I love painting watercolour, although it’s not something I’m very good at yet, so I try to find different ways of using it when I’m making greetings cards instead. One of the simplest ways of doing this is to create simple watercolour washes and use them as backgrounds on your cards. By embossing the paper too you can get some interesting textures to add interest.
Three ways to create watercolour background cards
I’m going to show you how I put together three simple greetings cards using watercolour wash backgrounds. The finished effect is different for all three, but they are so simple – and quick – to create that there are lots more designs you can try.
When I make washes to use as backgrounds for cards, I create the wash bigger than the size of the card base and trim it down afterwards. That way I can avoid any white spaces that are left from my dodgy painting technique.
For these cards, I chose a gradient wash with the lighter colour at the top, but you can paint it anyway you prefer. I like cold-pressed watercolour paper, preferably over 220 gsm, because I find it warps less. And since watercolour washes are easiest using a wet-on-wet technique, which soaks the paper, warping is inevitable. Using cold-pressed and thicker paper can help avoid that.
Another tip to help avoid warping is to wet (or lightly spray) your paper on the back and then tape it onto a flat, non-porous surface. A plastic box lid or a chopping board, for example, would work very well.
For the card on the left I took a piece of watercolour paper trimmed to 6″x4″ and ran it through my Sizzix Bigshot Plus with a dotted embossing folder from Sizzix. Then I used an aqua watercolour wash and painted the whole background, using heavier colour towards the base of the card.
I trimmed the two longer sides and then stuck the watercolour paper to a white top-folding card 6″x4″ with double sided tape. I took another piece of watercolour paper and stamped it with a flower from the Waffle Flower Crafts Lotus Stamps set and water coloured it in contrasting rose paint. I stamped a simple sentiment (it was a magazine freebie) and glued them both to the front of the card.
For the second card, I started with the same size piece of heavyweight watercolour card and washed it with crimson watercolour paint. I used the same ombré technique with the paint on this card. I covered it with a spiral fan dot stencil and daubed it with white Dylusions paint for contrast. I stamped a simple Happy Birthday sentiment from the same magazine freebie selection onto white cardstock and cut a strip, sticking it to the front of the card across the middle. I kept it simple with a few random dots of silver Nuvo drops and it was finished.
The third card was so quick and simple, and truthfully I knocked this one up in about fifteen minutes from leftover scraps. I used the same crimson watercolour pan and washed the cardstock with it, before using my heat tool to dry it off. I took my V5 Hi-Tech Fineliner and drew simple scribble flowers on long stems from the bottom of the card before finishing with more random dots of Nuvo, this time in gold. I chose not to use a sentiment on this card because I quite like having a stash of generic cards just in case I need on in a hurry, but it would work just as well with a sentiment or die-cut greeting.
Happy crafting everyone!