Sunday, April 22, 2012

Watercolour Musings with Two Scrapbook Friends (Part 1)

Good morning friends! Today for our Friendzy Friday at Two Scrapbook Friends, (I am a bit late putting it up here!)  I wanted to share with you a product that I use all the time on my scrapbooking pages : Watercolour Paints. Now, I want to begin with a very big disclaimer: I am not an expert on watercolour paints! But I can tell you what works for me and how I achieve the techniques you may have seen on my pages or cards. Ready?

To begin, let me share with you some of the products and tools I use:

1. I chose some good quality watercolours with lots of shade options. (As you can see, my watercolours are hard loved and some of the favourite shades are fast disappearing!)
2. I have a small selection of very reasonably priced paint brushes in different bristle types (more on that later!)
3. Paper towels for blotting and to act as an absorbent mat under my art work.
4. A basin of water (change this often as your light colours will show the taint of blackened paint water)
5. (optional) A fixative which I like to use if I am giving the card away or if there is alot of paint on the design. This helps fix the paint to the design.

When acquiring paint and brushes I tend to look for quality like I do any other scrapbooking supply I am going to put into my scrapbooks. The colours from good paint are truer, allowing you to better blend colours to match a patterned paper or predict their shade with more accuracy. The brushes that are good quality will not shed their bristles in the middle of your design and will not separate while in use. Ask at Two Scrapbook Friends for information on good quality paints and brushes to order.

There is special watercolour paper available but it is fibrous and heavy and not always acid free. I use plain cardstock every time, but it can be known to warp a bit with drying and the more water you use. Washes especially will cause regular paper to warp. I recommend experimenting to find the effect you love too.

When choosing a selection of brushes I wanted a variety but without breaking the bank on costs. Here are the four brushes I have selected:

a) a wide very soft bristle brush to create washes of colour.
b) medium sizes square bristle brush for very defined strokes.
c) a smaller square bristle brush to create smaller defined strokes.
d) a firm bristled finer tipped brush for all the other painting I might need!

Cautionary Tales of Things to Know Before You Begin

Watercolour can be made more or less intense by adding more or less water. I recommend experimenting before you begin; especially if you are concerned about the end result. If you are a go-with-the-watercolour-flow kinda gal, the have it and art will out! The latter is my path these days and sometimes you can be surprised.

All of my techniques require you to have a protected work surface or area away from items that could become ruined in the process. I cannot stress this enough. Watercolour paint does not come off photos even though it can be wiped off surfaces if you act quickly. Follow manufacturer instructions for care and safety.

My Favourite Technique

One of my most favourite techniques is the splatter effect. Almost all my designs carry this distinctive splatter. The bright watercolours can be translucent but also make a nice round droplet on the page.

In order to do this, I first choose my colours that I want to work with that bring out the design or match the pattern paper. Something to note, you can custom blend shades to match your papers (see Our Family below) by adding tiny tiny amounts of colour to your primary shades.

After laying out the other elements of my design, I can see where on the background I will put my splatters. I remove the elements of the design to a safe zone away from the paint. This is very important!

I then apply water and the desired paint to the smaller square ended bristle brush. This allows me more control of the AMOUNT of paint & water on the brush and the size and direction of the splatter. I often test the colour and intensity on my paper towel. (LESS water will mean a more intense colour and smaller droplets.)

To make a splatter I gentle tap the brush in the direction I want the colour to go. I begin gently, it is easier to add more than it is to take away!

Being sure your design is flat, begin with the darker colour and layer the medium and lightest components on last. DO NOT pick up your design or some of the droplets will run (unless of course that is your intention for design!) Since I am not a fan of dry time, I use my heat tool to speed the process along.




Here are some examples of work where I used the splatter technique.

This design uses a rainbow of colours to reflect the raindrops of colour Grandma brings into our life!

I used custom made colours in navy and olive for use with Our Family and the Authentique Loyal line.

I will post the additional parts of this Watercolour Musing over my next few Friendzy Fridays. Be sure to check back (in May and June) and see what else I can cover in this fantastical crafty medium. In the meantime, if you have questions you can contact me at the Two Scrapbook Friends forum!

Until next time, keep doing what you love to do!


  1. Thanks for the fab tips! Your layouts are absolutely gorgeous and the splatter certainly adds that little something. Time to get the paint out!
    Happy Sunday!

  2. What a great post, I loved all your tips about water colors! I just adore that rainbow layout, the splatters are awesome!

  3. Love this tutorial. I have all the supplies, but I just haven't gotten around to doing it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love this! I'm definitely going to have to try this out soon! Your when skies are grey layout is beautiful ... i love the idea of it, the clouds and the rainbow ribbon accent - just so fun!