Watercolor Valentine’s Day card

Hero image of the completed 6" x 6" watercolor valentine's day card. The image contains brightly colored watercolor in pink, red, and purple shades, and features a "Love You" sentiment, surrounded by purple and red embossed cut outs of hearts, xo xo, and drawn heart outlines. The background features clear embossing which allows the white of the card to show through, protecting the white of the card, and acting as a resist to the watercolor (ColorSparx powders used).
Completed watercolor Valentine’s Day card 6″ x 6″

Did you know that you can create a resist for watercolor using stamps, embossing ink, embossing powder, and a heat gun? It’s a fairly simple, yet effective technique that can open up a world of possibilities in terms of variations and applications. Read on to learn how to use this fun watercolor resist technique and add it to your techniques tool kit!

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

Today’s simple technique teaches you how to add a heat embossed resist of stamped images to your work that will resist most water based mediums such as our fabulous ColorSparx powders, watercolor paints, neo-color II crayons, distress crayons, liquid acrylic inks and more.

For my heat embossing, I chose our gorgeous TCW Stamp sets of TCW2200 Thank You Hearts and TCW2201 Sending Love. I like to use the Versamark Watermark (embossing ink) stamp pad and I chose a white embossing powder from Lindy’s called Purely White. Here are the steps to create a watercolor resist stamped image using a heat embossing technique:

  1. Add the cling stamps to a clear acrylic stamping block. (I used the hearts and the xo xo stamps).
  2. With the stamping block face up, press the embossing ink stamp pad face down, multiple times, all over the stamps.
  3. Stamp your image onto your card by pressing firmly and gently in all directions with the stamping block.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have the number of images you want across the card background.
  5. Fold a larger sheet of paper in half, then back open, and set your card on this sheet. This sheet will act as the catch tray and funnel to add the excess embossing powder back into the jar when you are done applying it to your stamped images.
  6. Open the embossing powder and sprinkle lightly and evenly across all of the stamped images. The embossing powder should cover the stamped images entirely. Tilt the card to move the powder across the card as necessary to ensure all images are evenly covered.
  7. Tip the excess embossing powder off the card, onto the sheet of paper. Tap the card edge onto the paper to ensure all the excess powder is removed. Put the card to the side for a moment.
  8. Use the full sheet of paper to fold the powder into the center of the fold, then use the fold as a funnel to put the unused powder back into the jar.
  9. Using your heat tool or gun, hold it about 1-2 inches from the surface of the card front or back, and using slow circular motions, heat the stamped images until the embossing powder melts fully on all images (the embossing powder turns shiny when melted). This embossed plastic coating is now attached to the image, and protects the paper or card where the stamped images are located. Check to make sure all images are glossy, matte areas indicate powder that has not been melted and heat set.
  10. The plastic embossing allows you to add water based mediums around the images, leaving them uncolored (in this case, white, due to the use of the white embossing powder).

Tip: Don’t have embossing ink? Try using a pigment ink stamp pad instead. Pigment ink and embossing ink dry slightly slower than dye ink, giving you a short window of time to apply the embossing powder while the ink is still wet. The embossing powder will stick to the wet ink, and forms a melted bond when the heat from the heat gun/tool is applied.

The VersaMark embossing ink stamp pad (watermark stamp pad) and white embossing powder sit adjacent to the two TCW stamp sets that were used for this project.
Stamp sets TCW2200 Thank You Hearts and TCW2201 Sending Love
The card with the heat embossed images in white embossing powder is shown close up to show the embossing details. The stamp pad and embossing powder sit off to the right side of the card at an angle.
Close up image showing the white embossing powder, heat set images.

Once your stamped images have been heat embossed, you can apply your water based mediums over and around the stamped images. Use a dry paper towel to remove the excess color from the stamped images (you’ll be able to wipe them clean).

For this card, I chose to use our ColorSparx powders in Crimson, Fuchsia, and Orchid (purple).

Close up image showing the three bottles of ColorSparx powders laying on my work table: Crimson, Orchid, and Fuchsia.
ColorSparx watercolor powders in Crimson, Orchid, and Fuchsia.

Notice that I used a tiny amount of each powder. The ColorSparx watercolor powders are super concentrated and strong, a tiny bit goes a LONG way! I used a pipette to add water to each of the wells in my plastic palette.

Composite image: The top section shows the three ColorSparx bottles standing in front of the plastic palette. A tiny amount of each color has been added to a palette well. The bottom section shows the water has been added to the Colorsparx powders to dissolve them into watercolor that is ready to paint with.
The ColorSparx watercolor powders with the water added to dissolve them

Using a round #8 paint brush, I applied each color of the ColorSparx watercolor powders separately. First the Fuchsia. Just look at how the embossing seems to magically appear when surrounded with the watercolor!

Close up image showing the Fuchsia ColorSparx watercolor painted on to three separate areas of the card. The embossing is revealed fully when the watercolor is applied to the card front.
The Fuchsia ColorSparx watercolor powder was added to sections of the card revealing the embossing.

Next came the Crimson:

Close up image showing the Crimson ColorSpax watercolor added to the card in a different three separate areas of the card.
The Crimson ColorSparx watercolor powder was added to the card revealing more embossing

Notice how close in color the Crimson and the Fuchsia ColorSparx watercolor powders appear when they are used as watercolor (However using them as ColorSparx will yield entirely different results!). They do dry slightly different from one another (as you can see in the following image where I used my heat gun to dry them):

Image of the card front showing the dried Crimson and Fuchsia watercolors.
I used my heat gun to dry the Crimson and the Fuchsia ColorSparx watercolor powders.

So why did I heat dry these two colors? To stop the Orchid (purple) from running into them when I apply it. Wet seeps into wet with watercolor. For this card, I wanted to maintain the color differences between the red/pink and the purple colors. In the following image, you can see where I’ve added the purple, and a little water here and there to soften any hard edges or lines of color, this gives the edge more of a ‘frayed’ or blended look as you can see in the top left corner of this image:

The Orchid (purple) ColorSparx watercolor was added to the card front, now revealing all of the heat embossed images. Water was used to soften the transition of colors into one another, preventing hard lines of color separation or areas.
The completed background with the ColorSparx watercolor powders and heat embossed stamp sets.

Using the same stamp sets, I joined the ‘Love’ and the ‘you’ by individually hand coloring only those words and stamping them onto a piece of paper then applying a touch of Orchid ColorSparx watercolor around the edges. I created some additional hearts and xo xo stamped images which I heat embossed using purple and red embossing powder and then outlined the sentiment and hearts using a black Signo uni-ball acrylic paint pen UM-153.

The same stamp sets were used to create the sentiment and the decorative elements of hearts and xo xo which were heat embossed in purple and red, then outlined in black pen.
Close up image of the sentiment and the decorative elements.

Using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium, I attached the sentiment and the decorative elements to the card front. Here is the completed card:

Image of the completed Watercolor Valentine's day card completed with sentiment and cut outs attached.
Image of the completed Watercolor Valentine’s Day Card 6″ x 6″

I realize not everyone may want to make a Valentine’s Day card, or may not have time to make a card before Valentine’s Day. So I also made an additional card featuring the same technique using the Turquoise, Cerulean Blue and Lime Green ColorSparx Powders with the ‘Hello’ sentiment from the TCW2201 Sending Love stamp set as a variation of this technique to show you what it looks like using different stamps and colors.

Close up image showing part of the completed 'Hello' card front with the TCW2201 Sending Love Clear Stamp set.
The Hello caption was added using the TCW2201 Sending Love stamp set.

I really hope you found this technique outline to be helpful and that you feel confident enough to try it on your own. At first, it may take a little experimenting to get the embossing powder and the ColorSparx right, so I definitely encourage you to make some practice pieces first before making your project if you’ve never tried this technique before. If you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear them. Please post them below.

Do you want to see this blog post as a fly-by video (37 seconds)? Hop on over to my YouTube Channel to watch it by clicking on this video link. I’d really love to hear which part of this card is your favorite and why, please leave me a comment, below! Have a great day and happy making, we LOVE to see your projects, so please be sure to tag us using our hash tag of #ilovestencils !

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

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