I have posted my fair share of card tutorials on this Blog … and I can’t admit to all of them being quick. I know that you don’t always have time to painstakingly hand-letter a message, paint dozens of tiny leaves, or commit to making scores of parallel lines! Next time you find yourself on a tight creation deadline, try this quick watercolor and calligraphy balloon birthday card tutorial. Its versatility and simple technique makes it the perfect card for anyone’s special day!
Video Tutorial: Watercolor and Calligraphy Balloons Birthday Card
If you prefer video tutorials, you can find instructions for creating this card below. For written instructions, keep scrolling!
Written Tutorial: Watercolor and Calligraphy Balloons Birthday Card
1. Gather Your Supplies
To get started, you’ll need a few supplies:
- Watercolor paper, cut to 9.25″ x 8″
- Bone folder (optional)
- Pencil + eraser
- Waterproof black ink
- Nib + pen holder of your choice (I used a Brause EF66 nib + oblique pen)
- Watercolor palette
- Size 3 (-ish) paintbrush
2. Fold the Card
First, fold the paper in half such that it’s 4″ wide by 9.25″ tall — the perfect size for a #10 envelope. To make a crisp fold, you can run a bone folder along the seam.
2. Write the Calligraphy
Balloons are the theme for this birthday card, and three of them carry a message in their strings. The first will say “happy”, the second “birthday”, and the third “to you”. With this in mind, draw three vertical pencil guidelines on the card. The three lines pictured are about an inch apart.
Next, use waterproof ink to write “happy” using Kaitlin Style calligraphy (or whatever style you prefer).
Use the same technique to write “birthday” and “to you”. Connect “to” and “you” together with a fairly long tail; if the words are too closely spaced, the recipient will read them as “toyou”.
3. Draw the Balloons
Once your ink dries, you can erase the vertical lines that you just drew. Pick up your pencil again, and use it to draw three balloons: one on the end of each line of calligraphy. Next, draw two more strings and balloons: one should go in between each line of calligraphy. If you’re not sure how to draw a balloon, don’t worry! A balloon is just an oval with a small triangle shape at the bottom.
Now, trace over the pencil balloons with your waterproof ink.
4. Let There Be Light
Now, you’ll focus on adding some realism to your balloons with light reflections. To draw a light reflection, you just need to draw two or three small rectangles that are parallel to the curved edge of each balloon. All light reflection rectangles should appear on the left part of the balloons.
5. Add Watercolor to the Balloons
Now, choose three watercolors, then use the first of the three colors to fill in two balloons.
Use the next color to fill in two more balloons.
Finally, use the third color to fill in the last balloon. Once you have filled that balloon in, the birthday card is finished and ready to send!
Notes and Variations
This quick watercolor and balloons birthday card tutorial is one of my favorites because you can customize it in so many ways! You can change the following to accommodate your personal style and schedule:
- Size – You can make a card of virtually any size using this technique. Draw the balloons and strings closer together for a smaller card, and draw them farther apart for a larger card.
- Mediums – Instead of a pointed pen, you can use any regular pen (and faux calligraphy, if you’d like) to draw the balloon strings. Watercolors are also optional; any colorful medium will work to fill in the balloons!
- Font – If you’re not confident in your calligraphy, feel free to use plain cursive.
Whether you choose to make changes to the tutorial or not, I know you’ll enjoy making this card! It’s a clever and artistic way to make someone feel special, and provides a nice creative break for you.
Many, many thanks for reading TPK, and have a lovely day!
This article was first posted in January of 2017. It has been updated to include a tutorial video and clearer information.