I absolutely LOVE wood backgrounds on my layouts--both paneled wood and woodgrain. But, even more than that, I love painted wood. And, even more than that, I love the look of aged painted wood. Of course, in real life, when you paint wood, there are gaps in the paint between the individual slats of wood or between the cracks of the wood grain.
Over the years, I have developed a few different methods for adding a paint layer to a wood background and then blending it into the wood to create those gaps in the paint, which results a more realistic effect. The method I use depends on my background paper and the program in which I'm working.
Today I want to show you one method that I use for creating this realistic painted wood look. One of the great things about this method is that it is non-destructive. I don't actually erase any pixels from the paint layer, so I can go back and restore any bits of paint that I may want to keep. Or, I can remove even more paint if I decide I want a more dramatic look.
Let's get started!
Step One: Prepare the Workspace
- Create a new 12 x 12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
- Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
- Open a wood background paper of your choice (File > Open). I am using the wood paper from Outdoor Dad by Brandy Murry.
- Get the Move tool.
- On the document, while holding down the Shift key, click on the paper and drag it onto the blank document.
Step Two: Add a Paint Overlay
- Open a paint or overlay file you wish to use. I am using Overlay 02 from Susie Roberts' Painterly Overlays Vol. 1.
- Holding down the Shift key, click on the overlay and drag it onto the scrapbook page.
Step Three: Clip a Paper to the Overlay Layer
- Open the paper of your choice. I am using the bird watching paper from Outdoor Dad by Brandy Murry.
- Holding down the Shift key, click on the paper and drag it onto the scrapbook page.
- In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask to clip the paper layer to the overlay layer.
- In the Layers panel, activate the overlay layer.
- Adjust the Blend Mode and Opacity as desired. I used a Blend Mode of Normal and an Opacity of 85%.
- In the Layers panel, click on the Visibility icon of the overlay layer to hide it temporarily.
Step Four: Erase the Gaps In the Wood
- In the Layers panel, activate the wood paper layer.
- Press Ctrl + (Mac: Cmd +) to Zoom in on the background.
- Get the Magic Wand tool.
- In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon, set the Tolerance to 32, uncheck Sample All Layers and Contiguous, and check Anti-Aliasing. (Photoshop: Set the Sample Size to Point Sample.)
- On the document, click on any black space created by gaps in the wood or the woodgrain pattern.
- In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Modify > Expand.
- In the dialog box, enter 1 pixel and click OK.
- In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Inverse.
- Press Ctrl 0 (Mac: Cmd 0) to fit the document to your screen.
- In the Layers panel, click on the Visibility icon of the overlay layer to make it visible again.
- Activate the overlay layer.
- In the Layers panel, click on the Add Layer Mask icon.
Note: If you want to erase more of the overlay, activate the mask on the overlay layer, use a soft round brush with the foreground color of black, and brush away the areas you want to erase. If you want to bring back areas of the overlay, activate the mask on the overlay layer, use a soft round brush with the foreground color of white, and brush in the areas you want to bring back.
Your background should now have the look of realistic painted wood. This is a subtle effect but one that adds a lot of realism to the background. I just love it. Here's my finished layout:
I hope you'll have fun with this technique. Experiment with different overlays as well as different patterned and solid papers. I would love to see what you create, so post your pages in the Digi Scrap Tutorial Gallery, and I'll be sure to stop by and leave you some love.