DIY "Aged/Distressed" Comic Cover on MDF
October 24, 2014 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I want to make my own comics that look distressed and mounted on MDF like these.

I may use exact board cut at Home Depot or larger painted black for border with picture centered. I am not sure how best to "distress" or "age" my scans in a relatively easy fashion but know there are tons of Photoshop brushes or filters out there. I am experienced with Photoshop. I have a printer who prints on the cheap so that is not a problem. Here are the breakdown of queries:
-- I am not sure what is the best way to mount the paper on the wood. ModgePodge is great for moving and centering but some spray might be alright if I can get it down quick and centered.
-- What is best easy sealant for a nice glossy lookl. I have high gloss spray which is okay but seems to smell for a long time and doesn't "pop" the colors. Wouldn't mind a really thicker glossly look that varnish or something might produce.
-- Not sure what brushes or filters to use via Photoshop. Pixlr has some cool filters but the aged or distressed one does the same to all pics and really doesn't look so hot to me.

I am looking forward to doing these with both comics (for self) and one of my own drawings to my wife for Christmas. Any and all creative, rather easy-ish input appreciated. Stretched canvas is too expensive for me though may be an option in the future. BTW, context: I just bought my first house and am decorating it with hopefully these, framed comics, Artissimo prints and the things seen on link above. Thank you and have a great weekend!
posted by chicaboom to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There are a ton of high resolution rough and worn textures you can get for free, as well as worn paper textures and old paper scans, if brushes are turning out to be too patterned for you.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:21 AM on October 24, 2014

Best answer: I had a more complicated thing I was going to write up, but this is amazingly effective.
posted by O9scar at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

-- Not sure what brushes or filters to use via Photoshop. Pixlr has some cool filters but the aged or distressed one does the same to all pics and really doesn't look so hot to me.

Back when I still had a pet dinosaur and rotary phone, my even more ancient and archaic sister created some distressed/aged papers for a school play (or project or something). If you are willing to go beyond Photoshop, I recall her wiping the paper down with tea (possibly using soaked cotton balls?) to brown it and age it and I recall her actually burning some of the edges a bit (very, very carefully) to make them appropriately damaged.

A quick google turns up other suggestions on how to age or distress paper. This one gives details on using tea et al to age papers.
posted by Michele in California at 1:00 PM on October 24, 2014

Response by poster: Anyone have thoughts on how to have a nice glossy finish? I'm not one who knows his way around crafts or building materials for that matter. I wouldn't mind a nice gloss coating that didn't leave streaks.

I think I am on the right enough track at least. The gloss coat bit may be too much.
posted by chicaboom at 9:03 PM on October 24, 2014

Best answer: You'll probably need to prep the MDF surface. I've never worked with MDF but this search should help. My go-to support is Masonite; if you're not 100% on the MDF, the link above includes some comparisons of different supports.

One tip: For smaller pieces of Masonite I go to a local lumberyard where they usually have odds and ends scrap pieces at huge discounts, and they'll cut those to size, too. They always have MDF, along with other materials.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2014

Best answer: Re high-gloss finishes, I think your two best options would be either acrylic or polyurethane varnish. The Mod Podge people recommend an acrylic sealer; I have used Minwax Polycrylic for this, it's not quite as smooth and glassy as polyurethane but it's very easy to work with and fast-drying though!

If you do want to go with varnish, I have had great success with wipe-on polyurethane: you get a very smooth finish because you are wiping it on with a cloth instead of brushing it on. This also makes it much easier to get good results. Apparently (I haven't tried this) you can get the same thing by diluting regular polyurethane varnish 50-50 with mineral spirits. Varnish always results in some yellowing of the color, but this may be what you want.
posted by goingonit at 11:45 AM on October 25, 2014

Response by poster: Ahhhh Perfect! Love ya all! Now to make me some old Timely Captain America pics for the walls. I am happy and excited! Thanks!
posted by chicaboom at 6:07 PM on October 25, 2014

Response by poster: ...and thank you Michelle in California. That might be somehthing I do later on...actually it answered a question for another side project..but am leaving it unmarked only because the others were directly on the mark and yours was great if I take more investment. Appreciated!
posted by chicaboom at 6:09 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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