This holiday wreath watercolor gift tag tutorial will disprove those who swear that they cannot use watercolors! I’ll walk you through this project step by step, and you’ll be delighted at the results. Keep in mind that while I used the wreath for a gift tag, it can be painted on anything. Sketchbooks, envelopes, DIY cards, and place cards can all benefit from this wonderful motif.
You’ll just need a few supplies to make a holiday wreath watercolor gift tag:
This project doesn’t require fancy watercolors. Really, all you need is a nice, rich red paint and two tones of green: one dark, and one light. Use a blunt art syringe to apply water to these three colors, then let the water soak into the paints as you move on to the next step.
First, cut out a small piece of watercolor paper. Find a round object (I used an ink bottle), and trace around it with a pencil. The resulting circle roughly predicts the size of your watercolor holiday wreath.
Next, use an eraser to get rid of most of what you just traced. Erase until you can just barely see where your pencil lines were.
2. Paint the Berries
Few things evoke the holiday season more than vivid red berries. If you want to paint a realistic (-ish) berry, the trick lies in including a light spot. To achieve that, you should first use your red watercolor to paint an open circle somewhere on or near the pencil outline that you drew earlier.
While the paint outline is still wet, use your paintbrush to draw a “U” shape within the top of your red circle. The “U” shape should look something like the one pictured below.
Now, fill in the rest of the circle with red watercolor paint. Congratulations; you’ve just painted a berry!
Continue to paint clusters of berries on different areas of the circle. Once you’re finished, your piece will look something like the photo below.
3. Paint Leaves
Simple dark green leaves add a nice contrast to the berries. To paint a leaf, start by using your dark green watercolor to make a partial almond shape. Leave one side of the almond shape open, as shown in the photo below.
Next, fill in the left half of the almond shape with paint.
Finish up by filling in the right half. Be sure to leave a white line in the center to signify a vein.
Continue to paint dark green leaves in random places around the berry clusters. The leaves should all be different sizes, and their colors will slightly vary due to different water levels in the paint.
4. Add Pine Boughs to Your Watercolor Gift Tag
If you ask yourself what differentiates a holiday wreath from other types of wreaths, your answer will probably be “pine boughs”. Luckily for us, pine boughs are remarkably easy to paint! Start by using the same dark green watercolor that you used in the last step to create a slightly curved “V”.
While the dark green paint is still wet, use a light green tone to paint another “V” that locks into the “V” that you just made. The light green paint will automatically blend with the dark green paint.
Continue alternating colors for the “V”s, stacking them one on top of the other to bridge the gap between berry clusters.
Once you finish, you’ll be impressed with your beautifully blended pine boughs!
And voilà: you’ve painted a fabulous and simple watercolor holiday wreath!
5. Finish Your Holiday Wreath Watercolor Gift Tag
Truthfully, the applications for a project like this have no limit. You can paint a watercolor holiday wreath anywhere, and I hope you use it for a variety of projects from mail art to casual sketching! For the purposes of this tutorial, though, I want to show you how easily you can make this wreath into a gift tag. All you need to do is cut around the edges of the wreath, then calligraph a name inside.
Punch a hole in the top of the wreath, then run some baker’s twine through it. Voilà! A super-artistic and quick holiday gift tag.
Printable Watercolor Wreath Gift Tag Template
If you like the concept of this holiday watercolor wreath but you don’t have the time to create it, you can print off this free gift tag template. The template includes nine 2.5″ holiday wreaths for you to print, cut out, and write names in. Feel free to print it as many times as you need to in order to embellish your holiday gift presentations!
I hope that this post encourages you to pick up a brush and give this project a try! Even if you feel intimidated by watercolor paints, I think that you’ll find this wreath to be a blissfully simple introduction to painting. If this project ignites a love for watercolors, consider enrolling in TPK’s Ultimate Beginner’s Watercolor Online Course. In it, you’ll learn everything from how to draw simple patterns to how to paint a portrait.
Thanks very much for reading TPK; I appreciate that you’re here … I know that there are a million other websites you could be on right now, and a thousand other things you could be doing! So: thanks for giving me a little chunk of your time, and have a wonderful, creative day.
This article was first posted in November of 2016. It has been updated to include new photos and clearer information.