorial is excellent! tks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the free lesson but I need my beauty sleep! Although I would love to try it, there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with your fabulous work!

  6. It's perfect...although I always envisioned a different spelling of the uszhh....I always thought there was a 'g' in there..but you nailed it perfectly! LOL LOVELY background and tutorial!

  7. wow this is awesome! Stunning, inspiring. :)

  8. this is my first visit to your blog but will definitely stop by again! I LOVE tutorials and backgrounds are my fave! Thanks heaps

  9. Thanks for the tutorial. I love to see how people create their artwork.


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