How can you not immediately think of Pirates of the Caribbean when you see this stamp from the Monstrous CMS307 Halloween stamp set by Tim Holtz? It's just a fantastic image.
I used a die from one of my favorite Sizzix Alterations sets called Labels 660060 as the base for the stamp. I stamped the image in Ground Espresso Archival Ink, then aged the edges of the die by blending Antique Linen, and various brown Distress Inks around the edges and then lightly rubbing the Ground Espresso Mini Distress Ink lightly around the edges to give some texture.
For the background on the card I colored a piece of Distress Mixed Media Heavystock with Aged Mahogany Distress Ink and edged it in Ground Espresso Distress Ink. Then I stamped the Skulls CMS306 background stamp in Ground Espresso Distress Ink, purposefully leaving spots that weren't inked so it looks old and worn. This is one of my favorite ways to stamp the background stamps. Often times I use my hand as the stamping block so it really looks imperfect and worn. Cover the stamped image in gold embossing powder and heat. You want it to look like old brocade fabric.
My inspiration for this background was the captain's headboard in the cave scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Just a little Disney trivia here: It is rumored that there used to be several human skulls within the attraction, but now the only one actually remaining is the skull on the headboard in the Disneyland version of the ride. I don't know if this is fact or not, but it's creepy and definitely part of my inspiration.
I place it on some half in strips of Distress Woodgrain Cardstock colored with Distress Inks and hand cut to look like planks.
Lastly, in keeping with the pirate theme, I put the background on a piece of linen from the Ideaology Textile Surfaces.