Thursday, October 21, 2010

Smooth as Suede

snow drifts made with paper suede

Paper Sueding has been around a while, but you don't often hear about it.  It's simply a process that involves the breaking down of paper fibers which causes layers to peel, resulting in a suede-like texture.  You can buy suede paper at most scrapbook stores, and if you're using large pieces that's probably the way to go.  But if you're incorporating into cards, or any other smaller project, I like hand sueding best.  I'm sure there are a variety of processes that are used for sueding, but I personally like the crimper method.  It only takes a couple minutes--so why not grab a bit of cardstock and give it a try!  You'll need a crimper, some cardstock scraps, and a pencil (preferably with ridges & not smooth). I've included some pictures to help you with the process, but if you have any questions please let me know.
Begin by choosing your cardstock scraps and running through the crimper a couple times.  You can crimp it in different directions if desired.  The crimper helps to break down the fibers in the paper faster.

Using a pencil, smooth out the crimps holding the pencil on one side and smoothing with your thumb on the other side, repeating all around the cardstock until the paper starts to separate on the edges.

It will take a couple minutes to break down the fibers enough to begin to release.

You can carefully begin to separate the layers.  If they don't release easily, do a little more work with the pencil.

You might be able to see in this picture that there are more than just two layers of this cardstock.  In fact there are several layers.  The more time you spend breaking down the fibers, you will see more layers begin to separate.  I'm usually only patient enough for two layers.

Here you can see that I used a variety of tools:  pencil, bone folder, & wooden stick.  The pencil was by far the easiest & most efficient.  The core'dnation blue cardstock (CS) was sueded with a bone folder, and I wasn't patient enough for it to release--so you can see the result is an incomplete release.  I used a wooden stick for the green CS, but I finished with the pencil as it was going too slow...also wanted to show the layered effect.  I used white core double sided CS & textured burgundy CS with the pencil--perfect release.

Using the white core sueding for snow drifts, I made a quick wintery card.  Stamps:  CTMH Snow Friends: stamped once with archival black & then layered with Snow Cap white paint.  I used Snow-Tex with my finger to swipe over the smokey blue cardstock for a winter wind effect.  I colored the snowman cap & bird with Copics Sketch markers, then used Spica for a bit of glitz on the Snowman & the snow drifts.  Finished up with a white ribbon.
There are so many uses for this paper, I'm sure you've already got ideas.  I used it for the flowers on this framed art.  You probably can't see it well in this picture, but the softness of the paper makes you want to reach out and touch the flower petals. 

Tim Holtz Tattered Flowers Sizzix Die - glued sueded paper onto
grungeboard, die cut the flowers, inked the edges, and secured with a brad.

I hope you have fun trying this technique -- It's a lot of fun, and you'll love the texture. 

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