Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Faux Watercolor Color Technique

Get ready for some special o-o's and ah-h with this fun technique!

Recommended supplies:  Stamps, watercolor inks or makers, white cardstock or watercolor paper, small mister, tissues, small brush, container of water to clean brushes, heat gun and craft mat or other surface to work on. Note: Distress inks and markers are designed to work well with water so they are recommended for this technique. Other watercolor products may also work.

Basic faux watercolor technique

Any stamps can be used for this technique.  If this is your 1st time with this technique you may want to begin with some mid-sized stamps-about 3” where no more than ½ the stamp is solid rubber.

1.      Color with stamp with multiple colors. There is not a need to be exact in coloring since the colors will move and blend once misted.  No problem if your colors dry before you stamp-the misting will take care it.

2.      Mist the stamp with a complete coverage of water-start with 2 light spritzes from a mini mister.  (This varies according to the products you use so take a close look each time you mist so you can know how to adjust in follow-up experiments. 

3.      Place the stamp on your paper and apply pressure for a few seconds before removing so the ink has a little time to settle into the paper. 

4.      Dry with heat gun.

Advancing your faux watercolor skills

Negative image stamps (ones that are designed so you ink the background of the stamp) can be somewhat more challenging to achieve terrific results. Make a trial image as described above.  If you have lots of areas that are not colored on your image after misting you may want to lay your stamp face-up flat to the table and place your paper over top and rub one hand over the paper while holding the paper in place with the other hand.  Gently remove paper from stamp and heat set.

Improving faux watercolor issues:   


     Too much water on some areas of the stamp-carefully remove water with tip of tissue.
     To add color- Paper must be dry.  Place some additional color on an acrylic block or mat to use as a palette and apply with a wet paint brush. Dry with heat gun. Additional layers can be added as desired.

·         To remove color- Paper must be dry. Add clean water to area with a paint brush, blot water with tissue, repeat until it is satisfactory.  Be careful not to rub paper or it may peel off.

·         If your paper curls after drying- hold paper with both hands on opposite ends of the paper and roll back and forth a few times over a tabletop’s rounded edge. 

Tips and tricks:
·         To avoid accidental water spillage-set up you workspace with all your supplies on your side of your dominant hand except for your water container and any beverages to the opposite. Reaching across your work takes extra attention which hopefully will eliminate some accidents. Unfortunately I remembered this just today after I ruined a couple nice images.

Other things to try: gradient multi-color inkpads; sentiment and background images; color with distress strains instead of ink; dilute liquid pearls with water to brushed on faux image to create a sheer pearlescent effect; if full image is not acceptable can a portion of the image be used for border, pendant, banner or a punched image?

Inking may leak through regular card stock-work on a protected surface. 
  • Hot press paper is smooth, inks more evenly when stamping.   
  • Cold press paper has some texture and absorbs water faster than hot press. Note: this is all I had and found that the flatter backside worked much better for this project. 
Last week I shared this technique with stampers at 2 Peas in a Buckets.  We enjoyed many beautiful results.
One of the terrific participants was Michele Duffy whose blog is It's About the Paper I overheard a secret tip that she is having a GIVEAWAY on her blog today for a Sweet Stamp Shop stamp set and you may just  want to make it your next stop!  

 I hope you get to enjoy some creative time today!


  1. I love this technique, Jan!! Thanks for letting me share it on my blog today, everyone seemed to love it! All of your images shown here are just beautiful. Who are your favorite makers of negative images stamps, by the way?


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