Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Watercolour Artist Trading Blocks Tutorial

Hello everyone! Today I have a fun Artist Trading Blocks project to share. If you haven't heard of Artist Trading Blocks, it is a concept developed by Amy Bowerman and Eileen Hull, using Eileen's Sizzix dies. You can read more about it here and I also posted a tutorial for Inky Artist Trading Blocks here

When I saw Dina Wakley's new stamps, I knew they would be perfect on an Artist Trading Block and couldn't wait to try it out as soon as I got the stamps. These fabulous sketched faces come in two sizes, I used the set with the smaller sizes here and there are six faces on the set, same as the number of sides on a block. To make these, I used Eileen's 3-D Blocks/Cubes die, which has three sizes of blocks. I used the largest and smallest block on the die. The larger one is 2.5 x. 2.5 in, and the smaller is 1.5 x 1.5.
I wanted a colourful and loose watercolour look on these, and made an effort not to colour within the lines. I also made a smaller block with heart stamps.
The blocks look different depending on how you place them. None of the sides are the same, but they fit really well together. I took a few step photos:
Die cut the blocks from white mat board. Mat board takes ink and paint wonderfully, it is one of my favourite surfaces. I wanted my blocks to be one layer only, with no additional papers or embellishments. Stamp a face on each side, remember to plan where you place the stamps. You need to use a waterproof ink.

Let the Archival Ink dry, or help it with a heat gun. Mix up some watercolours. You need to have all the mixes ready before starting to paints since you have to work relatively fast to take advantage of the wonderful blending qualities of watercolours. Without much planning, I painted each panel at a time, trying not to stay within the lines and leaving some of the mat board unpainted. Leave it to dry. Don't fiddle with watercolours, just leave it. If you want to change something, wait until it is dry.
When the paint is dry, use the small sentiment stamps on the All the Gals set and one stamp from Face in the Crowd set. I repeated the same word in each panel, using first to third generation stamping. The only panel that got more than one word is the one to the lower right. Love these small sentiment stamps, and it is a great typewriter font.

At this stage, I decided that the blocks were done and assembled them with strong Wonder Tape.

If you want to have a closer look on each side, here we go.

Love the colours of this one.

These stamps are so great, and perfect for art journaling too.

Make sure that you have a nice colour mix for skin. Love the faint stamped word on her forehead.

This is the panel at the top of the large block. There are also two larger sizes of block dies: Square Box and 3-D Block/Cube/Bank.

And this is the panel at the bottom of the block, which probably won't be displayed so often, since the other heads face the wrong way then.

The little block with the heart stamps is very cute too.

The collage heart stamps are gorgeous. There are three heart stamps of this size, so I stamped them all twice on the block.

I love watercolours since they are so unpredictable and the way they blend is just amazing.

A nice strong heart.

A brave heart.

I repeated some of the word stamps from the larger block, but this one was only used on the small block.
The blocks look great stacked on top of each other, but they also look nice side to side.

Just looking at these colourful blocks makes me happy: the colours, faces and the words, and they were so much fun to make.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope I have inspired you to make some Artist Trading Blocks!


Surfaces: Sizzix Little Sizzles White Mat Board 6 x 13
Dies: Sizzix: 3-D Blocks/Cubes
Stamps: Ranger Dina Wakley: All the Gals, Collaged Hearts, Face in the Crowd
Ink: Ranger Archival Ink: Jet Black
Paint: Daler & Rowney watercolour paint
Adhesive: Ranger Wonder Tape


  1. Absolutely gorgeous, adore the water colour effect. Tracy x

  2. So pretty! I LOVE to watercolour! And they blocks are a great way to show them off.

  3. I love these! You captured the images beautifully with your watercolors. Wonderful!

  4. Realy GEORGEOUS!!!!
    Greetz Patricia

  5. these are amazing stamps and your ATBs are fantastic - beautiful water colouring xx

  6. These are fantastic! Love these stamps and love what you've done with them.

  7. These are fantastic! Love these stamps and love what you've done with them.

  8. These are so cool and I love your watercolour on the boxes... I need to practice more with that to get the effects that I am looking for...

  9. oh, these are fabulous!!! Pinned!

  10. I love so much the way you work with colors :) so gorgeous!

  11. Stunning! Your ATBs are incredible, I love your use of these stamps !!BArbarayaya


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