Vintage Watercolor

by Heather Telford

Use inks and watercolors to create a vintage look.


  • Rubber stamps to create a scene (Penny Black stamps used here - Playful, Soar, Fly High)
  • Water soluble ink (Vintage Photo Distress ink used here)
  • Watercolor paper (hot press paper used here)
  • Script or other background stamp (Penny Black Letter Background used here)
  • Watercolor medium (Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils used here)
  • Waterbrush, or brushes and clean water
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paper or tape for masking
  • Elegant Writer pen by Speedball
  • Mister bottle
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (Penny Black circle dies, brown embroidery thread used here)


  1. Step 1

    Tape watercolor paper panel to a firm surface.

    Stamp images onto adhesive backed paper or masking film. Cut out whole or partial images to be used as masks.

  2. Step 2

    Stamp a focal image in a dark brown water soluble ink .

  3. Step 3

    Cover the image with the prepared mask. Stamp surrounding images. Continue to stamp and mask to build the scene.

  4. Step 4

    Remove masks to reveal the focal image in the foreground with other stamped images behind it.

  5. Step 5

    Draw over some lines of the focal image with an Elegant Writer pen. (This pen’s ink is water soluble and separates beautifully when brushed with water. A Distress or other watercolor marker could be used, but the results will be slightly different.)

    Using a waterbrush or wet paint brush, blend out the ink from the stamped image to fill the outline. As water touches the Elegant Writer lines they will blend with the brown ink. Use watercolor pencils or another watercolor medium to fill in other details of the image, using a very limited color palette (here only red was used in addition to the brown and black).

  6. Step 6

    Continue painting by adding in color and blending the watercolor medium with the ink from the stamped image using a wet brush. Where the stamped image is not dark enough, add color with a brown watercolor pencil.

  7. Step 7

    Add some black accents to shaded areas with the Elegant Writer pen. Blend.

  8. Step 8

    Reposition the masks over the focal image and some of the background images. Ink parts of a script or textured background stamp with the brown ink used previously along with dabs of Elegant Writer black ink. Spritz the stamp with water and stamp around the perimeter of the panel.

  9. Step 9

    Splatter water droplets and diluted ink droplets over the panel, in the colors already used.

    Swipe ink pads onto a craft sheet and mist with water to dilute the ink for splattering.

  10. Step 10

    Remove the tape and trim the panel to the desired size.

  11. Step 11

    Embellish the card as desired. If desired, use the same inks as on the card panel to coordinate color elements.

  12. Step 12

    Complete the project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Vintage Watercolor. 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 your site, waiting for the SCS Weekly Inkling- i love it!!!!
learn and read the question.
appreciate your hard work on each newsletter
thank you
Sarit Sabbag  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 3:21 AM
I really look forward to your site every week, thank you
eluned jeffery  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 3:30 AM
Wonderful tutorial. This is a fun take on watercoloring. The card is beautiful!
Jennifer  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 6:21 AM
great! I happen to have one of those elegant writers. Excellent idea.
Kathy Stacy  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 6:27 AM
such a wonderful card! lovely!
have to try this right away!

also, like the set up. pic instructions and video.
sunshine  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 6:59 AM
Thank you for such beautiful written and video tutorials. Your work is gorgeous! Inspires me to try.
Joan Spevak  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 7:04 AM
What a beautiful watercolour. Your tutorial is very informative and your technique is awesome. Going to give this a try. Thanks so much.
Sue Allen  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 7:12 AM
Wonderful tutorial. Thanks for sharing your technique.
Linda Paider  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 7:34 AM
This is so pretty...I love it...and I want to make one now using your technique...can't wait to get started...thank you so much for sharing this with us...
Gloria Westerman  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 7:48 AM
Beautiful! Thank you for the tutorial!
Sandee Shanabrough  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 8:13 AM
This is so beautiful and inspiring!! Love it! Thank you.
Lisa Kubica  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 8:56 AM
I absolutely loved your watercolor tutorial. It is absolutely lovely. Now, I have to go try this myself! Thank you for filming this for us so we can learn this beautiful art of watercoloring.
Dottie  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 8:57 AM
Thank you for the details on how to use various water based mediums. Very informative and inspiring. Builds confidence to try these techniques.
Sonja Van Laar  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 9:36 AM
Thank you for the beautiful tutorial!
Carol Dombrowski  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 9:49 AM
Absolutely gorgeous!!
Michele Greenwood  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 3:17 PM
Heather you never fail to inspire me. Thanks so much for the wonderful tutorial. I think you should come home for a holiday possum ...stay at my house and I can sit and watch you create all day long.
Susie Williams  |  Wed May 4, 2016 at 7:52 PM
Heather, thank you "for helping me grow" as an artist and card maker by sharing your video tutorial on Vintage Watercolor. I have learned a beautiful new technique to add to my card making and watercolor pieces. You made it all look so easy and relaxing and I am thrilled with the results.
Betty Guthrie  |  Thu May 5, 2016 at 11:09 AM
Oh, Heather, this is a fabulous tutorial, and I LOVE both cards! What an amazing technique and lots of tips and ideas! I'm more excited than ever about watercoloring! Thanks for the time it took to make this video and do the step-outs! Hugs!
Cheryl Scrivens  |  Thu May 5, 2016 at 11:54 AM
Absolutely beautiful and your calm, patient instructions are so easy to follow.

I also have the Elegant Designer pen, but my favorite is the Marvy 1122 LePlume ll #45 sepia that does exactly the same thing only it leaves a softer brown color instead of black after it bleeds out green then pink. I though I would share that for those who may not know. 😊
Del  |  Fri May 6, 2016 at 9:32 AM
I love your card!! I've done watercolor before, but always after it was embossed. This is so beautiful and tempting though that I can't wait to try it!! Thank you Del for reminding me that the Marvy markers are water soluble and can be used in watercoloring. I have 2 sets and always forget about them
Jennifer Hovermale  |  Sat May 7, 2016 at 9:34 PM

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