• Fruity Watercolor Place Cards Tutorial

    If your holiday gatherings are anything like mine, place cards aren’t strictly necessary. But, I love making them anyway to give the event a festive and elegant feel. These “fruity” watercolor place cards will enhance your holiday table and give guests something to display year-round in their home!

    Fruity Watercolor Place Cards Tutorial

    We’ve still got a few weeks until Thanksgiving, so I’m taking my time enjoying the preparation! Fruit-themed place cards will be part of our tablescape this year, along with decorated autumn leaves. Today, I’ll show you how to make these fruity watercolor place cards with the help of a free printable! Set aside a leisurely November afternoon to enjoy creating these for everyone on your guest list.

    1. Print + Trace the Fruit Art Template

    First, print out the free fruit art template, which you can find by clicking here. You can print the template on any paper that you have in your printer; you’ll just be using the fruits for tracing.

    Fruit Art Template


    Next, you have two options. You can either cut out all of the fruits and trace around them on 140# watercolor paper

    Tracing Around the Fruit Template on Watercolor Paper

    … Or you can place 140# watercolor paper on top of the (uncut) template, then put both papers on a light box or against a bright window. Use a pencil to trace the fruits, which you should be able to see through both papers, onto the watercolor paper.

    Tracing Around the Fruit Template on Watercolor Paper

    Whichever technique you choose, the result should be a piece of watercolor paper with pencil outlines of the four fruits on the template.

    2. Cut Out the Fruits

    Once you have created outlines of all the fruits on the watercolor paper, cut the outlines out. That should leave you with four pieces of watercolor paper fruit. (If you’re making these for a gathering, make sure you have one piece of fruit for each person! That may mean that you need to trace around several more pieces of fruit.)

    Fruit Place Cards Cut Outs
    I created four sample fruit place cards for today’s tutorial. You probably will need to create more, depending on the number of guests that you’re expecting.

    3. Add Watercolor

    Now, use brown watercolor paint to add color to the fruits that have stems.

    Adding watercolor to place cards
    “Burnt Umber” from the Winsor & Newton Cotman palette is a good choice for adding color to these fruits’ stems.

    Then, while you wait for the paint on the stems to dry, you can start painting the lemon. First, use a large brush to moisten the entire fruit with plain water.

    Painting a lemon

    While the water is still fresh on the fruit, add yellow watercolor to it. The fact that the fruit is already wet means the watercolor will spread out evenly. You’re not going for realistic shading here; all you want is a nice, flat yellow.

    Painting a lemon

    Continue to paint around the lemon. Focus on concentrating the pigment around the edge of the fruit, and leave the inside nice and light.

    Watercolor Lemon

    Use a similar technique to paint every fruit in its respective color (red for the apple, purple for the fig, green for the pear). As you finish each fruit, set it aside to dry.

    4. Add Calligraphy to the Fruity Watercolor Place Cards

    Once all of the watercolor has dried, use Kaitlin Style calligraphy and sumi ink to write one guest’s name in the middle of each piece of fruit.

    Adding calligraphy to watercolor fruit place cards
    You can use whichever pen and nib combination that you prefer for this step. (I like to use a Brause EF66 nib in an oblique pen.)

    5. Make Paper Stands

    The last step of this tutorial is to make sure your fruits can stand up on their own. To do that, cut 140# watercolor paper into 1.25″ x 4″ (3.2 cm x 10 cm) strips. You should have as many strips as you have pieces of fruit.

    Strips of watercolor paper

    Then, fold all of the strips in half.

    Strips of watercolor paper folded in half

    Next, tape or glue one side of each strip on the back of each of your fruits. Make sure that the fold of the strip is in line with the bottom of the fruit.

    Taping a stand to fruit

    Once you finish making the stands, the fruits will stand up on their own, ready to enhance your holiday table!

    Fruity Watercolor Place Cards Tutorial

    I love this project because it’s a great example of how you can use simple art and calligraphy to elevate an experience. Everyone loves seeing their name written in calligraphy, and these fruity watercolor place cards bring a sense of elegant playfulness to any tablescape. I hope that you enjoy making them as much as I did!


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