This watercolor holiday wreath tutorial will disprove those who swear that they cannot use watercolors! I’ll walk you through this project step by simple 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.
1. Prep Your Watercolors and Your Paper
This project doesn’t require fancy watercolors. Really, all you need is a nice, rich red and two tones of green: one dark, and one light. Use a spoon or a syringe to put a couple of drops of water onto these three colors, then let the water work on hydrating the paints as you move on to the next step.
If you’re making a gift tag, as I am, you’ll want to 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! I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but erasing most of these lines ensures that you won’t be able to see them through the watercolor once you’re finished painting the wreath.
2. Paint the Berries
Few things evoke the holiday season more than vivid red berries, so you want to prominently feature them in your holiday watercolor wreath. If you want to paint a fairly realistic berry, the trick lies in including a light spot. This is one spot on the berry that reflects light so completely that it’s white! To achieve that, you should first use your red watercolor to paint an open circle somewhere on our near the pencil outline that you drew earlier.
While the paint outline is still wet, use your paintbrush to draw a “U” shape within top of the circle. The “U” shape should look something like the one pictured below.
Now, fill in the rest of the circle. Congratulations; you’ve just painted a berry!
Continue to paint clusters of berries on different areas of the circle. Make sure you vary the numbers and sizes of berries within each cluster! 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 make a leaf, start by using your dark green watercolor to paint a partial almond shape. Make sure you 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. Make sure you leave a white line in the center to evoke a center 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 differing water levels in the paint.
4. Paint Pine Needles
If you ask yourself what differentiates a holiday wreath from other types of wreaths, your answer will probably be “pine needles”. Luckily for us, pine needles 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”.
Next, use a light green tone to paint another “V” on top of the “V” that you just made. The point of this new “V” should connect with the other “V”, and 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 how beautifully blended your pine needles are! And that’s it … that’s how you paint a holiday watercolor wreath.
5. Use the Watercolor Holiday Wreath for a Project
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 blog post, 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. Whimsical all-lowercase Kaitlin Style calligraphy lends itself well to this implementation!
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 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 tutorial a go! Even if, and especially if, you feel intimidated by watercolor paints, I think that you’ll find this wreath to be a blissfully simple introduction to painting. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment! Also, I love seeing your creations on Instagram! If you make something you like using this tutorial, please consider hashtagging #thepostmansknock or tagging @thepostmansknock so I can take a look and gush. 🙂
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.