It seems like no matter what phase of life you’re in, the holiday season is busy. You’re not only planning to gather with family and take time off, but you’re also wrapping up personal and professional affairs for the end of the year! For that reason, I’m a big fan of quick DIY holiday cards. Bonus points if the concept works in an assembly line. That’s why I love today’s festive blown watercolor ornaments motif! It’s beautiful, comes together quickly, and is a great project to make alone or with friends or family (kids, especially).
1. Gather Your Supplies
To make your Festive Blown Watercolor Ornaments DIY Holiday Cards, you’ll need:
Blank watercolor cards (affiliate link – I use size A7; you can DIY some watercolor cards by folding watercolor paper in half.)
Begin by using your pencil to freehand draw 5-6 different sizes of circles on your watercolor card. Vary the size and positioning of each of the circles.
Next, draw a cap on top of each circle you drew. Try to center the cap the best you can, and try to vary the cap’s shape according to the size of the circle.
Now, draw a small semicircle on top of each cap.
Once you’ve drawn the ornaments, draw a banner in the upper left part of the card. Use the calligraphy style of your choice to write “happy holidays” in the banner.
Finish up by using a ruler or a straight edge to draw vertical lines that extend from the top center of the semicircles to the top of the card.
3. Add Masking Fluid (Optional)
This step is optional, depending on whether you have art masking fluid (affiliate link) in your supplies collection. If you do, go ahead and use a small (size 1-ish) paintbrush to apply two contoured lines of masking fluid to the right side of each ornament. If you don’t have art masking fluid, you can use Bleed Proof White ink further on in the tutorial to add highlights to your ornaments.
Since art masking fluid can be tough to see in photographs, I took the photo below to show you approximately where to apply the fluid.
4. Add Watercolor and Blow!
Give your masking fluid a minute or two to dry, then use a medium paintbrush (size 3-ish) to paint over your first circle with watercolor. Be sure to paint a little bit outside the lines, and make it a point to get some paint on the cap as well! It’s important that you make sure there’s a fair amount of paint on there; the goal is to end up with excess paint in the circle.
Now, this is the fun part! Turn the card upside down, and blow on the watercolor paint until it streaks out the bottom and/or sides of the circle.
Repeat the painting and blowing step one circle at a time until you’ve added color to all of the circles. You can use several different colors, as I did in the example below, or you may use one color. As a side note, I’d like to say that your card will probably end up looking only vaguely like mine at this point in the tutorial. No matter how your colors/splatters look, keep going! You’ll be very pleasantly surprised at the end result, regardless of what things are looking like at this step.
If you opted to draw a banner, go ahead and paint that in with a nice, neutral color. For the banner, you will paint in the lines.
5. Add Ink
Give your paint a few minutes to completely dry, then trace over all of your pencil guidelines with black ink such as sumi. For thin, delicate lines, use a crowquill nib. If you don’t mind your lines being just a bit thicker, a Nikko G nib works well, too!
Then, draw several little vertical lines to the caps to suggest crimped metal.
You’ll finish up the project by drawing bows on top of each semicircle. To make a bow, you’ll first draw two slightly shaky ovals on either side of the vertical line that intersects the semicircle. Each oval should come to a point at the intersection of the vertical line and the semicircle.
Next, draw two wavy, short lines coming from the bottom of the vertical line/semicircle intersection. The position of the lines doesn’t matter, and you can draw one or both over the painted part of the ornament.
Continue to draw bows until all of your ornaments have a nice little bow.
6. Remove Masking Fluid (or Add White Ink)
The only thing left to do is add your highlights. You can do this one of two ways. If you used masking fluid, rub an eraser over it; it will come right off. If you didn’t use masking fluid for this project, you’ll use a small paintbrush and Bleed Proof White ink to paint highlights directly onto the ornaments.
And voilà! A Festive Blown Watercolor Ornaments DIY Holiday Card that is artistic, thoughtful, and anything but ordinary.
Other Ways to Use the Blown Watercolor Ornaments Motif
I love putting blown watercolor ornaments on a variety of projects. For example, it’s fun to incorporate them into a festive sketchbook spread!
I hope that this tutorial comes in handy as the time window for sending out holiday cards gets narrower and narrower! This is a great project because it’s quick and you can make several at a time, provided you’ve got the lung power. 🙂