If you haven’t noticed, I’m big on handmade birthday cards. They combine two things that I love: being creative and making someone happy! This “Abstract Watercolor Bubbles” birthday card is no exception … it’s fun to make and will delight its new owner. You can learn how to make one just like it in the steps below!
1. Make a Watercolor Border
You’ll want to start with a blank card made out of watercolor paper. You can DIY one by folding a piece of watercolor paper in half, or you can purchase premade cards. It’s important to use watercolor paper for this project because you’ll be piling on a lot of moisture in this first step! Other papers may disintegrate or bubble up, but watercolor paper won’t.
Next, use a little bit of water to moisten the following colors in your watercolor palette: red, orange, blue, and purple. If you have a Finetec gold pan, moisten it, too! Otherwise, yellow makes a great substitute. There’s no need to pull out your artist-grade watercolors for this project: a simple watercolor set like the Prang palette pictured below is perfect for this project.
Next, alternate between adding plain water and dabs of pre-moistened watercolor around the edges of the card. I made a video to show you exactly how to do that, and you can watch it below (or on YouTube):
Once the watercolor has completely dried (15-30 minutes), you can move on to adding the “bubbles”!
2. Draw the Bubbles
You can use any pen to add the bubbles to this watercolor birthday card. I find that gel pens like Pilot G2s and Sakura Gelly Rolls work great for this step! Basically, you’re going to take your pen and draw clusters of circles of various sizes.
The clusters don’t have to have any rhyme or reason … feel free to draw them in wherever you want to.
Once the border looks good to you, you’re finished!
Your results are going to vary from mine based on what you do in this step … and that’s good! The only real “rule” I would follow is this: try to cover up about 1/5 of the border with the bubbles. Any more than that, and the card will look a little crowded (and take much longer to create)!
3. Add a Birthday Message
You can use any calligraphy or hand-lettering style to add a message to the center of your watercolor birthday card! No matter what effect you’re going for, however, you should write the greeting in pencil first. After working so hard on the border, it would be a shame to mess up on the lettering!
I used George Style lettering to write a centered “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in pencil. Then, I drew over the letters using sumi ink. I chose to use a dip pen and sumi ink (as opposed to my gel pen) because sumi ink is fairly waterproof, and I knew I wanted to fill in the letters with watercolor.
I finished up by using the different tones of watercolor found in the card’s border to fill in the letters.
The result is a colorful watercolor birthday card that is festive and display-worthy!
If you want to send your birthday card out in style, try choosing an envelope that corresponds with a color in the border. I chose “Beet” (purple) from Paper Source, but pink, red, orange, or blue would work as well! There’s a lot of white in the card, so you could also just do a plain white envelope (try using watercolor calligraphy to write the address).
I hope that you enjoyed today’s watercolor birthday card tutorial! I also encourage you to experiment with the abstract watercolor bubbles technique for a variety of projects. I’ve used this technique for mail art, sketchbooking, and gift tags, all with cool results! It’s also fun to create with kids … my nieces love watching watercolor spread out across a wet page, and drawing over it afterwards.
Thanks very much, as always, for reading TPK. I am lucky to have you here!