Tag Archives: watercoloring

30 Day Color Challenge, Day … 6?


I guess I’m kind of losing track.  I’m just dipping into and out of the color challenge as it suits me, as I see things I like, and not flogging myself over not posting something every single day.

Here is my latest:


This is a technique demonstrated by Jennifer McGuire during the Day 2 blog hop, which she calls “negative space coloring.”  Stamp a stamp, emboss it, but leave it blank and color around the outside — the negative space of the image.  I like this idea a lot in theory, but I am having trouble with the implementation.  This is my second attempt. (The purple one)  I’m having trouble with the composition — the stamp is just floating there — and with blending the colors, and with staying outside the lines.  I don’t know.  It’s funny how some people ace a technique, and others just can’t. But then they master a technique the next person never could.  I guess that’s art.

The stamp here is from Woodware, and as you can see I colored it with my Zig Clean Color markers, on Daler Rowney watercolor paper.  Actually this is a watercolor cardstock postcard — it’s stamped on the back with lines for an address and a place to put a stamp. I used the Zigs straight from the pen, no water — it may have been too much.  I did go back afterward and mist it with water and life some of the color up, which helped I think.

If I can think of anything useful to do with this piece, I’ll show you.  Any suggestions?


Painted Fancy 2


Here is my next card from the Painted Fancy stack:






Recollections 5×6.5 pre-scored white card base

Recollections “Painted Fancy” 12×12 stack

Woodware “Georgina” clear flower stamp #JGS186

Stampendous “Friend Bouquet” wood-mounted sentiment stamp #47019

Versamark ink

Wow! Opaque Bright White embossing powder

Purple Wink of Stella glitter pen

Cabochon embellishment (unknown)


  • Cut a 5×6.5 panel from purple DP from the stack and mount it to the card base.
  • Stamp the flower stamp and sentiment with Versamark ink.
  • Emboss with white embossing powder.
  • Color in the petals and center of the flower with Wink of Stella.
  • Embellish the center of the flower with a lavender cabochon.


This card did not turn out as pretty as I hoped it would. I tried to cut the paper, which is a solid sheet of purple in a watercolor style wash, to show off the gradation of color in the wash – but it’s much more evident in the whole 12×12 sheet than it is in the card front. I had originally intended to stamp a group of smaller Woodware flowers in a bouquet style, but decided they were too small and one larger flower would be better. But given the Bouquet reference in the sentiment, I probably should have gone with my original impulse.

The white embossing is also not as pretty against the purple background as I imagined it to be.

So I decided I needed to bling it up. I remembered I had a dark purple Wink of Stella pen I bought for another project. That worked well. And I glued a lavender cabochon in the center of the flower. I almost always put a rhinestone, pearl, or some other bling in the center of a flower head or medallion if I use one. It centers the design to me, and adds some shine and light.

So, the card is fine, it just fell short of my original vision. It’s not my favorite card I ever made. But it’s alright. At these times, you have to remember that the person who will receive the card has no idea what your original vision is – they just know you made them a nice purple flower card. And they will like it fine.

The Woodware stamp and the cabochon are NBUS.  Always feel triumphant when I use something for the first time.



Patterned Paper 4: Painted Fancy




Having moved on from the Abrianna stack my last projects were from, I dug through all my 12 x 12 stacks and selected my next project: a stack from Recollections called “Painted Fancy.”  This stack was obviously published to cash in on the recent hot watercolor trend in papercrafting.  Not a bad call, as the trend was incredibly hot for a long time, but many crafters, not trained artists, are (like myself) afraid of the unforgiving nature of watercolor paints.  The stack has a mix of painted-looking patterns and colored washes, many with glittered elements.  It’s nice, in soft pastel colors.

Here’s the first card:


(Which you can see I have placed upon the stack itself so you can get a glimpse of it — aren’t I clever?)   🙂

I used a 5×6.5 Recollections pre-scored card base and mounted a section from a page with random colored washes and soft printed text as a background.  I used a larger sized card base so you could see more of the DP.  The greeting is a stamp and diecut from the first Catherine Pooler Stamp of Approval kit, from CAS-ual Fridays.  I highlighted the “friend” diecut with Glossy Accents, which you can’t really see in the picture, but looks cool IRL.

I embellished it with some unusual square sequins from Doodlebug Design — square, because I am intending to send this card to a male friend of mine.

And that’s it.  Watercolor effects, as reproduced in this paper, are usually colorful and interesting enough that you want to let them stand on their own.

Faux Watercolor with Distress Markers



OK, I have been fiddling around with these cards for a while, and last night I finally finished them.  (Well, mostly finished.) The technique here is faux watercolor stamping with Distress Markers.  Similar to what I have been doing before — coloring the stamp and misting it,  but with the markers.




This first one I stamped on kraft paper, because I was curious how the faux watercolor technique would look on kraft paper, which is pretty absorbent.  Also I thought it would suit the sketch and color scheme I was planning.  I colored, misted, stamped, and left the image to dry naturally.  I had to try this out a few times to get the right balance of colors on the wheat ears, so they would stand out properly.   The colors I used are Scattered Straw, Dried Marigold, Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters, maybe a little Vintage Photo or Walnut Stain, I don’t quite remember.

I scribbled the markers on the craft sheet, misted them, and added some splatters with a paint brush, too.  That did not work out quite as well as I would like — I’m not great with splatters.  They’re OK, but they could be better.

The sentiment is from Fiskars.  Once it was all done, it seemed to need something more, so I dug around in my stash and found these tiny, decorated brads.  They certainly fit the color scheme.

This second pair of cards are the Seasonal Distress Markers on an ikat background stamp.




First generation impression is on the left, second on the right.  As usual, I ended up liking the second generation more, but the first is fine too.

This paper is the Tim Holtz Distress watercolor paper — I like what a bright white it is.  I used the smooth side.  I mounted the panels on black cardstock for contrast, and added a vellum strip for a sentiment.

I had a certain sentiment stamp in mind — “You color my world” — but I can’t find the damn thing. Hah, I guess that’s what I get for cleaning up!  When it turns up, I will stamp the sentiment strips.  Or if I find I want to use the cards for something, I will add an appropriate sentiment.  I think they would make good low-key birthday cards, being colorful but not too fancy.

So that’s faux watercolor.

There are many other watercolor techniques I could try, but you know, right now, I’m just not feeling it.  The watercolor.  The unpredictability of it is hard for me.  I know watercolor is terribly popular right now, but I think I’m ready to move on.  I can always come back to it later.

For my next projects I might like to work with patterned paper.  Or maybe play around with some of the non-card materials in my stash.


Faux Watercolor 2




For my next installment I decided to work with one stamp and play around with it, see what different effects I could get.

The stamp is Hero Arts Hydrangea, and I am still coloring with my Stamper’s Big Brush pens.



So this is the faux watercoloring technique, where one colors a stamp with markers, and then mists it with water to make the colors run and flow like watercolor paints.  This is a first-generation impression — still pretty crisp on the flower head.  I stamped this on bristol paper, which is very smooth — an alternative substrate suggested by Jennifer Rzasa in the “Watercoloring for Cardmakers” class.  It took the ink and the water pretty well, without buckling, and I left it to dry naturally.


This card uses the second generation impression from that same stamp — I misted it with water again and stamped again on the bristol.  I’m finding that I often like the second generation imprint better than the first.  I like how this one is very crisp up at the top left, but becomes very blurry and “watercolory” at the bottom.

The background paper is from a K & Company pad. The banner is a Spellbinders die, and the sentiment is from the Hero Arts Everyday Sentiments set.  I really, really like how this card turned out.  Someone needs to hurry up and have an anniversary, so I can send it.



For this last card, I misted and stamped the image, and then took a damp paintbrush and pulled the wet ink into the interior of the leaves and blossom.  It turned out rather blurrier than I would like, but it is still recognizably a flower, and I do like the dreamy, pastel quality. (When I showed it to my husband, he said, “Pretty,” instead of,  “What is that?” so I know it still works.)  The photo doesn’t quite do it justice, it is prettier in real life.  The image looks muddy here, but it is actually quite clear and translucent in real life.  (I’m sorry, I’m not the best photographer.)  Again I left it to dry naturally, trusting to the ink to create unique patterns as it dried.

So I’d say I can recommend bristol paper as a surface for some watercolor techniques.  And I’m finding that what everyone says is true — less is more when it comes to watercolor.  You just have to accept the loss of control you get with such a wet medium, and trust the paint/ink/pigment to do its own thing and present a unique result.  If you fuss around with the paint and the image, trying to “fix” it, you will more likely just mess it up.  It’s hard to let go of that control, but watercolor demands it.

UPDATE: I am really happy with the anniversary card, so I am going to enter it into the following challenges:

The Amusing Challenge — Anything Goes

Penny Black and More Challenge — Use Your Favorite Stamp.  That hydrangea maybe is not my absolute favorite stamp, but I do use it an awful lot.  It is one of my favorites.

Crafting at the Weekend — Always Anything Goes

Paper Crafting Challenges — Anything Goes

Sugar Creek Hollow — Floral

Creative Corner — Flowers

Fun-Day Friday Challenge — In the Garden

Aud Sentiments Challenge — Two Word Sentiment

SSS Work It Wednesday — anything goes

I think that’s enough. Wish me luck!

Faux Watercolor Stamped Images


Had enough of trying to paint the embossed resist.  It just never worked out. On to the next technique!

If you are not a trained or experienced painter, you can get a bit of the look of watercolors by coloring your stamps with water-based (not alcohol!) markers, and misting the stamp before you stamp.  This makes the colors run together and gives the image that dreamy watercolor look.  You can do this technique with any kind of water-based marker — Tombow, Memento, Stampin Up, Marvy, Distress, heck even Crayolas!  But don’t try this with alcohol markers — they are not water soluble, so it won’t work, and they will just stain your stamps.

I enjoyed the painterly look I got by coloring my stamps with my Faber-Castell Stamper’s Big Brush pens on this card, so I thought I would try them first.




Stamper’s Big Brush pens are filled with India ink, and I confess that I don’t really know what that is.  But it seems to be water soluble, because this technique works.  These markers are designed to work this way — they are after all “Stamper’s Big Brush” pens.  Jennifer McGuire has a video demonstrating this technique here.  But it’s actually really easy: you just color the stamp with the markers — you can use multiple colors as you see here — then mist and stamp.  Also, it works best on watercolor paper, too — this is Strathmore cold press paper.

Here, the central eye of the peacock feather didn’t stamp properly, so I scribbled a bit of the teal marker on my craft sheet, picked it up with a wet brush, and while the image was still quite wet, highlighted the eye so it was more clearly shaped and colored.  Just a little bit, with a very light hand, and then I left the image to dry on its own.  You can’t even tell it was manipulated.

I like the way the colors run together when you use this technique. It rather gives the impression of the iridescence of a peacock feather.  This stamp is one of my favorites; it’s from Hero Arts.

The background paper is from a Recollections pad called “Pretty As a Peacock.”  If you look closely you can see a subtle peacock-feather pattern on there.

You can do second-generation stamping with this technique as well, if you mist the stamp again after the first impression:




Here, the orange leaf on the left is the first impression, and the one of the right is the second.  You may find you like the second generation better!  The green leaf is also a second-generation stamp — the first I misted with too much water, and it was just too runny and indistinct when it stamped. The second generation turned out excellent, though.

This oak leaf stamp is from Rubber Stampede. It’s one of the very first stamps I ever bought.  The white paper is the Strathmore again. The mats for these images are from a Core-dinations pack, and the card bases are Recollections kraft pre-scored cards. I also have an aspen leaf and a maple leaf — print a few more like this and they would make a nice card set to give as a gift.

So anyway, this is a really easy technique, and the results can look surprisingly sophisticated.  I encourage you to try it with whatever water-based markers you have.

Watercolors: Embossed Resist 2


Another less than successful attempt at watercolor resist.



Here I black heat-embossed a background stamp onto the watercolor paper, and painted it in a mix of green, orange and brown shades.  I was going for a more masculine presentation.

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble with black heat-embossing.  If you heat an embossed image too much, the embossing powder overheats and sinks into the paper, leaving a flat, blurry line instead of a raised, shiny one.  This seems to happen double-fast with black powder — probably because it is black and thus absorbs energy more and faster than other colors.  For me, it happens more often than not, and it happened here too — half the image is over-embossed and flat.  It is so fractured an image, it was hard to tell what was embossed and what wasn’t while heating it. (The stamp is an Impression Obsession Cover-a-Card background stamp called Distress.)

Given that half the embossing is overdone and sunk into the paper, it didn’t pool the watercolors very much.  Well, I mounted it on a kraft card, added a sentiment and called it a day. I sponged the edges of the panel with Tea Dye Distress ink, because I felt it needed something to separate it from the kraft, but didn’t want to go to the trouble of cutting another panel to mount it on.

I guess it looks OK. Like Jennifer McGuire often says, you may not like a certain card because it fell short of what you were envisioning.  But the person to whom you give it only knows that you hand-made a card for them, and they are perfectly happy with it. I’ve found that to be true.

UPDATE: I am entering this card into the Craft Hoarders Challenge, as the challenge is to use metal or glass. The sentiment on this card is metal, and it is really the focal point of the card, so it seems appropriate.  I was just checking up on everyone in my blogroll, and found that challenge — so why not?

Watercolors: Embossed Resist


The next step in our exploration of watercolors, and also of the Online Card Class, is watercoloring over heat embossing.  This is supposed to give interesting effects as the paint pools around and within the embossed design.

Well, I’m getting frustrated with it, and I can’t be the only one.




Here is my third attempt.  I’m sorry to say, this card looks crappier on camera than it does in real life.  But both ways, the paint is blotchy, and I am disgusted at how the orange paint stained the embossing on the sentiment.  Why did it do that? Why only the orange?  This is after three separate attempts to clean it, too.

Trying to clean the sentiment dabbed paint away from around the letters, so I went in with a fine-detail brush and tried to add more paint around the letters of “You Are,” to try and increase the contrast. Not sure it really worked.  One of the things the instructors for the class reiterate again and again with the watercolors is that less is more — you have to let the watercolors blend and move on their own.  The more you try and fuss around and fix it, the worse you will make it.  I think this is an example of that problem.  Trying to fix the stained sentiment just made everything worse.

Another thing they stress is that you won’t really know how a piece looks until it completely dries — the colors and the lines of where the water went and mingled change when dry.  That happened here, too — it wasn’t as streaky when it was still damp.

So, this card is not bad enough to pitch straight in the circular file, but it is hardly my finest moment.  I mounted the panel on some plain white watercolor paper, and then on black cardstock.  Maybe when I look at it tomorrow, it will not seem so hideous.

We’ll see.  Either way, I’m about ready to move on to other techniques.



Watercolors: Basic Washes 4


Sorry I have been so silent lately. But the electricals blew out in my office, and it took a while before I could get the electrician out.  I had some family stuff, too — my Mom was in the hospital, but she is out now and things are OK for the time being, so I was able to turn my attentions to my crafts for a while. Here are a couple cards made with some of the basic watercolor washes I made in earlier blog posts:




The dragonfly panel on this card I stamped and black heat-embossed on the purple watercolor Gelatos wash I made here.  The darker purple mounting panel was cut with the Spellbinders Distressed Edges nesting dies, my first time using them, so NBUS, as Darnell says.  Mostly I kept it simple, no bling, to showcase the washed panel. This second card is stamped on one of the Twinkling H20s panels. Try as I might, I could not catch the iridescence of the paint in the photo, but this shot does show the banded nature of the wash well enough.  Again, simple.




I swear, I lined that sentiment up with a grid block and it still came out crooked!  I have problems with my eyesight, I think that is why I have such trouble with straight lines. I think I need to adopt a more naturalistic, flowing style that is not so dependent on straight lines and things lining up nicely. I’m trying to figure out what that is.


The pink Gelatos panel I butchered during the course of making a card, and it had to be discarded.  It’s not often that I screw things up so badly that a card has to be trashed, but it happens.


I was signed up for the Watercolors for Card Makers Online Card Class, but I haven’t been able to attend much, with my Mom’s sickness, and no power in my office.  But we have a week to work before the class closes, so if I do any of those projects, I will post them here too.

Watercolors: Basic Washes 3


Continuing on with creating basic washes from my various watercolor, watercolor-like, or water-based supplies, just to see how they work as watercolors.  In this post I have Twinkling H2o’s, Faber-Castell Gelatos, and Distress Inks. Twinkling H2os are cake watercolors in tiny little jars, with bright colors and a lot of mica powder added to them to give a pearly shimmer. I didn’t even know what they were for a long time — I kept reading mentions of them in papercrafting books and magazines, and wondered. “What are these Twinkling H2os?”  Someone finally explained it.  Then I found a basic set at Michaels one day, so I bought it.  This is the first time I have ever actually used them.




Pretty intense colors, and an all-over pearlescent sheen.  Hope you can see it:




Good color coverage, and less streaky than the Yasutomo pearlescent watercolors. (Probably because they are better quality.)  I like them so far.

Next I tried Gelatos, which are a solid media, but are water-soluble and easily mixed with water to make a watercolor-like pigment.  You can even make color sprays out of them with enough water — Faber-Castell sells a kit of little tools for that.  I’ve made a couple and they have good color and coverage. (I want to like color and shimmer sprays, I do, they seem like so much fun, but I just find them too messy and unpredictable. I keep trying, though.) So anyway, I haven’t tried Gelatos as watercolor paints before. At first, for some reason, I tried applying the Gelato right to the paper and washing it out.  That didn’t work; the pigment did not spread across the paper but stayed where I had applied it:




I mean, this will work if you are going for that sketchy, messy mixed-media look, but not for a watercolor wash.  Seeing this, I remembered, oh yeah, you are supposed to mix the paint on a palette. What you do is swipe the Gelatos sticks on your craft sheet or other smooth, plasticky flat surface, and add water, then mix to create a paint.  The Gelatos mix quite readily with the water and smooth out to an even liquid.  They wash like this:




Streakier than I hoped, but with more practice I might be able to create an even wash.  We’ll have to see.  There are regular Gelatos, and also a few metallic colors.  The regulars produce a matte wash, and the metallics have a subtle sheen — nothing like the Twinks or the Yasutomos, though.

Finally I tried Distress Inks from the inkpads. I went a little afield.  I did a partial wash, because I wanted to make a certain style of card,which I have already posted.  Here is a better picture:




The inks here are Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Moved Lawn. I generally like what was the “Seasonal” range of Distress Colors rather than the orginal range, because they are brighter and more vibrant.  The seasonal colors sold so well they are part of the whole range now and are not just sold seasonally anymore. For the second piece, I did a wash and then grunged it up a bit using Tom Holtz’s “wrinkle-free distress” method, where you build layers and drops of Distress color, drying the paper between colors.  Just to see how it would look.  Because that’s how Distress inks are meant to be used.




Distress inks as watercolors are very easy to do.  You just squish the inkpad down on your craft sheet or other palette, spritz the ink laid down with water, and swirl it with your brush to make a paint.  The big difference, I think, is, even when dry, Distress colors will continue to react to water if it is applied.  So you need to be careful of that as you work.


Haven’t made any cards with these panels yet — when I do, I will add them. I’m also taking the Online Card Class Watercolor for Cardmakers.  It seemed opportune.   So I will be posting projects from that, as well.