For this club and free card kit project, we’ll explore some fun watercolor background ideas and create a variety of textures and effects.
For my various backgrounds, I’ve played with water-based inks with additional water and isopropyl alcohol for some different looks. My projects use a fall color scheme with the Love of Leaves Stamp Set and my images are stamped in a variety of ways. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my Watercolor Background Ideas on three cards.
As you can see from these three cards, my backgrounds are each unique. Plus, I’ve stamped my images using both ink and heat embossing to create some different looks.
One thing you may notice in these three cards is that while the images are different colors, and the backgrounds are each unique, the placement of the images is exactly the same on all three cards! To get the placement of my images to be exactly the same, I used my Stamparatus, stamp positioning tool.
In fact, using my Stamparatus was invaluable for this project for several reasons as follows:
- I could ink my images and stamp them all at once rather than one at a time, which would have been much more time-consuming.
- Versamark ink was used for the heat embossed images. Since Versamark is a clear ink it’s virtually invisible after it’s stamped. It would have been very hard to place my images without overlapping them if I were stamping them one at a time.
- I wanted my images to be as solid and bold as possible, which can be difficult with a textured, detailed image, like those in the Love of Leaves Stamp Set. By having my images on the Stamparatus I could stamp my images more than once in the same place, to make sure to get the full image stamped. For this project, I did that on all my focal pieces.
The background for my first card is made with Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, and Pear Pizzazz ink.
The leaves are stamped with Soft Suede ink but I stamped twice so the images are pretty dark. The sentiment is stamped in Early Espresso ink and is my new favorite sentiment. I’m sending some hope you’re way!
This close-up photo really shows the texture that is part of the design of these stamps. The background is created with ink pads and water. I’ll explain more about the process later.
This next card is my favorite and was the first card I finished.
I used exactly the same method for creating this next background and yet it turned out looking really different, color differences aside.
For this card, I’ve used BumbleBee, Cinnamon Cider, Old Olive, and Pear Pizzazz for my background. The first two colors are some of the 2020 – 2022 InColors. The tones are less bright and a little softer than on the first card but what I really love is the textures, placement, and mixing of the colors. I also love how solid and crisp the white embossed leaves are against the background.
Check out the tendrils of Old Olive ink along the left side!
Can you see how the greens mixed with the tiniest bit of Cinnamon Cider to make it look brownish-green? It conjures images of fungus growing on a rock or a plant in some murky lake water. I just adore it! Plus, I really like the little dots of green toward the middle as well!
Check out the upper right-hand corner in the photo below! Here there are more subtle green veins mixed in with the Cinnamon Cider. I don’t even know how to describe it but it just looks so natural and I love it!!!
Each background you create will be completely unique!
If you try this technique, I recommend that you play, create lots of backgrounds, and use the ones you love! Plus, I hope you’ll revel in the knowledge that yours will be one of a kind! It’s just the nature of the technique. Enjoy playing!
My last card is made with the same colors as on the previous card but there are two key differences.
The obvious difference is that the images are heat embossed in gold. The less obvious difference is how I made the background.
I’m curious, what do you think about the gold heat embossing? Do you like it more or less than the white heat embossing and if so why? Leave a comment and let me know.
Do you want to play with these watercolor background ideas?
Here are the steps:
- For my first two cards, I simply rubbed my ink pads directly onto the smooth side of a Stamparatus hinged plastic plate. (Any plastic surface will do as long as you can see where you’re applying your color.) IMPORTANT TIP: You always want to start by applying the lightest color first and then add more colors going from lightest to darkest. This is important so you don’t contaminate your light-colored ink pads with the darker colors.
- Next, I sprayed the surface generously with water. The more water you add the more blended the colors will be.
- Then, I simply placed my cardstock down onto the surface to pick up the colors (once or more than once).
- For my third card, after step #2 I sprayed my ink with isopropyl alcohol and then placed my cardstock down onto the surface. The isopropyl alcohol makes the ink bead up and therefore adds some texture to the background.
Here’s a background with just ink and water:
I sprayed a generous amount of water on my surface so the inks blended a lot on this one.
Here’s a background with ink, water and spritzed with 91% isopropyl alcohol too:
I really like the texture created with the addition of the isopropyl alcohol!
Here are my two backgrounds side by side:
Now how these turn out is directly related to how much ink you apply, and how much water and/or alcohol you spray.
I will say that I also tried spraying just alcohol and for the purposes of my card background I didn’t get a result I liked. I think water is crucial for blending the colors first, especially if you want a background without a lot of white space.
Are you curious about how this design came to be and/or curious about the design process in general?
If so check out the “Building Blocks of a Design Process” graphic below.
Do you ever struggle with where to begin when you create? I often hear from people that they don’t know what to do with the products they buy, and they don’t know where to begin creating. To help address this problem, I’ve started sharing a bit about what I call the “Building Blocks of a Design Process”. In the graphic below you’ll see a bit about my decision-making process for how I settled on today’s design and even why I made certain design choices. I hope that by sharing my design process it will help make the design process easier for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my projects with these watercolor background ideas and will give it a try!
Check out my video tutorial for all the details about these watercolor background ideas. You’ll find the video, project dimensions, and a complete supply list with links to my online store, at the end of this post.
If you receive free card kits from me for purchases in October/November 2020, the kit you’ll receive will include the parts and pieces to make this card, plus two additional cards, depending on the size of your order. A PDF with the dimensions, supplies, and photos of each of the three projects will also be provided. Here’s a photo of the current kits:
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Thanks for spending some time with me today and Happy Crafting!
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Learn more about these watercolor background ideas in this video:
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- Old Olive Card Body: 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″
- Pear Pizzazz Layer: 4″ x 5-1/4″
- Cinnamon Cider Strip: 1-1/2″ x 5-1/4″
- Old Olive Layer: 3-9/16″ x 4-15/16″
- Cinnamon Cider Sentiment Piece: 5/16″ x 3-1/2″
- Whisper White Inside Layer: 4″ x 5-1/4″
- Large Scrap in Whisper White for die-cut focal piece