DiIf you have been reading my blog for very long, you probably have heard me talk about how I make many of my card backgrounds ahead of time. I like to stock pile them! I can spend one afternoon making a bunch and then have them ready when I have to make some cards quickly. I also get "in the mood" and enjoy doing it this way. Maybe I should say "in the groove". haha These backgrounds can be used as is, or used to die-cut for a background, or use to die-cut out designs or words to use ON a card (not for the background). I often use them as patterned paper to die-cut greetings for cards. Ok, that's the WHY, now let me show you the HOW!
Public Disclaimer: These pictures suck. All I've got to say is sorry. I guess I spent more time making the backgrounds then I did photographing them as the lighting was terrible! Anyway, sorry for that and know they look better in real life!
I start by cutting a bunch of paper to card size (cut in four) which is 5.5" x 4.25". I use two kinds of paper - either Ranger Watercolor Paper or Neenah White Cardstock 110 lb. (I like it thick). I only use Ranger WC paper because it is the only watercolor paper I can find that is pure white.
Thin Watercolor Stripes:
I keep the paper dry. I first mix some paint with water to get it the color and consistency I want. Then I wet the brush (this is a thin 1/2" flat brush or you could use a round 6 or 8 here). I apply it to the paint for each stripe. On the pink one, I just did the stripes. On the green one, I flicked paint on it after I painted the stripes. On the blue one, I flicked paint as well as water on it. Most paints will show watermarks like that from water splatters, but some dye the paper and won't.
Thick Watercolor Stripes:
For these stripes, I again started with dry paper. I mixed some color and used a 1" flat brush (or a 10 or bigger round brush). I dipped a wet brush in the paint and applied each stripe to the paper. On the reddish one, I blotted the paint with a napkin so it picked some of the color up (before it was dry). On the blue, you can see where sometimes my stripe wasn't dark enough so I painted a second one over the first which makes it look layered.
Stripes with all color (no white):
This time I started by wetting my paper completely and I used a 1" flat brush again. I applied red paint, then pink paint, then back to red on the first one. The wet on wet technique makes the colors run into each other and blend. Where you see the white at the top of that one, I didn't put the colors next to each other - I left some space. For the center one, I again used a 1" brush for the blue and teal, but then I used a small round brush to add purple stripes over those. I splattered the entire thing with water splotches so it was really messy. For the top one, I painted my stripes with a 1" brush and then I laid a napkin that has a pattern to it over it and flattened it with my hands. When I picked it up, it left the pattern on the napkin on the paint. Think of the possibilities!
For these backgrounds, I didn't wet the paper first. Actually on the first one, I did, but then when it was almost dry, I added in some more purple so it looks like a dry brush stroke. On the top purple one, I painted all of the stripes with a dryer brush and didn't wet the paper. Same with the red one. I splattered lots of water on the red one. You can leave it and let it dry or you can blot it up - you get different looks depending on how much you use and how long you leave it on.
Wet on Wet Washes:
These are all wet on wet washes. I used a 12" round brush, but any type would work. Just wet your paper first all over - top to bottom. Then apply paint - let it mix - apply more colors - let it mix. Splatter with paint. Splatter with water. These are the ones I use the most for die-cut letters and for backgrounds on shaker cards. They are the most plain and simple. On the one on the left, I painted it with rainbow stripes of color. The middle one is just a mix of pinks and purples with water and paint splatters. The last is a stripe of red, then orange, then yellow with red paint splatters and water splatters.
Sometimes I paint JUST polka-dots, but I don't have any of those to share with you today. This time, I painted a wet on wet wash on then on the left. Then while it was still a little wet, I painted polka dots on it. I lifted some of the color with a napkin each time so they stayed lighter. I just kept moving to different areas to paint more. For the red one, I started with a white background and then just started painting circles. I also dabbed these so they were more transparent as red paint can be very opaque. I then splattered lots of paint and water on it as I went and then added very watered down paint to the edges. I think it turned out kind of cool - just play, play, play.
Texture Paste is the coolest thing ever. For these cards, I used it as is right out of the jar with no color added. I love the look of white on white. I used it over stencils applying it with a palette knife. I attach my card to a Ranger matte with tacky art tape. Then I add the Texture Paste and spread it over the stencil. I like doing several at once so I don't waste any of the paste.
Texture Paste with Glitter:
I thought it would be cool to add glitter to the texture paste while wet. These were completely gold and my favorite backgrounds EVER! But then they dried and the glitter came right off. Oops - fail. But some stayed on so I'll use them as is! I'm sure there is another way to do this - maybe with some textured glue. I'll research. Or you can tell me!
Texture Paste With Ink:
Add Distress Inks in any color to your texture paste before applying it over a stencil. I don't mix the color in all the way - and I use more than one color to get that variated look you see on the top one.
Washes with Texture Paste:
These were watercolored wash backgrounds that I had made earlier. Then I added some dots to them with a stencil and texture paste. This could be fun to experiment with - white one color or more color on color. The possibilities are endless. I could do this forever!
Has anyone tried the Tonic Glimmer Pastes? Oh my, I've only purchased one - Moonstone which is clear with glitter - and now I want more more more. Everything Tonic makes is amazing. Apply it the same way over a stencil. Looks great as snow and really dresses up a card like the wreath one on my last blog post!
I need to make way more of these as I love the look of Distress Inked backgrounds. Now I have switched to Neenah White Cardstock (except for the green one because I added water drops). The red one used a darker color on one end, then a medium color in the center and then a lighter color on the other end. You can't really tell that much - it is subtle. It is Distress Oxide Ink. I still need to learn more about using these inks. The blue one uses a Distress Resist Spray first - just spray it or drop droplets of it on first and let dry. Then rub the ink over it and the spots stay! So cool!!! I used Distress Ink on this one. The green one is Distress Oxide Inks with water spots which bleach the ink.
Distress Inks over Stencils:
I love the look of Distress Inks over stencils. I apply them with Ranger Blending Tools. I used Distress Inks on the blue and red and Distress Oxide on the green (more of a chalky opaque look). Try not covering the entire piece like I did on the green one. I used two greens on this one so some areas are a different color than other areas.
These are my favorite stencils to use:
Hey, I'm done! I still have tons more ideas to share, but this is a good start. Tell me in the comments if you have any ideas - love to hear them! Thanks for visiting friends! Products I used are all below linked to Simon Says Stamp. Suzy