the "distress" tool i used here was a dye ink pad. (this one was ranger ink/tim holtz, but any dye ink pad will do. those pads have "hard" texture...your typical stamp pad). just rub it along the edges of the paper and the ink rubs off. it is important to not worry about doing it the right way or keeping the ink even. just have fun and let the ink land where it may! using a dye ink pad gives a rough boyish texture to surfaces.
using sand paper....any kind will work, no special tool required. take the paper and sand off the edges of your surface. to photos it will give a rustic and worn look. the photo is scratched away and the white core shows through. if you use paper that has a white core - most patterned paper/cardstock has this feature - then you sand away the colour and can see the white core.
another kind of ink is called pigment ink. these ink pads have a "spongey" surface. or you could use a small piece of sponge and ink it with your dye ink pad. either will have the same effect. rub the sponge along the edges of the surface. this technique produces a softer finish and has a vintage feel to it.
you could also use craft paint or acrylic paint. use a small foam brush, or sponge, or paper towel or cloth...and rub paint along the edges. this effect will vary depending on the colours and how thick the paint is put on. i used this technique on Kiara's title page to her baby album and also the pink and green mini maze album i posted earlier.
these 3 1/2 techniques just scratch the surface of distressing options. a couple new ones that i have yet to try are glimmer mist and crackle paint. check out galleries at SIS or 2peas or any of the other amazing scrapbooking websites. sometimes the artists will explain what product they used to get that effect. or follow some of the blog links in my blog.
in the future i will tag new layouts with "distress technique" and you can see the examples. i recongize some of the techniques from art projects i've done with kids or on my own. but now a few companies are coming up with grown-up products to get the same effect. you may have used crackle paint on wood projects...and recall that it is a three step process. well...now you can by crackle paint that only takes ONE step! another one i need to practice at is using alcohol inks. Cari Locken used this in one of her classes i took. so fun and not as messy as i thought.
a class is a good place to check out new techniques. the teacher often shares shortcuts or simplifies the process. which means a time saver for you! and they are fun.
only 4 more "sleeps" until girls night when i get to learn new time tested techniques and have fun with the girls! it is going to be awesome!!