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Top 10 Creative Watercolor Card Making Techniques

handmade watercolor cardmaking
Express your creativity through watercolor cards!
Have you ever incorporated watercolors into your cardmaking?
 
It's easier than you think. I'm going to share 10 of my favorite watercolor card making techniques with you to get you started, but first, let's discuss an important tip.

Top Tip ... Get yourself some watercolor paper

Standard card making paper will warp and dry all crinkly when it gets wet so regardless of whether you use watercolor pencils, watercolor paints in a tube, or watercolor tubs, you will need to first create your design on special watercolor paper, and then transfer it to your card by cutting it out and gluing it down.

Watercolor paper can be found in the craft section of two dollar stores, art supply stores, and even office supply stores that have an art section.

Let's get into making watercolor cards!

I love using watercolors for cardmaking, mostly due to the ability to make a really pretty abstract background quite easily.
 
Although there are many ways to use watercolors, here are 10 of my favorite watercolor card making techniques that even beginners can do.

#1 - Create a textured look with salt

This watercolor card technique is as simple as laying down your paint however you please, and sprinkling some salt on it before it dries.
 
When the paint is completely dry, gently shake or brush the salt off to reveal your masterpiece.

In the example below, I dabbed both green and blue onto the watercolor paper, making sure the paint was watery and the paintbrush was completely saturated each time so that the paint merged together when I touched the paper with the ends of the brush.

While it was still really wet, I sprinkled salt on it (I used large salt flakes) and left it to dry. The finished product was mounted onto a white card and some embellishments were added.
textured watercolor cards
Use cold press watercolor paper for added texture!

#2 - Make patterns in your paint with a crayon

This technique involves using a masking product of some sort (a crayon works) on your paper first and then laying down a thin wash of watercolor paint on top.
 
The paint doesn't adhere to the masking product, allowing your design to show through the paint.

Although you can purchase specific masking fluids for this technique for a professional look, I actually used one of my kid's white crayons.
 
Pushing down hard, I drew some squiggly lines and dots on the paper before painting over the top with a mix of red and yellow, ensuring the paint was the consistency of water so that it spread and mixed together well on the paper.

Once it was dry, the design was cut and mounted onto a black card with some embellishments.

 

watercolor birthday card
Play around with different color combinations and abstract patterns!

#3 - Cover your work in plastic wrap for a cool effect

This technique is one of my favorite watercolor card making techniques as you never know what you're going to get.
 
It's a simple technique that involves laying down the colors however you wish on your watercolor paper, and then scrunching up a piece of plastic wrap and laying it on top.
 
When the paint is completely dry (it will take longer than usual because of the plastic), remove the plastic to reveal the cool effect.

In the example below, I again made my paint the consistency of water so that it blended nicely on its own when I dabbed the paintbrush onto the paper. I scrunched up some plastic wrap and laid it on top, pushing it down flat on the paper to moosh the paint a little.
 
When it was dry, I removed the plastic, cut out some love heart shapes, ❤️ and mounted it onto a white piece of card.
heart cut out watercolor card layout
Use different paint consistencies to add a mixed media effect!

#4 - Use masking tape to block off areas to paint

This watercolor card making technique involves placing strips of masking tape down on your work before you begin painting.
 
Lay them down any which way you wish and paint over top. When it's dry, remove the tape to reveal the clean paper strips underneath.

In the example below, I only used four bits of tape and instead of using a paintbrush, used a sponge to dab the color on.
 
Once it was completely dry, I removed the tape, mounted the artwork onto a white card, and added some pre-purchased letter stickers.
watercolor greeting card
Use seasonal colors for different types of greeting cards!

#5 - Squint your eyes to find a hidden picture

Load your paint brush up with watercolor paint the consistency of water and blob the tip of the brush onto your paper, letting the paint spread as it wishes. Do this a few more times with a different color in a different part of the paper and let it dry.
 
Once it's dry, squint at the paper and try to find a hidden picture, which you will then draw over with a black marker of some sort.

In the example below, I used a mix of yellow and red and used a black brush tip marker to draw the outline of a butterfly.
butterfly watercolor card
Experiment with different brush strokes and see what type of images come of it.

#6 - Use plastic wrap as your painting tool

This is another watercolor card making technique that uses plastic wrap (cling wrap).
 
Lay a piece of bunched-up clingwrap on your table slightly larger than your piece of watercolor paper. Paint the watercolor directly and randomly onto the plastic wrap.
 
You can paint it on either watery or thick as it doesn't matter and it's fun to experiment.
 
Now, grab your piece of paper and place it directly on top of the plastic wrap, pushing it down gently so that the paper soaks up the paint. Lift it off to reveal your surprise design!

In the example below, I used yellow, orange, and red to make my design. After it had dried, I then used a manual die cut machine and some heart-shaped dies to turn the design into a handful of cute love hearts. 💕
watercolor die cut card embellishments
Experiment with different color combinations!

#7 - Create a galaxy background

Galaxy backgrounds are easier than you think but a little hard to explain with words. I used this great tutorial for my watercolor galaxy.

In the example below, I followed the tutorial above using light and dark blue, pink, purple, and black for the night sky.
 
White acrylic paint was spattered on for the stars and this is also shown in the tutorial.
watercolor galaxy cards
Add stars by spattering white paint using the bristles of your paint brush!

#8 - Use a sponge and a black sharpie

This technique is really easy and involves dabbing your watercolor paint on with a sponge.It works best if the paint is watery consistency as it will then spread and blend on the page on its own.
 
Once it's dry, use a sharpie to draw any silhouette design you wish on top, or alternatively, use a pre-purchased sticker.
 
In the example below, I drew some very childish butterflies and dandelions as my silhouette and mounted the picture onto a white card base.
watercolor silhouette card layout
Watercolor backgrounds are perfect for making a silhouette card layout!

#9 - Use a spray bottle to add interest

This watercolor card making technique involves laying down the paint however you please, allowing it to partially dry for a few minutes, and then spraying the work with a spray bottle to move the paint around a little.
 
Light sprays will form a dappled-like effect, but big squirts will move the paint around a lot more.

In the example below, I used big squirts close to the paper that thinned out the green paint in the middle of the design, pushing it towards the edge and creating darker edges.
 
Once it had dried, I hand drew on some leaves and branches with a marker, and instead of mounting it onto a card base, I actually just folded it in half and used the watercolor paper (which was quite thick) as the card itself.
watercolor paper cards
Watercolor papers are great substitute for card stocks!

#10 - Spray your paper with water for an abstract look

Grab a spray bottle again, but this time soak your paper with it.
 
While the paper is completely wet, load your paintbrush up with watercolor paint and dab the tip of it onto your wet paper. The paint will spread quite randomly, giving an abstract effect. Use as many or as few colors as you like.

In the example below, I only used one color, and when it had dried, I drew some pink underwater like plants over top and added some letter stickers.
watercolor card drawing ideas
Fill in the blank space with some drawings!
Now that you know some basic watercolor techniques, we would love to see your watercolor card making designs!
 
Do you use any other great watercolor card techniques that we haven't mentioned?

Happy card making!
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