DIY Industrial-Style Newspaper Print - Made with Stamps, Watercolor and India Ink
Old advertisements have always been fascinating to me. There truly is an art form to marketing, especially for those everyday items that wouldn’t look appealing if they weren’t organized in a catalog. I think I’ll buy that one. Yes, there’s something artistic about making those common objects look special.
I can imagine finding this paper scrap lying in a puddle (from a recent rainfall, a day or two before) over cobblestoned road, in a timeworn village - cityscape painted by dusk and smog - sometime in the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution was in its prime. The disheveled newsprint tangled within itself, is barely legible with folded leaves and hemorrhaging ink. There is beauty in this sad site however, and there’s something decidedly enchanting about it; to me anyway.
We have a hoard of stamps; more than we know what to do with! So, of course, finding something useful to do with said stamps (other than to marvel at them occasionally, only to shut the drawer in which they reside, once more) was a must.
We’d like to share our simple little DIY décor project with you!
A picture frame
A piece of white cardstock, cut to the size of your frame (in this case a 4x6”)
Water color paints; burnt umber, yellow ochre, black and white.
India ink (diluted with water for writing and painting)
A paint brush you don’t mind messing up with ink (don’t take any chances with your good brushes)
A clean paint brush, for brushing away any excess embossing powder on the paper
Stamps for the background, foreground and focal point*
A black ink pad
An embossing ink pad
Embossing powder (we used black and copper)
A heat gun for the embossing powder, and for drying the paper between paint coats to make your job a whole lot easier
A dip pen or marker for writing
A small dish of water
A scrap piece of heavy weight paper or watercolor paper, to prevent messes involving ink and your favorite desk or dining table
And a couple of paper towels
Don’t be frightened by the long list, this project is deceivingly easy, and it actually doesn’t take a lot.
*Please note, the images on these stamps are not intended for commercial sale, and are provided for personal use only.
Start by laying your piece of scrap paper down on your work surface (you can tape it down if you’d like), and put the piece of cut cardstock on top, ready to paint on. All of the paint should be heavily diluted with water, so you can paint washes rather than harsh lines, for a more naturally aged and water-damaged appearance. It’s nice to experiment by using the colors (diluted) on their own, or mixing the colors.
Wet the paper with plain water before you apply color. The paper should be well covered, but not sopping wet. Dip your paintbrush into the paint; it could be burnt umber on its own, or a mixture of burnt umber, yellow ochre and a touch of white. Having brown on the page makes it look old, but remember that you need a tinge of yellow ochre to make the paper look aged and yellowed.
The more unevenly the paint is applied, the better.
After you’ve filled the whole page, use a paper towel to soak up some of the paint, and gently buff the surface.
Now you can start adding darker shades, concentrating the darkest around the edges. Be sure to make each addition splotchy, and then blend the edges just a bit.
Use a watery black paint, or a thinly diluted India ink (a shallow container of water, with a few drops of ink in it) to use around the perimeter of the page. Add a little ink to the middle too. Dab any excess with your handy paper towel.
When you’re happy with what you’ve got, use the heat gun to speed up the drying process. Naturally, the paper will curl. Placing something heavy on top is the perfect remedy.
You only need the paper weighted down for a few seconds to get rid of the curling.
Once the paper is dry and relatively flat again, you can start adding more ink and paint to the edges. Try using various shades of brown or grey, and layering the paint with the ink for different effects.
One of the last details I added was a bit of ink, in a more opaque form, to the very edge in a few areas. Blend the ink with a wet brush, and blot the paper with a towel when you feel the need.
Repeat the process of drying with the heat gun, and flattening the page with something weighty.
Now we start with the graphics. When choosing your stamps for this project, you may use any design you’d like. If you want a similar look to this project, I suggest you use some stamps with quite a bit of text. The finished picture should look kind of like old newsprint, where the text and images from other pages bled onto the one you’re showcasing.
Create a couple of organized areas, like at the top and bottom of the page (depending on the shape of your stamps). Some of the text should be linear, and in columns just like a newspaper would be. All of the stamps of this background layer should use the black ink pad.
Now you can start making things look a bit more chaotic. Realistically, some groups of words would read backward, if the text from other pages of the newspaper rubbed off onto this one, but I’ve never seen a reversed rubber stamp before, and I can’t imagine it having any practical use. So, we’ll make do with what we have ;)
Before you stamp the page, make sure that after you ink your stamp, you pat some of the ink off on a scrap piece of paper, so that the ink is faded and more distressed.
Position the stamps all over the page on different angles, and with more or less ink.
You can use another stamp to create sort of a random image, (like the phonograph you’ll see in the next pictures) as if it’s an impression of another page.
Now you can choose a stamp for the focal point (I choose a penny farthing). Ink your stamp with the embossing pad, and stamp the center of the page. Next, coat the focal point on the page with black embossing powder, or any color of your choosing. Pour the powder off the page onto another sheet of paper (and eventually back into the embossing powder container). Gently tap the page to remove the extra powder.
You should see that the embossing powder has stuck to the ink in the shape of your stamp. Take the clean paintbrush, and gently brush away any excess powder on the page around the stamp where it shouldn’t be. Make sure there isn’t any loose powder on your work surface either, because once you use the heat gun, the powder will bond to the surface.
Apply the heat gun to the focal point, about six inches from the page. You only need heat for a few seconds, just until you can see the transformation from powder to a smooth finish; stopping as soon as it melts. Be sure to avoid overheating.
I decided to stamp and emboss a number in the forefront, to ground the bicycle and make it look like an advertisement or catalog clipping.
After embossing the number, I used a dip pen and slightly thinned India ink to write ‘figure number’ in its abbreviated form.
Feel free to add some more ‘water damage’ in the corners, with paint or ink.
Once the paper is completely dry, put it into your frame, and your work is finished!
I hope this tutorial was informative, and I do hope you'll give it a try! As always, please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have about this project.
Until next time!
-The Grey's Posy Team