I will apologize in advance for going overboard here - what started out as a simple ornament video led to a whole bunch of projects and watercolor techniques. These are so fun! Once you get started, you won't want to stop.
What I love best about these ornaments is that you are creating your own little scene. All it takes is a background and some cleverly positioned die cut pieces and you are all set! And you'll realize quickly that you can put together a bunch of ornaments pretty quickly -which make terrific gifts for the papercrafting lovers in your life. Enjoy the video for step by steps on how to make the different kinds of watercolor backgrounds - and for all the details on each ornament.
To watch this video in HD click here
I began the session with a very simple one color watercolor wash. I love these washes - all of the "action" is in the details of how the paper reacts with the water and paint. The little textures of the brush strokes, and the little curls of color as the paint moves when it is wet, contribute to a unique pattern.
The first ornament used just one color from the Gansai Tambi set from Kuretake - I just used a wet on wet technique to pull the blue paint across the watercolor paper. Don't worry if it isn't completely even - this is what makes the hand painted look so compelling!
The Memory Box 99572 Whispering Pine Landscape makes a terrific horizon line against the sky and I used the Poppystamps 1782 Young Fox Pair for a white on white addition to the scene. All that it needed was a little embellishment in the sky, so I added some dots of white ink with a gel pen - this could be stars or little snowflakes.
When you add some foam mounting tape between the pieces, it really makes the scenes come alive with dimension. The light catches on all of the outlines and casts shadows, to make everything take on a more 3D look.
While I was completely satisfied with my white on white look, I couldn't resist the idea of adding a bit of color to the ensemble. The white hills of the Memory Box 99853 Stitched Tree Landscape against the blue watercolor background provided a cool backdrop... to a bright red cabin! The cabin is cut out using the Memory Box 99894 Little Townhomes (keep the roof white so that it looks like there is a little bit of snow on top).
Now, to make the ornament look more polished, I added the Poppystamps 1940 Pointed Circle Frames to all of my creations. This not only gives the scenes a nice boundary, but the dot detail on the frame looks clean and crisp. I used craft foam to add dimension to the frame - which creates a little shadow around the edges and makes it look as if you are peering through a tiny window into a fantasy world.
To make it easy, I used the Open Studio 30087 Circle Basics Set to cut out all of my watercolor backgrounds - this way they are the perfect size to work with the Pointed Circle Frames. There are circle sizes that match all of the sizes of Pointed Circle Frames, so no matter which frame you use, you will get a match.
And I love how the colors look against the greenery - wouldn't a bunch of these look amazing on a tree?
There is another little house you can make using the Little Townhomes die, so I tried that one out too in the same position. I think either would work - or you could create a little village on the hill with lots of little homes!
I went on to create a two color wash - using paints again from the Gansai Tambi set. I love this set for the color intensity - it took a few layers to build this up - and the color is brilliant.
I designed a bunch of faeries for our Poppystamps line this year and so I decided to create a faerie ornament. Couldn't you imagine a woodland Christmas tree decorated with faeries?
The Poppystamps 1829 Large River Faerie is a great silhouette for this handmade ornament and is stunning against the pink and purple background. It was at this point that I started to get a little carried away - as the wheels turned in my head I thought, "How could I create a shaker ornament out of these projects?".
I wanted the faerie to work with the background so I chose some bold colors of ink and sponged the faerie with Oxide inks in Wilted Violet, Broken China and Faded Jeans. The sponging is a nice contrast with the watercolor. Sponged ink creates such a smooth blend, especially with the oxides, and really stands out against the texture of the watercolor paint.
If you look closely here, you can see the brush strokes and rivers of color on the paper - there is nothing like the look of watercolor. You will love the results on these!
I switched things up a bit on the next two ornaments - using a technique to create a crackly background in the watercolor. It is difficult to explain, so take a look at the video to see the process. Laying a piece of plastic wrap on the wet paint and allowing it to dry creates this amazing texture, and I used it for the sky on the ornament above.
To create the scene I die cut the Memory Box 99805 Snowflake Drift, so that there would be a few background trees, and then added the Poppystamps 1882 Cute Fawn. Since I die cut the trees and hill in glitter cardstock, I decided to cut the fawn in plain white cardstock, and realized that it showed up better. While you probably can never have too much glitter, it was just too hard to see the glitter fawn in front of the glitter cardstock!
I repeated the same painting technique for this cute polar bear ornament. Look closely and you will see the overlapping lines of lavender and blue from the plastic wrap technique. For some reason, the Peerless watercolors seem to work better for the plastic wrap technique, so I used Peerless for these backgrounds.
I wanted to convey the idea of a snowy breeze in the background, so I used the Poppystamps 1736 Magnifico Flourish behind the Poppystamps 1874 Mighty Polar Bear. See what you have in your stash - sometimes a die that isn't necessarily "winter" can help convey a winter-y theme.
But this flourish die was perfect - it adds just a little swirl behind the bear - and the delicate white line of the die looks terrific on the crackly painted background.
At this point, I was very excited about making these into shaker ornaments. So I simply added some clear plastic, which I cut out with my circle dies, and then I threw in a dash of sequins. These Mermaid Tale sequins are beautiful - you will use these on so many things! The blues and aquas in the pack go with everything!
And do you see the red and cream scarf on the bear? Check out the video to see how I transformed a tiny bit of silk ribbon into a shabby chic scarf!
I started playing around with larger dies that would fill the ornament space as I became more excited about the process. I realized that adding a symmetrical design could look really uniform and classic inside the circular space.
The Memory Box 99802 Chancery Snowflake Outline (in gold glitter) and 99806 Chancery Snowflake (in white) are layered together over a gold and red background. The snowflake images fill the space - and since the snowflake outline die is slightly larger than the snowflake die, there is some instant dimension in the project.
I repeated the idea again, this time in soft shades of purple and blue, but only with the Chancery Snowflake Outline. Now you are able to see that there is stitching on this die - adding some interest even if used on its own. At this point, I was beginning to assemble the ornaments and adding little loops of ribbon at the top for hanging, and so I started using our shimmer ribbon. It is a soft cotton ribbon with metallic thread woven in - sturdy and very sparkly. I used some of the Lavender Metallic ribbon for this one and it picked up all the lavender glints of color in the paint.
We are so happy with this ribbon - we sourced it from Italy and had some exclusive colors produced just for us. I am especially fond of the pale colors - the soft blues, pink, lavender and neutrals are so versatile and work on all sorts of projects. My favorites are the Ice Metallic and the Silver Metallic and I have been using them a lot - and wrapping a few special gifts with them.
But back to the ornaments!
Now once I started painting with my metallic watercolors, things took another direction!
The Metallic Paints from Finetec really catch the light. I realized I need to add a few coats of the paint to get it on really thick - and then combined it with the Gansai Tambi paints for a slightly ombre effect. There is a trade off here - the more water you add to the paper and paint, the easier things overlap and blend together, however the color gets softer and more diluted.
I ended up using less water - in fact, I was painting dry paper - to create a really solid metallic look. Don't worry if you see little brush strokes - embrace them! Once things are die cut, they sort of fade away!
One of our most popular dies, the Memory Box 99787 Evergreen Reindeer, is ideal for these round ornaments. I added some Scor Tape (double sided adhesive) sheets to some white cardstock and die cut it with the reindeer. The space around the reindeer falls out, so you can see the gold and green background behind.
I covered the white cardstock with clear glitter - so the branches and deer sparkle and shine. The perfect glitter for this is from Elizabeth Crafts - it is so incredibly fine and feels like silk when you are applying it to the adhesive sheet. I used my finger to spread the glitter and make sure that all of the evergreen boughs were covered. Just add a loop of ribbon and you are all set!
Again - white on white, with a little shimmer of color is so striking.
I switched to red and gold to warm things up - and I loved how rich and intense this color scheme became. This is a combination of the Gansai Tambi (red) and the Finetek paints (gold).
I saved the cut out portion of the first reindeer ornament and placed it onto the red and gold background (see the video for a trick on placement). A simple dusting of white glitter adds some raised dimension to the cut out portion and you are finished. I love getting two for one projects!
The Silver Metallic ribbon is dazzling with the metallic paints - the base cotton thread is an off white color and the silver thread that runs through the weave shines.
Here you can see that the glitter is slightly raised above the watercolor background - which adds subtle shadows to the ornament. I used Impress Sparkle Glitter for this - I wanted a glitter that was a little chunkier than the ultra fine, so that it would give a raised appearance on the ornament. I added some window plastic on the outside, so that I could have added some glitter or sequins to make this into a shaker ornament - but I didn't want to cover up any of the beautiful paint!
And at a slightly different angle you can see the transition from metallic to plain watercolor on the background piece.
You will love the shine you get from these metallics. One thing I noticed was that the metallics did not create a new color when mixing with the red - so I tried to dilute the metallic as much as possible in the overlapping area. This way the red peeked through, with just a haze of metallic gold floating over it.
Finally - I added one more faerie ornament to the mix! Poppystamps has a popular collection of faerie dies and putting them into winter snow scenes was easy. I cut the Poppystamps 1930 Sugarplum Faerie out of glittery white cardstock (her wings too!) and placed her onto the Memory Box 99843 Stitched Circle Trees.
I had already done a purple and pink background with the Gansai Tambi watercolors - but decided to flick the paper with some metallic paint on my brush and was delighted to see bright gold dots show up nicely on the painted background. It is as if the faerie is surrounded by twinkling lights!
A pinch of Fairy Sparkle sequins is all you need before closing the ornament up - and creating a memorable ornament with a tiny winter fairy dancing on a snowy field.