Shabby chic is a specific style of decorating used in both interior design and various forms of crafting. The look is characterised by large amounts of distressing, inking, tearing and even burning for an antiquated look. Shabby chic creations are also frequently added to by painting and using fibres, fabrics and ribbons to decorate the project.
Whether you find a piece of furniture at a thrift store or you just have a piece around the house that you would like to turn shabby chic, the process is fairly simple and time efficient. First strip the furniture using sandpaper; this will allow you to finish or paint as you please. Apply a thin coat of paint to the furniture and let dry, repeat the process several times to get a nice base. When you paint the final coat on the piece and it becomes slightly tacky, sand the edges and places that would normally wear first. Then paint a clear finish over the top. This will allow for your newly finished piece to look as if you've had it for years. You can also apply petroleum jelly to the piece where it would normally wear and paint as normal, then wipe the petroleum jelly away. This will allow the paint to look more chipped than sanded.
Many shabby chic methods and techniques can be used to add an entirely new dimension and texture to your scrapbooking projects. A family history album or scrapbook gift for a grandparent are two great options in which shabby chic can be employed for a vintage layout.
Corrugated cardboard can be used to add a distinctive aged look and feel to a page. Corrugated cardboard can be purchased in varying colours at craft stores, or flaps from a packing box will work for a quick fix. The tearing of the cardboard will allow the inner, textured part of the cardboard to show as well as the smooth paper of the outside. Place a sepia-toned or black-and-white picture at an angle on top of the cardboard. This will allow both characteristics of the cardboard to stand out. Frame with a textured fabric, such as denim or faux lace, and adorn with a piece of older jewellery or large, antique four-hole buttons.
Distressed paper can be used in art projects, scrapbooking, greeting card design and many other crafts. There are two main methods of distressing paper: wet and dry. The dry method involves crumpling the paper, straightening and then crumpling again. This process can be repeated as many times as desired for a light to heavily weathered appearance. A brayer or a warm iron can be used to straighten the paper when you are pleased with the crinkling. The wet method involves misting the cardstock or paper until dampened. The paper is then crumpled and gently unfolded once, then laid flat to air dry. If you want to speed up the process, cover the paper with paper towels and then iron flat. Remember that crumpling the paper will slightly shrink it, so it's easier to do a full sheet then cut to size; this ensures you have the ideal size when finished. To add an extra flair to your paper, use an ink pad to lightly brush at the paper edges. This will give a burnt/antique finish.