Catherine’s Technique of the Week: Watercoloring

Print Friendly

Hello everyone! Catherine here and I’m back for another Friday of crafting fun. Today I want to share my go-to paper-crafting technique with you and how you can achieve beautiful results using easy watercoloring techniques.

I know that not everyone wants or can afford to invest in a nice watercolor palette and fill it with expensive paints, but I’m guessing many of you have water-based brush tip markers. My marker of choice is the Tombow Dual Tip Brush Marker. They have pretty much every color under the sun, are VERY affordable so you can start with the basics and add on as you fall in love, they last forever and you can use them in a lot of different ways.

For this technique you’ll want to have a stamped image that has some nice sized areas to color. I’m using my Elegant Flower Frame stamp from Art Gone Wild!, a permanent stamping ink like Archival ink, water-based markers, a waterbrush filled with water and a clear stamp block. I also have a pencil to add the sentiment, a paintbrush, permanent black marker and a gel pen.

What makes this technique so easy to get started with is all you need to do is scribble a large spot of color on the clear block and add a bit of water with the waterbrush. That’s it. Then pick up the color with the waterbrush and start watercoloring.

For this project, I brushed a wash of watered down red acrylic paint over the surface of my blank watercolor card. The acrylic paint dries permanent and doesn’t interact with the marker color when I paint over the top of it. I also used a stamp positioner to stamp the frame in the center of the card.

One of the best tips I tell students is remember that it is water WITH color so in order to get those lovely washes of color on your paper you need plenty of water to be able to move the color around. Plus, it’s much easier to ADD more color if you want a brighter, darker or shadowed look than it is to take the color away.

For the flower above I painted the entire flower with a light pink wash with the Tombow marker. While the pink was still wet, I picked up the magenta color and dabbed it in the wet puddles of lighter pink. When dry, this technique gives a textured look that is a beautiful surprise every single time.

You can also use the brush tip to color right on the surface of the paper; you can blend it with the waterbrush if you want to have a more blended look. I also like to add highlights and details here and there when the watercoloring is done using gel pens. The colors are very bright and opaque so they tend to stand out when you color on top of lighter washes of color.

When you’ve worked your way around the entire card, let it dry completely and then stamp or write in a sentiment. Since I like to do a lot of hand lettering, I wrote a custom message on this one.

THANK you so much for joining me today; have a wonderful weekend!


Supplies: 140 lb. 5 x 7-inch blank watercolor card from Strathmore Artist Papers; Elegant Flower Frame stamp from Art Gone Wild!; Archival jet black ink pad from Ranger Industries Inc.; Dual Tip Brush Markers from Tombow USA; PITT Artist fine-tip pen from Faber-Castell; Gelly Roll Moonlight orange gel pen from Sakura of America; waterbrush from Kuretake ZIG; MISTI stamp positioning tool from My Sweet Petunia.


Juliana’s CardMaker Tip

Print Friendly


Hello everyone! It’s Juliana here today to share a favorite card-making tip with you. I am focusing on my favorite technique—heat embossing. I have loved this technique since the first time I learned how to do it (nearly 15 years ago now!) and I’m still in awe of the beautiful shine and dimension it adds to cards.

When heat embossing, begin by gathering all of your supplies. This includes a heat gun, embossing powder, embossing ink, powder pouch or tool and a small paintbrush.

Start by preparing your surface with the powder pouch or tool. Simply rub it over the paper to eliminate moisture and any residual skin oils your fingertips may have left on the paper surface. Try to hold the paper by the edges to help eliminate the oil from your fingers. The powder will help prevent static cling or stray embossing powder from sticking to unwanted areas and it will help the powder stick only to your stamped image. As you can see, I store my powder pouch or Embossing Buddy in an Altoids tin.

Stamp your image using an embossing ink such as VersaMark Ink, Ranger Distress Embossing Ink or Ranger Perfect Medium. These inks are clear, but sticky. They are what holds the embossing powder to your paper.

Pour the embossing powder over your stamped image. Once you have the powder covering your image, tap off the excess and return it to it’s jar or container for future use. I store my most frequently used embossing powders (white and clear) in sandwich-size plastic storage containers. I simply open the container and hold the paper over it as I pour the embossing powder with a spoon onto the image. I can then easily shake off the excess right into the container. This helps keep the mess to a minimum. Another option is to place a piece of typing paper underneath your paper as you pour the powder. You can then fold this paper and use it to easily dump the excess powder back into its original container.

Check your project for stray embossing powder. Static or humidity in the air can cause the powder to stick despite using the powder pouch. This is where the small paintbrush comes in handy. Use it to carefully flick away any excess powder. You can also use the tip of a small craft knife.

When it comes time to heat the powder, turn on your heat gun and allow it to heat up thoroughly before you begin embossing. This will only take a few seconds. Start with the tool about 6 inches away from the surface and bring it just close enough to start melting the powder. Keep the heat gun moving as you melt the embossing powder and take care not to over-heat or burn the paper. Heat guns are extremely hot and they will melt and burn just about anything if they are not used with caution—this includes your fingers. If the object you are heat-embossing is small, use a pair of craft tweezers to hold the paper and protect your fingers. As you apply the heat, the grainy powder will melt and become shiny. When this occurs, quickly move onto another area. Tilt the project in the light to make sure all of the powder is melted.

If you notice that your paper has warped after you have completed melting all of the powder, briefly heat the opposite side of the paper with the heat tool to minimize the warping.

On this card, I used embossing to help create the stamped background. After I embossed the stamped images, I colored the paper with watercolor markers and blended them with water and a small paintbrush. The embossed images resisted the color and now stand out against the colored background. I also embossed the sentiment to give it a bit of dimension. I love the touch of shine and dimension heat embossing adds to a card. I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and learning more about my favorite technique.



Supplies: Large Feathers stamp and die set from Art-C/Momenta; VersaMark watermark ink pad from IMAGINE CraftsDistress Embossing ink and Perfect Medium from Ranger Industries Inc.; Embossing Buddy from Stampin’ Up!


Card Challenge Corner: Lessons in Letterpress

Print Friendly

Complete instructions for this design can be found in our autumn issue available here!

In our autumn issue, designer Deborah Nolan shares tips and techniques on letterpressing, a printing process that combines stamping and embossing to create a subtle 3-D design. This week, we challenge you to try out this fun technique. Remember to share a photo with us either on our Facebook page or Instagram (tag us with #cardchallengecorner); we’d love to see the results!

Leave a comment

CardMaker Presents Happy Holidays Special Issue!

Print Friendly

Happy Holidays
Every fall, we release a special issue of CardMaker called Happy Holidays! This issue, which goes on sale September 6th, can only be found on newsstands and at Annie’s Craft Store. (Click here to order.) We are so excited to give you a little peek inside the pages of this year’s issue! It’s filled with over 100 projects for celebrating the Christmas season—you’ll find ideas for handcrafted cards, gift-card holders, gift tags, packaging ideas, ornaments, holiday décor and more! Let’s take a look at just a few of the projects you’re sure to love.

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls by Lisa Lahiff

Make It Merry

Make It Merry by Wendy Vecchi for Ranger Industries

Special Delivery Mitten

Special Delivery Mitten by Penny Ward

Cookie Exchange

Cookie Exchange Invites & Favors by Savnnah O’Gwynn for Paper Smooches

Santa Treat Holder

Santa Treat Holder by Laura Pryor for Lil’ Inker Designs

Can’t wait to pick up a copy? Click here to pre-order!

1 Comment

Catherine’s Quick & Easy Card

Print Friendly

Hey everyone, Happy Friday!! Catherine here to share a quick and easy way to create a card—perfect for those times when you have just a few minutes to whip up a card but want one that’s super pretty.

With the rise in popularity of adult coloring and coloring books, I can only imagine that most crafters and card makers have a nice selection of coloring books in their stash with a few amazing and colorful designs already completed. If you don’t have a coloring book yet, then might I suggest this coloring book from Annie’s Publishing that I contributed some floral designs to. Click here to order.

The thought I always have is what am I going to do with these pretty pages now that they are already colored in. I can’t just leave them hidden away in a book. So, here’s a great way you can turn your colored pages into a some pretty sweet cards and it’s pretty quick and easy, too!


Since some coloring books have thinner pages, you could make a photocopy onto heavy weight cardstock and then color your page with watercolor paints, alcohol markers or other wet mediums. For this page, I used regular waxed colored pencils to color and added enhancements with gel pens.


It can be a little scary to cut into your image, so I typically make a clear template the size of my card and place it in position over the page. This helps to show what the card will look like and allows me to get the most from the page with the least amount of waste. For this particular coloring page, I was able to get two panels, one measuring 5 x 7 inches and the other measuring 4 x 9 inches.


For the sentiments, I stamped simple phrases on white cardstock, cut each into a strip and used acrylic paint to add splatters here and there. After a little inking, I added the sentiment strips to the colored panels.


Once the panels were mounted on card blanks, they were ready to be sent out.


Thank you so much for joining me today! Have a wonderful day and keep it colorful!


Supplies used: Annie’s Coloring Pages from Annie’s Craft Store; Mixed Media Cards from Strathmore Artist Papers; Pablo color pencils from Caran D’Ache; You Are Out of this World stamp from Catslife Press; Archival jet black ink pad from Ranger Industries Inc.; teal and gold gel pens from Sakura Color Products of America Inc.; turquoise Fluid Acrylic Paint from DecoArt.

1 Comment

Nancy’s U Inspire Me

Print Friendly

Hi everyone, Nancy here with a pretty little card inspired by a baby shower. When I came across this beautiful image of a sheep themed party, I immediately pinned it and saved it for baby card inspiration. The soft palette and combination of yellows and greens are perfect for a card welcoming a new baby. (Photo from here.)

The Itty Bitty Welcoming Committee stamp by Neat & Tangled compliments this theme and color palette. How cute is that lamb? The stamp set also includes sentiments for birthday and celebration themes, but I specifically chose the baby sentiment inspired by the photo.

To keep in line with the soft colors in the photo, I watercolored the image using Distress inks. To create the grass border, I did some ink blending with green ink and then added water droplets to create some texture. Lastly, a few handpainted blades of grass add contrast at the bottom of the card.

I love taking a cue from a well put together party idea. Search Pinterest by the theme of stamp sets you currently have for an endless supply of inspiration!


Supplies used: Itty Bitty Welcoming Committee stamp set from Neat & Tangled; Distress ink pads (mowed lawn, spiced marmalade, frayed burlap, tattered rose, hickory smoke, worn lipstick, tumbled glass) from Ranger Industries; Memento tuxedo black ink pad from IMAGINE Crafts; sequins from Pretty Pink Posh.

Leave a comment

Momenta & CardMaker Blog Hop

Print Friendly

If you haven’t explored the world of Momenta, you’re sure to want to check it out after our blog hop today. They were so kind to send our design team a wonderful assortment of products and our designers have created some amazing projects to share with you!

Feather Cards
I’m currently loving feathers so I was very happy to discover this stamp and die set in my package from Momenta. The pre-made tags and embellishments made these cards super easy to put together, and the marble patterned papers made gorgeous backgrounds. Plus, check out those fun charms!

Feather Cards
Supplies used: Abstract Marble 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper pad, Art-C watercolor paper, Large Feathers die and stamp settags, charms and twine from Momenta; cardstock (wild wasabi, watermelon wonder, Bermuda bay) from Stampin’ Up!; Memento London fog ink pad from IMAGINE Crafts; Copic® markers from Imagination International Inc.; Pigma Micron 05 navy pen from Sakura Color Products of America Inc.

Up next is the lovely Jeanne Streiff!

PS. To make this hop even more fun, Momenta is hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page you won’t want to miss!

Blog Hop List

CardMaker (You are here!)

Jeanne Streiff

Juliana Michaels

Daniela Dobson

Sean Fetterman

Nancy Damiano

Catherine Scanlon

Kelly Gettelfinger


Card Challenge Corner: Shimmer & Shine

Print Friendly

Did you know there are several ways you can add metallic foiling to your cards? In our autumn issue, designer Sara Naumann shares her tips on using foil to bring instant shine and dimension to your designs. Try your hand this week at incorporating foil onto a card and share a photo or two with us on our Facebook page or Instagram and tag us with #cardchallengecorner!

Editor’s Note: Pick up the autumn issue here!

Leave a comment

KellyJean’s Creative Space

Print Friendly

Welcome to my HOME SWEET STUDIO!

Hi there! It’s KellyJean here for another edition of CardMaker “Creative Spaces.” Today I’m sharing what USED to be my art studio (insert sad face). HA! As a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator of fifteen years and an avid scrapbooker for more than twenty years, only recently have I settled into the studio of my dreams … and then WE MOVED. I know, right?! Every time I tell someone we have moved they say, “But your studio!” I know. I know. Hehehe.

KellyJean Gettelfinger
This is how I have had to work for several days. UGH, my achin’ back! HA! I had wanted to share some pics of my new studio in the new house but alas… we just couldn’t get things out of boxes in time. So that will be for a future post, wink.

Don’t you just love a neat and tidy desk?! Trust me, it doesn’t always look like this. Although remember one of my best card-making tips is to try and keep that creative space as clean as possible. Your creative juices will thank you.

One thing I love most about my design table is having everything I use most often right at my fingertips—my paper trimmer, my Big Shot Machine, my inks, cardstock, and my computer.

A favorite little corner of mine hosts an antique screen on which I display a photo of my grandparents and some of my fave inspirational cards. My grandmother had her very own sewing studio where she repaired antique dolls for people all over the nation. She was also the town hair stylist. She created doll wigs from trimmed hair with customers’ permission. The doll seen in this photo is “my doll” she restored, clothed with her handmade garments, and get this … a wig from my very first hair cut! I was six years old. I thought she was going to jump for joy when I told her I wanted a “pixie” cut. Hehehe.

I seriously JUST picked up these frames for my kids’ school year pics, nailed them to the wall and “honey, we’re moving!” Oh boy!

I love to display items made by my gal, and pretty baskets make the best card holders/displays.

I store all of my photo albums in our antique wardrobe.

As you can tell, I love antiques. But sometimes the best table for an industrial paper trimmer is a good ole (not old) folding table.

I grabbed this wire hanging basket from a hobby store at 50% off. It perfectly holds all of my door prizes and blog candy items.

Can you tell I also love CARDS?! Actually, my class attendees love cards and therefore I try to have as many as possible to inspire them. It’s so much fun to watch them at an Open Stamp Night make their plans on what they each will bring to the next month’s gathering to create one of the gems they’ve found in one of my treasure cases!

Maybe more loved than my design table is my STAMP CABINET. This cabinet stores every single stamp set I own—don’t ask, I have no idea how many, hehehe. Next to my stamp cabinet are my punches in the little green cabinet. And off to the right is my antique refrigerator which holds many of my tools such as my Stampin’ Up! Score Tool, heat tool, etc.

This is how I store and categorize my “ready to mail” greeting cards. My family knows if they need a card they can come to these cute little totes without asking if a card is for display purposes.

Another fave part of my room is my latest edition—my Bible Journaling carts. Everything I need to study the Bible and be creative at the same time is just a roll away.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little studio tour. It’s been fun sharing my creative space with you! The only thing I can think that would be even more fun would be if you could come and enjoy creating right here with me!



Sunny Studio is Turning One!

Print Friendly

Our friends at Sunny Studio Stamps are turning one! They’re celebrating today with a birthday blog hop and they want you to join them. Besides getting to see their new August releases, you’ll be able to enter for a chance to win prizes!

Birthday Blog Hop
Sunny Studio has so many adorable stamp images and dies! Here’s a look at a few of their cards.

Woodsy Creatures Circle Card
Halloween Cuties Gang
Autumn Splendor Framed Card
Those cards make us want to go shopping! Click here to go wish Sunny Studio a Happy Birthday!