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File under “Worth it?” – homemade distress tool

I am notoriously impatient.  I struggle with it.  One of the things I really really hate is waiting for something I need to come in the mail.  So if I need a tool and I know I will have to order it and it will take a day or more to get to me I am more likely to spend hours trying to make something that will work rather than setting something aside till whatever it is arrives.

I have been working on a layout that I finally realized really needed distressing on the edges of some of the papers.  It was more distressing than I was prepared to do with a nail file.

(sidebar:  I saw on some video or another that you should save your Fiskars trimmer when it gets to the point the cut edges are fuzzy, as this will give you a naturally distressed look.  It works (although the distressing is mild) but do mark which one is the “fuzzy” one!  I went to a crop with what I thought was a new blade only to find that it was an old fuzzy one DOH!)

I have been meaning to get a distressing tool but (surprise, surprise) never got around to it, so while doing the dishes this AM I was contemplating how I might make something that would work.  Then I made one.

This is basically what I did:

I punched a couple of cereal box weight card (maybe slightly thicker) and took the lid off one of my American Crafts shapes tubes.  I drew around it, so I could see where my cuts needed to extend past, then cut notches in the cardboard.  I lined the rim of the lid with redline tape and cut a strip of coarse sandpaper to fit.  Stuck it on.  One side of the lid was hollow so I filled it with some scraps of sticky-backed foam, leftover from my iPad cover making.  Covered both sides with a patterned paper circle then stuck on the notched scallops.

I only decorated one side, as there is a fatal design flaw, which I expected but as I was using what I had on hand and viewed it as only a temporary thing (till I order a real distress tool) it didn’t bother me a lot. But I did want to know which side was the “top” because of it.

I think I took this before I stuck it down, so while it may appear the gaping is the flaw, it isn’t.  The flaw is the little rolled edge of the lid.  If you draw the sandpaper along the paper or card with the rolled edge at the BOTTOM it doesn’t work as well – although that depends on if you are drawing the tool towards you or holding it and drawing the card/paper towards you, or scrubbing it back and forth. It will get me thru the day and let me distress my layout bits more easily, and really took only about 10 – 15 minutes to actually make (way less if I wouldn’t have bothered to decorate it, but I figured I needed something to remind me that the how to hold it (thumb on the circle) so why not make it look pretty?) but at the end of the day how worth it was it?  Not sure yet.  I’ll see how it goes.

The really funny thing? I’ve done this before, with a chipboard circle covered with sandpaper, and it worked ok.  I used it for whatever it was I was working on and then promptly misplaced it.  Believe it.  Here it is, in my iPhoto library, a few months back:

As you can see, that one worked too, although the one I made today fits a bit more comfortably when distressing a lot of edges.