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Tue 18

Watercolor Dip Technique Video
by Dave Brethauer

Hello everyone and welcome!

If you have ever struggled with creating a smooth watercolor blend then you should check out today's video. I am sharing a tried and true technique for making sure that you have enough water on your watercolor paper to create beautiful blending.


There are many factors that go into creating a beautiful watercolor look - in addition to the amount of water that you use, you also need to pay attention to how quickly you are painting to avoid hard lines of color. You also want to keep in mind the importance of layering colors.

In the video I show you how to make things easy on yourself with this method - and when you are done you will have four different cards that showcase your watercolor skills!

(Watch this video in HD by clicking here)

The Happy Birthday Upright Script is an especially good shape for this technique - you can use each letter to designate a color on the rainbow. The letters are small so you don't have to worry about rushing to get all of your areas covered with paint - you can take your time and focus on dabbing color where it needs to go. I cut out all of the shapes today from watercolor paper (this is important) because this technique saturates the paper - it doesn't matter if you use hot press or cold press watercolor paper, but plain old cardstock won't work. I used Peerless Watercolors for the video, I love how convenient they are to use! 


The color scheme that you choose is up to you - I suggest keeping things in rainbow order in the beginning. Colors next to each other on the rainbow are obviously easier to blend - but as you get more comfortable, try blending colors that are further apart.


The Stitched Butterfly Trio from Poppystamps is so popular - and it really shines with this technique. The stitching detail has this great feature where the paint collects a little in the cut lines - and notice the texture of the watercolor paper (this is cold press). All of those little dimples give the die cut a rich appearance - note that the process of die cutting the paper may flatten this out a bit, but the watercolor paper still looks thick and terrific once things have dried.


I used the Stitched Oval Layers to create a base to put everything on and kept the background simple. The colors on the Happy Birthday greeting were so vivid that I decided a plain background was probably best.


I moved onto a more complicated design for the second project using the Large Antilles Floral Right Corner die. I created lots of corner dies this year for layering and creating nature scenes - the right corners match with left corners for example, and you can layer these corners with other corners and borders. To check out an example, take a look at Sherry's post using the Antilles Border along with the Lavender Bunch. For this project I wanted the watercolor to be the star of the show so I just used one die cut.


I let the edges of the flowers be my guide when applying the color - I made the color more intense at the tips of the petals and then softer as I approached the center. And really, the water did most of the work, as you can see in the video.


On the red blossom card I used Distress Ink in Ground Espresso to stamp the Happy Birthday sentiment (this sentiment is from the Memory Box Clear Stamp set CL5153 Party Time) and added Distress Oxide Ink in Fossilized Amber and Peeled Paint around the edges of the card.

I couldn't resist trying the same composition in a different color scheme - so I created the same card with blue petals and then edged the card with Distress Oxide Ink Iced Spruce. I loved how that subtle gray color went with the blue - so I stamped the Happy Birthday in the Iced Spruce as well.


I might even like this color scheme better!


The blue on the petals and the yellow in the centers marry so beautifully to create subtle areas of green. The wonderful thing about watercolor is that you get unexpected results - areas of light and dark, subtle new color variations and the process happens before your eyes as you add paint here and there.


Another important factor with watercolor is layering. When you want to achieve intense color, it is critical to think of your painting in terms of layers. I chose a small die (this is the Paintbrush Happy die) so that we could do multiple layers of color quickly.


You can see here how vivid the color can get with multiple layers of watercolor - and this layering can also help the blending process. After two or three layers you lose the distinction between different areas of color so it is hard to see where one color stops and the next one starts. The "birthday" stamp image is from the Party Time stamp set again (stamped in Distress Oxide Fired Brick) - I just left some space above it on the Poppystamps Stitched Tunnel Tag.

And look what a difference a new color scheme makes!

It is the same composition but now on a teal card and shifted in the color palette to more blues and greens. I stamped "birthday" with Distress Oxide Ink in Broken China

One major advantage of using the dip technique is that you save on the amount of paint that you use. You are only painting the die cut - rather than painting the watercolor paper and then running it through your machine. That way you can spot paint any little areas that you want to accentuate - for example, I wanted the "y" in happy to still have a little bit of yellow left at the tips so I was careful when I brought the green onto the "y" not to completely cover the yellow.


Once you've master the dip technique and how quickly you need to move around the die cut piece, then you should try a large area! I used the Hovering Butterfly Frame because it has a lot of area to paint and also because the shapes are interconnected (perfect for blending!).


I guarantee that no two will look alike when you work on this card! Just keep a palette of your watercolors out and as you apply paint you will be inspired to try all sorts of color combinations! Again on this card, I wanted the watercolor blending to be the focus, so I just added the Poppystamps Scribble Thank You in the center for a basic greeting.


The die has some embossing areas that create some pattern in the butterfly wings - it adds another level of interest on the card when those raised areas catch the light. You will need to use an embossing pad to create the raised areas (die cut first, leave the paper in the die cut, then run it back through your machine with an embossing pad). 

I hope you enjoy the video - watercolor is really one of the best ways I have found to relax. I become so absorbed in the process that I forget everything else!

So now's the time! Go grab your brushes and paints and start blending!




Wonderful video! I loved watching Dave paint! The colors are beautiful and the technique is fun and easy! I love the look of the dies - the color covers the white edges that you'd see if you painted first and then die cut. Brilliant!

Loved this video and the great tips. I'm trying to learn to water color and this was so helpful. I'm not an artist...more a technician, but I try hard to try things outside the box for me. I couldn't believe you put that already colored piece back into the water. Would have thought it would have all washed out. Amazing. I am loving the new oxide inks, too. I find they work very well for me on the mixed media vellum surface paper....it's smoother and blends out even better. Thanks so much for the video and cards...they are beautiful. I forwarded your post to my crafting friend who loves water coloring....she's more of an artist.

Perhaps now I will enjoy doing watercolor! Not knowing how much to wet the paper is a real hindrance. I am very excited to do this technique because your results look like what I want to achieve. TFS.

What kind of watercolor paint did you use, please?

Many thanks, Marty

Really Gorgeous water colored cards!!!!

Hi Marty - I used Peerless Watercolors. They come concentrated on a dry sheet - you add a little water to the sheet with a wet paintbrush and lift color to use on your project. Those little pieces that I show at the beginning of the video with the butterfly are pieces of the Peerless Watercolor sheets. Hope this helps! This technique will work with any watercolors you have - so go ahead and experiment!

These are all beautiful! I love the water color "dip" technique, and I'm going to try it. Thanks for some fun inspiration today!

I forgot to add that the video was terrific too! I love the cheerful music in the opening, and your instructions are so clear and easy to follow.

I so appreciate you doing instructional videos ~ they are so helpful! Can't wait to get out my Peerless Watercolors and try this. Beautiful cards Dave!!

I love this, is a beautiful videooooo Dave! Love your work! I will try to do something like that! Really love all!

These watercolor cards are truly amazing! I'm difinitly going to try this technique. Thank you so much for sharing such gorgeous cards and tags! LOVE THEM ALL!

U make it look so easy , thanks for sharing. Cant wait to give it a go

Morning Dave, This is a definite 'Wow tutorial' !! Your tips are fantastic and your finished creations are stunning !! I have always been a bit scared of watercolouring, but watching your video has given me much more confidence. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this tutorial.
Lots of love from Patricia xx

Thanks for sharing - your work turned out lovely

Thanks for sharing this great technique. I enjoyed watching the video.

This video was so awesome! I'm always a apprehensive about water coloring but this video has really changed my thoughts. Love every card and what a great way to use our die cuts differently. Thanks so much for sharing your techniques.

Thanks Dave for this fantastic video. I cannot tell you how inspired I am right now! Gorgeous cards and a great technique! I'm off now to try my hand at it. Wish me luck! LOL

All beautiful cards and love watching the videos too great to pick up hints and tips and learn new techniques too thank you for sharing.

This was just great and it even looked easy enough to do! Your designs are always wonderful! Thank you, Dave!

Fabulous video and a great technique. You make it look so easy and beautiful, I am inspired to go watercolor!

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