Watercolor Bleed

by Christine Okken

Create a soft, impressionist coloring style with an embossed image, reinkers and a water mister


  • Stamps (Flourishes All That Glitters used here)
  • Versamark™ ink
  • Embossing powder (silver used here)
  • Heat tool
  • Watercolor paper
  • Water based dye reinkers in complementary colors
  • Waterbrush
  • Mini Mister™
  • Scrap paper, to protect your work surface
  • Paper towel, to soak up excess ink and water


  1. Step 1

    Ink an open line image stamp with Versamark on watercolor paper. Add embossing powder, tap off excess and heat with heat gun until the embossing powder is melted.

  2. Step 2

    Generously spray embossed image with Mini Mister filled with water.

    Spray image with enough water for the ink to spread on, but not so much that it pools heavily.

  3. Step 3

    Add a drop of reinker to a stamp pad lid or palette and pick up some of your lightest color of reinker in a waterbrush.

    Paint the reinker onto the embossed image. Allow the ink to pool and spread.

    The longer the ink sits, the more it stains the paper. If desired, spray more water onto image for increased ink bleed.

  4. Step 4

    Pick up the next darker shade of reinker and paint onto image as desired. Add more water as needed.

  5. Step 5

    Blot excess ink and water with a paper towel, patting down gently.

  6. Step 6

    Repeat technique with additional colors.

  7. Step 7

    Spay, add additional color and blot as desired until you have achieved the look you want.

  8. Step 8

    Allow image to dry completely. Once dry, you can flatten the watercolor paper if it has curled. Finish card as desired.

    Complementary colors will achieve the best look as the colors bleed together. Contrasting colors create a muddy look as they bleed. Experiment with different colors of reinkers as they will bleed and stain in different tones and hues on watercolor paper.


Your Turn

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

Is very wonderful !!!!
Is possible to have a translate of your blog,because all the people not speack english ????
AnnickD/nicka28  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 6:20 AM
Oh how fabulous. I can't wait to get home tonight and give this a try!! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial.
CaroleB  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 7:44 AM
Christine, your tutorial is great! Thank you so much!
Hugs and smiles
Beate  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 9:03 AM
This technique was developed by a friend of mine, Crystal French, and she named it "Re-inker Spread".
Sharon Madsen  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 9:24 AM
Fantastic tutorial Christine! I have so many stamps this will work with! TFS smile
lydia  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 9:41 AM
I just love how you do your tutorials, first with printed/picture instructions and a video.

Love this technique and will certainly give it a try.

thanks so much
Laura B  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 10:07 AM
Love this! I will give it a go! Thank you
Joyce Arbogast  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 10:40 AM
Thanks so much for this tutorial. I can't wait to give it a try. One question though as I haven't worked with the water colour paper before. How do you get the paper flat after painting on it? Do you just set something heavy on top of it or do you put a cloth on top of it (or wax paper) and then iron it?
Karen  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 11:24 AM
Hi Karen,
my watercolor paper didn't warp.Watercolor paper is designed to be able to take a lot of water.
Beate  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 11:33 AM
Gorgeous card & watercolor technique! I like fast & easy! Thank you for another great tutorial/video! Take care
Vina  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 11:54 AM
Beautiful.. I definately will have to try this one. Does Split coasters sell the water paper?

Thanks for the video
Dottie Watson  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM
Hi Dottie! smile

We don't sell supplies, but stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Aaron Brothers, AC Moore, Dick Blick or any art supply store will carry watercolor paper.
lydia  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM
Thank you. I didn't know that the paper Michaels sold was water color safe. Will give this wonderful technique a try. I am still learning .. I love making cards. Dottie
Dottie Watson  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 3:22 PM
Dottie just be sure and go back to the fine art section where they have oil paints, etc and look for the watercolor paper there. It will come in a large pad - I'd just choose the lowest priced one.

Don't use their scrapbooking/stamping cardstock.

smile I love making cards too! smile
lydia  |  Wed Dec 8, 2010 at 3:24 PM
Thank you, you have been most helpful.
Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones.
Dottie Watson  |  Thu Dec 9, 2010 at 4:24 PM
love...love this tutorial Beate...wonderful job explaining with these inks...thanks so much
connie paxman
Connie Paxman  |  Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 1:01 PM
Such a great tutorial! I linked to it from today's Examiner.com scrapbooking news article at http://exm.nr/dX6svt smile Have a fun weekend!
Irene  |  Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 2:54 PM
Wonderful Tutorial. I always appreciate the written instructions and the video...it really helps me grasp the technique. Thank you so much for all that all of you do to keep me on my toes. I appreciate you all very much!

He IS Able,
Traci Starkweather
Traci S.  |  Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 5:54 PM
this is a bit late but i just found this tute. and as it's still accessible to all I want to let you know that the term "Complementary colours " refers to two colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel (red/green; violet/yellow; orange /blue) and mixing THEM will produce muddy results. not as you stated in your instructions- to use complementary colours and not contrasting colours. contrast is a value issue.
I studied and taught colour theory for years and this is one aspect that most people get mixed up on. complimentary means something else. it's a spelling issue.
Deb Fortin  |  Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 5:04 AM
Fantastic cannot wait to try it..Thank you so much for a great Tutorial. from a slow Aussie..
Shirley Gosper  |  Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 6:29 AM

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