Sunday, May 30, 2010

Linda Ledbetter: Grungeboard Faux Leather Journal

I stumbled upon an easy technique for making grungeboard look and feel like worn leather when I was making my sweetheart's valentine this year. I love the results I get with this combination of ink colors on sanded grungeboard, and thought this would be a really cool way to make a vintage-y, distressed book cover.

Feel free to play with different shades of ink, and have fun experimenting. Turn this into a photo album, a sketchbook, a storage binder for your stickers... anything! And if you do, please sent me a link so I can admire your work. :)

What you'll need:

First, Prepare the Grungeboard!
Begin by sanding both sides of both pieces of grungeboard. Use a medium-grit sandpaper or block, and really rough up the surfaces.

Using a well-inked Vintage Photo Distress pad, swipe the ink directly onto both sides of each sheet of grungeboard. Saturate that baby!

Use an ink blending tool to apply Aged Mahogany Distress Ink. Go heavier in some areas for a grungier look. Again, be sure you have a new or recently re-inked pad (or you can apply drops of reinker right to the Blending Tool, if you prefer).

Finish by applying Walnut Stain Distress Ink around the edges and in the corners.

Okay, this is important: Set your two pieces of ink-stained grungeboard aside to dry. There's a LOT of ink on there, so give it plenty of time (I left mine overnight). Meanwhile, you can make the title plate for your journal.

Pick a Title and Make it Fancy!
I decided to turn my un-leather book into a Dream Journal. I inkjet printed the title onto a piece of rose colored cardstock, making sure the text was sized correctly to fit inside the plate. You could hand letter the title if you prefer, or use a stamp or rub on. Cut out the text so it just fits inside the framed area of the plate.

Bling it up! I used Worn Lipstick and Aged Mahogany Distress Stickles. You could also use glitter, rhinestones, mica chips— whatever rocks your world!

Glue the text onto the back edge of the plate using Glossy Accents. Allow it to dry.

Carefully fill the front of the plate with glossy accents. Don't shake the bottlle, or you'll have to contend with a zillion tiny air bubbles. Set aside the ornate plate and allow the Glossy Accents to dry completely. You'll end up with a glass-like glaze on top of your title! I love this stuff.

Go have a chocolate milkshake. This is important. Art requires a lot of energy.

Okay, is everything dry? Then it's Assembly Time!
You've probably noticed that one side of the grungeboard is smoother and takes the ink better than the other. When you get ready to assemble your book, make sure the more "leather like" sides of the two sheets are facing outward. Then, decide where you want the binding rings to go. It really helps to have a see-through ruler like this one. Use a light-colored pencil to mark where you'll punch the holes, then go ahead: Punch the holes! I used my Big Bite for this. A regular hole punch would require brute force, and none of us want to break a nail! Repeat on the second piece of grungeboard.

Use pliers to attach the metal corners if you're using them. I "aged" mine with some black Alcohol Ink for that time-worn look.

Use the ruler to determine the placement of your title plate, mark the spots where the brads will go, punch the holes and attach the plate with its brads.

At this point, all that's left to do is add the inside pages of your choice and bind it all together with some Idea-ology D-Ring Book Fasteners.

You're all journaled up, baby!

(If you'd like to take it a step further and add a shabby-chic grungeboard clasp to keep your journal closed, please visit my blog tomorrow and I'll show you how!)



  1. What a wonderful vintage book! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Fantastic technique! Thanks for the great tutorial! It creates such a classy look for the journal and I love all your elegant touches from the title piece to corners!

  3. This is such a cool project! I am so going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. GORGEOUS book Linda, love the idea of the choccy milkshake too :O)) x

  5. Awesome tutorial! I love the look of the book and may actually give this a try.

  6. Wow! This is definitely a keeper - I'm just learning about some of these techniques for the first time and I can hardly wait to try this out. And I especially loved the instruction to go have a chocolate milkshake - such important details must not be overlooked - lol!

  7. Awesome! Another 'gotta try this' technique and idea asap! TFS

  8. Totally neat project, and I especially appreciate the instruction on how to use the Glossy Accents on the title plate!

    I never thought about using it for anything larger than a pinhead ... what a dope ... or, pinhead, if you will. Ho ho. :)

  9. I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! I've never done this! Great tutorial Linda! you rocked this one. Now I wonder how much ink and grungboard it would take to do a wall? hum....

  10. love this tutorial... fab instructions .. thank you off to take a look at your blog

  11. I loved this TT and the way the Grunge paper smells always reminds me of leather! and love the colours you chose it's a supper TT

    Love Dawn xx

  12. Oh goodness Linda this is gorgeous! And you made everything appear doable. Even to me. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

  13. This is wonderful. I love how easy you make it seem. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  14. This is a wonderful tutorial Linda...I am off to your blog for more!

  15. Stunning ..... will have to have a go at this thanks for the tutorial :-)


  16. what a great tutorial and it looks fab to...1 question which has nothing to do with the tutorial buts in one of the do you keep your ruler from losing all of the markings? hope you don't think I'm daft but all the marking are rubbing off my ruler and they're not cheap to keep buying a new one.....any tips will be greatfully appreciated
    hugs from Daniele

  17. Hi Daniele,
    I haven't had any problem with the markings rubbing off my ruler, so I'm not sure what to tell you! You could always put a thin glaze of Glossy Accents or some other clear topcoat over the ink, though, and that might preserve it. :-)

  18. Awesome tutorial, Linda! What a fierce and fabulous way to create your own album!


Thanks for your wonderful words!

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