We have a special treat in store today! Our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, is showing us a few creative and easy watercolor techniques using our small round and medium round waterbrushes!
Unlike a traditional paintbrush, the handle of a waterbrush is made up of a water reservoir, eliminating the need for a water cup. The light colored bristles allow the painter to easily determine their color load and paint concentration, and the included cap protects the bristles and brush head while also sealing the water inside.
If you are accustomed to using traditional paintbrushes, you will notice that controlling a waterbrush is quite different. With a little practice, however, you too will find your groove and discovery why we love them!
Follow along with Karen, below, and pick up a few tips and tricks for making a waterbrush work for you!
Here’s a closer look at the artwork examples from the video:
The first watercolor technique you saw teaches how to create a colorful background like the one on this page. Using a medium round waterbrush, lay down watercolor paint onto an all-purpose mat. Then, lay the paper you want to add the color to facedown onto the paint and allow it to soak up for a few seconds. Turn your paper right side up and let it dry before continuing with your project.
If you look closely, you’ll see that in this Welcome card, we have two different watercolor techniques to talk through. The first, is the stenciled background. Using a stencil we created out of a stencil sheet and a Cricut® shape, we were able to paint a beautiful watercolor textured background with a medium round waterbrush. The second technique Karen talks through is how to achieve the detail and color variation seen in the plants of this card using the small round waterbrush.
The last technique we share can easily make any of us look like watercolor experts! Instead of ink, add watercolor paint to a raised stamp and use it to create the image on your artwork! Look how beautiful those leaves turned out on this card! Make sure not to add too much water to avoid ending up with a blobby image. (In the video above, Karen shows you how!)
If you’re a fan of waterbrushes, please leave us a comment below and tell us why! AND…if you’ve got any tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way, please share those with all of us, too!
September is National Stamping Month and, as you know, we live and breathe stamps here at Close To My Heart. They are where we got our start many years ago, and to this day just simply can’t get enough of them! And from what we can gather, we are not alone in this obsessionhobby! 😉
With care, you place your stamp on your block, prudently ink it with a color that you carefully selected just minutes (if not days) before, then press it to your paper and upon removing the block your image looks as perfectly crisp as you planned for. The next step in the creation process of this new image is to breathe life into it with some color.
We’ve taken one of our many (many) favorite stamp sets, My Acrylix® Bunches of Love, from the Holiday Expressions catalog to illustrate some stamp coloring options. Each is unique in it’s own way and, depending on what you’re looking to achieve, has a place in your coloring spectrum. For comparison purposes, we’ve kept the mediums separate, but by all means do combine them in your artwork to make your images look exactly how you envision them!
First up, the original.
Some of our stamp sets already come with the parts to fill in the white space of a larger image, and the My Acrylix® Bunches of Love set does just that.
To keep things quick and easy, use the corresponding filler pieces to complete the image.
In cases where the stamp set is not designed this way or you’re wanting to showcase a stamp differently so it’s not the exact same every time, continue scrolling through our list.
A Watercolor Look:
For a soft look, watercolors are the way to go!
If you’re still working on mastering the art of using watercolor paints, try watercolor pencils. By applying color with pencils, shading and color blending is easier to control than with paint. Once you’ve penciled the color in, gently brush water over it with a damp fine tip paintbrush or waterbrush to spread the pigment. For best results, follow the pencil lines using smooth strokes. Keep in mind as you decide which watercolor medium is right for your project, that the direction of your pencil lines will still show through, unlike with paint.
For a more vivid “watercolor” look that doesn’t require layers of watercolor paint to achieve, give “painting” with our Exclusive Inks™ a try!
Squeeze your stamp pad in the middle to get some of the ink to rub onto the lid. Remove the inked lid, and from there decide how strong or light you want your color to appear. If you want the saturation to match the ink color exactly, use the ink as is. For a lighter variation of this same color, mix some water in with it (straight on the lid). The more water you add to the ink, the lighter the color will be. Pick the color up with a brush and ink-paint your stamped image.
Our Exclusive Inks™ are available in every one of our 41 exclusive colors (plus White Daisy and several black options). Enjoy effortless color coordination with our patterned papers, cardstock, and embellishments by using this method for coloring in your stamped images.
ShinHan™ Touch Twin markers
When going for a saturated, vibrant look, especially in small details, ShinHan™ Touch Twin markers are an excellent choice. They are bright, smudge-proof, and, because they are alcohol-based, they are easy to blend. The fine tip on each marker is ideal for coloring and adding intricate details.
Until recently, the shimmer brush was considered mostly an accenting tool because it only came in clear and gold. Well, those days are over friends! Now also available in Sugarplum, red, black, and Mint, these new hues carry enough weight to be used on their own to add a little bit more than shimmer. When you use these, prep your brush before you do. You will want to squeeze your brush over scrap paper until the shimmery liquid comes out. Brush it on your scrap paper until you get the consistency you want on your brush before coloring in those details.
Give your stamps a little lift and texture with the right inks and embossing powders. (For those of you who are new to this technique, embossing powder is a special powder that, when heated, melts to form a raised surface.)
VersaMark™ ink and embossing powder
Sometimes a flat image just isn’t the way to go. That’s when heat embossing comes to the rescue. To start, stamp your image with the VersaMark™ ink pad (embossing ink), which will create a clear, wet-looking print of your stamp. While the ink is still wet, cover it with embossing powder and carefully shake off any excess. Use a heat tool to dry and seal your design. The heat tool blows extremely hot air with a low air current, which keeps the powder from blowing right off—hair dryers are not a good substitute! We have several new embossing powders in our new Holiday Expressions catalog to choose from (for a complete list click here).
Pigment Exclusive Inks™
Okay, so we’ve shared this last idea on here before, but with our new large stamp pad-sized pigment inks added to our coloring repertoire, we just have to share again.
Did you know that you can pair any of our Exclusive Inks™ pigment pads with clear embossing powder to emboss in that exact color? Yes, really! Stamp an image with your choice pigment ink, cover it with clear embossing powder, and then set it with your heat tool! It’s that easy! Match our exclusive colors perfectly using this last technique!
Whether you use these stamp coloring ideas alone or mix and match them, we hope you enjoy a full spectrum of color in all of your stamping projects!
If you’re a stamper, then chances are you are no stranger to the wonders of inky fingers! But no matter how much exposure you’ve had, there are probably some things about working with ink that may still be a mystery to you. Today’s topic is Inks 101, and by the time you’ve read this post, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an ink expert!
1. Not sure which type of ink you should use for a project? Click on this handy infographic to figure it out!
2. Just like our cardstock, we offer dye and pigment stamp pads in all of our exclusive colors…meaning you’ll always have ink to match your cardstock! Easy color coordination is the name of our game. 🙂
3. Our Exclusive Inks™ stamp pads have one of the largest surface areas on the market. Plus, they’re super easy to open, thanks to the magnetic case design!
4. We designed our stamp pads so that the pad is on the lid of the case. This way while your stamp pad is sitting around waiting to be used, the ink is settling on the surface of the pad so you’ll always be able to get a crisp stamped image.
5. Is your stamp pad getting dry? That happens with a lot of use over time. But the good news is that instead of buying a new one, you can buy the coordinating re-inker and use it to replenish your pad. To re-ink a stamp pad, gently squeeze the re-inker evenly over the surface of your stamp pad while moving in a zig-zag pattern, top to bottom. Repeat until your stamp pad is properly saturated again (you won’t even need to use the whole bottle!). Just be sure to give your ink some time to soak in before using the stamp pad.
6. Is your stamped image darker than you thought it would be? Don’t worry, that’s normal! Dye inks need a little bit of time to cure, which means that they need to fully dry before they turn the right color. This shouldn’t take too long, but a craft heater can certainly help speed up the process.
7. When using our mini pigment ink stamp pads, dab the stamp pad lightly onto the stamp rather than trying to press the stamp onto the stamp pad.
8. Pigment ink sits on the surface of your paper, which is why the colors are more vivid than dye inks. However, this means pigment ink takes longer to dry. Give images stamped with pigment ink time to air dry, or use a craft heater to dry them right away.
9. If you’ve got the painting bug, then you’re going to love painting with our inks! Start by squishing the lid of your closed stamp pad all over. This will transfer some ink from the pad onto the other side of the case where you can pick up the ink using a slightly damp waterbrush or paintbrush, and then paint away!
10. If you want to create a splattered paint pattern on your artwork, then our spray pen is your friend! Simply fill your spray pen with some water and add a bit of ink from a re-inker bottle, shake, and then spritz onto your artwork. Raise the spray pen higher for a subtler splatter and closer to the paper for a more concentrated splatter. If you want the ink to dry faster, try using rubbing alcohol instead of water.
12. In addition to our Exclusive Inks™ stamp pads, we also offer the VersaMark™ ink pad. Use this ink pad to create watermark images, or add embossing powder over the stamped image, shake off the excess, and heat set for an entirely different look!
One great thing about our Create Kindness cards is how easy it is to add your personal touch to them before giving them to others in a personal way. Today we want to inspire you with even more ways to color these cards that you may not have thought about before.
1. Watercolor Pencils
You can use our watercolor pencils wet or dry to color in these cards. If you use them dry, they work like colored pencils. If you want to use them wet, you can do it two ways: Either get the tips of the pencils wet or use a waterbrush to blend the colors afterward.
2. Watercolor Paints
Watercolor paints are another great way to color these stamps. The circles that come in the kit are regular cardstock, not watercolor paper, so just make sure you use more paint than water if you choose this route. Our waterbrushes make this easier. You also might find that you’ll need a bit more adhesive to attach the circles this way.
Jazz up your cards with our bitty sparkles and shimmer brush. Bitty sparkles are just the thing to up the drama on these bitty cards! And if you’ve never used the shimmer brush before, it’s a lot of fun! Follow these steps to get started:
Remove the neon clip, twist the lid on, and squeeze the pen while brushing onto a scrap piece of paper.
Once you get the amount of shimmer on your brush that you like, start brushing over your flowers!
Since the shimmer brush tends to smear watercolor pencils or paints, be sure to color your stamped images using markers.
There’s only one week left to purchase the Create Kindness card kit (or more card bases if you already have the stamps), so hurry and get yours today! We know you’ll love finding new ways to personalize these cards and to leave them for others to brighten their day.
The next stop of our global adventure is a country that’s especially close to our hearts. 😉 Welcome to the land down under, mates! We’re in Australia!
Just like Ayers Rock, today’s artistic tradition has very ancient origins. For centuries, Australian Aboriginals have painted their faces and bodies to designate social class and order, as well as to participate in religious rituals. As part of certain spiritual ceremonies, they would smooth an area of soil to create a canvas and draw sacred designs or ancestral beings. After the ceremony, they would wash off their body paint and smooth the soil to preserve the secret, sacred nature of these rituals.
In the 1970s and 1980s, some Aboriginals began taking these ancient designs and painting them on canvas, an art form that came to be know as Aboriginal dot painting—and the inspiration for today’s artwork! Aboriginal dot paintings still contain sacred meanings and designs, but the layering of dots and patterns conceal these sacred designs from untrained eyes. Such layering also causes very cool optical effects where shapes and images seem to move forward and backward on the canvas, creating unique, striking artwork.
These dot paintings became a way for Aboriginals to preserve their culture and perpetuate traditions while creating beautiful artwork for the modern world to see. It essentially became their own unique form of decorative memory keeping as they would preserve important stories and legends for future generations. How could we resist using this artistic tradition as inspiration for today’s artwork?
We are entranced by the intricate details of this page! Our artist expertly mirrored the layered effect of dot painting to create this mesmerizing feast for the eyes. In the background, she created shiny, black dots by stippling Liquid Glass on the black cardstock. On top of those dots she placed circles of colored cardstock. She then accented those dots with Flamingo Dots and Aqua Dots. What an amazing technique!
As you go about your crafting, remember that grandiose things, like this scrapbook page and Aboriginal dot paintings, are accomplished one dot at a time. Keep this in mind when you feel overwhelmed with your layouts or with preserving all your memories. Just take life one dot at a time! You may not feel up to the task of creating a masterpiece today, but you don’t have to! Today, just focus on adding one more dot to the mix.