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Old 07-10-2014, 04:55 PM   #1
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Question Watercolor technique question

I use precut blank cards for most of my 5 x 7 card projects. I saw the (new?) stamp set in the gallery that makes a watercolor smudge image and I thought "I can do that without a stamp". So I got out my watercolor crayons (one of my favorite media) and scribbled patches of color on the cardstock and then used my water spritzer to make them just a little bit wet. I used a sponge to smear the smudges so they look like a brushstroke. I'm happy with the look...but...the cardstock has curled from the water. Does anyone know a way to re-flatten the cardstock or keep it from curling as it dries?
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:46 PM   #2
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you could try putting it under some books to flatten or maybe the heat gun after you do it.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:50 PM   #3
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You could press it on low heat with an iron. Be sure to use either a silicone sheet or parchment paper in between the iron and the paper.

Or, try coating the paper with Gesso, which will keep the water from soaking in.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:08 AM   #4
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When you use a heat gun be sure to alternate sides too, heating from both the top and bottom helps the paper dry more evenly. Your paper probably won't be flat but a lot more so than only drying from the top.

If you want to do more to a page after ironing it be sure you don't use wax paper. The wax will transfer to your paper and resist further coloring etc.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSnow View Post
I use precut blank cards for most of my 5 x 7 card projects. I saw the (new?) stamp set in the gallery that makes a watercolor smudge image and I thought "I can do that without a stamp". So I got out my watercolor crayons (one of my favorite media) and scribbled patches of color on the cardstock and then used my water spritzer to make them just a little bit wet. I used a sponge to smear the smudges so they look like a brushstroke. I'm happy with the look...but...the cardstock has curled from the water. Does anyone know a way to re-flatten the cardstock or keep it from curling as it dries?
I've linked this thread to Lindsay the Frugalcrafter as she has just uploaded this video last week and frequently does watercolor cards. I expanded on your question and have asked if it is worth stretching the cards/watercolor paper on masonite for wetter techniques https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjqnBiJg0JY HTH as I want to know too - just bought 100 watercolor cards!!!!
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:42 AM   #6
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What brand of cards do you use? I'm curious, since I just got a new box of Fabriano Medioevalis cards... love them.

I have been ironing cards between pages of the phone book. If you're concerned about ink transfer, just put a sheet of text weight paper over the watercolor card.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:05 AM   #7
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I think (after consulting with Lindsay) that if using a very wet technique on Watercolor cards it is probably worth stretching the paper to eliminate any issues.

If I didn't want to do that I would resign myself to ironing or maybe even running it slowly through my cuttlebug (pressure with no heat) to flatten it.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:16 PM   #8
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Thanks to all of you for the ideas. Dini, I buy my blank cards at either AC Moore or Michael's. They're called "Value Pack" at one store and "Recollections" at the other. Our ACM & Michaels are in the same shopping center, right across the parking lot from each other, so I just go to the one that has the best sale price.

I've got a heat gun and a Cuttlebug, so maybe I'll try those. I'd love to learn real watercoloring, then I would get into all the stretching and specialized papers. For now, I'll settle for look-alike techniques and make the best of it.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:02 AM   #9
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I think i'd be inclined to do my watercolouring technique on a separate piece of card and add plenty of adhesive on the reverse to hold it flat.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I think i'd be inclined to do my watercolouring technique on a separate piece of card and add plenty of adhesive on the reverse to hold it flat.
Probably for that technique, but you would be amazed what the pressure of a stack of heavy books/pressure/ironing can achieve. Heck my box of dies would probably do it!!! The thing with watercolor cards is that people buy/like them because of the clean and simple look with detail.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:54 AM   #11
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The Value Pack cards are cardstock, not watercolor paper. You could purchase watercolor cards, or buy a pack of watercolor paper when on sale or using a coupon, cut it into panels and attach them to the Value Pack cards.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:06 AM   #12
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I have the Value packs too and tho I rarely do it, when I do, I use very very little water. In fact my brush is barely wet. I usually use watercolor pencils on that paper and you can do alot of blending just with the pencils then just swipe over it with a damp brush and it looks like a watercolor sweep.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:45 AM   #13
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I use the same card blanks. I cut a piece of water color paper, create my water color image. Then I mat the image on the card blank and run it through my Big Kick.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:52 AM   #14
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I have the Value packs too and tho I rarely do it, when I do, I use very very little water. In fact my brush is barely wet. I usually use watercolor pencils on that paper and you can do alot of blending just with the pencils then just swipe over it with a damp brush and it looks like a watercolor sweep.
Good spot! I have watercolor cards on the brain! Just bought these Strathmore Watercolor Cards - BLICK art materials a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:33 AM   #15
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I've linked this thread to Lindsay the Frugalcrafter as she has just uploaded this video last week and frequently does watercolor cards. I expanded on your question and have asked if it is worth stretching the cards/watercolor paper on masonite for wetter techniques https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjqnBiJg0JY HTH as I want to know too - just bought 100 watercolor cards!!!!
Thanks for attaching the link, I had never heard of paper stretching. I love to play with watercolor paper and make my own background paper, then mount it on the blank Value Pack card bases.

After watching the video I have a question which wasn't addressed in the video.
Do you stretch your paper and then take it off the board and watercolor it or do you watercolor it first then stretch it? Or do you watercolor it right on the stretching board? Sorry if this is a silly question, but I am very interested on trying this technique but was unsure about which way to do.
Thanks in advance.
Normally I just watercolor my paper then put it under my desk mat with a paper weight on top and leave it for a couple days to flatten it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:01 PM   #16
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What I got from the video is you stretch first, paint it, and then cut it off the board. There is going to be a follow up vid for removal since so many people asked, but basically it was cut it off (with xacto?) at the tape edge and then wet the tape to remove it.

What I dont understand is why we have to paint still attached to the board. If the paper is now stretched and wont curl...why cant I take it off, cut into postcards and then paint on it? Or can I?
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:24 PM   #17
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I honestly don't know but found this video without using tape https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x25QNwmrwjM

Then there is this one - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TifVl-TvAzY

And he says pretty much at the very end that he staples his picture down as it dries because the edges curl up - which sort of defeats the whole purpose of stretching it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:38 PM   #18
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Just wanted to add that if you only want to do fronts and adhere them it could be worth the small amount extra to buy blocks of watercolor paper, which you cut off the block after you paint on it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:07 PM   #19
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I have been watercolouring for a very long time..on watercolour paper and cardstock. When I have a warping problem I just press it with an iron on no steam on a silk setting. Haven't had any trouble yet..! I also use painters tape to fasten my piece to my board well..it's a piece of plexiglass but it works fine.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:28 PM   #20
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Interesting River Isis. They are about 1 year apart in time but he didnt mention the staples till the second one...which I guess is the same thing Frugal is doing with the tape border?

I was confused when he did nothing since Frugal said the whole point was to hold it down during the drying time.

I think I am scared to do the ironing...I only have the one good iron for the clothes. I would not have much else for a craft iron. Hmm.
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Old 07-17-2014, 04:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Interesting River Isis. They are about 1 year apart in time but he didnt mention the staples till the second one...which I guess is the same thing Frugal is doing with the tape border?

I was confused when he did nothing since Frugal said the whole point was to hold it down during the drying time.

I think I am scared to do the ironing...I only have the one good iron for the clothes. I would not have much else for a craft iron. Hmm.
Lindsay is doing it the traditional way (I remember doing it when I had art class in High School) it creates a tight canvas for ease of painting as well as preventing warping during drying. Cheap Joe's method I had never seen before, but I had wondered when I saw the pictures on youtube without a taped border. His aim was to have a borderless print. TBH I don't know why because if you frame a watercolor you have to mat it and put it under glass to preserve it best. The matting will cover some portion of the edges.

Honestly, if he hadn't said about staples I was thinking about trying it.

As for ironing. I wouldn't iron direct. I would put a sheet of printer paper between the iron and the piece. I just tend to use heavy method.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:57 PM   #22
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I think I read somewhere that if you have already finished your painting and it has buckled, just paint an even layer of water on the reverse side of your painting. Over night it should straighten right out. I have never tried this because I use quite thick paper and stretch it but this came from an artist that I respect so I'm sure it would work. I have never tried ironing paper but be careful not to burn or melt your paintings
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:15 PM   #23
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I have had luck with ironing between 2 pieces of text weight paper & while still warm (and flat), weighting down with several books until cooled.
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:35 PM   #24
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What temp do you guys iron on? (I got the no steam part)

I'm confused I guess b/c if the whole point is to keep from curling while painting...why bother if you are going to keep the piece stuck down when you are painting? Would it buckle if you did not stretch it but had taped it down?
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:55 PM   #25
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Stretching it helps keep it from buckling but the point of stretching is also to have a smooth (ish) painting surface. It is a 2 for 1 situation.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:48 AM   #26
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Thank you River Isis.

One last question: Does the size of the paper relate to how likely it is to buckle? Like the bigger it is, the more likely? Sometimes these things do not follow what it would seem to be. I know I have had plenty of A2 postcards curl on me for various reasons but I have not used watercolor paper yet.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:57 AM   #27
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The size probably doesn't influence it as much as how much water and how thick the paper is. The thinner watercolor papers can't take as much water.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:06 AM   #28
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Okay. Thanks!!
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:06 PM   #29
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I've taped my paper down without stretching, but if you get it very wet it will buckle. I havn't used the stretch techinque for about 30 years, but if I remember correctly, it shouldn't buckle. You paint while it is on the board to keep it from changing. When you paint, it gets wet and can stretch, but if you keep it stretched on the board, when it dries, it can't buckle, because it is being held in place. If you strecth it and then cut it off to paint it, it is no longer held into place and can buckle. I don't know if I'm explaining it well, but I thought I'd try and answer.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:55 PM   #30
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I tihink I get it. Thanks Dogzruleca.
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Old 07-19-2014, 06:00 AM   #31
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Quote:
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I have had luck with ironing between 2 pieces of text weight paper & while still warm (and flat), weighting down with several books until cooled.
I believe I used the cotton setting, with no steam.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:20 PM   #32
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Great suggestions but the bottom line is using the right paper for the specific technique. In addition to the buckling, if you watercolor on non-watercolor paper or heavy cardstock, you are going to see some bubbling on the backside (inside of the card) and you can get pills of paper on the front side.

The best bargain for watercolor paper is to buy the watercolor pads when they go on sale or with a coupon. Every so often, Michaels will put the art pads on sale for 50% (buy one get one) and I buy a lot packs to stock up. When I do it that way, it's no more expensive that regular cardstock. It also make for a great card base when I want to add a lot of embellishments.

The method to keep from getting to much water is called "dry brush" where you dapen the paintbrush and then wipe it off until it's almost dry. You loose some of the blending ability but you won't have as much problem with not using the right kind of paper.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:59 PM   #33
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The video was very helpful! MM
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:21 AM   #34
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Quote:
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I use precut blank cards for most of my 5 x 7 card projects. I saw the (new?) stamp set in the gallery that makes a watercolor smudge image and I thought "I can do that without a stamp". So I got out my watercolor crayons (one of my favorite media) and scribbled patches of color on the cardstock and then used my water spritzer to make them just a little bit wet. I used a sponge to smear the smudges so they look like a brushstroke. I'm happy with the look...but...the cardstock has curled from the water. Does anyone know a way to re-flatten the cardstock or keep it from curling as it dries?
Spray the backside of the paper with water so that there has been water on both the front and back surface of the paper. This works for me.

I also only use watercolor paper now when I do wet techniques because after much experimentation (and fails LOL mainly with various cardstock papers), I get my best results with watercolor paper.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:36 PM   #35
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Hi Lois! Hope you have tried the technique in the last post. Use watercolor paper whenever you are working with anything wet and wet both sides of the paper equally. If I am using a lot of water to create my image, I pretty much soak the back of the card as well. I learned this technique almost 50 years ago in my 9th grade art class and it works like a charm. No stretching, no ironing, and no buckling! I buy 90 pound watercolor paper in the big pads found in the art department of craft stores. Way cheaper that way and also easier to afix to your card than the 140 pound sold in the craft depts. hope this helps! Oh, one last hint: Dye based markers blend beautifully on watercolor paper! I rarely use COPIC or SU blendabilities when I color.
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:24 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by kate4450 View Post
Hi Lois! Hope you have tried the technique in the last post. Use watercolor paper whenever you are working with anything wet and wet both sides of the paper equally. If I am using a lot of water to create my image, I pretty much soak the back of the card as well. I learned this technique almost 50 years ago in my 9th grade art class and it works like a charm. No stretching, no ironing, and no buckling! I buy 90 pound watercolor paper in the big pads found in the art department of craft stores. Way cheaper that way and also easier to afix to your card than the 140 pound sold in the craft depts. hope this helps! Oh, one last hint: Dye based markers blend beautifully on watercolor paper! I rarely use COPIC or SU blendabilities when I color.
So what markers do you use?
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:03 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by kate4450 View Post
Hi Lois! Hope you have tried the technique in the last post. Use watercolor paper whenever you are working with anything wet and wet both sides of the paper equally. If I am using a lot of water to create my image, I pretty much soak the back of the card as well. I learned this technique almost 50 years ago in my 9th grade art class and it works like a charm. No stretching, no ironing, and no buckling! I buy 90 pound watercolor paper in the big pads found in the art department of craft stores. Way cheaper that way and also easier to afix to your card than the 140 pound sold in the craft depts. hope this helps! Oh, one last hint: Dye based markers blend beautifully on watercolor paper! I rarely use COPIC or SU blendabilities when I color.
Yes, after reading and absorbing all of this discussion I went to Michael's and bought a pad like you mentioned. I posted a card about a week ago - my first effort with the right paper: Wind and Watercolors by SilverSnow - Cards and Paper Crafts at Splitcoaststampers

Thanks for all your help!
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