Hi! I normally create “clean” cards and struggle with “artsy” looks. But today I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and try the “messy” watercolor look with stamps. I like when other people do it… so it was time to try it myself. And it was fun!
[All supplies are linked in the text below and in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.]
All of these cards feature easy and “messy” watercolor techniques using stamps and markers or inks. I show many different techniques. I know these looks aren’t for everyone (they are a stretch for me!), but maybe one of the techniques will inspire you. They all showcase the gorgeous new Essentials by Ellen Mondo Sakura Stamp Set. This set is excellent for trying out new techniques.
My first example shows one of the easiest techniques! I applied soft-colored Tombow Markers (you could use any waterbased marker) directly onto my Essentials by Ellen Mondo Sakura Stamp Set. Before stamping it, I misted my watercolor paper with water and stamped into the water. The water causes the color to move, creating a not-so-perfect look. If you want it to be “cleaner”, use less water. Messier? More water! I added a faux stitching line using the Essentials by Ellen Plaid Maker Stamp Set, and a sentiment from the same Essentials by Ellen Mondo Sakura Stamp Set.
My next card features the same technique, but this time I inked the stamp with Distress Ink and misted much more water onto my watercolor paper before stamping. This results in a fun effect where the color moves. So different for me… and so cool! I then black heat embossed the same image on top to give it definition. I added a Pretty Pink Posh Hello Friend Die Cut sentiment.
Here I used the same technique but with markers. So much fun!
You can also ink up your stamp with markers or ink and stamp it… and THEN mist it. This also causes a more of a bleeding effect. Once it dried, I heat embossed the image with Hero Arts White Satin Pearl Embossing Powder and added a sentiment with the Essentials by Ellen Strong Die and Stamp Set.
Here is the same technique… but using markers as ink instead. I then white heat embossed the image on top and added a glitter sentiment created with the new Essentials by Ellen Classic Block Alpha Dies.
I really like the glittered letters on the soft, messy background.
You can get more “controlled” results by inking a stamp and then misting it with water before stamping. This makes it look like the flowers were handpainted. You can also do this with markers or inks.
This sentiment is simple to add. I die cut the word “HAPPY” from the Essentials by Ellen Block Word Die Set directly onto the stamped area. I also stamped the “birthday” from the Essentials by Ellen Totally Random Saying Vol 2 Stamp Set. I assembled the piece onto the card with craft foam behind it. The set-back “happy” adds fun interest.
These next two cards were also created by inking the stamp and misting it before stamping. However, this time I used less water… and the first and second generation image. This card is the first generation. I used a Essentials by Ellen Block Word “FRIEND” die to cut from the flower… and stamped “marvelous” from the Essentials by Ellen Totally Random Saying Vol 2 Stamp Set and “thank you” from the Essentials by Ellen Good Fortune Stamp Set.
Here is the second generation image. I just misted the stamp a bit more without reinking first… and you get a softer look.
You can also mix techniques to get the results you want. For this card, I was looking for something a bit more wild. I inked the stamp with Distress Ink and misted the paper before and after stamping. This causes the ink to move even more. I then heat embossing the image with Hero Arts White Satin Pearl Embossing Powder and added a silver glitter “friend” die cut from the Pretty Pink Posh Hello Friend Die Set. The stamped sentiment is from the Essentials by Ellen Good Fortune Stamp Set.
Here is another card using the same mix of techniques as the last. I really like the look of the Hero Arts White Satin Pearl Embossing Powder over the “watercolor”… as it picks up the color and makes it look metallic. I again added a stacked “friend” die cut from the Pretty Pink Posh Hello Friend Die Set.
You can go really wild and add lots of water before and after stamping. This one was done with bright markers. I didn’t like it at first but I do after completing the card. I like this sentiment, too… “wonderful” is from the Essentials by Ellen Block Word Die Set and “beautiful” is from the Essentials by Ellen Mondo Sakura Dies.
Here is one last one created by misting the paper before and after stamping with markers. Once it dried I also added a bit more movement with a wet brush. I gold heat embossed the flowers on top before adding my sentiment using the Essentials by Ellen Block Word “FRIEND” die and Essentials by Ellen Good Fortune Stamp Set.
Another fun technique that you can do quickly is to heat emboss an image and then quickly watercolor it in. Quickly! By keeping it a bit messy, you can create beautiful looks. Here, I scribbled my markers on glass and added a bit of water so I could paint in the image with soft colors. I then stamped a message from the Essentials by Ellen Totally Random Saying Vol 2 Stamp Set.
It is fun to step out of your crafting comfort zone. I hope you give it a try!
Want to find the products I used? I have listed them below. (Compensated affiliate links used at no cost to you. Thank you! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. All products were personally purchased except those with an asterisk or Essentials by Ellen. As always, this post was NOT paid for or sponsored.) Click on the icons below each product picture to go to a favorite store.