Set aside a few hours, get your supplies organized and prepare to have a lot of fun. Making patterned papers is a fair amount of work but the results are worth it. The finished papers can be used in collage, if you can bear to cut them, or to cover books, journals, frames, make cards.
Supplies: 24 lb. or heavier paper, including card stock, in colors, white or cream; acrylic paint: I like the 2 0z. bottles from Michaels, they are cheap (50 cents each, come in lots of colors and are the right consistency), I also use FolkArt and other brands of metallics; rubber stamps, either wood backed or clear acrylic backed are fine; make your own craft foam stamps (lots of fun to make and you choose the imagery but this only works for bigger shapes); stencils; and cosmetic sponges from the drug store (foam brushes work as well).
Choose your paper and tone it first with a wash of acrylic paint and a cosmetic sponge. You may want to thin the paint slightly with a few drops of water. You can skip this step but it adds a richness to the finished paper. Depending on how much paint you use to cover, you will get a bit of the paper color glowing through. Stroke the sponge in the same direction to get even coverage. As an alternative, dab the paint on with the sponge to give a faux sponged look (scroll down to the last example, gold on black paper). Since acrylic paint dries so fast you can move right on to the next step and don't have to wait for the paint to dry. It may be a little tacky but that's OK.
Dab paint on your stamp evenly in preparation to stamp on paper. The stamp should have an even covering of paint but not too thick. Place your stamp on the paper, face down, in the desired position and press firmly all over the back of the stamp. Remove stamp and re-dab with paint. I do this each time I stamp on the paper because I want the paint application to look even. This is very labor intensive but the results are worth it. Stamping the paper a second time without re-dabbing gives a ghost image. Experiment and see what you like.
For this pattern I had to reverse the stamp to get the second half of the circle. Continue to cover the entire sheet of paper. Depending on the size of the stamp, the pattern may not fit the paper precisely so adjust your stamping accordingly.
I added a layer of stenciling to this paper and stenciled with the sponge using a dabbing motion. You could also use a stencil brush but the sponge works fine. I reversed the stencil every row so that the pattern would fit nicely on the paper. I also used the edge of the stencil to fill in open areas near both short edges of the paper.
The finished paper. I love this one. I was tempted to add another layer of pattern but decided not to. I'll have to do another to see what I can get.
This pattern started with a foam stamp done in red on orange paper. I only got four repeats of the pattern (two full and two partial). Next I stamped with a wood backed stamp that has letters on it, which can be seen better in the close-up below.
The third stamp used was a small star burst stamped in the center of the fleur de lis flower shape (it's hard to see in the photo but it's under the final layer of paint). Finally, I used an intricate stencil and a metallic paint to bring the image all together and give a wonderful glow to the finished paper.