Scrapbooking Tips: How To Use Chalk In Your Layouts

Looking for a soft, interesting embellishment for your scrapbooking pages? Try chalking!

The best kind of chalks to use for scrapbooking are the soft, colored chalks made specifically for paper crafting. Chalkboard or sidewalk chalks can be grated into a powder and applied to the page in the same manner, however it is a messy job. One decent sized draft and your chalk dust will be all over your table. Artist chalks used for drawing are even harder than play chalks, so they don't make a good option. Paper crafting chalks are soft chunks that you can easily use, much like eye shadow is applied to the eyelids.

Chalks can create a range of tones on the page, from subtle shadings to deep, rich coloring, depending upon how much you apply. They also blend well into each other or the page to create a fading effect by blending out the edges. You may want to practice your touch on some scrap paper before applying it directly to the page to ensure you get the right amount for the effect you want. Chalk is best applied a little bit at a time. You can always go over an area again to deepen a color, but it is not so easy to go lighter once you've reached a dark shade.

Apply chalk with a cotton swab or sponge-tipped make up applicator. Rub it on the chalk, then rub it on the page.

In order to lighten chalk, use clean cotton balls. Rub them gently over the area to lighten the color slightly, discarding them as they become dirty and getting a fresh one.

To blend two colors, apply them next to each other and use a clean cotton swab at the point where the two meet. Rub back and forth, or in a circular motion until the two colors fade into each other.

To give chalk a "fading out" appearance, apply it strongly where you want the color darker, and more lightly around the edge you want to fade. Then, with a clean cotton ball, begin on the inner part of the design and begin to draw it out with light, circular strokes in the direction you want the fade to go. Get another clean cotton ball and do this again until you achieve the desired effect.

If you want a clean, sharp line where your chalk ends, use something as a template, stencil or guideline when applying to cover the area you wish to remain chalk-free. When you have finished applying the chalk, blow a quick and sharp burst of air to remove excess chalk dust from the page. Carefully lift the guide and you will have a very pronounced line. Do not rub with cotton or an applicator sponge, or you will blur and soften the line.

Chalk can be great for shadowing on a page. Use chalk around the edges of your photos, fading it out as it moves away from the picture. For an interesting shadow look, only apply the chalk to one side and the bottom of the photos, leaving the other side and top blank.

You can also give a shadow to sticker or die cut letters used for your page titles. Shadowing letters adds depth to your layout. Only place the shadow to one side of each letter, much like a natural shadow would fall on one side if light were illuminating an object from the opposite direction.

Try creating a chalk page border. Start with a decorative page border template and place it about 1/4 to 1" away from the edge of the page. The decorative edge should be facing the edge of the page you are working on. Hold the template firmly, then apply chalk to the exposed edge with a cotton swab. When the application is even and complete, blow away excess chalk dust, then lift your template. The chalk outline of the design will run along the page border. Repeat this, if desired, on the other three edges to frame the page with this border.

Chalking can make great two-tone lettering for page titles. Get a letter stencil and choose your two colors of chalk. Put the stencil where you want the letter on the page and hold it firmly. Decide if you want the two colors to be side by side, or one on top and one on the bottom. Apply the colors where you want them to go. Take a clean cotton swab or sponge applicator tip and begin to blend at the line where they meet in small circular motions until the colors have faded into one another. Give a quick blow to remove excess chalk dust, remove the template and reposition for the next letter. Try doing this with primary colors that make a secondary color for a great rainbow effect- for example, using yellow and blue will give you a green fade line in the middle of the letter.

Another great look for lettering is to use chalk for the negative print. For this, you will need letter die cuts instead of a template. The letter will remain the color of the page, but the chalk will create a "cloud" around the letters, making them very pronounced. Place your first die cut letter in the place you want it to go. Hold it firmly and begin to apply chalk around it using a cotton swab or sponge-tipped applicator. Be careful not to chalk too far to the right of the letter, as you will not want to mark up the space you will be placing the next letter. You may want to lay a tissue over that space to keep it clean. After you've gone completely around the letter with the chalk, blow away excess dust and remove the die cut carefully. Take the next die cut letter, position it, and repeat the process. When you are done, use a cotton ball to rub around the edge of your chalk cloud to blend and fade it into the page- but be careful not to go directly over your letters, or you will blur the sharp lines and the chalk color will cover them.

A little bit of chalk can go a long way and create some great scrapbooking looks.

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