This tutorial is done using Photoshop CS6.
With the main background of the paper already done,
I’ve got the layer I’m going to work with above it selected. This is the layer I’m going to distress.
First, click on the icon to “Add Layer Mask” in the layers panel. This is a great way to do some editing without actually harming the original art.
A white box will appear to the right of your layer in the layers panel.
Make sure you click on the white box so it is selected.
Now choose the eraser from the tools panel, and pick a brush. The best types of brushes to use for distressing are brushes that are, themselves, already grungy or distressed. I’m going to use brushes I’ve created (see end of tutorial for links).
Now click around on the art in your layer - and you’ll see parts of it being deleted. You should also notice the white box to the right of your layer is now showing some black areas. This is what you’ve deleted.
Then I added my final layer on top of non-distressed art to finish off this paper.
If you make a mistake or think you’ve deleted too much, you can change the eraser brush color to white, brush back over where you have deleted (making sure the white box is selected so you aren’t accidentally deleting or painting on your actual layer).
note: if you’ve seen this paper from the Dad’s Kit - the distressing might look different but was done with the same technique. I created this tutorial after I had already finished the paper (luckily I still had my “working layered paper”).