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Valentine’s Day DIY: Watercolor Cards

by Elizabeth Madariaga
craft & maker, featured

I fell victim to the monster cold that was going around our office last week, so Valentine’s Day kind of snuck up on me.  I am not a lovey-dovey kind of girl, but I still wanted to do something easy, fun and colorful that would let me tell my friends and coworkers how much I appreciate them.

I found my answer from the fantastic Robert Mahar.  Robert taught a class for us last year that has always stuck in my mind.  He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and his class was incredibly inspiring.  For Christmas, I actually made my own paper following his class and used it for gift tags. His techniques are easy to follow and produce beautiful results.

For my Valentine’s Day DIY, I tried Robert’s suminagashi process.  Also known as paper marbling, suminagashi is an ancient Japanese technique that involves dabbing colored ink onto the surface of water and then transferring the design to paper.  It’s very easy, very quick to do, and turned out great!

I followed Robert’s directions closely for the first few, and then I started playing.  I didn’t always do everything in the concentric circles.  I mixed up inks to form different colors (the purple didn’t turn out as vibrant as I’d hoped, but the looser yellow-green mixture was a lot of fun).

I tried making circles into hearts like they do in the coffee shops (I clearly need more practice).  In about an hour I’d done a number of different designs and completed dying about 25 cards.

One caveat:  I ultimately used 4 separate water baths to produce the final designs. Being part of the 4th generation of a California farming family, I did feel guilty using so much water to create these when we are in the midst of a serious drought.  Here’s hoping Cupid doesn’t punish me too badly for that sin!


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Elizabeth Madariaga

Elizabeth is the head of CreativeLive's Craft Channel. Unofficially, Elizabeth is responsible for the development of CreativeLive’s employee karaoke skills — a job she takes very seriously.