If you’re tired of sending run-of-the-mill cards, try this watercolor birthday card tutorial. It puts a twist on the “happy birthday” sentiment with its “I’m glad that you exist” message, written in bold brushed calligraphy. A colorful citrus border frames the phrase, making this a card that your recipient will treasure for years to come!
Before We Get Started …
I know that watercolor can be intimidating at first. I can promise you this: once you’ve got a little bit of practice, you’ll find that it’s a dream to work with. You’ll enjoy a creation process that’s simultaneously relaxing and challenging, and the results of your efforts are incredibly rewarding! To learn how to harness the power of watercolors, consider enrolling in TPK’s The Ultimate Beginner’s Watercolor Online Course. I’d be honored to get to share all of my watercolor knowledge with you!
Now, Let’s Paint a Watercolor Birthday Card!
The nice thing about this watercolor birthday card tutorial? It’s simple. You only need a handful of supplies and basic knowledge of how to paint with watercolors. Here’s are step-by-step instructions over how to make a card like this one:
1. Gather Your Supplies
In order to make this tutorial, you’ll need:
- 5″ x 7″ blank watercolor card (or a piece of 10″ x 7″ watercolor paper, folded in half)
- Watercolor palette (I used Greenleaf & Blueberry, but Cotman is fine)
- Size 1 paintbrush
2. Make the Lettering
Moisten a brown tone of watercolor, then dip your paintbrush into it. Then, use the paintbrush lettering technique to write “i am glad that you exist”. (Use all-lowercase letters for a casual tone.)
The calligraphy doesn’t need to be any particular style; just have fun playing!
3. Paint the Orange Branches
Once the lettering is dry, it’s time to start painting the border! First, you’ll want to paint several dark green branches with leaves. To do that, paint a slightly curved line coming from one of the edges of the card.
Next, paint several leaves coming from that branch. Don’t paint any leaves on the end of the branch; you’ll be putting oranges there shortly!
Continue to paint branches along the border of the card in random places. Some of the branches should stand alone, and others should be painted very close to another branch.
Once the branches are all painted, add oranges to them! To do that, choose a nice orange watercolor, and use that orange color to paint a circle at the end of a branch.
Before the orange paint has a chance to dry, choose a darker orange (or red) value. Then, paint that color along the bottom edge of the orange sphere.
Add oranges to the end of every branch. Then, allow your watercolor to dry.
4. Add Blue Branches
Next, use a blue tone to draw in another leafy branch. This branch should feature leaves that are slightly smaller and closer together.
Continue to randomly populate the edges of the card with leafy blue branches as pictured below.
5. Add Leafy Twigs to Finish the Watercolor Birthday Card
The final element for the illustrated border will be a leafy twig. To paint it, moisten your paintbrush with the same brown that you used for the lettering in the center. Repeating that color will visually pull the whole piece together! Make the twig by painting a slightly curved line, then paint several small connecting lines.
Continue to paint twigs around the card’s perimeter.
To finish up, choose a light green color, and use that color to paint leaves that connect to every little brown twig.
Enjoy Your Beautiful Watercolor Birthday Card!
Once you’re finished, your card will look something like the one below. Give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work!
Then, if you want to, you can make a simple matching envelope! Just write the recipient’s name using the same paintbrush technique that you used to write the phrase on the card. Then, use a pointed pen to write the address, and finish up the envelope with a few oranges, branches, and a pretty stamp collage.
I love the unique look of this watercolor birthday card, and I hope that you enjoy making it as much as I did! Remember that you can use this concept for anything — you’re not limited to just cards. Try creating orange art prints, sketchbook pages, gift tags, postcards, and whatever else comes to mind.
Have fun, and have a fun and creative weekend! Happy creating. 🙂
This article was first posted in May of 2016. It has been updated to include new photos and clearer information.