Using scrapbook chalk is a quick, thrifty way to add color and a professional, custom look to your scrapbook pages. Scrapbooking chalk offers endless opportunities for creativity. Chalk is a flexible medium and is very easy to use in a scrapbook. It can probably offer you more alternatives for your scrapbooks than markers, pencils, or inks!
What should I use to apply chalk?
Specially designed foam applicators are the most common tool used to apply chalk. They look like eye shadow applicators, but you will find them in the craft store. Other applicators can be found around your home. Cotton balls can create a soft color. Regular Q-tips or cotton swabs can also be used but they have a tendency to “fuzz” faster. Before using regular Q-tips twist the cotton with your fingers to wrap it tighter around the stick. This will help prevent it from “fuzzing” as quickly. Be careful when using these types of applicators because the more they “fuzz” the more the stick becomes exposed and is likely to rub against the paper leaving indentations or lines where the chalk’s color will catch and create a dark spot.
Another applicator that can be found in most homes is a tampon. This idea was first introduced by Creating Keepsakes. A tampon provides a great width and firmness for all-over color. When you need to switch to a new color you can cut off the tip and use the remainder.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with various application techniques!
How do you apply chalk?
Before you begin to chalk, wash your hands! The oils on your hands will attract the chalk. It is also recommended to wash your hands during your chalking time to help reduce the potential for transferring unwanted chalk from your hands to other items. A good tip is to have a damp, not wet, paper towel nearby to wipe off any chalk you might get on your fingertips or the table.
If you do get little oily smudges on your paper, try applying a small amount of white chalk on the stain. Then blend it in. Let it sit for a few minutes and then erase using a special chalk eraser. Sometimes the addition of the white will absorb the oil so you can chalk over the area and no one will notice!
To begin applying chalk, fill your applicator with the color you will be using. Have a sheet of smooth paper ready, like computer paper. (Don’t use textured cardstock.)
Apply the chalk to the smooth paper, using a few circular type strokes. This will even out the color on your applicator. On your smooth paper you will end up with a dark area of color and softer colors along the edges which is a useful way to blend colors. By blending your color ahead of time, you eliminate trying to re-blend a color if your applicator runs out before you finish your piece.
When you apply the chalk to your piece, apply it lightly. You an always make something darker, but it’s difficult to lighten a chalked image that is too dark. Start with a light touch and add more color as you wish. Also, start with the lightest color and layer your darker colors on top, where appropriate for shading.
Use a circular motion to apply chalk if you’re trying to make an item look “fluffy.” This technique works especially well for mimicking the look of animal fur.
Since chalk dust tends to stick to everything in sight, including your hands, apply chalk before gluing items to your page. Also, apply your chalk AWAY from any pages that you might have open at your work area.
Chalk dust will clog up markers and ink pens, so apply chalk after using these items on your page.
Do I need to “set” the chalk?
The pigments in scrapbooking chalks become permanently set in the paper several hours after application, so a permanent fixative generally isn’t necessary, especially if the layout is going to be in a protective sleeve.
If you apply your chalks with a light hand, they shouldn’t migrate/transfer, and you can lightly wipe away any loose chalk with a clean cotton ball. You can also remove extra chalk by placing your page face down and rubbing gently.
If you have a heavily chalked piece, spray your finished chalk design with an acid-free fixative to reduce smudging and smearing. When spraying the item, do not point the nozzle directly at the item. Spray across it from about 12″ above and let the fixative “fall” on to the paper. Spraying directly at the item can often cause a speckling affect on textured or dark papers. DO NOT spray this on photos! DO NOT use hairspray! The chemicals in hairspray will cause fading and damage to your photos.
Ideas for using chalk:
Create a customized background paper. Select a clean white piece of cardstock and cotton balls. Dab the cotton ball lightly into the color of your choice. Tap off any excess. Then brush the cotton lightly across the paper. Add a few other colors and you can create the perfect background paper that will match a hard to scrap photograph.
Use chalk to add definition to die cuts and punch arts. If you are going to be chalking a diecut or other embellishment, make sure you use extra caution when you are gluing because the chalk will stick to the glue. The chalk adheres to the glue and will result in very noticeable patches of chalk on these spots. So, apply your glue carefully. If you get glue in a spot you plan to chalk, use UN-DU. This product dries fast and in most cases, will not affect the application of chalk on the paper. Another option to use before you start chalking is an adhesive eraser. Make sure you erase the glue before you chalk because the adhesive eraser will also remove your chalk.
Rub chalk on the raised part of embossed paper to add pizzazz to your page.
Add chalk to vellum quotes for a soft and romantic effect.
Create unique titles using letter stencils and chalk.
Use chalk to add color to rubber stamped images or black and white clip-art.
Apply chalk over an image stamped in watermark ink for a rainbow look.
Make a marbled background by filling a shallow pan with water and scraping several coordinating chalk colors onto the surface. Drop a piece of cardstock into the water. Remove the paper and lay flat to dry.
Use chalk to alter the look of old patterned paper so it is a better match for your photos.
Create customized embellishments by tinting fibers or ribbons with chalk.
For a modern look, shade the edges of a torn paper border with a matching color of chalk.
Fill in, or outline, a stenciling template with chalk.
Use chalks to create just the right color on photo mats.
Create a rubbing of an embossed diecut by applying the chalk directly to the paper then place the paper on top of the diecut.
Most people use black, gray and white to do all of their shadows and highlights. Often times the shadows just do not look right. This is because shadows are a lighter or darker color of the item that is highlighted or shadowed. When you put a black shadow line on a light colored item the result is an unnatural looking shadow. To correct this mix a small amount of black or gray, depending on the depth of the shadow you want, with touches of the lighter color to get just the right shadow shade. Now you have a softer, more natural shadow. If you are chalking shadows on white, add a touch of soft blue to the gray or black to give the white a cleaner contrast. A touch of blue will keep the white paper looking white instead of appearing dirty.
Caring for your chalk:
To keep your chalk in top condition store your chalk in a safe place to prevent breakage. To avoid getting chalk dust on your other scrapbook supplies, make sure the lid to your chalk set is fastened tightly. Always use a different applicator for each color to keep chalk colors bright. Don’t touch your chalk with bare fingers; the oil on your hands will contaminate the chalk.
Can I fix mistakes?
Mistakes can be easily corrected. Chalk erasers, which are white and soft, are available at most craft stores. However, deeper shades such as dark red and deep blue may not come completely off.
Credits to: Thrifty Scrapbook