I keep a Silki-mitt handy for sanding paper craft projects. I'm guessing they're available in the US but they may have different name - you'll find them with hair removal products at the drug store. They're basically a little sleeve of very fine sandpaper designed to slip over your hand to massage hair off your legs (not sure I fancy sanding my legs myself!).
As Sabrina says, you'll get the most pronounced effect on cardstock or paper that has a white or coloured core. DCWV is textured white core cardstock and sands very well, Core-dinations comes in a range of colours with different colour cores (including ones that go with Ranger Distress and Adirondack ink ranges) and patterned paper is white underneath the printed design.
You can sand the edges of any panel for a worn or shabby look, sanding doesn't have to be reserved for embossed items!