Distressed Scraps Backgrounds

Welcome to the Background Noise Challenge #4!

Are you ready 🙂

This is another favourite of mine –  come to think of it, all background techniques are my favourites as Im such a junkie! Ive never come across a background technique I didnt like 🙂

This background is perfect for using up those tiny weeny itty bitty scraps of paper you’ve been saving for ‘one day’ – that ‘one day’ has finally arrived!

I have a box where I collect all my paper bits in and whenever Im doing one of these backgrounds I dig deep and create!

Before you begin with this technique you need to collect yourself a stash of papers to use!

You will be using lots of different types of papers for this – scrapbook papers are ideal! Go for printed papers, vintage papers, gift wrap, catalogues, metallic papers, handmade papers, textured papers – even papers out of newspapers and magazines will do! Variety is the spice of life!

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper scraps – in all sizes, colours & types!
  • Paper Glue – I use Pva
  • Large Sheet White Card Stock
  • White Gesso
  • Water & plastic cup
  • Sponge or paint brush
  • Scissors or paper trimmer
  • Colour Wash Sprays -or- inkpads in various bright colours (dye or pigment)
  • Baby Wipes

How To Create:

To make these backgrounds I always work with a huge sheet of A3 sized card stock – this approx the same size of 2 computer paper sheets when put together – the bigger the card sheet you use for making the scraps backgrounds the better! You will be cutting up the sheet up after you’ve done the basic scraps background  and will be able to create LOTS of mulitcolour backgrounds from one large sheet.

1. Using the paper glue, arrange and glue assorted paper scraps all over the surface of your card stock. Dont completely cover the surface of the card – leave some gaps. Dont be afraid to overlap the paper scraps either. Use an assortment of bright colours next to each other to make an interesting scraps background.

To give you an idea, heres what mine looked like at this stage:


2. Now for the next stage! Take the plastic cup, and into it pour a dollop of white gesso, add water to the gesso and mix it to water it down. You want the consistency of milk.

3. Use either a sponge or a paint brush and lightly brush the watered down gesso over the surface of your background – leave some areas blank for resist type effects later on.

Allow gesso to dry completely before progressing to step 3 You can use a heat gun to speed this process if your impatient!

Heres a scan of what my background looks like at this point:


Close Up:


4.  Once the gesso has dried, you will need to cut up the large scraps background into smaller sheets so that you can now make  lots of different coloured backgrounds.

Before you begin to add your colour, take a look at the scraps on the backgrounds and assess how the gesso has dried on the surface. In some areas you may find that the gesso has dried a bit too white and it has completely covered up parts of the printed papers. You can use a moist baby wipe to actually lift and remove the gesso if you wish to.

Adding Colour: 

There are 2 ways you can add colour to your backgrounds – you can use colour wash sprays directly onto the background. Or you can use dye or pigment inkpads in bright colours and rub them directly onto the surface of your background. Its up to YOU! Just go forth and have fun adding colour to your distressed scraps backgrounds!

Once the inks or wash on your backgrounds are dry, you can leave the backgrounds as is, or you can enhance them even further by using a moist baby wipe to remove some of the background colours to create a subtle gesso resist on the surface – experiment and see what you think!

These backgrounds are perfect for cutting up into little squares and using them serendipty style – or you can cut them into paper strips and weave with them or stamp on them for true grungy distressed collage style art! Have fun and see what you can make with them!

Heres some more scans of my coloured backgrounds along with details on what I used to make the colour:

I sponged this background using a bright green pigment inkpad :


This background was sponged with bright blue pigment inkpad:


This background was sprayed using magenta colour mist spray from Outside The Margins:


This background was sprayed using walnut inks:


6 thoughts on “Distressed Scraps Backgrounds

  1. Goodness me Trish – another one!! Woohoo! Haven;t made a stencil yet, but this looks like a lot of fun… 😉
    Love the colours you’ve used, BTW!

  2. Pingback: Birdie and backgrounds! «

  3. Right, my first attempt is on my blog, but it isn’t finished yet as I’ve no gesso! Will be getting some next week to finish this. Great challenge Trish – thanks! 😀

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