Create Autumn Greeting Cards: Watercolor Techniques for Cardmaking | Windy Iris | Skillshare

Create Autumn Greeting Cards: Watercolor Techniques for Cardmaking

Windy Iris, Designer and Crafter

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10 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Welcome

      2:23
    • 2. Supplies

      6:31
    • 3. Digital Stamps

      2:30
    • 4. The Anatomy of a Greeting Card

      8:09
    • 5. Watercolor Backgrounds

      6:13
    • 6. Watercolor Focal Elements

      8:01
    • 7. Mushroom Card

      4:01
    • 8. Leaves Card

      3:36
    • 9. Pumpkin Card

      2:43
    • 10. Final Thoughts

      0:57

About This Class

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Learn how to make autumn themed greeting cards and use watercolours to create beautiful backgrounds and color focal points. Cards are a wonderful way to connect with friends and family, receiving a handmade card in the mail will be sure be brighten someone’s day and making the cards is a creative and enjoyable process.

Card making often involves lots of different supplies and techniques and so to keep things manageable in today’s class we’ll be looking at using watercolour as the main supply to create three-dimensional greeting cards. In this class we’re be working with a warm autumn themed colour palette and I’ll be looking at three different watercolor techniques for creating your own backgrounds for the cards and three ways to color the nature elements I’ll be using as focal points. While these cards in the class are autumn inspired, you can easy adapt the colours and motifs to create cards for any occasion and time of year. I’ll also be walking you through how I approach card making and I’ll talk about the anatomy of the greeting card and how to break it up into layers and sections. After we’ve worked on creating the backgrounds and foreground elements, I’ll put each of the three cards together and talk about the different design decision that go into construction. We’ll also use a few embellishments, such as buttons, ribbon and wooded shapes, to add extra dimension and interest to the cards.

This class is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced creatives wanting to explore card making and watercolor. You can take the watercolor techniques, tips and process discussed in this class and apply them to your own cards and designs. I’ve been creating and designing my own cards for years and found card making to be an enjoyable and rewarding project. As much fun to make as is it to send them off to friends and family.

What You Will Learn

I’ll be walking you through every step of the process and you'll learn about: 

  • Three different watercolor techniques for creating backgrounds: wet into wet wash, acrylic block stamping and creating simple patterns using a paintbrush
  • Three ways to approach coloring focal points with watercolors: gradients, wet into wet and color blocking
  • How to build up layers and dimension on greeting cards
  • Tips for card construction, design layout and ideas for embellishments

You can take the techniques learnt in this class to create watercolor based cards for every occasion and other crafty projects as well. 

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Materials You Will Need

Here's a general list of supplies I’ll be using in this class however please feel free to use whatever materials you have at home.

  • Card Bases – this class uses three for the sample cards, one 6x6 inch (15x15cm) and two A6 (10.5x14.8cm)
  • Watercolor paper – 300gm (hot or cold press). The class uses 4 background panels to create the sample cards – 1x 6x6 inch (15x15cm) and 2x A6 (10.5x14.8cm)
  • Watercolor paint set – any brand will work perfectly.
  • Brushes – a flat and round
  • 2 cups of water
  • Masking tape and a board to tape down the watercolor paper.
  • Colored cardstock – the class uses a pad of 6x6 inch neutral colors
  • Double sided tape and/or liquid glue
  • Acrylic block - you can use any thing flat and made from plastic, acrylic or porcelain as a substite 
  • 3D foam squares
  • Scissors
  • Posca white paint pen or white gel pen
  • Black stamping ink – the class uses ranger archival
  • Text stamps or stickers – you can also hand written your sentiments if you’d prefer
  • Embellishments -  nuvo crystal drops (class uses buttermilk and antique rose), buttons, ribbon, wooden chipboard elements. You can also find anything else you have around, fabric scraps, sequins, stickers, magazine cut-outs, brands, paper flowers, wrapping paper etc
  • A bone folder is also useful

I hope you’ll join me for this class and create your own autumn themed greeting cards and enjoy playing around with watercolors. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to reach out and let me know, I’m here to help and make sure to share your project photos with the rest of the class and now let’s get started.

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Transcripts

1. Welcome: Hi everyone and welcome to the class. Today we'll be working on making some autumn themed greetings cards and using watercolors to create beautiful backgrounds and the color focal points. Cards are a wonderful way to connect with friends and family. Receiving a handmade card in the mail will be sure to brighten someone's day and making the cards themselves is a creative and enjoyable process. Card making often involves lots of different supplies and techniques. To keep things manageable in today's class, we'll be looking at using watercolor as the main supply to create three-dimensional greetings cards. While these cards in the class today are autumn inspired, you can easily adapt the colors and motifs to create cards for any occasion in time of year. We'll be working with a warm or terminal themed color palette, and I'll be looking at three different watercolor techniques for creating your own backgrounds, and three ways to color the natural elements I'll be using as the focal points. The techniques include wet into wet washes, gradient, coloring, acrylic block stamping, and creating shapes and patterns using a paint brush. I'll also be walking through how I approach card making, and I'll talk a bit about the anatomy of the greetings card and how to break it up into layers and sections. After we've worked on creating the backgrounds and the focal points, I'll put each of the three cards together and talk about the different design decisions that I make along the way. We'll also use a few different embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, and wooden shapes to add extra dimension and interests to the card. Your project for this class is to create your own autumn inspired card and to post a picture of the card to the student gallery. There you can also get feedback and ask any questions you may have. There are also three digital stamp designs available for students to use in their own class projects, and those can also be downloaded from the project section on the class page. This class is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced creatives wanting to explore card making in watercolor. You can take the watercolor techniques, tips, and process discussed in this class and apply them to your own cards, designs and projects. I've been creating and designing my own cards for years and I've found that card making to be an enjoyable and rewarding process. I hope you do too. Now let's get started. 2. Supplies: There are quite a few supplies for this class. Card making can be as complicated or as minimal as you like. I tend to fall in the middle and I'll walk through the different supplies, I'll be using and also discuss any substitutions or recommendations, but you can really use whatever supplies you have at home. Feel free to substitute. You don't by any means have to use the same brand or supply to follow along with this class. To make this class as straightforward as possible, I'm mainly going to be working with watercolors, paper, and a couple of different embellishments. So to start with paper and card bases. For this class, we'll be making three watercolor cards. One will be six by six inches and the other two will be a sixth size. I have the measurements and conversions in the class print out if you'd like a reference. These card sizes are easy for me to find envelopes for. I suggest you make your cards in whatever sizes are most common where you live. So you might want to make five by seven cards, A6 cards, A5 cards, six by six inch cards, whatever you like. I would also recommend making cards that are easy to mail as well. You can either buy card basis in packs, and normally these packs come with matching envelopes. So that's very useful if you're starting out and you just want to grab a pack of card basis to get started. If you can't find any, then making your own card basis is very easy. You just want to take a piece of card and fold it in half. When you fold your piece of paper in half, you want to make sure you're matching up the two edges. Then I like to use a bone folder or you could use a ruler or anything like that to create a nice, smooth and clean fold. By cutting a paper to the right size, you can make any size card that you need. As for the card stock itself, I like to use a heavier card stock between 200 and 240 grams because I like to layer, up papers and embellishments and I don't want the card to fall over when it's finished. I would definitely recommend finding a plain white card stock somewhere between 200 and 250 grams and you should be all set. So those are the three card basis we'll be using in this class today. Next is the watercolor paper. I recommend getting a 300 gram watercolor paper. You can pick either hot press or cold press. Hot process is smoother, and cold press has more texture to the paper's surface so you can use whichever one you prefer. I've cut my paper down to match the card bases. I will trim the paper a bit more later on, but it's a good starting point to have the background panels the same size as the card base and then you can cut them down to fit later on. To follow along with the cards today, I'm going to need two A6 sized panels and then two, six by six inch panels. You'll also need some colored card stock. I like these little stacks that are perfect size for the six by six inch cards and the A6 cards I'll be working on. I'm going to be using a warm autumnal themed color palette today so lots of browns, oranges, olive greens and yellows. I've picked out a stack of neutral colored card stock, most of which will match my background panels. If you're just starting out and are looking to get a stack of colored card, buying a neutral toned set, is a really useful place to start because neutrals can go with pretty much any color palette you might be wanting to work with and it will match with lots of different themes as well. Any watercolors set will work perfectly fine for the techniques today, I have a Winsor & Newton Cotman set here and a Gansai Tambi Japanese watercolor set. The Japanese paints are a bit more opaque and I use them for the acrylic block stamping technique because of that, and I use the Winsor & Newton paints for the wet into wet washes. You can use whatever paints you like. These are just the two that I have on hand. You'll also need brushes. Medium sized ones will work better for the class today, you'll need a flat and a round. You'll need two cups of water and some kitchen towel. For the tapes and glues, you'll need masking tape or painter's tape, double sided tape, 3D foam squares. We'll be using these to create dimension on our cards. If you don't have any 3D foam squares, you could cut out little pieces of cardboard and stack them up under the focal points to create the same dimension. I also use a wet glue for gluing the buttons and embellishments. I liked the Tombow MONO Aqua glue because it dries clear. You could just use one glue for everything. I like to use tape and glue. You can use just one glue, you can just use tape, whatever you have on hand. You'll also need a pair of scissors and a trimmer or an X-Acto knife and a ruler to trim down your paper and card stock. A Posca paint pen or a white gel pen is useful for adding white highlights and cleaning up mistakes. You'll also need an acrylic block. If you don't have one of these, you can use anything that's flat and made from plastic, acrylic or porcelain. In order to create the text and sentiments on the front of the greetings cards, I'm going to be using a small set of rubber stamps, a selection of letter stickers and to do the stamping, I have a small black ink pad from Ranger. You can create your own text or message on your cards in a variety of different ways. You can use stickers, stamps, either rubber or acrylic. You can hand letter sentiment or print out words via your computer. As for embellishments I'm going to be using buttons, Nuvo drops which is a three dimensional paint, a variety of different colored ribbons, and some wooden shapes. Those are the embellishments that I'm going to be using across my cards. You can find, reuse, re-purpose, or buy lots of different types of embellishments for greetings cards. Some other things that you might want to consider when you're putting your own cost together are supplies like sequence beads, fabric scraps, paper flowers, plastic flowers, fabric flowers. The little wooden dicots come in lots of different shapes and sizes and they're one of my favorite things to use. Buttons are a great thing to use as well. You can look around you and see what things you have at home that you can gather and use on your cards. If you do any other type of crafting activities such as sewing or knitting, you could always use yarn scraps, fabric scraps, and bring them over to your card making, and use them on the cards and use up all those tiny little bits that you wouldn't be able to use on other projects. You can always go into a craft store or a scrap booking shop and find lots of gorgeous embellishments there as well. 3. Digital Stamps: The final Supplier B using is a printout of the three digital stamp designs, the mushrooms, the leaves bouquet, and the pumpkin. These I'm going to be using as the focal point on the cards. Digital stamps in case you're new to them, are basically line up files, usually in a PDF or JPEG format. You can print these out and use them as many times as you want and you can print them out onto whatever paper you want. They're very versatile. Digital stamps and one of my most used elements and I've also designed many sets over the years and the three stamps that are going to be using in the class today are from the Autumn Walk set. I've made these three available for you to download and for you to use them in your own cards for this class. You can of course, use your own designs if you'd prefer, or any other dicots or stamps or magazine cutouts, stickers, anything that you'd like to use as your focal points you can. If you'd like to use the Autumn Walk Designs and you can find the printout under the your project tab. Look on the right-hand side of the page under the attached files section on Skillshare, and you'll be able to download them. The files can be printed out at home, although most home printers were not normally print with waterproof ink, and they also may not be able to handle the watercolor paper. The best option is to either take the files to a local print shop. A local print shop will normally print of a laser printer. A laser printer has waterproof ink, and you can often also take your own paper down and they'll print onto it for you. But unless you live right next door to a print shop, this can be quite a process. Another option is to print out the files onto rekey the computer paper at home, and then to trace the designs onto your watercolor paper using a pencil or waterproof fine liner. You could use a bright sunny window to trace the designs or light box if you have one or just your phone. If you're using your phone, you want to lay your phone flattened on a desk, and then put the brightness on your phone all the way up as high as it will go, open up a notes app or anything that will have a nice white background. There you've made yourself a little makeshift light pad and you want to lay your printout of this digital stamp designs down first, the watercolor paper on top. Then you should be able to see through both layers of the paper and you can trace the digital stamp designs on to the watercolor paper so you can use them in the class today. 4. The Anatomy of a Greeting Card: Before we start on the backgrounds, we're going to be taking a quick look at the basic layout of card making and how the layers are built up. I find the easiest to approach card making from the standpoint of layers and to visually build the layers up as I'm designing cards. Approaching the design process by thinking in layers is really helpful and once you break down the different layers, it also makes to help the process less daunting or complicated. Once you begin to make your own cards and you get a feel for thinking in layers, the whole process will become a lot easier. I want to preface this lesson by saying that you can create cards in any way that you want. There are so many different styles and layouts available and I'm just going to go through the process that I take to create these dimensional layered cards. You can create cards with more layers or less layers. There are lots of designers that do one layer cards that are just as lovely as cards with lots and lots of layers and texture. There are just lots of different styles and ways of working. If you ever in need of inspiration, you can have a look online, searching the #cardmaking on Instagram or Pinterest, for example, will provide you with lots of lovely examples to inspire your own layouts and cards and there are also card making YouTube channels and blogs and magazines. There's plenty of inspiration out there if you would like some different ideas after you've taken this class. The basic way I approach card making is in roughly four steps. I have the base layer, the background layer, a foreground layer, and then the embellishments. The base layer starts with the card base and then usually a colored matting layer. It will depend on the type of card style. Sometimes I use a matting layer, other times I don't, but the base layer is always the card base. It's what the rest of the work is going to be built up upon. The matting layer is there normally to add a little extra color and to help the background layer stand out from the card base and it also helps to frame the background layer a little bit. The matting layer is usually a piece of colored card, often in a complimentary but darker color than the background panel. Now moving on to the background layer, usually this is a panel of patent paper or a mixed media design or watercolor design like we'll be making in the next lesson. You'll see in the example here that I like to cut the layers, each a little bit smaller than the preceding one. This helps to stack everything neatly and create a dimensional look. The third layer on the card is the foreground. This could include a number of things. An anchor strip of ribbon or paper, a focal point or element and some text. This is the layer that tends to take me the most time. I often move things around and many times until I find the layout that I like. Now, there are a couple of terms that you'll hear me using quite a bit in the class. Focal points and anchor strips are things that I use in almost every card that I make. An anchor strip is normally a piece of colored card or ribbon or little bit of lace and the job of an anchor strip is to divide the focal point from the background. Normally I place an anchor strip either horizontal or vertically down my card or across the card just to help to anchor. 5. Watercolor Backgrounds: I'm going to be creating three different types of backgrounds. I've started first by taping down the for background panels to a board with masking tape. This would help the paper to stay flat as I apply the layers of water, and it will also give me a white border around the backgrounds. If I don't want the white border later on I can always trim it down. I've also spritzed my paints with some water to help activate the pigments before I start painting. I've mixed together a few of the colors I need. I also have a paper towel handy and two cups of water, one for washing the brush and the other for clean water. The first background will work on uses of wet into wet technique. You start out by wetting the paper with a clean brush. Just brush the water evenly across the paper. You don't look to soak the paper, but it needs to be wet all over. Then I dipped the brush into one color and applied it to the paper in several places. I just gently touch the paper with the brush and let the paint spread out. Then I quickly wash the brush and applied another color. I went on like this, applying several more colors and allowing the paint to spread and blend together. It will depend on the temperature around you. In the summer, I have to work quicker than in the winter for this technique. I also try to evenly spread the colors around the page. Occasionally, I may have to help the paint move a little with the tip of the brush, but I tried to just let the paint spread out on its own and not to fiddle with how everything is blending together. If the colors start to pull and become muddy in any areas, you can take a small piece of kitchen paper or towel and soak up the excess water. I kept going and added in more colors and more pigment until I have a background that I like. If your background is drying too quickly, you can add a little bit more water with a fine mist spray bottle. A spray of water will also help the colors to blend a bit better, if you'll find that your paints and not moving very much. Then once I was finished, I set aside the background to dry. Water color tends to dry lighter, when you're back on this dry, if you find that it's too light, you can just repeat the whole process. You just add more clean water on top of your first layer and drop him more colors, you can build up the colors and build up the layers until you have a background that you like, but do keep in mind that this is a background and it doesn't want to be overpowering. I normally find that one layer is perfectly good for a background technique. That's the first background panel using wet into wet. Next, I'll be using an acrylic block and a stamping technique to create a splatter re-look. We're going to be starting with the acrylic block or whatever substitute you have, and picking up color with the brush and scribbling that color onto the acrylic block. You want to get a fully loaded brush with plenty of pigment and water and dub it around the block, then you can apply another color. It's best to spread the colors around and to stick to a limited amount of colors or you'll end up with mud. Today I actually want a muddy color, so I'm using brown, red, yellow, and orange. Once your colors are down on the block, you need to give the whole thing a quick spritz of water and then stamp the block straight down onto the paper. I like to stamp the block a couple of times, moving and blending the colors together. The more you stamp, the more you blend. Also, the more you spritz the acrylic block before you stamp it, the more of a colors will blend the move together. So if you'd like a much more splattered appearance, you want to apply less water to the block and stamp it less times, and if you want it more blended, you can add a little bit more water. The excess paint is then wiped off the block and I turned my board around to work on the next background, repeating the same steps, but this time using olive greens, yellow, brown, and a little bit of orange. The background usually takes a couple of layers, so you'll need to let them dry in between, and it's useful to work on a couple of backgrounds at once. That way you can leave one to dry whilst you were coming after. Both of these background panels here will be used on the same card. I'm making sure that the colors that I'm using go nicely together, but they're different enough to provide enough contrast. Once the first layers were dry, I went back in again and added another layer in the exact same way using the same colors. In the brown panel, I added a little bit of dark blue into the mix as well. You can keep going adding layers and stamping with the block until you get an effect that you like. Both of these backgrounds had two layers of colored apply, and it creates a really cool, spluttery, rustic effect. For the final background panel, I'm going to make a simple pattern using just a paint brush, there's no drawing skills necessary here. I've pre-mixed and picked up three colors to use in the pattern. If you're ever unsure about how many colors to use in something like this, I recommend sticking to odd numbers, three or five usually works best for a pattern like this. I started by picking up the first color and using the large flat brush to make the little square shapes. You can always practice with your paintbrush first and a scrap piece of paper to get use to the brush and to get used to how much pressure to apply to get the shape that you want. This isn't the end of background panel and it's perfectly fine if the shapes are not perfect. I'm just gently touching the paper with the paint brush and pulling the brush across to create these shape. A flat brush works best here as you can create useful rectangles really easily, but you could always use a round brush and just colored in little squares or rectangles. Or you could make circles or triangles, any type of little simple shape it's easy to replicate would make a lovely simple pattern background. This type of background is also very quick to make. In total, it took me five minutes to paint the pattern. I went through the painting alternating the three colors and fill the whole page with these little shapes. I'm going to trim the paper down later on, so I'm not worried at all about having everything evenly spaced. Once the backgrounds were dry, I pilled up the masking tape. You'll want to wait until the paper is completely dry before you remove the tape or you could run the risk of tearing the paper. Those are the three different water color techniques for creating backgrounds. As I've mentioned before, you can easily adapt these backgrounds for any theme, season, or occasion by changing the colors used. Now let's move on to column in the focal points. 6. Watercolor Focal Elements: This lesson, I have the digital stamps that come with this class printed out on to watercolor paper. I've already discussed digital stamps and some work around printing them in the supplies lesson. If you haven't watched that video and you are wondering what's a digital stamp, then I recommend popping back and taking a look at that lesson. To start with, I've cut each of the stumps out of the paper in just to a rough rectangle square shape. It makes coloring easier as we're going to be using different techniques. Then I taped each one of the pieces of paper down to a board. Once again, I have two cups of water ready and the paints mixed. Starting with the pumpkin, I'm going to using another wetting to wet technique. To begin with, I'm wetting this entire surface of the pumpkin with clean water. The paint is going to spread where I have water on the paper. You can control where the paint flows, I'm carefully around the edge of the pumpkin with my clean water, my paint brush, because I want to have a white border later on when I cut it out. If you end up making a mistake and the color goes over the lines, don't worry because we can fix this with white paint or white paint pen when everything is dry. Now I'm dropping in the colors as I did earlier with the background panel. In the background panel, I just wanted to evenly spread the color throughout the whole piece with the pumpkin. I want to do more color placement, I want the leaves and the stalks to be green, and then the rest of the pumpkins to be oranges, browns and yellows. I am picking while I'm putting the colors. The idea is to create a blended color mixing and bursting look, but with color placement so that there is a hint of realism, when you look at the pumpkin, the leaves will roughly be some greens mixed together and the rest of the pumpkin will be roughly some oranges and yellows mixed together and some browns. The colors will end up blending a little bit, but I do want to keep the greens by the leaves and the stalks, and then the oranges and brown's roughly in the body of the pumpkin. If the colors become too muddy over pooling anywhere, you can lift them off with a paper towel. If you end up with too much paint on the paper, you can lay a paper towel over the entire painting and let it soak all the colors, lift up the paper, let the watercolor paper dry, and then just start all over again. I only needed to apply one layer of color here, but you can apply many layers as you like. You need to let everything dry then put another layer of freshwater and small paint on top. Once I had my colors in, I set the pumpkin aside and worked on a second element. For the bouquet of leaves.I'm going to be using a gradient coloring technique. This technique also works well with water-based markers you can use it in a very similar way. I loaded up my brush with color, and then I placed a line of color on one side of the leaf, and then I washed that brush, dipped it into some clean water, and used that clean water to feather out the color, creating a gradient wash across the leaf. I applied this technique to all the leaves, starting on one side of the full brush of color and laying down a line of color. I washed the brush in the clean water and used the clean water to pull the darker color across the leaf. When you're pulling the color out, you want to start the pull on the edge of that main color strip. You don't go into the middle of that lane of color, otherwise you'll end up diluting the whole color with water and you won't achieve a gradient effect. You want to start on the edge of that main darker color and favor it out from there. You could apply this technique to most any shape, you need to pick where you want the darkest part of the gradients and feather that color out from there. I often place the darkest part of the gradient where I want shadows to be, and you could also place the color in the center of an object instead of the side and favor out the side, so that you have your dark strip in the middle of an object. It's a very simple coloring technique, but it gives the appearance of shadows to the objects that you're painting. One thing to bear in mind when you're working like this, is the paint will spread where there is water. You will have to jump around the image as you work. For example if I had painted the brown leaf against the orange leaf whilst the orange one was still wet, then I would get the brown and the orange paint seeping together and mixing. In order to avoid the colors bleeding together where you don't want them, you need to wait for one element to dry before painting anything that we'll be touching it. It's useful just to jump around all over the object, so that you can work on something whilst you're waiting for something to dry. After the leaves were finished, I added a blue ribbon using the same technique, this time placing color on the top and bottom of the ribbon and feathering the color into the middle. This creates shadows and a highlight in one layer. It's time effective when your card making may not have hours to sit down and color an image. Gradient style of coloring like this is very useful. Now onto the last focal element mushrooms. I'm sticking to the same color palette, olive green and oranges. I'm going to leave some of the image, the circles white on the mushrooms, leaving areas White is often a good way to add some highlight. If the rest of your card is densely colorful, anything that's white will draw the viewer's eye to it. This can be very effective in a focal point. The coloring technique here is very simple. I picked up the color with the brush and then just spread it around where I wanted to color. Again be careful placing color next to each other when they're wet and you want to make sure one section is dry before placing another column next to it, the paint will dry very quickly here as we're using a very tiny amount of water, but is good to get into a habit of jumping around the image that way you'll avoid having colors, bleeding and sleeping together where you don't want them. After I had a base layer of colored down, I went back in with the same color, just a little more pigment on the brush and dotted or adapt some of the extra pigment along where I wanted some shutter lines to be and just added a little bit of texture in interest by dabbing on some more paint. If you apply the paint whilst the first-level is wet, you will achieve a smoother look, and if you wait until that first layer is dry, you'll have a more spotty appearance. I personally like the look of texture and spotty watercolor, but this is a personal preference and you can experiment and see what you like. These digital stamps already have quite a bit of detail in them with the little circles and lines inside the shapes. This step will not be as prominent as it would be if you were working with a very simple shape by dabbling in some extra pigment when the first layer is wet and then adding on some little spots and dabs when the blades are dry, you can add a lot of visual interest and extra texture to simple shapes. Once everything was dry, I went in with a white paint pen and cleaned up any mistakes where the painted seat over the lines, and I also added a few dots, sparkles, and highlights to the different objects. If you don't have a white paint pen, then a little white acrylic paint will also work. I then fussy cut them all out using a pair of paper scissors. I wanted a white board around each of the objects. This will help them stand out from the background layers later on when I assemble the cards, if you end up cutting too close or you're in a situation where you can't cut a white outline around a focal point, you can always take your cut out shape and glue it down to a white piece of paper afterwards, and then cut it out again to create a white ratting layer if you want. Fussy cutting is something that takes time and the more practice you have, the better your cutting will be, those are the focal elements and backgrounds ready for the cards, and now we can move on to putting everything together. 7. Mushroom Card: For the mushroom card, I started by having a quick look through the colored paper stack from matting layer. I already knew the soldier color that I wanted, but it is often a good idea to test out your background layer on some different colors to see which one will look best. I like to hold the background panel against the different colors to see which one I like best. I normally go for a darker color so the background will stand out from the matting layer. This creates a sense of depth and a frame as well for the background panel. For this card, I ended up going with a warm cinnamon brown. The next step was to trim the matting layer to fit the card base and I trimmed it down a little bit smaller, so I would have a white border behind the matting layer. This again adds more dimension to the card and it creates a layered look. I placed the trimmings from the colored card to one side as I knew I would be needing them later on, and I attached the matting layer to the card-based with some double-sided tape. I then pulled over some different colored ribbons and the focal point. The design of this card was to have a strip of ribbon vertically down one side, and that was to act as the anchor strip for the focal point. I matched the mushrooms with this particular background because the clean calving in the mushrooms contrasted well with the auto-focus and blurry blended background here. I like to mix and match the coloring techniques, and you will see this when I work on the other cards, I find that if you place a wet into wet background with a wet into wet colored focal point, they tend to blend together a little bit and you don't always get enough visual contrast between the two layers. As I used a similar color scheme for everything here, I know I can mix and match, and everything will go nicely together. I went through a few different ribbons and tested different colors. This part of the card making process takes me a long time as I like to test different things to see what looks best. In the end I settled for three layers to create the anchor strip. First strip of the same brown colored cards that I used as the matting layer. I ran that strip right up to the edge of the background panel. This also helps to contain the background as well. Then on top of that, I added an orange and a brown ribbon, layering them on top of each other, so, a little bit was showing through of each color. I added the brown as the topmost layer, because the orange would have overpowered the mushrooms and it needed to be set back a bit. When you are putting together your card, you want to try and keep the colors more or less harmonious and not to have any one color, especially one that is in the background overpower any of the other colors on the card. I attached the ribbons using double-sided tape and tuck them round to the inside of the card. I will go in later on and place a leftover strip of the brown card inside to cover up those ends and to make the inside of the card neat as well. It was then time to attach the focal point and I used some three deform squares to attach it and to raise the mushroom off the background. To create the sentiment, I used a little bit of the brown card stock and cut a little banner, and then I use some stickers to create the word fall. I attached that in the upper right-hand corner with some three deform squares. So we have the base layer finished, the background layer, and then the foreground, and focal point layer, and now, what was left was to add some embellishments. I chose a few cream colored buttons and glued onto the card. I normally place them either on their own or in small clusters, and I would like to scatter them across the card. So one cluster went in the bottom right-hand corner, and the other button went on its own in the upper right-hand corner. I also added a wooden leaf and tucked it behind the mushroom, and finally added a few drops of the nouveau paints. This paint creates little raised three-dimensional dots on your surface and it creates a very subtle way of adding some extra texture and dimension to the background. That is the mushroom card finished. 8. Leaves Card: For the leaves card, I'm going to be working with a six by six card base, and I'll be using both of the acrylic block stamped backgrounds. I have the card base, and I'm going to skip a matting layer this time and attach the first layer straight onto the card base with the double sided tape. I chose to place the green layer underneath because I knew that the focal point would stand up best on the brown layer. I'm using a bone folder here often on just to make sure everything is properly stuck down, and then I took the brown layer and tore it in half just often center. The idea here is to create plenty of texture in the background and to give the card more rustic feel. Having a matting layer under the background panel, can create a more ordered look, but it was not what I was going for, for this card. I wanted a much more rustic look. Using 3D form squares to rise it up, I attached the brown layer over the green layer, in order to anchor the leaves bouquet, I again bought in some strips of ribbon. You don't have to anchor focal points, but I do find I like the look better than having them floating in the middle of a background. I used a strip of white paper ribbon and then a little bit of lace. The lace worked really well with the textured feel of the card, and that's something that you can keep in mind when you're gathering embellishments. Sometimes you may want a lot of texture in a card, so you might want to use crepe papers and lace and ribbons and tear things and distress your paper to create lots of texture, and an other times you may want things to be very clean and straight cut. So there are some things that you can bear in mind when you're looking for embellishments, you can think about wherever you want texture, wherever you don't want texture, what sort of feel you want to create with your card. I glued the ribbon and the space of lace vertically down the middle of the brown background panel. Next, I stamped up the sentiment, autumn greetings onto some gray card stock. I knew where I wanted the focal point, but I haven't glued anything down at this point, as I often like to play around with the layout a bit, so I keep things unglued for as long as possible just so that I can move them if I need to. However, sometimes it's important just to make a decision and sometimes I will also just glue something down just so that I have one decision made and I can move on to the next step. That's also something if you find that you're moving stuff around so much and you can't decide where to place something and you feel like you're just moving everything around over and over again. The best thing to do is just to glue one thing down so that you've made one decision and then move on to the next element. I found that the gray card stock was blending a little too much into the background, so I glued that down onto a scrap of watercolor paper and then trim that down so that the sentiment box had a nice white border and a matting layer underneath. Using 3D film squares, I attached both the leaves and the text of the background panels. The last step was to add a few button clusters, again in the pale cream color, and a few nouvelle drops to the background. The nouvelle drops ended up being very, very subtle and they are not so easy to see, but they do add a tiny hint of shimmer to the background. Finally, I glued down a wooden flower into the center of the ribbon, and that is the leaves card completed. This card has a more rustic feel with the ripped paper edges and the lace, and I wanted more texture in this card than the previous one so that it would complement and match the splattery textured background. 9. Pumpkin Card: For the final card, I started with the base layer and used some more of that cinnamon cardstock and laid it up on the card base, trimming it down so that I had a smooth white border under the brown layer. For this card, I matched the pumpkin with the patent background because the wet into wet blended pumpkin stood out and contrasted really nicely with the cleaner background. There was quite a lot of white in the background panel, and the densely colored pumpkin was strong enough to stand out against the white. As I mentioned earlier, white can often draw your eye in a card layout. So with this one, I really needed something that was very bold and very densely colored to act as the focal point so that it would stand out against all that white in the background. I trimmed the pattern background down to fit the card. I like to use a pencil to mark the size of the layer, so I need to cut and I usually just measure roughly by eye but you could use a ruler if you'd prefer. In order to make the anchor strip, I again used the brown card. I like to use as much of the leftover strips of paper as possible on my cards and I laid down the strip horizontal this time as I wanted the pumpkin to be centered in the middle of the card as the pumpkins were a more circular shape than the mushrooms were, it looked better being in the center of the card. I then added a strip of that white paper ribbon onto the brown paper strip. This just helps that foreground element to stand out a bit from the white in the background. I then added the focal point using some 3D foam squares to raise the pumpkin off the background. I used black ink and the little rubber stamps to write the word hello out onto the brown card and matted that onto a strip of white card. When you're cutting backgrounds and panels, it's really useful to keep all the strips of leftover paper that perfect for matting little layers and for creating little strips on the cards. I attach the text to some 3D foam squares and then played around with some wooden embellishments. I decided in the end to cluster some leaves under the pumpkin and to create an arrangement with the pumpkin very much at the center. It's useful when you're attaching your focal point to place the 3D foam squares at the center of your object and to keep some of the area around the outside free. That way later on, if you want to tuck things underneath, you'll have enough room to do so. The final touches were some buttons and some cream colored Nuvo drops and then the pumpkin card was finished. 10. Final Thoughts: Those are the three autumn themed greetings cards. I really hope you enjoyed this class and had fun experimenting with watercolors to create the backgrounds and focal points. There is, of course, many more techniques and ways you can use watercolor in card making. But these are the techniques that I use the most often. By varying the colors, you can create cards for every occasion and all year round. If you enjoyed using the digital stamps, then you can find many more available online at sea and creative market, are good places to look. Using digital stamps is also useful, I think if you'd prefer not to draw all or any of the elements that you want to use. I know that when I'm card making, I never have time to sit down and draw all the designs that I need. So having printouts are really handy. Make sure to post a picture of any cards that you make and feel free to share any work in progress shots as well in the gallery and have a creative day.