Watercoloring my Greeting Cards

Watercoloring is something I’ve admired and loved a long time. I used to dream of becoming a watercolor artist but it was one of those dreams that was more like a fantasy…something I never thought would happen. Fast forward to 2019 and here I am using its effects and techniques on my cards. I can’t be more excited!

The other day I was talking with my good friend, Kimberly McGuiness who is an awesome artist, and I told her that I didn’t feel worthy of calling myself, “an artist”. I have no formal training or training at all for that matter. I follow crafters on YT and that’s how I’m learning. But she said something that really stuck with me…

“I think we are all artists it’s just a matter of finding the spark that makes us happy and go with it and yes practice, practice, practice.”

I had thought of myself as a designer because my professional career is graphic and web design and a crafter because I crocheted and knitted. But an artist, to me, took a different definition. So, the first thing that I had to (have to) shed is my thought process about what an artist is. Truly, an artist is someone who creates and there are many mediums in which to create: paintings, paper crafts, performance, writing, photography, videography, digital design, fiber arts, interior design, technical drawing and even architecture.

So, it’ll take me some time to get used to calling myself an artist but eventually I will. I posted these social and didn’t think I would get much engagement. That tells you what I was thinking! I think that part of accepting the term “artist” is not being afraid to share your work no matter if you’re just beginning or you’re an advanced painter. In any case, enough of my rambling… one of the main reasons for saying all this was to say that Kimberly really encouraged me to write this blog post and share these cards here. So, let me get to it!

The inspiration for this technique came from this YT video, “How to Create Backgrounds with Distress Oxides“. I’ll embed the video below but if the link doesn’t work, click here!

When the Distress Oxide inks debuted, I had to get some to try out. Now, I own 24 of the colors and yes I plan to buy the rest. I think there’s 60 total, but I could be wrong. Anyway, these inks react to water so well and gives you that dreamy watercolor background we crafters love! Links to all the products I used are at the end of this post. Also, some of them are affiliate links which if you purchase using any of them, I’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support is greatly appreciated!

I started these cards using the “Suzi’s In Full Bloom” watercolor cards sold at Simon Says Stamp (SSS). The flower outlines are printed on Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock. There are 12 cards in the pack and very affordable. They’re cut to A2 size (4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″) so they’re perfect to go on top of card bases. And, that gives you 12 cards almost immediately!

Suzi’s In Full Bloom Watercolor Cards sold at SSS

You can color these flowers with brush pens like the Kuretake (Zig) Clean Color Brush Pens that I love playing with. These brush pens are water based but you can also color with these cards with paint, alcohol markers or crayons. However, I decided to use the technique in the video above. I used a mixture of Distress Oxide Inks and the regular Distress Inks.

These are the colors I used:

  • Cracked Pistachio
  • Faded Jeans
  • Twisted Citron
  • Picked Raspberry
  • Worn Lipstick
  • Broken China
  • Seedless Preserves
  • Spiced Marmalade
  • Wilted Violet
  • Candied Apple
On my craft mat, I took 3 to 4 colors and rubbed each ink pad on the mat. I didn’t mix them together, I just rubbed the inks next to each other. The oxides are a combo of pigment and dye so it comes off a little more pastel or lighter. The regular distress is just dye and it’s a richer, more vibrant color. Together, they make a great team!

Then I sprayed the inks with water with my sprayer. I took each card and dabbed them (quickly lifted up the paper) in different areas on the inks. I dried the cards with my heat tool and then dipped them again in the ink (quickly again). If too much ink got into one place, I just took a paper towel and dabbed that area to remove the ink so it wouldn’t look blotchy :). I’d dry it again and then I stopped! Important not to overdo it, I’m learning this with watercolor!

I also sprinkled ink by tapping my paintbrush all over the cards. I love doing that!!! Then I hit it with my heat tool for the final time and the back of the cards too so that it wouldn’t curl the paper. I then let each card set out for awhile to fully dry. In the meantime, I stamped the sentiment, “If Friends were Flowers, I’d Pick You.” I just loved this and thought it was appropriate to go along with those cards. I used my Big Shot Express die cutter to but each of the strips and then glued them on each card. Tada! My watercolor cards are born! And it’s just the beginning…more to come!

List of Supplies: