Watercolor Wash

by Beate Johns

Create soft backgrounds with this watercolor technique.


  • Watercolor brush
  • Dye reinker
  • Watercolor paper
  • Palette
  • Water misting bottle
  • Stamps
  • Waterproof ink
  • Watercolor crayons or other coloring mediums
  • Adhesive


  1. Step 1

    Add a drop of re-inker to the palette.

    Add another drop in a second compartment if a gradated wash is desired.

  2. Step 2

    Add water to the re-inker. Add more water to one than the other, and mix.

  3. Step 3

    Spray watercolor paper with a water misting bottle to dampen the paper. This will help the colors spread and blend.

  4. Step 4

    Wet a watercolor brush. Dip in the darker re-inker solution.

  5. Step 5

    Apply ink wash from one side of the watercolor to the other with a single stroke.

    I am left handed and brush from right to left. Right handed people will probably do the opposite.

  6. Step 6

    Dip watercolor brush in re-inker solution and add a second stroke underneath the first. Make sure the brush strokes overlap.

  7. Continue adding color.

  8. Step 7

    Repeat until the entire watercolor paper is covered. Let dry.

    For a gradated wash, use the darker mixture for the first half of the paper, then continue with the lighter color. Last go over the upper part with just a wet brush to get the lightest color for the bottom of the paper.

  9. Step 8

    Stamp your main image.

    Here, Real Red, Pink Passion and Always Artichoke Watercolor Crayons were used with the Wet Watercolor Crayon technique.

  10. Step 9

    Over-stamp with an outline stamp and add sentiment.

  11. Step 10

    Add shading with the re-inker mixes and a smaller watercolor brush.

  12. Step 11

    Finished card.



  1. Add Resist!
    Try adding Embossing Resist or Crayon Resist to your card.

    Spray it
    There are several Color Wash sprays out to make this technique easier.

    Multiple Colors
    Add more than one color to your background.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Watercolor Wash. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Hi Kathi,

Check the first few steps of our Faux Stitching tutorial to see how paper piercing is done.
beate  |  Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 3:19 PM
Hi Piedpipurr,

I used cold pressed 140lb water color paper. Stampin' Up! sells it, Hobby Lobby and Michaels sell it.
beate  |  Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 3:21 PM
Pls send me new ideas on the email. Thanks
Judy Zachary  |  Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 7:52 PM
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I tried it, and I only used three sheets of paper. Wonderful!
Patricia  |  Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 8:13 PM
I love this technique. On the second card how do you do the and green. Did you seperate these two colors with something to get them to line up perfect like a grass line?
Natalie  |  Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 3:58 PM
Beate, I have a Nestabilities question. I want to emboss with mine, but the whole square shows including the blade line. What am I doing incorrectly? Thanks so much. Susan
Susan Mezias  |  Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 7:26 AM
Beautiful work ! Watercolor crayons? Are they from Stampin Up ? Lefties, we rock ! did you know - 70% of our Presidents were lefties - - -
Nola Taylor  |  Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 9:25 AM
Do you mean craft ink, when you say waterproof ink?
Jan  |  Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 11:32 AM
Love this technique but where can I find the paper?
Virginia Seward  |  Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 7:57 AM
I thought I did not like/want the Heartfelt set, until I saw this card. I love it! smile Thanks, I am now adding yet another set of stamps to my collection!
chayhi  |  Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 5:33 AM
WOW - Beate - this looks fabulous!!! I'm gonna have to try this - it looks like fun and it is so gorgeous!!! TFS!!!
Silke Ledlow  |  Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 3:44 PM
That is a template for the paper piecing. Stampin' Up sells it in a package called Mat Pack. It's only $9.99 and includes a setting mat (for eyelets), a sponge mat for the paper piecing, and then the template which has several different size holes to use in a variety of ways. HTH!

Lisa  |  Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 3:38 AM
Beautiful as always, and it looks so easy! I have to try this!
Tanya  |  Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 8:21 PM
I am so glad to see cards done in watercolor!
For years I have done sketches and now I can use the beautiful stamps and watercolor...alot easier and faster. Thank you for the technique you share!!!
Mary Ann Herzog
Mary Ann Herzog  |  Wed Oct 7, 2009 at 3:16 PM

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