Friday, 22 April 2011

Tutorial on Grunge Style tin, box or tray

Lesley asked me for a tutorial on how I did the telephone directory grunge on my tins, trays and boxes, well here goes... I took tons of photos, so be warned this is a photo heavy entry!

you need:
your item to cover (more than one is good to be able to do a "factory line" of tops, sides and edges...)
craft/wood or cold glue (the white stuff that dries clear)
Paint brush
torn up telephone directory or dictionary (we don't have those in our second hand stores so I use telephone directory...)
craft mat
distress ink of your choice (I like Walnut Stain)
clear varnish spray can
Pratley Glo (2 part resin of your choice as used for decoupage)


Paint a portion of your object with the glue. stick on your first piece of torn paper. Using your glue brush, go over the paper, add your next piece by slightly overlapping the first one and continue in this manner till the whole object is covered. If your object has an opening, paper right over it as you can cut it open again later. Also paper right off the edges of the bottom of your object, this will be sanded off later.

I use clip art to decorate my items which I print on my inkjet and take to the photocopy shop to copy for me so that the glue does not deteriorate the image. I also decorate with Archival inked stamps in some cases, but did not for this project.

Cut your clip art out and glue in place by putting a layer of glue down first, then your paper then another layer of glue over the top to seal it.

Once it is dry to the touch you can start inking with the distress ink color of your choice. I like the look I get when I go over an area where the glue is still wet under the paper, it makes the distress ink react and gives you more variation in color. You can see this in the photo below where it has gone golden brown. The very dark brown is where there was NO glue and the ink has soaked into the paper.

After inking your object, cut the openings with a craft knife as I did for the tin below.

Take your project outside or into a well ventilated area and give it a good coat of clear spay varnish. (have not done this so there is no photo...)

For items with flat surfaces, I like to add Pratley Glo, this is a 2 part resin that you mix and pour onto the object. (follow the instructions on the box) Make sure you are working on a level surface as this stuff will level itself out and if your object had no sides, it will flow off and onto your work surface! (this is experience talking, get a spirit level if you are not sure and test.) Put a box over your project or suspend a tray on mugs over your item to stop dust settling on it as it stays sticky for 12 hours. (Do not be tempted to open and touch it before that as it will get permanent finger prints!)

I like to finish my trays off with cork underneath. I buy this from the same place that I get my decoupage blanks.


  1. Hi Bella, thanks sooooo much. This is great. I need to get Walnut stain but maybe vintage photo will work in the mean time.
    I appreciate you making this up. Check out my blog, I used phone book pages but using pastels, it is over at Bella Creations as well in the tag challenge.
    Have a super great weekend.

  2. Great tutorial! Liked how the tin and tray turned out! Patsy from

  3. Fantastic project, thanks for sharing how you made it, love the tins they look amazing :)
    StAy InKy
    hUgS MiNxY x


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