by Amy Kingsford

As a digital scrapbooker I’m used to having  a variety of tools and everyday items packaged in kits that make achieving certain effects on my pages a snap.  When I’m making paper scrapbook pages, I often dismiss these looks because they don’t seem achievable or they  just don’t fit into my “physical” understanding of the paper scrapbook page.

Below are three ideas for your paper scrapbook pages that are inspired by some of these overlooked techniques and that will allow you to make use of everyday items from your garage in fun and creative ways!

Use steel wool to create a background glow

This unexpected tool can create a nice subtle glow on your background paper–helping you tone down patterns and to draw the eye in.  This technique is accomplished digitally through the use of masks and blending–but on paper we’re going to achieve this look with some good old-fashioned elbow grease!

To get this look on your paper pages:

  1. Starting from the center of your paper begin to work the steel wool around in a circular motion.
  2. Apply a generous amount of pressure-but remember you don’t want to tear or wear through the paper.
  3. As you work your way out to the edge, use less pressure and let more of your paper shine through.
  4. Brush your paper off and you’re ready to start building your page.
  5. To really bring out the glow, try dusting a  pearlized-powder over the sanded portion of your background.

Make your own screw-top brads

Screws can be a fun way for digital scrapbookers to secure things to their page or to add detail in their layouts.  Though there are  “screw-inspired” brads available for paper scrapbookers, why would you look past your own garage?  If you have a few screws and a pair of bolt cutters, then you are ready to recreate this look on your paper pages!

To get this look on your pages:

  1. Place your screw in a vice to secure it for cutting.
  2. Using your bolt cutters remove the head of your screw.
  3. Do a bunch at one time–maybe while your husband’s away at work and he’ll never miss them!
  4. You could distress it a bit using alcohol inks if you so desire.
  5. Then adhere it to your page using an adhesive dot.

Create dynamic foundations with spray paint

Paint splatters and sprays are easy to come by in the digital world–but paper scrapbookers, have to be willing to get their hands a little dirty!  Like misting, spray paint can be a fun way to add motifs and create visual  interest and texture, but with a more dramatic effect. So grab your painting mask and those leftover cans of spray paint and have some fun!

To get this look on your paper pages:

  1. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and safety gear.
  2. Lay down a drop cloth or several layers of newspaper.
  3. Work with heavier weight papers–like cardstock.
  4. Hold the can further away for a misted look and closer for more intense look.
  5. Tip your page on end to let paint run if you so desire.
  6. Drag the wrong end of a paint brush through the wet paint to create fun designs.
  7. Allow paint to dry before working with a different color or  layering your elements overtop.
Now all you have to do is put EVERYTHING back where you found it before your husband get’s home and you’re golden ;)  For more great ideas on repurposing everyday items and thinking outside the box when it comes to your paper scrapbook pages–check out my site at