Distress Watercolor Dry Embossing

by Mel McCarthy

Combine dry embossing and watercoloring for a beautiful look.


  • Watercolor paper, 140lb cold press used here
  • Embossing folder, Stampin' Up! Manhattan Flower used here
  • Die Cutting Machine, Cuttlebug used here
  • Rubber brayer
  • Temporary adhesive
  • Versamark Inkor another embossing ink
  • Clear fine (or detail) embossing powder
  • Heat gun
  • Distress Ink refills and palette, or another coloring medium
  • Paint brushes
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scor-Pal™
  • White Pigment ink
  • White Sakura Souffle gel pen
  • Microglaze by Judikins


  1. Step 1

    Cut a piece of watercolor paper to fit your embossing folder.

  2. Step 2

    Place the watercolor paper in an embossing folder and run it through your embossing machine. Make two or three passes for a deep impression.

  3. Step 3

    Add temporary adhesive to the back of the image and adhere it to a flat work surface.

  4. Step 4

    Cover a brayer in Versamark ink.

  5. Step 5

    Brayer the Versamark ink onto the raised areas of the embossed image.

  6. Step 6

    Cover the wet Versamark in with clear fine embossing powder.

  7. Step 7

    Brush off any areas of stray embossing powder from the negative (or un-raised) areas of the dry embossing.

  8. Step 8

    Heat the embossing powder with a heat gun to melt it.

  9. Step 9

    Add color with distress ink, or another medium and a paint brush. Begin by wetting the watercolor paper liberally, so that the ink will bleed out and give a painterly look.

  10. Step 10

    Add ink to the water. If there is enough water, the ink will spread out.

  11. Step 11

    To add bold sections of color dip straight into undiluted ink or paint.

  12. Step 12

    To create areas that have softer shades add a wash of ink that is diluted with plenty of water.

  13. Step 13

    For a softer look you can add white pigment ink to your palette and mix it with water and ink.

  14. Step 14

    Spray the paper with a fine mist of water to blend the ink. No need to worry about it if the ink bleeds out of the lines; it's part of that painterly look.

  15. Step 15

    Use a tissue or paper towel to remove any extra ink.

  16. Step 16

    Add a wash of a complimentary colour for a background.

  17. Step 17

    Use a Sakura Souffle pen to touch up any areas that you would like to be more white.

  18. Step 18

    Apply a thin layer of Microglaze to make the colors pop.

  19. Step 19

    Score a card cut to fit the watercoloured panel.

  20. Step 20

    Adhere the panel to the card. Watercolor paper may warp a little, but with plenty of adhesive to the back of the embossed image it will lay nice and flat on the card.

  21. Your card is finished.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Distress Watercolor Dry Embossing. 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.

LOVE This Mel! Thank you!!
Tiffany  |  Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 4:44 PM
this is stunning. thanks for the great tutorial!
Laurie LaRose  |  Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Congratulations on your first SCS tutorial Mel! It's a cracker, too.

I'm going to have a go making a card for my Aunt's 86th birthday in August. Such a pretty technique.
Marion (Dealbaida)  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM
Thanks for the wonderful tutorial Mel. I would love to give it a try. The effect is stunning
Marianne  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 2:12 AM
What a great effect and a brilliant first tutorial - very easy to follow. Thanks Mel.
Margie  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 2:20 AM
What an awesome tutorial. The results are stunning. TFS.
Beth Norman  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 2:45 AM
Gorgeous - can't wait to try it. Congratulations on a great tutorial, Mel. More please!
Anne  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 3:05 AM
This is a wonderful technique and card(s), Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful photos and instructions.
Karen Freeman  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 3:45 AM
Mel, glad to see you here! LOVE your work....thanks much. God bless you
Mary Leeson  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 4:34 AM
Mel, you amaze me. You posted a tutorial on SCS!!
whoo hooo. not an ordinary one either, but one that screams to me: "heck with the house work, you gotta try this NOW" and, I think I will. thanks Mel.
Linda  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 4:44 AM
So very pretty! Thank you!
Glenda Lea  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 4:46 AM
So very pretty!! Can't wait to give it a try.
Kathie  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:04 AM
Beautiful..have this on my next "to do for me!!" list..thanks Ines
Ines Harriss  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:16 AM
oh la la! this is brilliant!
paper canuck  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:16 AM
Beautiful! I love using the embossing folder to get an image to work with, versatility is helpful!
Trish  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:29 AM
AWESOME - this is just stunning. Thank you for the TuT :-D xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Suzy EISENHAUER  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:33 AM
Wow! That is so beautiful. When I saw the card I didn't think I could do that as it looked difficult. Now, I can't wait to try it.
Julie Bloom  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:38 AM
Not only is it beautiful but it looks like so much fun to make playing with colors!
Candi  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:39 AM
Wow Wow Wow This is absolutely gorgeous Mel Like the others I'd LOVE to have a go at this. Thank you so much for this xXx ;0)
Phyllis Nelson  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:53 AM
this is just what I love doing, it's so good to have a challenge like this, thanks heaps
Jacqui  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:58 AM

Page 1 of 6 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

You need to be logged in to comment


Splitcoaststampers's privacy policy