Watercolor Bokeh

by Diane Dimich

Recreate a fun photo effect using reinkers and stenciled circles.


  • Watercolor paper
  • Dye re-inkers (Stampin’ Up! Melon Mambo, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie used here)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Containers for water
  • Aqua Painter or watercolor brush
  • Heat gun (optional)
  • Circle dies (Stampin’ Up! Circle Framelits used here)
  • Acetate
  • Die cutting machine
  • sponge dauber
  • White pigment ink pad (Stampin’ Up! White Craft pad used here)
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (Stazon Jet Black ink, stamp, rhinestones, and adhesive used here)


  1. Step 1

    Secure a watercolor paper panel to a piece of scratch paper or to your work surface with removable tape.

  2. Step 2

    Add 3 drops of dye reinker into 10 drops of water in a small container.

  3. Step 3

    Brush clear water across the watercolor paper to wet the surface evenly.

  4. Step 4

    Dab various colors of ink onto the wet watercolor paper, making sure to cover the paper so there is no white showing. Let the watercolor paper dry completely.


    To hurry up the process, use a heat gun.

  5. Step 5

    Cut acetate with various sizes of circle dies to create a stencil.

  6. Step 6

    Using a sponge dauber, white craft ink, and the stencil, color in circles all over the watercolor paper, overlapping some. Use the sponge dauber to fill in any blank spaces.

  7. Let the inked panel dry completely.

  8. Step 7

    Embellish the panel as desired.

  9. Step 8

    Assemble and complete the card.


Your Turn

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

I'm not a "technique" stamper, but you made this technique look like so much fun, I'm sure I'll be trying it. Thanks.
NancyJ  |  Thu Feb 5, 2015 at 2:04 PM
Oh wow, this is stunning. And you explained it so well I think even I can do this! Need to go find some water color paper, which I don't even know what that is, so I can try it out!
Kristine  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 4:36 AM
I bookmarked your tutorial so that I can do it later! Looks lovely.
Kathy Patterson  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 6:46 AM
Love that technique. Looks easy enough to do! Thanks so much for sharing.
mamabean  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 6:57 AM
What a beautiful and simple technique! I love the effect. TFS!
Catherine  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 7:15 AM
Thanks so much for your tutorial! Big fan of bokeh here, and love this twist with watercolor!
Bev Gerard  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 7:43 AM
Beautiful colors! what a fabulous background technique. this is a "must do" for my next card!
Fran MacDonald  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 8:16 AM
This turned out fantastic. And you made it look so easy. I love the colors they worked out awesome. TFS
Tammy  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 8:24 AM
Just wanted to say I have used this method and it makes a beautiful background.
valerie wilson  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 8:59 AM
Diane, thanks so much for your tutorial (and video). I have been eying this technique. I am going to play with it today and make several background pieces while I have all the 'ingredients' out.
Kab  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 9:07 AM
Great video and art technique Diane...thanks for sharing this!
Susanne Gleason  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 9:18 AM
I love this idea and it looks simple!
kaycstamper  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 9:39 AM
What a beautiful effect you can get from a few drops of reinker's TFS
Margaret Jenks  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 12:17 PM
I just finished my water coloring background piece--it is so beautiful and I have enough "sauce" left I am going to make another one. I love it even before I do the white circles but I have my stencil made waiting for it to dry. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this awesome tut!!
Laurie Eldridge  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 12:50 PM
Ooooh nice... I will be trying this.
Thanks for sharing.
BohoDiva  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 1:39 PM
Love this technique. Great video. Easy to follow.
Harriett Broyles  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 2:26 PM
Thank you so very much for posting this tutorial! I better understand how you achieved the dimensions in the circles by overlapping some, re-stamping others. I have several backgrounds I did on watercolor paper in a 5x7 pad from a LSS, not knowing where to go with them - it was just a fun, relaxing thing to do one day when watercolors are forgiving! Now that I see your circle additions on acetate, I can handle such a simple stencil to create an attractive background for whatever sentiment I choose. I did something similar with varying sizes of daubers, used white pigment ink, and heat embossed those circles with clear embossing powder. Talk about shine! The ideas are swirling!
Diane  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 5:00 PM
This was fun. I love how adding the white to the circles made them float!
muscrat  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 5:05 PM
Great video. Thank you for breaking the process down for us. Guess I know what I will be trying this weekend.grin
Crystal Ramos  |  Wed Feb 25, 2015 at 8:26 PM
Fantastic video - thanks so much! Really LOVE the effect - it looks amazing.

Jocelyn x
Jocelyn Knight  |  Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 4:29 AM

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