This week presented a conundrum: I didn’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to make a card for someone who is celebrating her birthday this weekend. While efficiency often isn’t my strong suit, I promised myself I’d develop with a (truly) quick watercolor birthday card concept. Today’s card tutorial — which looks like a birthday party in and of itself — showcases what I came up with. It features an untamed paint pattern reminiscent of spilled fruit punch, rampant greetings, sparkly stars, and festive swirls. Below, you’ll find the simple instructions for making it.
1. Gather Your Supplies
You’ll need a tidy set of supplies to whip up this birthday card, including:
Begin by using your washi tape to tape a border around the perimeter of the front of the card. Washi tape is great for making a border because it protects the card from water, and it will cleanly lift off the page later.
3. Add an Abstract Watercolor Motif
Now, use a blunt art syringe to moisten two shades of pink (a light shade and a dark shade) and a pan of gold watercolor. Once the water has had a minute to incorporate into the paint, use a large-ish paintbrush to apply the darker shade of pink in a random shape on one side of the card. Then, swish off the brush and use it to add the lighter shade of pink, too. Swish off the brush again, then load it with gold watercolor. Touch the gold watercolor-loaded brush to the wet areas of the paint on the paper, and watch the gold bloom outward!
After you finish applying the gold, you have an option to blow on the piece to encourage more spontaneity in the shape of the paint.
4. Write Calligraphy Greetings
Once your paint has dried, use the watercolor calligraphy technique to apply dark pink watercolor to your nib. Use the watercolor to write a diagonal greeting like “Happy Birthday”.
Alternate using dark pink and light pink watercolors to write various birthday-related greetings. If you want to, you can vary your stroke widths by changing out the nib you’re using to write. (I used both a Brause EF66 nib, which gave me bolder calligraphy; and a Nikko G nib, which gave me more delicate calligraphy.) Phrases can intersect both other phrases and the abstract watercolor paint.
Once you’re finished writing your pink greetings, load your nib with gold watercolor. Use the gold tone to make squiggles, stars, and maybe a word or two.
5. Remove the Tape
Once all of your watercolor has dried, gently remove your washi tape. The result will be a card that is simultaneously chaotic (because of the abstract paint and intersecting phrases) and orderly (because of the clean border). It’s a unique card design that will catch anybody’s eye!
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind as you create watercolor cards like this one:
If the card “bubbles” from too much moisture, keep it under a stack of books overnight. It should flatten out nicely!
I used a pink and gold color scheme today, but any watercolors will work for this project. Just make sure you use two versions of the same color (dark and light) and a metallic tone.
If you don’t have pre-folded blank watercolor cards, you can easily DIY a watercolor card by folding watercolor paper in half.
6. Make an Envelope
This quick watercolor birthday card came together in about 20 minutes for me, which meant that I had time to make an envelope, too. Black complements pink well, so I decided to write “Feliz Cumpleaños Paty” on an “Ultra Black” envelope (affiliate link) using Bleed Proof White ink and flourished calligraphy. After the ink dried, I added gold watercolor spatters to the envelope to echo the gold in the birthday card.
I like this birthday card tutorial because it’s approachable, artistic, and thoroughly enjoyable. It’s also pressure-free: think of the instructions that I’ve provided as a blueprint. The nature of the project means that it will look different every time that you make it, and that it can be modified to suit any cheerful occasion. I encourage you to have fun playing!
Thanks so much for reading today’s quick watercolor birthday card tutorial. I hope that it sparks some inspiration for you! Have a lovely weekend, and we’ll sync up again next week.