Washi & Watercolors: Creating Geopattern Backgrounds | Cara Saliby | Skillshare

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Washi & Watercolors: Creating Geopattern Backgrounds

teacher avatar Cara Saliby, Curly-haired Crafter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Intro


    • 2.

      Class Materials


    • 3.

      Setting Up


    • 4.

      Asymmetrical Pattern #1


    • 5.

      Asymmetrical Pattern #2


    • 6.

      Symmetrical Pattern


    • 7.

      Specific Pattern


    • 8.

      Wrapping Up


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About This Class

Learn how to use washi tape and watercolor painting techniques to create simple, beautiful geometric patterned backgrounds. Finished pieces can be framed as art, used as lettering backgrounds, utilized as personal greeting cards, and more!

Meet Your Teacher

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Cara Saliby

Curly-haired Crafter


Hello there! I'm Cara and I have been crafting since I was a little girl. Drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, beading, embroidery - the list goes on! When I was little, making was my escape and fueled hours of my play time. After spending the past 10 years working in business operations, I'm pulling out my craft box, brushing off the dust and playing again. Come join me as I dig into creative projects that bring us all into a fun, inventive, relaxing frame of mind!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Class Intro: Hello there and welcome to Washi and Watercolor. My name is Cara, and this class is a beginner level class that will focus on teaching you how to use Washi tape as a resistance method with watercolor paints. We have four projects to go through and lots of variety in each of those projects. Whether you're brand new to watercolored backgrounds or you're just looking for some fun new inspiration, this class is for you. I hope you love it. 2. Class Materials: Okay, let's start with what you're going to need for this class. Obviously, you're going to need some watercolor paper. I'm using Canson brand, It is a 140 pound paper. It's not important that you have the same paper as me, you can use whatever you have on hand, but if you're wondering what I'm using, that's what it is. Next, you're going to need something to cut the paper with. It can be scissors, it can be this cutter. I have one like this, real easy to use, whatever, just something so that you can get it into the shape that you need. Next, you're obviously going to need some watercolors. I have a lot of liquid water colors, and that's actually what I'm using for this class, but you can use whatever you have - if you have tubes, or pans, whatever. If you're brand new to watercolors and you want to buy some paints for this class, I would say feel free to pick up something really basic, like this palette here. I got this at the craft store and it was less than $10, and it definitely does the trick. The biggest difference between the liquid watercolors or anything else, is that obviously liquid watercolors are already liquid - they're exactly what you need. There's a little extra mixing when it comes to pans and tubes, but it's not a deal breaker, so don't even worry about it. All right. Next, let's talk about brushes. I've got these guys here. I definitely recommend a round brush, either size 10 or 12. If you're working with a big sized paper, you're probably going to want a flat brush to help keep the paper wet so things keep blending. If you do have a watercolor brush, that will work, I would just go with the one that has the extra large tip. That's going to be the easiest one as far as moving colors around. Next, you're going to need two containers to hold your water. Mason jars actually work perfect for this because they're heavy duty, they won't fall over if you knock them, which is really good. Paper towels are great for sopping up extra water. If you have a rag, that will work perfectly fine too. The next thing you're going to need is washi tape, which is the other star of this class. I have a bunch of different sizes. This big guy here is a 15 millimeter tape, which is about a half an inch to three-quarters of an inch, predominantly used for holding the paper down so it doesn't buckle when you paint, and then I do have these two sizes of smaller tape. This is a three millimeter and this is a five millimeter, and they're going to be used for making the different pattern lines on our pieces. It's always nice to have a couple different options. Now, you're going to need something to tape your paper down to. This Clipboard is perfect for that. Keep in mind that you are going to get paint on this. You can see some from other projects so maybe use an old one or a cheap one, yeah, you don't have to be fancy. Then a palette. You can use a fancy palette like a regular one, or you can just use an old plate. Actually, these guys I love, they were like appetizer plates, but they're perfect for mixing up some colors and having them on hand as you need them. Now, a heat tool or heat gun is optional for this class. The only thing we're using it for is to speed up the drying time, so if you don't mind waiting for it to dry, then you don't need one of these. But if you have one, super. That's all the materials that you are going to need for this class. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about some basic watercolor techniques before we begin painting. 3. Setting Up: Okay, to start, you're going to want to gather all of your painting supplies, your paper, your water glasses, your paint, everything and then next you're going to want to cut your paper down to size. I'm going to pull a piece out of here. What I'm using right here is nine inches by 12 inches. Basically, if I cut it in half and then cut it in half again, I end up with four nicely sized pieces that look like this. This is actually six inches by four and a half inches and I think it's pretty perfect for just testing out the different techniques and figuring out which ones that you like. But obviously, you can cut your paper into any size that you like. Now let's talk about tape. I mentioned earlier that the thicker tape is most often used to tape your paper down to either your clipboard or whatever work surface you've selected. You can decide whether or not you want to tape all four corners, some of the corners or none of them, that's totally up to you. For this example, we're going to tape down all four sides. This will provide us with the most support and keep the paper from warping as much as possible. If your paper doesn't work because of the amount of water used, don't sweat it, it's not going to ruin the piece. It may create certain challenges like color running where you didn't really want it, but you'll learn to adjust that as you practice a little bit more. I don't use any measurements when I'm taping my paper down, I pretty much just eyeball it. I figured, if you can keep half on, half off, you're pretty much good to go. Of course, if you would prefer to use a measurement, you certainly can. That's not a big deal. Now it's always a good idea to just keep your tape one more going over and really press them down, especially on the edges that are right up against the paper. This is going to try and help prevent any watercolor from seeping underneath and getting under the tape and ruining your white-space. Once your board is prepped, then the next thing you're going to want to do is prep your paints. For me, if I'm using different shades, I will mix my liquid water colors. I will water them down and create varying shades. For this one, I created blues and pinks and purples and mixed them up that way. If you're using a traditional pan or trays, you're going to want to spray these guys or drop water into them, mixed up the different colors to get them ready to go.That's it. Let's get ready to paint. 4. Asymmetrical Pattern #1: Our first project is going to be an asymmetrical pattern with a background wash. I've already done my edges from the last video. Now we're going to jump right into do the pattern lines. I'm going to use this thinner tape to do this. Because this is an asymmetrical pattern, I can simply put the tape lines down wherever I want. I don't have to worry about them lining up with each other. I'm happy with that arrangement and I've already prepared my paints. I have a couple of different levels of like a purplish reddish kind of thing going on here. I'm going to wash them in starting with the darkest. That's another thing. With the clipboard, it is nice you can pick it up an angle it if it makes it a little bit easier as you're getting all of your things together. Now it's time to let it dry. If you have a heat tool and you want to speed along the process you can do that now otherwise, just let it sit here until it's completely dry. Now comes the fun part, taking off the tape. Remember to pull the tape off slowly and keep it low to the paper and at an angle as you remove it. This will help prevent tearing of the paper. There's our final piece. You could easily use this design as a lettering background or even a framed piece of art. This would work well as the front of a carton. If you had cut your paper to that size at the beginning, you could put thank you or happy birthday right on the front of here. Again, this is our asymmetrical pattern with a background wash. I have a couple other examples for you. This one here is blue wash, very similar to what we did, just a different color and a little bit of a thinner lines going on with that one. This one is fun. It has the blue and the pink and they kind of blended together to make a little bit of purple in the middle. You'll notice there's only two borders on this one and it uses both the thick and the thin, but lots of different fun angles with that guy. Then this is our final example. There's no borders on this one. We just used the thin washy tape to hold this to the board. This is actually not a wash. This is blooms and different bleeds that are coming together all different colors. But that's a few examples for you on how to do an asymmetrical pattern with a background wash. 5. Asymmetrical Pattern #2: Our next project is going to be an asymmetrical pattern with individual fill. Setup for this one is the same as our last project. You tape out the borders how you want them, place lines at different angles to create an asymmetrical pattern. The difference is with this project, we're not going to be doing a color wash, instead we're going to fill in each shape individually. Now, I've already prepped my paper and taped my lines down, so we're going to jump right in. Now, you can let it dry or heat it up, your choice. Time to take off the tape. Here's the final piece for our asymmetrical pattern with individual fill. I really like this one, this one turned out a little bit different than I was expecting. I do have a couple other examples for you. Here's one. This guy is all in pink, different shades of it, thick and thin, no border, but that's one option. This one here is a similar color palette to the one that we just did. I left a big space open so that you could letter in here or write a little message if you wanted to frame it or again, if you'd cut it on the size of a card and wanted to be the front of a card, you could write a little message in there. This last one is a little bit more abstract. This one I left a multiple whites-spaces. Again, could be for lettering or could just be a pattern. One trick with the white space if you specifically want to leave some spaces with no paint in them, I recommend just sticking a little piece of tape in each of them because that will help you remember that you're not painting those in. There's some examples for you on our asymmetrical pattern with fill in. 6. Symmetrical Pattern: This next project is going to focus on creating a symmetrical pattern. Now, depending on the complexity of your pattern, you might need a ruler to make sure that the lines are even. When you do need to make guideline marks for your pattern, I recommend only putting small little tick marks like right on the edge and then lining up your tape with those so that you can keep things straight. Remember, when you put your tape down, you either want to put it right on top of the pencil marks or right next to it. The reason that is, is that once you paint over the pencil marks, you're not going to be able to erase them. Just keep that in mind when you're laying out your pencil marks. Now our design today is going to require some measurements and some eyeball placements. Let's get started. Actually, I think we're going to do it this way. With this pattern, I'm going to be a little bit more intentional about where I place my color, so I've taken a few minutes to plot this out. Remember, just because the pattern is symmetrical, it does not mean that your color placement has to be symmetrical as well. Let's get started. There we go. Now, I've left the middle space blank intentionally, so you could letter something on it, put somebody's name, Happy Birthday, lots of different ways you could use a design like this. Couple other symmetrical ideas. This one here is just a grid line of diamonds. It will look great as a wash. I filled it in with lots of different colors. This one's here really fun too. Again, you could put something in the middle or even a doodle will look fun in there. Then this one here is specific shapes with some intentional white spaces as well. Again, a couple of examples of a symmetrical pattern and you could choose a wash or individual fill with this idea. 7. Specific Pattern: In this video, we're going to create a specific pattern with our shape. The example I've chosen is a diamond shape. If you search online for a geometric shape, you can find all sorts of ideas that are going to work for this project. Some are a little bit trickier to lay out than others, so just keep that in mind. This project is going to require some specific cutting and placement of the tape. If you have a pair of small scissors that are sharp, that will make things a lot easier. I'm going to walk you through each of the steps on the pattern for this one. For me, I'm just going to eyeball it a little bit. I'm not going to be measuring it out, but feel free to measure it if you want it to be more precise. The first strip of tape is for the width of your diamond. Find the midpoint below this strip and create an inverted triangle with two additional pieces of tape. Next, run a line of tape from the bottom point up to where you'd like the top of the diamond to be. Run a smaller piece of tape parallel to the first piece of tape. Connect the corners of the two parallel lines. Add in remaining lines to form the facets of a diamond. Now you want to press these down really good and make sure they're attached very well. Now comes the moment where we find out just how good this tape held up. Let's pull it off. There it is, it is all done. Our pattern is complete. One thing I've learned about tricky patterns is, they are so much fun to do and the reward is great. But you do have to be really careful when you're taping down that you press those binds together very closely. There's a couple of little places where the ink got underneath our white ink like Dr. Ph. Martin's bleach-proof white. You can just dye it right on those and that will cover it right up. But it does take a little extra time to take these guys out. The results are so fun, I think it's worth it and hopefully you will too. Couple other examples. This one here is the same diamond shape but you can see, even just the two next to each other. I made this one a little bit wider and this one is a little bit longer. The border on this one is thicker as well. Again, same pattern, slightly different ratios, completely different look. This guy here is just a fun geometric shape. I just started putting squares down and connected certain portions, some extra lines. That one is like the blooms we did on this piece. This guy here, it's like an inverted L. You know what you would call this shape. It's like a pyramidal sort of thing in a triangle. This was mostly gray and then I dropped in some pinks and purples to bloom into it. Again, couple of different ideas for you guys. I hope you enjoyed this one. 8. Wrapping Up: Okay, now it's your turn. Your class project is to create your own geo pattern art piece using one of the four techniques that we learned in this class. Whether you're creating a card or lettering background or frameable piece of art, be sure to snap a picture and upload it to the project gallery to share with me and your fellow students. I hope you enjoy this class and I hope you learn something new. If you did be sure to follow me so that you'll be alerted the next time I publish a new class. You can also find me on Instagram as Cara by craft. Thanks for watching.