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!
As you know, we love exploring new techniques here at Close To My Heart, but we also love expounding on old favorites. Recently, we’ve had a lot of fun playing around with various watercolor techniques, and we’re so excited to share a couple with you today! We asked a few of our artists to demonstrate some of their ideas in speedy video clips, so you can see them in action, too!
The first technique we’ll be looking at today is a splatter technique. This watercolor method allows you to add a little “controlled crazy” to your project. J
As you can see in the video, you’ll start by using a waterbrush to activate your watercolor paints by adding a drop or two of water. Once you’ve selected and activated all the colors you’d like to use, dip the waterbrush into your color of choice and swirl it around a bit, making sure to get a decent amount of paint onto the tip of your brush.
When you feel like the brush is sufficiently saturated, bring the brush over your page and lightly tap it against your index finger. This will send a series of splatters raining down onto the page to create a fun, haphazard feel.
For our next technique, we’ll be showing you how to create and replicate a soft color transfer.
To recreate this look, paint directly onto your All-purpose Mat with your waterbrush. The paint will probably stay in small droplets and won’t want to spread across the mat, but that’s just fine. When you’ve added all the colors to your mat that you’d like to use in the paint puddle, gently lay your card or page down over the paint.
When you lift it up, you should have achieved a color transfer that is both soft and seamless. If you’d like it to be blended out a little more, you can swirl your card or base page around in the paint, creating the look you see here.
The last technique we’re showcasing today is a combination of two different techniques. (Technique combinations help you to really personalize each project, so don’t ever be afraid to experiment!)
Tip: For pages like this one, it’s not a bad idea to use actual watercolor paper. When you paint over a large surface area, the paper will start to absorb the water and can curl or ripple, which distorts your project. Using watercolor paper is more resilient and shouldn’t ripple or curl as your paint.
For this page, we started by selecting various shades of blue from our watercolor palette. Then, we painted long strokes down the page with a waterbrush. Once we made a couple strokes with our first color, we moved on to our next shade of blue, creating a sort of stripe sequence down the page. By sticking with a single-color theme, it’s easier to achieve a nice blend as you move across the page, and you can avoid unintentional color combination.
Tip: If you’re unsure of how a color will look on the page, it’s a good idea to do a test stroke on a piece of scrap paper. This is especially helpful if you’re mixing two colors together.
Continue alternating between your various colors or shades until you’ve covered the width of your page. Then, you’ll revisit the splatter technique we showed you earlier on in this post. Select one or two of your favorite colors and splatter it across your page. This is another place to be aware of color combination, so we recommend choosing colors that you already used in your stripe sequence. For this example, we stuck with the tried and true blue.
If you want to shake things up even more, gently blend out some of the larger splatters on your page. You can even paint a few new strokes if you want to. It’s really all up to you!
We loved sharing a few of our favorite watercolor techniques with you today! What are some of your favorite ways to wow with watercolor? Let us know in the comments below!
How is it the end of April already? It’s hard to believe, but the Seasonal Expressions 1 catalog is retiring in just one week! We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite products from this idea book, below (there really are so many!). Each one of these items adds a unique flair to any project and can easily be just the thing you need to bring a little magic to your creations. Make sure to peruse the rest of the SE1 idea book catalog HERE, and stock up on your faves while you still can!
My Acrylix® Be Yourself Stamp Set
We absolutely LOVE the Be Yourself stamp set, not just for its celebration of the individual but for the part it plays in helping millions of children worldwide as our Operation Smile™ stamp set. With every purchase of the My Acrylix® Be Yourself stamp set, $7 (USD) of the proceeds are donated to Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides surgeries to repair cleft left lips and palates in children around the world. Add some extra positivity to your cards and scrapbook pages as you make a difference in a child’s life.
Playful Scallops Embossing Folder
With the whimsical waves of the Playful Scallops embossing folder, your artwork will literally pop! Take your crafting to a whole new level in seconds with our easy-to-use embossing folders.
The Feels Like Home Watercolor Die-cuts are the perfect blank canvas for your inner artist! These exquisite flowers are printed on specialized watercolor paper, so when you add your colorful touches to the page, it won’t curl or wrinkle. Give any project that handmade touch with these beautiful accent pieces!
Mix-in Paper Packet
The Mix-in paper packet is designed to coordinate with every other paper collection in the Seasonal Expressions 1 idea book catalog. Add the Mix-in papers to your crafting toolkit and discover greater flexibility and a new level of creative freedom in all your projects.
Love So Sweet—April Stamp of the Month
April’s Love So Sweet stamp set is sure to give you butterflies. Get this D-size Stamp of the Month set for a deal with a minimum qualifying purchase! Add the stamp set to your cart at full retail price or, with your qualifying order, add it at checkout for the promotional price. As the name implies, this beautiful stamp set is only available in April.
This list of products, along with so many others, are only available through the end of April, and while supplies last. Hurry and talk to your Close To My Heart Consultant to grab your favorites before they’re all gone! If you don’t have a Consultant, just head over to closetomyheart.com and click on the “Find a Consultant” link.
We love using colorful inks to create cool backgrounds on cards. Today we are showing you how we made the vibrant gradient background on the card below.
Let’s get started!
First, we picked our colors. We needed a full spectrum to create a rainbow effect, so we used Candy Apple, Raspberry, Nectarine, Lemon, Willow, Bluebird, and Pansy from our Exclusive Inks™ collection. The next thing to do is to prepare your sponges.
We took one of our round sponges and cut it into wedges, one for each color. (Daubers also work, if those are your preference.)
Firmly hold your paper on your work surface. A little bit of rolled up washi tape on the back of your cardstock should do the trick for when you can’t hold it in place with your hands. Now, to the fun part of sponging on the colors!
With an inked sponge wedge, start off by applying your first color with light pressure and in a circular motion. Continue to apply the color until reaching the desired level of saturation. As you switch colors, slightly overlap each for that blended look.
After all of our colors were applied we splattered our background with Spritz Cleaner to achieve a water “damage” look. First, we unscrewed the top and dropped fat drops of Spritz Cleaner onto the ink straight from the tube. Then, we replaced the top and sprayed the card for smaller droplets. We suggest using Spritz Cleaner instead of water because the ink will separate better and create the desired effect without warping the paper like water will.
We finished the card by heat embossing a sentiment and cute balloon in white.
One of the great things about this technique is that you don’t always have to sponge your ink on a solid color piece of paper. Take a look at how we used this same technique on patterned paper to create this other card:
It also looks great with just one color:
What do you like about this sponging technique? And if this isn’t new to you, what are some ways that you do things differently? Please share your creative thoughts with us in the comments below!
Happy New Year everyone! To start things off in true Close To My Heart style, we’re ringing in 2019 with some flare of our own—a new Seasonal Expressions 1 catalog, filled with exceptional products, contemporary designs, and innovative ideas for all of your scrapbooking and cardmaking creative needs! We’ve rounded up just 10 of our favorite products below to give you a small sampling of the excitement we’ve got in store for the upcoming year as we celebrate 35 years of creativity in the papercrafting business. If you like what you see here, make sure to talk with your Consultant (or visit our site here) to feast on the contents of this commemorative catalog from cover to cover. We promise, you will not be disappointed! 😉
Included in every one of our new suite paper packets will be two cut-apart sheets. One side will have a customary 12″x 12″ design while the other side will feature a variety of shapes and sentiments that coordinate with the specific paper collection it belongs to. As the name implies, you cut these shapes and sentiments apart with scissors and use them as titles and accent pieces for your pages and cards.
Kit Coordinated Picture My Life™ Cards
Also new to each paper collection is a coordinating set of Picture My Life™ cards. In the past, a new catalog came with two sets of Picture My Life™ cards whose color schemes would match two of the catalog’s paper suites. This time around, we are doing things a little bit differently. Instead of offering two sets of pocket cards in our new catalog, there are FOUR sets of Picture My Life™ cards. Each set corresponding to one of the paper collections not just in color but in theme as well. Including additional photos to your layouts and albums with our pocket Memory Protectors™ just got easier!
They’re baaack! We just can’t help playing with paper, and what a fun and easy way to do so with an embossing folder! Embossing folders make adding depth and texture to any of our papers a cinch! For your crafting arsenal, we have two new embossing folders, the Playful Scallops and Swiss Dot. Create some lasting impressions, as you get crafty with these new patterns!
The Stitched Square Frames and Stitched Rectangle Frames Thin Cuts are an easy way to mat photos, journaling, and anything else you want to highlight in your art. Each of the dies included in the sets cuts two shapes: one stitched frame piece and a ½” smaller inside shape with stitching around its border. The Stitched Quilt Shapes Thin Cuts were designed to add stitched patterns and cut solid shapes that nestle perfectly inside the frames for effortless paper quilting!
The Stories I Love workshop kit provides a place to gather the photos that mean the most to you and document the stories that go along with them! The included instructional workbook explains how to explore the memories behind the photos you treasure and then write a detailed story to capture all of the elements of that moment!
My Acrylix® Word Search Highlights
We can’t wrap this list up without showcasing at least a couple standalone stamp sets. The My Acrylix® Word Search Highlights stamp set is one of the many in the Seasonal Expressions 1 catalog that will brighten someone’s day. With a fun word search hiding sentiments for all sorts of occasions, you can quickly and easily create a fun and meaningful card.
My Acrylix® Love in Bloom
Another stamp set that is sure to catch your eye is the My Acrylix® Love in Bloom stamp set. The six stamps in the set are designed to layer on top of each other and form a single, beautiful image.
Designer Travel Shoulder Tote
Take all of your crafting supplies on the go with the newest member of our Designer Travel line, the stylish and durable Shoulder Tote! It features a zippered main compartment, one small interior pocket, and one large exterior zipper pocket.
Like we said at the very beginning of this post, these are just a few of the many products worth taking a look at in our new Seasonal Expressions 1 catalog. Make sure to contact your Consultant, or visit us here, to see what else 2019 holds in store!
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!
When you find a stamp you love, you tend to use it over and over (and over) again—we get it! 😉 Today we’re sharing some fun ideas to showcase one stamp in four different ways so it’s not the exact same every time. To show you what we mean, we’re going to use the darling “HELLO” stamp from our Dreamin’ Big—Scrapbooking stamp set.
The following stamping techniques range in skill levels—try them all to find your favorite!
When going for a saturated and 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 intricate images, like those flowers and leaves in our stamp. To ensure a crisp outline of your stamped image, use our permanent Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ stamp pad. Unlike other inks, Archival Black won’t smear or smudge when you apply color.
For a softer look, use watercolors! Once again, stamp your image using Archival Black ink. Because this ink is waterproof, it won’t run when you apply your paint. In this example, we used a fine tip brush to color the small details.
Ready to add some texture? Try embossing! 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. To start, stamp your image using 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. In our example, we used white embossing powder to make our image pop on the colored cardstock. Use a craft heater to dry and seal your design. Craft heaters blow extremely hot air with a low air current, which keeps the powder from blowing right off—hair dryers are not a good substitute!
After your powder is set, add some shimmer using our gold and clear shimmer brushes. When you use these, prep your brush before you do! You want to squeeze your brush over scrap paper until the shimmery liquid comes out. Keep brushing it on the paper until you get the consistency you want on your brush before coloring in those details.
Okay, here’s technique we’re really excited to share! Did you know that you can pair our Exclusive Inks™ mini pigment pads with clear embossing powder to emboss in any color you want? Yes, really! Stamp an image with your choice of pigment ink, cover it with clear embossing powder, and then set it with your craft heater! It’s that simple! You can match all of our exclusive colors perfectly using this last technique!
Of course there are many more ways to customize a stamp. That’s the best thing about finding a great stamp—you can use it again and again without it being identical each time. Give these techniques a try and have fun dolling up your current fave. 🙂
Today is National Floral Design Day, and to celebrate, we want to share with you a fun watercolor technique for getting beautifully shaded flowers, like those on this card from our Seasonal Expressions 1 idea book.
Mix your favorite watercolor paints with water to create a mixture that has roughly the same consistency as milk. Then, using an ink color of your choice, stamp your flowers. We stamped ours with Whisper ink.
Paint a light coat of your watercolor mixture onto your first flower, covering the entire surface.
Mix a darker shade of the same color, and start adding it to just the “shaded” areas of the flower. You want to add it as a thick line. It won’t look pretty and blended yet, but that’s the look you want for this step!
Not sure where to add shading? A good general rule is to shade the edges of the petals that are closest to the center of the flower. If you prefer, you can also look at real photos of flowers online and follow the shading you see there. Continue to step four before the paint has dried.
Rinse out your brush. Using a small amount of clean water, gently blend the color out toward each petal’s edge without going all the way to the edge. Allow to dry.
That’s the gist of the technique! Repeat for any additional flowers and leaves that you want!
Here are a few general tips to keep in mind when painting with your watercolors:
You’ll notice we didn’t use our waterproof Archival Black ink to stamp this image. You can use dye-based inks when coloring with watercolors, but you’ll want to be careful not to touch the edges of the stamp image with your brush or else it will make the ink bleed.
If using dye-based ink, we recommend using a lighter color. That way if there is any slight bleeding, it will not be too noticeable. A lighter color also draws the eye to the watercoloring of the flowers rather than the outline of the flowers.
If you want a “no line” look, you can use a light ink color and carefully color the lines completely. If you like to see the lines though, you can reinforce the stamp image by stamping the image again after the paint is completely dry. Both methods have their own beauty.