1. Start by deciding which side of the embossing folder to ink. You want the ink to end up in the recesses, so it's normally the top side (often labelled). Swipe your ink pad all over this side and carefully place a sheet of white card into the sandwich, closing the folder onto the card rather than sliding the card in so as not to smear the ink. Make up your sandwich and pass through a roller-type machine.
I've used Pumice Stone distress ink to look like grouting in between the bricks. You can use any type of water-based ink, but the ones that take a while to dry work the best. Don't forget to give your folder a good wash straight after using.
2. When you look at old brickwork, you'll notice that the bricks are not all the same colour and there can be quite a lot of variation in the brickwork. Using more colours makes it seem more realistic to me, so I start by giving a background inking of three different browns. Here I've used antique linen, vintage photo and brushed corduroy. I apply the inks with small pieces of cut 'n' dry rather than using applicators. Don't know why, I just get better results that way!
3. Next, cover the whole sheet with a layer of Fired Brick. You can see the different browns underneath giving that wonderful splodgy look.
4. A light swipe of Aged Mahogany brings out a little more detail from the embossing.
5. Adding Walnut Stain around the edges provides a frame.
Use the finished piece like this, or cut it down if you want it smaller. If cutting, add more Walnut Stain ink to the cut edges. I hope you'll join me later in the week to see a project using this background.
Taking it further...
6. Once you've finished the brick background, you can take the process further by embossing a different pattern over the bricks. Here I've embossed twigs over the bricks and coloured them by lightly swiping with Pine Needles ink to provide a contrast. The finished effect reminds me of Sleeping Beauty's castle where the plants grow all around while everyone in the castle sleeps for a hundred years...
7. Here's the same piece after being swiped with versamark and heat-embossed with glittery embossing powder giving even more contrast.