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Water Color Techniques

It seems almost impossible to think about, but yes you can create watercolor greeting cards!

There are two ways to watercolor greeting cards, one is a freehand method and the other is with stamped images. No matter which way you chose to go, your images must or should be done on very heavy paper, a preferably watercolor paper that is then mounted on card stock.

Watercolors come in three types-tube, pan, and liquid. Most paper crafters use pan sets rather than the more expensive tubes. The pans are more portable and easier to use.

Before starting a watercolor, it is always a good idea to have some kind of sketch or stamp on your paper.

Watercolor brushes are softer and have longer bristles. You can get natural fibers or synthetic which are more affordable for most crafters. If you can invest in a few reasonably priced water color brushes, you will get better results. For your crafting, you will also be using a water brush.

Brushes can be easily cleaned between colors. Blot your brush on a paper towel, Wipe any color off. Then wash in water

Watercolor paper comes in different weights.

There are also watercolor markers that give you a similar look with less mess.

Water Color Basics

Watercolors come in different medium types. There is a pan watercolor set and individual tubes. 
Most papercraft people are more familiar with the pan sets. You can however create your own sets with pans and individual tubes. That way, you can create a custom set of watercolors for your individual use. 

Pan sets are more portable. They can be taken anywhere. They are easy to use as is. Just mist with water and you are ready to paint. Overall, less paint is wasted. But your color range is limited to what is in the set.

Watercolor tubes come in larger amounts,  so you always have the color you need on hand. Can be used right out of the tube or with water. Well, saturated color. May get some waste.

Watercolor pencils are another option. They have watercolor within the core of the pencil that is activated with water. They are easy to use and are very portable. Generally, come in sets. So when you are thinking about these, consider how you will replace individual pencils. Look for sets that allow you to purchase replacement pencils without buying a whole set.

Most watercolor products come in grades student and professional. Artist-grade is more highly pigmented and will be less fade-proof.


      Brush Tips

  • Round brushes are used to create thick or thin lines and short to medium strokes
  • Flat brushes are used to create flat edges, bold strokes, and fill in large areas
  • Angled brushes all you to create curves and angles. They also allow you to get paint into tight corners.
  • Liners are thin brushes that create hand lettering and fine details.
Tip: If you are stamping images to watercolor, always use archival ink, It will not bleed or run when water gets near to it.

 Water Color Tips

  • Always use a good quality watercolor paper for the best results
  • Have two sources of water-one to clean your brushes and one for your watercolors
  • Use a craft mat on your work surface to keep it clean
  • Tape your paper with masking tape or painters tape
  • Remove the tape at an angle to prevent tearing the paper
  • Keep a roll of paper towels and q tips handy. They are good for wiping up water, drying brushes, and removing unwanted bits of paint
  • Watercolor from the tube dries faster than that from a pan. 
  • Watercolor brushes are softer than other brushes. They soak up the water faster, 
  • Always tap the end of your brush against the water container then blot on the paper towel before you soak up the water

Water Color Techniques

Tip: You can purchase a watercolor book to use on your cards. These are images printed on watercolor paper. You color them with watercolors, then cut them down to size to fit a card
These techniques are wonderful for the card front and art journals. Easy to do and very economical,
  1. Wet on Dry-This technique involves using a wet brush on dry paper. It gives you a base coat of paint to add more detail. It gives you a background color.
  2. Wet On Wet- In this technique you apply water to the paper and then use a wet brush. The water and the color mix give you some interesting color options, You can use different colors to create custom backgrounds.
  3. Glazing- First you add a layer of color and allow it to dry. You can add additional layers to add depth and shadows.
  4. Gradients You can add some unique tones by using gradients. Color a square in one color and allow it to dry. Then paint another color on top of that. Let that second color dry as well. Now, take a wet paintbrush and pull the color down from the bottom half of the square, You will see a lovely gradient of color.
  5. Salt Technique-Apply a good coat of darker or several darker colors on some watercolor paper. While still wet, apply salt over the still wet color. Allow to dry and brush the salt away once it is dry.
  6. Dry Brushing-A technique where the brush is dry, but still holds paint. It results in a coarse scratchy texture. Load your brush with a wet point, then dry off the excess. Lightly drag your brush across the work surface.
  7. Wash-Results in a smooth uniform area without the appearance of brush strokes. Load your brush with paint. Start from one side of your paper. Drag the color to the other side. Repeat one stroke over the other.
  8. Sponging-This technique is generally used to create things like trees, rocks, and clouds. It creates a coarse texture. With a natural sponge, pick up some color of your palette. Lightly dab the surface over and over in the area where you are working.
  9. Cling Wrap Technique-Apply a good coat of watercolor to a piece of paper. Take a sheet of cling (Saran wrap) and crinkle it in your hands. Lay the crinkled wrap on top of the wet water-colored paper. Allow to dry and remove the wrap.
  10. Crayon Resist-You can use a white crayon to create a design on the watercolor paper. Then use watercolor paint over it'

                                           Learn More About Watercolors

                                                 Water Color Resources

Water Color Projects

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