In such a fast-paced world, it’s difficult to keep in touch with all the important people in your life. The holidays, however, offer the perfect excuse for sending mail that says, “I care about you.” With that in mind, I designed this lovely card and envelope duo.
This watercolor roses holiday card combines the traditional holiday colors of red and green with a timeless floral motif. Make it on a lazy morning or a quiet afternoon, when you have some time to enjoy the creation process! Those who feel intimidated by illustration work will be happy to hear that today’s tutorial includes both printable and traceable elements to make easy work of this gorgeous greeting card.
1. Gather Your Supplies
This card tutorial requires a collection of supplies that you can tweak to fit what you have on hand.
First, begin by drawing a banner on your 80# drawing paper. For a shortcut, you can print the Hand-Drawn Banner Printable directly onto your drawing paper (after cutting the paper to fit into your printer). Don’t forget to add some short, densely-spaced lines to represent shadows.
Once you’ve drawn (or printed) your banner and added shadows to it, it’s time to write calligraphy. Begin by drawing two pencil guidelines parallel to the top and bottom lines of the banner to ensure neat calligraphy. Your guidelines should be about 0.4″ (1 cm) from the top and base of the banner.
Then, use Kaitlin Style calligraphy to write a quick “Happy Holidays” in the banner. “Happy” should go on the left side of the banner, and “Holidays” on the right.
Once your ink dries, erase any pencil guidelines.
Next, cut out the banner. For ease and aesthetics, don’t cut exactly along the outside guideline. Instead, leave a little bit of space between the banner and the edge of the paper.
There’s about 1/8″ (~3.5 mm) of space along the edges of the banner pictured below.
3. Make the Watercolor Roses Card
Now, get out your blank A7 watercolor card. You can easily create one by cutting a piece of watercolor paper to 10″ x 7″ (25.4 cm x 17.8 cm) and folding it in half, or you can buy pre-made blank cards. Once you have your card, plan out where you’d like to put your banner on the finished card. Use a pencil to trace around the banner in that position. When you finish tracing, set the banner aside for the time being.
Now, start to draw vintage roses on your greeting card. You’re welcome to freehand draw (find a tutorial here), or you can trace over TPK’s Illustrated Roses Template, which is available for a nominal fee.
Next, use a light box to trace over the rose illustration template (trust me: a light box is one of those things that will come in handy for a variety of projects). Be sure to use waterproof ink and a medium-flex nib, like a crowquill or a Nikko G, for the illustration work.
Note that you don’t need to draw roses in the area that the banner will cover.
Once all your ink is dry, you can start watercoloring the floral motif. Use red for the roses and green for the leaves and the stems.
4. Glue the Banner to the Card
After you’ve finished painting, seek out a cushioned mailer like the one pictured below.
I like to cut up the mailer and use double-stick tape or glue to affix it to the back of my banner.
Then, apply glue or double stick tape to cushiony stuff on the back of your banner. Flip the banner over, place it exactly where you want it to be on the card, and apply gentle pressure to make it stick.
You will be rewarded with a festive holiday card featuring intricate illustration and a 3D element!
5. Make a Beautiful Envelope
Every beautiful card deserves an equally lovely envelope, so I want to show you a quick way to craft a vessel that’s up to the job of carrying your DIY holiday card.
First, calligraph your mail recipient’s name(s) on one of the smaller two banners in the Hand-Drawn Banner Printable. Then, use watercolor to add a bit of shade to the banner.
Cut out your banner when the paint and ink is dry, then choose a colored envelope to put it on. I am using an A7 envelope in “Chocolate“, but whatever you have available will work. Then, draw a couple of wavy guidelines on the envelope.
Next, glue down the banner with the recipient’s name.
For a little bit of pizazz, you can add a few stars and dots:
And that’s it! Pair your envelope with the pretty card you just made, and you’ve got a gorgeous duo that will delight any recipient.
I like this project concept because it’s elegant and pretty, with rich colors and a classic look. Remember that you can modify it to suit the supplies that you have on hand and your aesthetic preferences. Maybe you don’t follow the tutorial exactly, and that’s fine! I encourage you to make it yours and have fun with it.
Thanks so much for reading today’s tutorial. Cheers to a happy, healthy, and creative holiday season!