This is a great technique - I have used it a number of times on different projects and it especially works well with grunge, distress and shabby chic. In this video, Arlene from mybutterflykisses12 demonstrates the technique from Tim Holtz first book ‘ Compendium of Curiosities’.

You need:

  • a piece of chipboard or grungeboard that you want to rust up (but I have also used it on the metal brads used to attach a ‘rusty’ hinge and they looks awesome)
  • Vintage Photo distress ink
  • blending tool
  • Vintage Photo distress embossing powder
  • embossing ink
  • pair of tweezers
  • piece of paper with a crease down the centre/ embossing tray
  • heat tool
  • non-stick craft sheet


  • ink up your chip/ grungeboard with the embossing ink and place on paper
  • shake up your distress embossing powder to mix the crystals
  • sprinkle the distress embossing powder over the chip/ grungeboard
  • take the piece out of embossing powder and pour extra embossing powder back into the jar
  • heat with the heat tool – you will need to watch closely as there will be a slight colour change. The good news is that you can’t heat it too much.
  • cool
  • then using your finger rub to remove the ‘release crystals’
  • ink up your blending tool with vintage photo and rub into the chip/ grungeboard
  • now it is ready to use on a project

Don’t worry if you don’t have Vintage Photo ink – I think I used Frayed Burlap the first time I tried it and it still looked great (but vintage photo does give that realistic rust colour). You can use another rust coloured ink until you get a Vintage Photo but you must have the distress embossing powder, you just can’t get the same texture with anything else!

The distress embossing powders contain ‘release crystals’ that don’t melt when heated. Three important things to remember when using distress embossing powders are:

  • always shake the jar before using – otherwise you will be left with these ‘release crystals’ and no embossing powder as you get to the bottom
  • don’t rub the surface until cooled or you may remove some of embossing (not to mention burning your hand)
  • lastly, don’t add the ‘release crystals’ back into the jar because you will be left with the wrong proportion of ‘release crystals’ to embossing powder.

Hope you find this helpful

K xoxo

Filed under: Scrapbooking Ideas

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