Happy Birthday - Color Wash Technique That won't Make Carsdstock Buckle

Hi Friends! 
With the month of May here and June coming up, our families always celebrate a heap of birthdays. 
Today's card is just a fun, watercolor creation inspired by all the celebrations coming our way. 

For an extra bonus, I've also included below a quick tutorial on how I do color washes on regular cardstock. 

To start, I stamped + embossed a background by using WPlus9's Quilt Prints stamp. 
I really, really love this set. It's an oldie but a goodie. And it's one I reach for quite often, especially when creating with watercolors or other color mediums. 


When I think of a color wash, I think soft, light shades. Unfortunately, I also think, a lot of water. 
And then I think, buckled paper. Um, no fun, amiright?

But I think I may have figured out a way around this one. I'm almost certain I am not the first to think of this, but I do want to share it in case you're wondering.

To achieve the 'color wash' look, I mix a tiny bit of dye pigment (from a re-inker, a watercolor pen, dye inkpad, or watercolor palette) with enough water to lighten the colors to my liking.  

Two tidbits to keep in mind when doing this technique:

1. Trick number one is to dilute the color or colors with enough water and/or white tint so that it's a much softer shade than the typical watercolor shades one might start with. 

2. However, this amount of water will leave you with a very watery color + watery brush, which can be a problem if you're not working with watercolor paper. So, to prevent any excess water from buckling the cardstock, I pre-mix my colors ahead of time and let them dry. As they dry, the water evaporates a bit, leaving soft, beautiful colors behind, allowing me to run over my paper without worry. Just be sure to not let it dry all the way back into a dry form :) 

BONUS TIP: If you premix the colors on a flat surface, like an acrylic block, or a Ranger craft mat, they will dry super fast, making this a quick and easy step to do before you stamp + emboss your image.   

Moving onto the rest of the card. 
For the Jar, I dry brushed some watercolors and used a very distressed ink application to a floral stamp set to create the flowers. I finished the jar off with a button, a few wood beads (love!!), and some polka dot tissue paper. 

At the bottom, I added more stringed beads, and a diecut using PTI's Confetti Garland and tiny flowers using the Mini Blooms stamp + die set. 

I had so much fun with this technique, I couldn't stop thinking about a heap of other ways I could use a color wash, especially on small die-cut words + letters that would probably break up with too much water. So that is exactly what I did. I colored the die-cut letters (cut using PTI's Headline Alphabet die) and I love how they turned out. 

Do you have any ideas for other innovative ways to use this style of coloring?

Let me know in the comments below! 



  1. What a great way to stretch our supplies and achieve this gorgeous color palette ! Beautiful birthday card girlie :)

  2. This is soft and delicate feminine perfection!!

  3. So many lovely details Ivana!
    I love the addition of beads~
    Karen (now in MT : )


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