Using Recycled Materials on Cards

Have you every thought to use Recycled Materials on your cards before? This month over at Happy Little Stampers, the challenge is just that – Recycle. This one threw me. Yes, I could come up with lots of 3D projects, and that was where my head kept going…but I wanted to challenge myself to a card. So what do you use? Well, you can use anything that your recycling!

HLS Mixed Media challenge July 2016

I’m currently living in Germany – and recycling is a MAJOR thing here. SO big, that it’s the #2 country in the world for diverting 62% of its trash from landfills – second only to Austria which diverts 63% of all trash. And it’s no joke over here – our recycling calendar is insane – almost all garbage is separated. (And in case you were wondering where the US stacks up…34% – toward the end of the middle pack)

So, I thought it was appropriate that I add my fair share on this project. With the exception of my card base, and one tiny die cut, all my materials (paper) used on this project are…yup, you guessed it – recycled!


Be sure to stop by this month’s guest designer – Stephanie Lanzalotto’s blog as well as the other design team members blogs.

Recycled Birthday Butterfly Tutorial

My card front is made of something we ALL have plenty of – a torn up box from Amazon. The base of my painting is the corrugated inside of the box. I tore it so you can see a little more of the texture and character. In order to have the paint really grab onto my cardboard without sinking into it, I first covered it with some clear gesso.

To make the piece lighter, remove one of the slick sides that cover the corrugated part – I used that for the greeting…yup – that’s not card stock – it’s recycled cardboard!


For the butterflies, I used a page from an old book. I definitely wanted to have some discoloration on the pages. If you don’t want to break apart a book, try newspaper!

  • Tear a piece of the box the size you want and remove one of the slick sides for later.
  • Paint some clear gesso onto your recycled cardboard piece.

Recycled Materials in Cards

  • Cover your cardboard in a few coats of white acrylic paint – this will become the background for your painting.
  • While your white is drying (I sped mine up a bit with a heat tool), stamp your butterfly from the HLS Butterfly Birthday set in Ground Espresso onto a page from an old book.
  • Layer your stamped butterfly over a piece of espresso card stock and another piece from the book – die cut at once.
  • Curl up the card stock and stamped layers a bit. Attach to each other using mini glue dots at the butterfly body.
  • Separate the top and middle layer with a foam dot cut in half. This will help to pop up those top wings.


  • Once your white is dry, add some pink flowers by thickly applying some acrylic paint with a rounded brush. To get the texture, just keep dabbing in a push down motion and move to another area. I left it rather thick so that it would give the appearance of petals.
  • Add stems with a little sap green mixed with Burnt Umber for an olive green look. I needed to use a smaller brush to keep the stems from being too thick.
  • Allow your flowers to dry – I used a heat tool a little, and then allowed the flowers to dry over several hours. Once dry, they had a shiny appearance.

Painted Mixed Media Flowers - Recycled

  • Stamp your greeting (HLS Doodled Flowers) using Ground Espresso Distress Ink onto the back piece of card board that you separated from the center & front. I used the slick side as the reverse had the imprint from the corrugated part.
  • Immediately dip your greeting into clear embossing powder and heat set. To see how I use distress inks with embossing powders and other embossing techniques – click here for a great video tutorial.
  • Tear closely around your greeting and adhere to your project using Multi Medium Matte or glue (be sure your stems are dry!)

Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge - Recycled

  • Smoosh a versamark pad through the Patina stencil by Penny Black so that creates a border on your card base. I didn’t want to add too many layers, as the recycled cardboard was heavy enough.
  • Add clear embossing powder and heat set.
  • Adhere your cardboard card front to the card base using glue on the ridges.
  • Go over your stamped butterfly image with a Spectrum Noir glitter pen & Attach to your painted base using foam dots.

Patina Stencil - Penny Black - Recycle

So what do you think? I bet you think twice about throwing out that Amazon box next time…lol! The best part about this Mixed Media card is that the recycled cardboard has such great texture! And to think I usually use it just to add lines with acrylic paints! Thanks for joining me today, I hope I inspired you in some way to use some recycled materials on your cards. I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with.

Join us over at Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge – now it’s your turn.

Go get those fingers inky –


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For Dad

I’m honored to be a guest designer for the Mixed Media Mojo Challenge today. This month, the girls are challenging you to create a mixed media piece (more than one medium) with a flower theme in mind – I chose to make a few abstract flowers. There’s even an optional twist – real or faux stitching – I’m sure you can guess which one I applied!

Mixed Media Mojo

I started out wanting to create a card for a friend. But something happened as I was working on my piece. My dad wandered into my crafting office, stopped an said Wow – that’s really nice! THUD….that was me picking myself up off the floor.

You see, my father has NEVER commented on anything I’ve made unless I gave it to him directly….lol! He lingered next to my crafting desk, and continued to tell me how much he liked this piece – it was about 80% done. Maybe it was the flowers? The colors? I was too dumbstruck to even ask why! Who cares why….He liked it, he liked it – he really, really liked it! (channeling my inner Sally Field)

My dad loves flowers – so in my mind – that’s it. Well, I decided right then and there that this would not be a card, but rather a frame-able piece that I’ll give him for Father’s day. He’s hard to shop for – at 83 he doesn’t need much – and did I mention that he liked it!

So here it is – my little masterpiece. This project was so much fun to make, here’s how I did it.

Mixed Media Mojo Flowers Challenge - Ingrid Blackburn

Abstract Flowers Project Instructions

First you’ll need to create a few Wrinkle Free Distress backgrounds – one in Mustard Seed/Spiced Marmalade and another in Tumbled Glass/Broken China/Mermaid Lagoon/Salty Ocean. The centers of the abstract flowers are with the same technique in Hickory Smoke/Soot Black. Once you have those done, free hand cut the flowers and centers. The background was edged in Hickory Smoke, Soot Black and some Paynes Grey Acrylic diluted with water. Brush some Paynes Grey and Silver acrylic paint onto the background with a fan brush. A little background detail was added using the Latticeworks stencil, a Starbucks cup holder and some bubble wrap. Next add a little faux stitching on the flowers and greeting (from the Noteworthy set by Stamplorations).

Add a little basic shadowing under the abstract flowers, paint some stems in Paynes Grey, and add some PG & White splatters, and a little edging in a black and white pigment pen – that’s it! I love the Mixed Media Mojo piece, I wanted to keep it cool – no browns which is very unlike me!

Since I had decided to frame it for my father, it needed a cool matte. Once I settled on the combination of 1/16 white, 3/4 black and 1/8 Brushed Silver…the black needed to stand apart, add to the design and not take away all at the same time – that’s asking a lot!

Enter clear embossing for a subtle tone on tone effect. To get this perfect result with the Tim Holtz stencil, you’ll want to find the center point in your project. Then line up your stencil over the center. That way you can go up and down in perfect unison to get as close to a perfect pattern as possible. Line up your patterns top and bottom and smoosh Versamark to your project. Add Brutus Monroe clear embossing powder – it’s hands down the best powder I’ve used in 18 years of embossing!  And I’ve used many different kinds. 🙂

Abstract Flowers - Mixed Media Project

I just love the end result – it turned out almost exactly as I envisioned…which is rare! I hope you enjoyed it too. It doesn’t matter if you go the more traditional or Abstract Flower route, you’ll have fun creating your own piece. And stop by the challenge blog for sure a few times this month – there’s a new Mixed Media tutorial every week – a true treasure of creative inspirational how to!

So here’s what I want you to do now….go to the Mixed Media Mojo Challenge and give the Flowers Challenge a try – Mixed Media doesn’t have to be crazy involved, you’d be surprised what you can come up with with just some simple things like watercolor, acrylics, stencils and some water. It’s relaxing and you’ll amaze yourself – I promise!

Now click here to visit the challenge and get inspired with all the great projects designed by the UBER talented Design Team!  I’m off to find the perfect frame for this beauty. Now it’s your turn to get your fingers inky –


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Mixing CAS & Monoprinting

Have you ever mixed a monoprint with clean and simple design? Monoprinting is not only super easy, it’s fun, quick and I’m always amazed at the results. I highly encourage you to give it a try. And most of us LOVE clean and simple, so why not mix them together?

It’s snowing here today in the Black Forest – hard to believe it’s almost May! Seems like a good day to work with my Gelli Plate.

Clean and Simple Mixed Media

In the spirit of creative card making, today we’re going to mix it up a little – for the CAS Mix it Up Challenge. I’m addicted to this challenge, and although it’s in it’s infancy – just two months old…it has a HUGE following already with some amazing card makers.

It’s the brain child of Bonnie Klass and Loll Thompson. You probably have crossed paths with one or both over the years, as they are avid card makers, have designed for numerous teams and both have distinct styles each their own.


This challenge is all about mixing clean and simple stamping/design with mixed media. Now the words mixed media get one of two reactions – interest and terror. But today’s project is hoping to not only peak your interest, but dispel the myth that all mixed media is intense, takes a long time and is only for artists who love to art journal.

Both projects today were from the creation of one monoprint. To make a monoprint you need three things – a printing plate (I use a gelli plate), some acrylic paint and a tool to spread the paint – I used a brayer.

Gelli Plates are inexpensive tools that give you the ability to make your work looks masterful, unique and will definitely leave the recipient of your card wondering…how in the world did you do that?!! Here are just a few prints I made quickly one day to give you an idea of how fun this artform is:

Gelli Arts - Gelli Plate Monoprints for Mixed Media

Today we’re going to use a 6×6 inch plate by Gelli Arts. And for this challenge, we’ll incorporated a few stencils as well – after all, that is the theme of this month’s challenge! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see there’s not much else to it.

Why don’t we get started. I filmed the process for you, wrote a step by step tutorial below and added some detailed pictures. The video has three distinct parts – the monoprinting (first five minutes – yup…that’s it), card specifics and why, and lastly (final 2 1/2 minutes) – all about clean and simple design and the rules I live by – don’t miss that part!

Click Here to watch in HD on YouTube

What do you think? Of course you can always use stencils in the traditional way too – I just thought it would be fun to bring a little monoprinting into the mix.

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CAS Monoprint Tutorial

  • Start out by gathering up all your supplies. Monoprinting goes fast - and there's nothing worse than not having your paper right there and your paint drying up on you!
  • Spread out your background color with a brayer and the rubber attachment.
  • Clean off your brayer on a piece of scrap paper and immediately roll over your gelli plate to "lift" some of the paint you just laid down. You want to get the look in the video - lots of color still, but a bit subdued. TIP - Don't "lift" more than twice - you'll remove too much paint.

Gelli Plate Mixed Media

  • Place your Latticeworks stencil by Tim Holtz over your paint and pull the positive print. TIP - if you want it to be a bit random, only pat the back of your paper in random spots. Try to leave a little paint behind, I chose to pull most of it.
  • Lift your stencil, and place your white card stock on the pattern left behind. Burnish the back of your paper with your hand (I like to add a piece of copy paper if my paper is shorter than my plate as in the video) to transfer as much of your print as possible.
  • Lift your print and try and pull a ghost print with copy paper if you can - I was unable to.

Monoprints and monoprinting

  • Clean your gelli plate in-between if you desire, for me that always depends on how much is left behind and what my goal with the project is.
  • Add the Bloom Silhouette stencil by Artplorations to your plate and add a dark color with a brayer to the desired flowers. I chose to add Paynes Grey. You want a contrasting color to your first color. Brown or Dark Purple with Yellow, Black with Blue or Red, etc...
  • Lift your stencil and pull the print onto your second print (the negative), if you have a ghost print - pull that as well onto another piece.

Mixed Media and CAS Monoprints - Ingrid Blackburn

  • Add some marks to your Gelli Plate with more Paynes Grey and the inside of a Starbucks Cup Wrapper. The corrugated inside is great for texture.
  • Add the lines in three spots - if I could do mine again, I'd add the last one a bit higher. I remember thinking not too high, but my original spot in my mind would have been better. TIP - Lesson learned - go with instinct in art, not the mind.
  • Trim your positive and negative prints down. Measurements are below.

Clean and Simple Mixed Media CAS

CAS Monoprint Card #1 - Black

  • Stamp Thanks from Mini Thanks (Create a Smile) in bold with Versafine Black ink (Tsukeniko) and emboss in clear.
  • Add the negative print to black card stock leaving more space on the bottom than the top (Rule of thirds). Add five sparkling clear sequins.
  • Add a little paper piercing to the top and bottom around your print and you're set with Card #1


  • Black card base - 5 1/2 s 4 1/4" Folded
  • Monoprint -  5 1/4 x 2 7/8" (trimmed down)

Gelli Plate Prints - Ingrid Blackburn

CAS Monoprint Card #2 - White

  • Stamp Thanks from Mini Thanks (Create a Smile) onto a scrap piece of black card stock with Versamark (Tsukeniko) and emboss in White. Trim it down as in the photo leaving more space to the right and left and just a hair top and bottom.
  • Adhere print to black card stock, making sure it's centered and the black comes out left/right.
  • Adhere to white card base.
  • Add greeting, popping it up with fun foam.
  • Add five sparkling clear sequins.
  • Paper Pierce three holes top and bottom as in the photo.


  • White card base - 4 1/4 x 5 1/2" Folded
  • Monoprint - 3 1/2 x 4 1/2"
  • Black Matte - 3 5/8 x 4"

In the video at the end, I go over my rules for design and clean and simple cards. It's the last 2 1/2 minutes.

Creative Cards - The Creative Grove

That's it! What do you think? Don't let mixed media scare you. It's just combining different mediums on a project. This project used Acrylic Paint, Stencils, textured surfaces, stamping and heat embossing. We added a little sequins for bling and you're all set - easy peasy!

Now it's your turn to get those fingers a little inky. The challenge is coming to an end today, but there will be a new one on the 1st. There's still time to get one last project in though!I'm also going to play along in some never ending challenges as well...I love all the companies products I used today, and can't say enough about them. I purchased them all on my own....they are products that I use over and over again.

Playing along with - Stamplorations Anything Goes Challenge for my Bloom Silhouette Stencil, April's Project Share over at Create a Smile , and Happy Little Stampers Stencil Monoprint challenge - how perfect is that!

Stamplorations and Artplorations Happy Little Stampers CAS Challenge

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Have you tried a little Mixed Media before? I'd love to know!

Till next time -


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Mixed Media Watercolor


If I were to say Textured Watercolor to you, what would you think of? Mixed Media? Embossing Paste? I have to admit, this month I felt a little challenged when I saw the theme over at the Mixed Media Challenge at Happy Little Stampers – Water. Now you can take this a few ways – water based  techniques or literally create a water scene (Usually what I’d do). SO, I thought I’d give a little Textured Watercolor a shot.

HLS Mixed Media challenge March 2016

To get the water flowing on my mixed media piece, and have a little fun – I whipped out some bright colors, stencils, stamps and a few different mediums. I even shot a real time video for you too – so if you want to see how I watercolored Embossing Paste to create a beautiful textured card, just watch here – or click the link below to watch in HD on YouTube.

Watch in HD on YouTube

The snow is falling as I write this blog post, so it was fun to work on a project that gave me a spring/summer feel. That’s what I love about art, it takes you away to some cool places! Here’s a written tutorial for you too – but the video has much more detail.

Mixed Media: Creating Textured Watercolor

  • Add embossing paste  through a stencil where you want to on 140# cold pressed watercolor or mixed media paper. I used Specimens 12×12″ by The Crafters Workshop. Set aside to dry.
  • Paint over your dried piece with bright vibrant watercolors as in the video. I used Lemon Yellow, Translucent Orange, Magenta, Quinacrodone Violet, Cobalt, Paynes Grey (Schminke) and Permanent Rose (Mission).

Mixed Media Watercolor-002

  • Keep your watercolor loose and bright, adding dimension through layers and depth by keeping the darker areas balanced with the light.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Stamp Script stamp in Soot Black Distress Ink in random spots, touching up in spots with water to keep it loose and imperfect.
  • Add splats with a watery Paynes Grey and a paint brush.

Textured Mixed Media

  • Once dry, add a little sponging to the edges and lightly on the sides with Hickory Smoke and Soot Black Distress inks.
  • Secure your project and stencil over it again. Sponge your embossing paste in Hickory Smoke and Soot Black. If not dark enough to your liking, use your Distress Inks in the direct to paper method.
  • Cover your project with a destatic tool.
  • Place your stencil over top your project again and smoosh a versamark pad over your embossed images.

Mixed Media Watercolor

  • Add glitter, then a little clear embossing powder. Heat set
  • Rub over your project with a cloth or paper towel to remove the destatic powder and some of the glitter.
  • Emboss a greeting on a piece of Vellum card stock, tear and add to your project as in the video. I used Everyday Sentiments (Happy Little Stampers)
  • Add piece to black card stock and trim if needed. If you do trim, add a little black to the bottom as in the video and touch up your sponging.


And come to think of it – I created another Watercolor Mixed Media piece earlier in the week for my friends Loll & Bonnie’s new challenge too – CAS Mix Up. See that card here. I decided to play along with two other challenges today – Anything but Cute – Color and Mixed Media Mojo – Springtime/Watercolor.

abc-badge-crazy-for-color  Graphic to copy 3

So grab those bright watercolors, and have fun creating your own Mixed Media piece! I’m sure you’ll get just as lost in it as I did. Till next time –


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Mixed Media Christmas Tag

Mixed Media Stamping Techniques

Creating mixed media Christmas tags can be a fun creative exercise that really showcases a fun style that is all your own. When I think of mixed media, I have always thought of those amazing colorful art journal pages we see so often. I’ve always been an admirer, but I have to admit, a bit scared to start. Well, when Kylie at Happy Little Stampers asked me if I wanted to be on the mixed media team, I was a bit apprehensive. I thought two things – 1 – I know nothing about mixed media other than it looks so cool and 2 – Is this style biting off a little more than I can chew?! Well, I never do anything the easy way, so when she told me most of what I do is by definition mixed media already, I figured, it was time to jump into the deep end and figure this mixed media thing out! – I was in!

HLS Mixed Media challenge

So today’s tutorial is the beginning of a journey into the art of Mixed Media for me. I hope you’ll join me for this fun ride! We’re going to start out with the 1st Mixed Media challenge at Happy Little Stampers – there’s even a prize! If you’ve ever wanted to try something new, or just give it a go – join me this month – the theme is TAG. Now that can be literally anything tag related – Card with a tag, and actual tag, etc… Here’s a video to show you some of my thought process into this project. I hope you love it, I have to say – I had no idea where this project was going, I enjoyed the path and definitely the end result.

Watch on YouTube

Leave me a comment with your thoughts – about this project, on the mixed media style, anything really! I’ll randomly select one commenter to get this beauty in the mail! 🙂

Creating your own Mixed Media poinsettia tag

  • Start with a white piece of card stock – 3 3/4 x 5″. Cut your tag corners as in this video (0:00 min)
  • Create a Vintage background for your project using distress inks – Antique Linen, Scattered Straw, Old Paper, Vintage Photo, Ground Espresso and sponge tools  Click Here for a step by step tutorial

mixed media video tutorials

  • Layer stencil over and add more Antique Linen and a little Vintage Photo to bring it out
  • Zap a bit with a heat tool, but not completely. Test in Gold embossing powder and emboss any strays to project
  • Dry with heat tool again. Emboss Tree with stencil and espresso embossing powder
  • Add a little green to your tag – Bundled Sage, Peeled Paint and Forest Moss
  • Add gold poinsettia and color using festive berrries distress ink and a negative image mask.
  • Add leaves in same manner as in the video.

How to create a mixed media project

  • Edge tag with Vintage Photo and Ground Espresso
  • Add a little gold embossing powder to random spots – after I shot the video, I did this at the bottom of the tag by dragging my versamark pad directly to to the edge.
  • Sponge a piece of white scrap with festive berries and fired brick distress – cut out using hand lettered holiday by WPlus9
  • Emboss greeting in clear and add to tag.
  • Punch 1/4″ circle at top and add ribbon as in video

Mixed Media Christmas Tags

This tag was so much fun to make and would look exquisite on a gift or wine bottle. I would LOVE to see your interpretation of a mixed media tag in the challenge! And be sure to enter your creation into my friend Loll’s Christmas Tag Challenge too – I did:

Loll Thompson's Tag Challenge

And in case you haven’t seen yet – here’s the talented line up of  the new Mixed Media Team – be sure to check out their creations from the HLS blog too!

stamping design teams

Have fun getting those fingers inky!


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An exercise in Blueberry Watercolor

I have been wanting to paint a Blueberry Watercolor for the longest time. I know I just had a week in Tuscany, but I’ll be honest – it was a work-cation!  I know, must be nice, right? Well, I wear two hats in this family – Paper Crafting artist and Travel marketing specialist.  That means for our other business – Elite Travel Planners, I blog, design and maintain websites, socially engage through media and of course – Tech Support!  So, since our week in Tuscany was rather heavy on the travel work…I took a day off when we came home.  It’s rare actually, for me to totally take a day for myself.  So I decided to dust off my watercolor paints and dive into a project I had been wanting to tackle for six months – a blueberry watercolor botanical.

I learned to paint botanicals with a multi layer method I learned from the watercolor artist Anna Mason.  I adapted this style of painting for some of the projects in our online paper crafting class – Watercolor Techniques that Wow!  But that’s cards, and this is full size painting.  For me, I truly get elated seeing a watercolor painting come together.  Keep in mind, I’ve only done four in my life!  To say I’m new to the full sized art is an understatement.  But what I have done is learned the skills and practiced more than you would believe.

Here are my various stages and final result of my blueberry watercolor.  This painting was based off one of Anna’s.  The blueberry measures 7 1/4” x 7 1/2”.

Blueberry Watercolor Painting Stages

Blueberry Watercolor Botanical Painting 001

Three Key Things to Keep in Mind when Painting in Watercolor

Painting a large painting is VERY different than a 5 1/2” x 4 1/4” card.  It can be a little intimidating.  And the sheer time it takes is much more than card making – that’s for sure. Here are a  few things I learned along the way:

1 – Paint – You get what you pay for

If you are just working on cards, many of the inexpensive sets are just fine.  The size is key here – most cards are small.  Of course, better quality paints are more vibrant and translucent.  But if you’re going to take 1+ days to create a full sized painting – these two factors are key.  You don’t want your painting to look dull, invest in a few artist quality paints.  If cost is a huge factor – start out with student grade paints, but stay away from inexpensive sets.  Basic rule in life applies here – if it looks too good to be true (set of 18 tubes of watercolor paints for $15), than it usually is!

You can find good quality student grade paints for a few dollars a tube.  Artist grade will run you $5 – $20 per pan/tube.  I have some links at the end for great shopping options.

2 – Paper – Block or not?

Paper is the foundation of your project.  There are many options and types of paper out there – chose wisely.  I suggest a block.  Okay – Arches cold pressed artist block may not be in your budget – but there are all sorts of options.  If you’re not sure, buy a few single sheets and cut them down to the size you need.  You’ll need to stretch them first, and by the time you’ve gotten everything you need to do that and spent the time – you may as well have bought a block!  The pluses here are too many.  Time is everything in our lives these days.  And what’s great about an block (four glued sides), beginners can really use too much water and be okay.  But beware – if you are the impatient type and speed dry your work (which I don’t recommend), a block is not for you – tape your pieces down and stretch them instead.

3 – Education

No, you don’t have to go to art school.  But take a class or two.  You’ll be glad you did.  There’s nothing better than being able to ask questions, have someone look at your work, or being able to back up an online video to really review each step.  I’ve learned so much myself!  And it’s all applicable – whether it’s a paper card making watercolor class (we have one right here) or a traditional watercolor class.  Most classes are not that expensive, and it’s great to be able to have somewhere to learn!

Ultimately – watercolor painting is fun, just get started and have a good time.  There are millions of watercolor artists around the world – jump in, the water is great and inspiration lies everywhere.  Take a little time for yourself – I sure am glad I did for my Blueberry Watercolor!


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Some great places to shop:

The USA –

Jerry’s Artarama

Dick Blick

UK –

Jackson’s Art Supplies

Blueberry Watercolor 001

My Blueberry Watercolor – an exercise learned from Anna Mason

Watercolor Wash Mojo Monday


Do you sometimes just need a little pop of color in your life?  A watercolor wash is the perfect way to do just that!  Today is Monday and I have another Mojo Monday Challenge card for you.  I kept it simple and let the color be the star here without adding too much.  Here’s the original sketch and my interpretation:


If you just love the simple blend of color and want to learn various techniques to use watercolor in your cards, try our Watercolor Techniques that Wow class.

Watercolor Narrow 125

Creative Tips –

  • Choose colors that work with each other.  If you’re unsure of what to choose, get yourself a little color wheel like the one here.  The colors you see here are a Tetrad group – two sets of complimentary colors.  I knew the Magenta would blend into violet, so I chose that as a better blend then straight violet.
  • DSC01434

  • The colors used are Schminke Hordam Aquarell Yellow Lemon, Translucent Orange, Paris Blue and for the yellow – Stampin’ Up! Daffodil Yellow Cardstock.
  • The colors are the star, so the remainder of the card is kept really neutral – Basic Black and Whisper White. 
  • Stamp your greeting in a bold color like Pacific Point here.
  • I don’t own a smaller set of circle framelits for that perfect border…yes, I know – what?!!  On my list (which is quite long, for some reason it keeps getting bumped…lol).



  • For an accent – try something simple like paper piercing.  Keep it balanced.
  • Pop up various elements like your greeting and card front to give your project dimension.


    If you liked this card – check out some of our classes or our monthly technique community!  Thanks for visiting today – now get stamping!


    Creative Techniques Banner 72

    Wetlands Seascape Watercolor Tutorial

    wetlands watercolor

    I was feeling artistic last night and wanted to bring my watercolor experience this past few weeks full circle by combining my first ever landscape with one of my favorite Stampin’ Up! stamp sets – Wetlands.   Here are all the details to this journey plus several tips on supplies at the end that I like to use for this medium.  I know it’s long, but it’s quite in depth! Enjoy this tutorial.  For the complimentary article on tools and supplies click here.

    As you may have read a few weeks ago, I took a local art class in watercolor.  If you didn’t see my first ever landscape, it’s pictured below, but I’ve detailed the process here – you have to see what it started out as to appreciate the end result.  Check it out here.  I still can’t believe I turned my beginning mess into something beautiful that I’m actually quite proud of.  (that’s hard to do, I’m quite hard on myself with my own artwork)  Since my original had more mistakes than imaginable, I thought it might be fun to try it again, just in a smaller version that I could use stamps on as well to combine two artistic passions.

    watercolor wetlands tutorial

    I was undecided on size, so I took out the stamp I wanted to use – the sandpipers from Wetlands.  It’s a rather long stamp and to get the perspective right, I realized my card was going to have to be much larger than the traditional A2 size (5 1/2 x 4 1/4).  I held the stamp up to my grid paper and settled on a  4 x 6” size for my watercolor image with a final card of  5 1/4 x 6 3/4”.  Now that I have the Envelope Punch Board, I never worry about fitting my card to an envelope – I can just make whatever size I need!

    I used my painting and other similar cards as inspiration.  I used my 100 pound rough watercolor block which is 9.4 x 12.6 inches.  I wanted to work with something that was secured and wouldn’t warp.  Of course, I wasn’t paying attention, and used the side which wasn’t glued – so that kind of worked against me in the end at the bottom – oh well!  I won’t make that mistake a second time…lol!  Here’s my workspace:


    Creating this seascape comes over several stages.  To begin, you don’t need to worry too much about being too precise, just throw down some yellow ochre wash (really light – really watered down) in the general area and let the painting form from there.  I used a size 14 brush.


    Using Yellow Ochre in a variety of consistencies from water, milk and cream – create your rocks from the edge of your negative space.  To give them definition, decide where the light is coming from and start to shadow the rocks with a rather light wash of paynes grey or yellow ochre or a mixture of both with some burnt sienna in them.  Keep it on the light side and build up your color.


    Add some more definition to the bottom of your rocks with a variety of consistencies of Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey as shadows under and between.  Use that also to define your cliffs and crevices.  Use your imagination or photos as inspiration for tone.

    I went rather light in my card because it was small, you see much more depth in the full watercolor painting of my original.  I used several images of water colored rocks that I found online as inspiration as I found rocks quite difficult to attempt.  But after a few, I got the hang of them.


    Use a variety of washes and mixtures in a milk consistency of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Payne’s Grey as you can see here.  TIP – Paint a quick swatch on a scrap piece of watercolor paper so that you know if you need to go heavier or more than likely – lighter with water.  This is a great habit to get into rather than practicing on your painting.


    Next I added the blues to create the sea and sky.  I used Cerulean, Ultramarine, Prussian and Paris Blues in addition to Paynes Grey to darken any up if needed.


    I started with the water.  Begin with a very light wash of Paynes Grey – super light for the boundry of where you want your water to go.  Then layer a really light wash of Cerulean Blue over that.  Don’t worry if you get too much color on the beach part.  I went back and forth getting it just right.  While that area is wet, use a clean watercolor brush to push the color from the beach back into the sea.

    Add a light ultramarine/cerulean wash to the darker areas of the sea.  Once you have it the depth you want, let it dry.  Once dry, add some highlights in pure Ultramarine, but keep it minimal – just a highlight to show variety in your water depth and character.  I also added three small strands of a light watered down Prussian Blue after.


    Go over it with a clean wet watercolor brush to soften up and blend in the colors.  Play around with it, I guarantee you – you will mess it up, but while it’s wet, you can adjust it.  It’s quite forgiving, and that’s the beauty of water coloring!  Take note of the sea above and in this photo.  You can see how I blended it out a bit using a clean wet brush.


    For the sky, start with a rather light wash of Paris Blue.  Choose a blue that is a bit more sky color rather than the bright sea colors.  They relate, but you can see the difference in hue between the two.  As it was still wet, I brought the intensity of the color closer to the cliff line.  I was a bit over-zealous and crossed over into my brown, but fixed that with a little Olive/Burnt Sienna mixture.  It added some color break and interest too – a happy accident.

    For the clouds, while the sky was wet, I took a clean wet brush and removed some of the blue by gently moving my brush around in spots.  It creates a nice natural look of billowy clouds.


    If you make a mistake, don’t fret – go over that area first with a clean wet brush and work the color back to where you want it with a light scrubbing motion.  If that doesn’t work, just adapt!  TIP – Work in light color washes first, that way you can always bring the intensity up or adjust as needed.  It’s harder to take away – not impossible, but harder.

    To stamp, I removed my piece by cutting it off the block (for more on my watercolor block, read below).  I needed to use a stamp-a-majig, so I wanted to have a flat surface.  The birds were a bit long, so I left off the last two.  I inked the image up and wiped away the reflections and last two birds with a wet paper towel.  Position your transparent piece to exactly where you want it.  If you don’t have a stamp-a-majig, use a piece of transparency, or plastic to get a feel for where the birds need to be.  There’s nothing worse than spending all that time on a masterpiece only to mis-place your stamped image!


    Once your scene is dry – I can’t stress that enough – do not attempt this with a wet scene.  A hairdryer will dull your colors, so air drying is the best option.  Clean up, work on your sky, something so that your sea dries.  Lightly go over your birds with a small watercolor brush (I used a size 1) in a very light Paynes Grey wash.  Be careful not to add too much water, you don’t want your image to run.  You can use Staz-On Permanent…I used Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink.  I have a good result with that black ink pad.  Be sure to let it dry after stamping.  I added a bit too much grey to the shadows in the water, try using a light cerulean wash instead.


    With your small watercolor brush, add a very light Cerulean wash around your stamped images to fill in the water where needed.  Be careful not to touch your birds if you’ve used Dye Ink!  This really finished my oncoming water on the shoreline and added just the right amount of color.  Remember with layers you can bring your scene to just the right color level.  You also create interest with under layers.  Just be careful not to wash away your underwork when doing this, a light touch is key.

    The birds give the scene a human interest.  It’s important to put something there – a house, boat, people, something.  It helps to balance the scene and make the reader connect with the painting.  TIP – Notice that I placed the birds in the forefront of the painting.  The stamp that I used was large in comparison to the scene, so it’s important to have the perspective just right.  That’s why the rocks are larger in the foreground and get smaller as the scene goes back.


    To finish your project, matte your cut out painting onto Very Vanilla leaving a 1/8” border.  Pop that up on several stamping dimensionals (I used 12!) to really keep it elevated.  Matte onto another piece of Very Vanilla cardstock for the card base.  I used a greeting from the Four You stamp set by Stampin’ Up.  I inked that up first in Stampin’ Up!’s Island Indigo, stamped off then in Marvy Light Blue for just the right blue.

    Note – there is no white on my card at all. I think it’s best when your painting is completely painted!  My beach area has a super light wash of Yellow Ochre/Burnt Sienna and in spots Paynes Grey.


    I have some great tips and DIY solutions for supplies and tools for getting started in a complementary article to this post here.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on this scene.  It’s super fun, is quite satisfying and I know the recipient of this card will love it, especially when they realize you pretty much created it yourself – Be sure to sign and date it!

    Signature Snowflake 001