DIY patterned paper

I’ve decided that I don’t combine my arts and crafts enough – painting has fallen by the wayside while my scrapping obsession takes over. I’m now determined to sneak some of my painting skills onto a few scrapbook layouts. I don’t want to forget the techniques, or leave my paints languishing in a drawer – that would be sad.

So, in case any of you have some paints hiding in the bottom of a cupboard, perhaps that someone gifted to you or your kids and the present got put away and never used, I’m going to share with you the papers or techniques that I paint to go onto my pages. I’ll start with one for watercolour paints, using rock salt to make a pattern. You can turn a white piece of paper into something like this:

It’s great fun and you can play around with various stages to get different effects. If you want to give this a go here’s the items you’ll need:

  • 1 piece of white cardstock. If you’ve got watercolour paper you can use that, but it’s not really necessary unless you are doing lots of layers. You might get small patches of discolouration or rougness if you use cardstock, but I think that just adds to it’s homemade charm, and it doesn’t always happen. I use cardstock most of the time – it’s cheaper.
  • Watercolour paints,at least two colours. Preferably in tubes but I only had pans so I had to use these – more work but not impossible! I had a go at this with acrylic paints, just to see if it worked, as I know more scrapbookers have acrylics. But it doesn’t work quite so well as the salt gets too stuck – acrylic is more adhesive. It might work with other paints though, if you have some lying around then give it a go!
  • Paintbrush / brushes – I used two as I needed a smaller one to get the paint from my pans, but if you’re using tubes you just need a big brush, this is also what you need to apply the paint. I used a watercolour mop, but any big, clean paintbrush would do, even a decorating one. It needs to be big so you can wash the paper quickly.
  • Palette (or an old plastic plate in my case!)
  • Water
  • Rock salt, pre-grinding. If it’s been ground the salt crystals will be too small and not leave such a good pattern.

Okay, once you have all these lined up, and you’ve protected your work surface, you need to paint the bottom layer of paint. I think it works best if the base colour is lighter than the top colour, so I chose light green. The paint will spread best if it’s watery.

Leave this to dry completely. Mine took about an hour, but it will depend on how wet your paint was / how warm your room is.
For the next couple of steps you will need to move fairly quickly.
With your brush clean and wet, spread water over your base layer of paint (in painting terms this is called a wash, but don’t completely soak the paper!)
Then, straight away, paint your darker colour of paint onto the water. Make sure it’s dark enough that you can’t see the lighter colour through too much, or you won’t be left with hardly any darker colour. I chose turquoise blue:

Then, quite soon afterwards, you need to sprinkle rock salt over the paint. The wetter your paint is when you sprinkle the salt, the more of the top colour it will soak up. If you want it to soak up less, then leave it a moment – but don’t let it dry or it won’t absorb any of the paint. You can put the salt in patches if you want clusters of pattern rather than an all over sprinkled look like mine.

You need to leave this to dry completely, I usually leave it when I go out for the day, or leave it overnight. Once it is absolutely dry you can brush off the salt, and ta-da, your paper is finished!
I chose my colours with a particular layout in mind – I wanted it to look like the sea with coral underwater (I should be able to show you the layout tomorrow). But you could use yellow under black for a starry sky, patches of colour under black for fireworks, or different shades of yellow for beaches. I’m sure there’s many other things it could sybolise, or it could just be a pretty abstract pattern to match the colours you want on your page.
I hope you’ve found this interesting, please let me know if you do or don’t, I won’t post any more tutorials like this if it helps no-one!
Bye for now xx
P.S. I should probably add that I’m not properly ‘trained’ in the arts, I learned to paint from books and my mum. So I’m sorry if I’m wrong about anything, but I’ll only post stuff that I’ve tried myself and therefore I’ll know works!

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