Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Simple Watercolour Cards

I thought I'd post today, a simple technique for making very simple watercolour cards.

There are many posts on Youtube for this technique, as it's really popular.
This is what works for me, and allows me to make quick and easy cards to donate to my local vet, at a relatively little cost.

As someone who has received, and kept, cards from my vet after having sweet old Ellie put to sleep a few years ago, and beautiful Baxter in 2012, I wanted to come up with something quiet and peaceful and hopefully calming.

This technique seems to work well for this on-going project, and I choose the stamps and colours somewhat randomly, but always trying to keep in mind what these cards are for, and the feelings of the person who might receive one.

A little white in the background sometimes looks nice, and fits the image quite well.

Paper and Cards :
Just because something is inexpensive, it doesn't have to be 'nasty'. My local Scrapbook Store in York Rd, has a lovely range of rectangular cards, and I also buy from my local 'cheap' shop ... the square ones ...but in both cases the cards are die-cut and well matched up on the edges.

I mostly use mauve and white. Also pale blue and pale green look nice.

The Watercolour paper is Creativ brand, and I bought mine in K-Mart. An A3 pad will give six 12.5mm card panels from one page, which fit a 13cm x 13cm card base perfectly.

I have tried thicker papers, but found they were too thick for the cards, so I like this one ... it's only 180gsm, but has a well-textured side  which soaks up the water and colour well. You can also re-dip this a couple of times if you miss a spot.

Colour :
This is so simple ... simply scribble your chosen colours on an acrylic block ... or the edge of a plastic box [I marked out a square frame for this on the corner of a marker storage box] ... or an acetate sheet will also work well.

Every thing you need : A panel of watercolour paper cut a tiny bit smaller than your card-base, an acrylic block, watercolour markers [these are Marvy markers and Memento markers. Both work well. The Ranger Distress inkpads and markers also work well.

Here, I've added a mauve centre and an aqua surround. This is how it looks after a spray.

After  you've added the colour, give it a spray and dip your paper. When you lift it, you will see if there are any spots that need to be dipped again. Sometimes you can get a second panel done from the one colouring.
Let these dry, then stamp them.

A couple of these don't look the best ... if I don't like them after I've stamped them, I will bin them.

I really love the pelican stamp from Cherrypie on Ebay.  [See above in top photo and here].

It has lovely detail and seems to fit well with what I need.
I also use flower stamps, grass, and seabirds.
The seabirds and the grass stamps used here are from Stampscapes.
There are also lovely seabird stamps in the Beach set the pelican belongs with from Cherry Pie.
Sometimes I need to reinforce the horizon ... I do this with a brush dipped in a tiny bit of sprayed marker scribble in the colours I need. I don't often do this, but sometimes in a sea scene you do need to.

This card [below], was made using the top right panel in the photo two above. It was pretty randomly grey, but turned out to be a nice background for this peony stamp by Tonic Stamps.

To stamp, I use Archival Ink by Ranger, in Jet Black. This lets me use watercolour again to colour.
I coloured this panel, the peony using watered down Gelatos.

I used Gelatos in  this one too, but ended up tossing it as I messed up the stem and leaf I added. The gelatos worked really well though, in adding the colour. It was my hand drawing that bombed this one!

If I want to use Copics, I stamp using Memento Tuxedo Black.

Archival [or Versafine], work better with the watercolours though, and don't smear or bleed.

Finishing the Cards:
To finish these cards, I add an insert on the inside. This is just a full-sized leaf cut to a slightly smaller size than the card, using 80gms computer paper. Nothing fancy at all, but I add white with a white card and mauve with a mauve card.

Distressing the Edges :

I distress the edges of my panels with a Tim Holtz distresser ~ [you can see this distinctive little tool in the photos], and I add an extra layer of colour, by inking around the edges carefully.

I like this way to finish off these particular cards, as it gives a nice 'layer' of colour without the weight of an added panel.

I add the panel to the card-base using X-PressIt High Tack double-sided tape, and it's done.
I never add a sentiment, as these cards fill a different niche than what's usually  and the vet nurses write their personal messages inside.

I really love making these cards. This watercolour technique is one of my favourites, and it allows you to try new things, while working to a 'plan'. For this last set I made, I tried out some new stamps, practised using my Gelatos as a watercolouring medium, and tested out some new cardbases.

Thanks so much for visiting Seadragon Song, and I hope you might return in the future.


  1. These are great , peaceful cards and perfect to help someone feel better after such a loss. Your did a great job with the tutorial as well!

    1. Thank you so much Lisa. That's what I try to make, something quiet and peaceful. I started a new lot yesterday.