Emily Falconbridge is a free spirited creative soul who has been working as a writer and designer in the scrapbook industry for years. Her love for photographs and creating began when she was very young and she loves to used mixed media in her scrapbooks and play around with new techniques. She is mama to 3 and you can catch up with her here.

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Artistic backgrounds

Does the feeling of dipping your paintbrush or fingers into juicy colorful paint set your spine a tingling? Creating your own artistic background is easy…read on to find out how…

If you’ve never experienced the beauty of splashing color across a plain background, watching the page come alive with each brush stroke, then you’re missing out! There is something magical and therapeutic about painting, whether you are Van Gough or a kindergartener or somewhere in between – it really doesn’t matter. Creating your own backgrounds for scrapbooking or other projects is downright fun, not to mention cheap and easy to do.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve no doubt enthusiastically purchased patterned paper only to find out months (or even years!) later that you really hate it. Here is where the fun begins – flip it over and you have a brand new acid free blank canvas to work with! Or purchase the cheaper plain cardstock to start creating tailor made masterpieces for your albums and projects. All you need is a few different acrylic paints, a brush and a jar of water and you’re on your way to artistic adventure!

I am going to share with you some of my favorite techniques that are easy to do and require little preparation or mess! Apart from being a cheap alternative to patterned paper, I love adding the element of handmade to my layouts. I feel free as a bird as I splash and splodge away in my fugly painting pants (banished from my husband’s wardrobe due to the lack of street cred, but perfectly good for hiding out in my studio and wiping my dirty brushes on!) Try then out for yourself and see how liberating it can be to find the artist within you. You’ll soon be donning some sexy old sweat pants yourself and feeling fine!

Have fun, and summer is the perfect time to set up with the kids and some paints outside and be free and fanciful!

Emily J

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Acrylic glaze

This is one of my absolute favorites – so easy to do! You can do this over colored cardstock or plain, try it out to see how you can turn an ordinary piece of cardstock into something very arty-farty!

Step 1 – cover your background in acrylic paint. You can cover the whole lot, or roughly slap paint in random places.

Step 2 – in another shade or color (darker than the first coat works really well), roughly paint sections over the top of the dried paint.

Step 3 – While the paint is still wet, begin to wipe if off in different places with a baby wipe. Wipe in different directions to get a beautiful washy effect across the page.

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Ink wash and splodges

I have recently discovered the joy of using artistic inks in my projects. The depth of color is amazing! Watercolor paper works really well here as the paper won’t warp, but regular cardstock is fine too – you may need to iron or squash the paper flat after it has dried if you have wrinkle issues!

Step 1 – mix a few drops of ink into a small jar of water.

Step 2 – Use a fairly large brush to apply the ink wash all over your background.

Step 3 – while the ink wash is still wet, get a smaller brush and dip it into the straight ink and ‘drop’ it onto the page. It will bleed into the wet ink and end up with a tye-dye kind of look!

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Gold ink coat

I love this gold ink! ‘art’ up any old boring piece of cardstock using almost no effort at all!

Step 1 – (yes, there is only one step!) liberally (and I do mean go crazy here) paint the gold ink all over your desired piece. I normally have little ‘pools’ of the ink across the page. When it dries – voila! All bubbly and deliciously artsy for you to enjoy!

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Dry brush acrylic

A no-brainer of a technique – so easy to do and I never get bored of it!

Step 1 – dip foam brush or large paintbrush (this needs to be dry, and not wet ok!) into some acrylic paint. Get a decent amount of paint on the brush.

Step 2 – start in the middle of the page and drag the brush out to the sides, and up and down. This way you get the yummy rough bits around the edges.

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Acrylic wash

Another easy-peasy one. Babies could do this so come on – grab a paintbrush! Use a plain piece of cardstock with this technique to create a whimsical background, or collage some papers on first and try this over the top.

Step 1 – pour some acrylic paint into a palate. Add some drops of water until it is really thin and watery.

Step 2 – use a medium-large brush to paint it across your page. Add more water to the paper if you need to extend it further.

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Peeled Paint

I love the look of old walls with peeling paint, revealing layers of secrets beneath them. This technique is a lot of fun to do and will achieve different results each time.

Step 1 – Choose a background (patterned cardstock, plain paper, painted background etc), this is what you will see ‘peeks’ of in the end.

Step 2 – Get blobs of petroleum jelly on your fingers and wipe off in random places on the background.

Step 3 – Paint over entire background with acrylic paint, go lightly over the jelly so as not to smear it in.

Step 4 – Once the paint is dry, use a baby wipe or paper towel to wipe over the paint, the jelly will slide right off revealing the pattern beneath in a streaky, peeled effect!

–Emily

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