Thursday, January 29, 2015

Watercolour Layers Tutorial

Hi and welcome!! I have a Sizzix tutorial to share with you today, made with Thinlits dies by Lori Whitlock and Rachel Bright. I was in the mood for watercolours and played around with Derwent's Inktense Blocks for this tutorial. 

I realised I hadn't really documented much about this pregnancy yet, except for now and then in a notebook. These photos were taken right after our container had been packed so I was pretty tired, but I wanted one last photo at this spot on the balcony. Lori Whitlock's Made with Love dies and Rachel Bright's Life Made Simple dies are great for layering and I aimed for a layered look on this layout. For a different example using Lori's dies, you can have a look at the Poetry Mini Book tutorial that I posted earlier this month. I made a layout today, but the techniques here work just as well for art journaling or cardmaking.

Start by die cutting three pieces with the Overall Patterns, Love and Stars sets. I die cut them from watercolour paper, but any cardstock will do. One of my favourite uses of dies is to make my own stencils, and that is exactly what these papers are going to be.

I worked on a 12 x 12 sheet of watercolour paper, since most watercolour techniques work best on watercolour paper. Place one stencil at a time on the background and apply Ranger's Texture Paste through it with a palette knife. Continue with the other stencils, and don't worry if it doesn't look perfect at this stage. Leave to dry.

Mix three colours Inktense blocks into a little bit of water, simply by stirring the block in the water. You can also use ordinary watercolour paints. Paint the background with clean water first, for a wet-on-wet effect.

Paint the Inktense mixes onto the background using a paint brush, and let them blend with each other. For the splatters, take an Inktense block and wet the end, flick paint off the end with a paint brush to create splatters. 

When the background is dry, stamp it here and there with a script stamp. This is one of my most used stamps by Hero Arts.

Die cut a large file folder, four smaller one and two tags from watercolour paper, using the Happy Days and Hello Life sets. This is the sandwich to use with these dies in your Big Shot (or Vagabond): Magnetic Platform, cutting pad, paper, die facing down, second cutting pad.

Time for more fun colouring. You can draw with the blocks right onto the background, like I did here. 

On the file folders and tags, draw with a white wax crayon around the edges on both sides of the folders. For a different variation on this technique, check out this tutorial of mine. 

Apply water with a paint brush to the large file folder (with the scribbled lines) to dissolve the paint. Paint the other folders and the tags with the paint you mixed earlier. Flick darker paint on them. The wax crayon will resist the ink and create cool distressed white borders.

Thinlits dies work great for die cutting photos, since you can see exactly where you place them. It works the best together with the Magnetic Platform which will hold the photo and die in place while you die cut. Sandwich: Magnetic Platform, cutting pad, photo facing up, second cutting pad.

The three sets by Lori Whitlock that I used for this tutorial, come with a large variety of smaller dies, shapes, borders and words, perfect for adding details and embellishments. 

Stamp the Looped Flower Pattern by Hero Arts on the hearts with embossing ink and heat emboss with white powder.

Wet a red Inktense block and apply directly onto the hearts. Wipe the paint off from the embossed parts, which will resist it.

Die cut a camera and some arrows from the watercolour paper. Leave the papers in the die and trace around some of the edges and shapes. This is a fun technique to use together with Thinlits dies.

Paint some details with red paint and add blue splatters to these playful shapes.

Die cut borders, clouds and tag toppers from old dictionary paper. Later, I also decided to die cut another two file folders from dictionary paper to add in between the watercolour layers.

Die cut words from black cardstock.

Glue everything down on the background. I particularly like how the splatters look on, together with the texture from the stenciled paste. 

Layer the large file folder and add a piece of the stencil from the first step on top, which is now covered with paste, giving it extra texture. Stamp sentiments on the tabs and layer together. Distress some of the edges. The journaling is on the two tags.

The dictionary page I used had definitions of various words starting with 'new'. I also glued down a few hearts and honeycombs which were leftover from the first step of die cutting the stencils.

The doodled and painted embellishments add a fun detail to the layout, and I felt that the layout needed more white too.

A fun little camera to document the moment.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Happy crafting!


Surfaces: Daler & Rowney Aquafine watercolour paper 140 lbs; Canson Montval 100lbs; old dictionary pages
Stamps: Hero Arts: Looped Flower Pattern CG504, Time AC029, Favorite AC030, Old Letter CG197
Ink: Ranger Archival Ink: Jet Black
Paint: Derwent Inktense Blocks
Crayon: Caran D'Ache: Neocolor 1 Wax Pastels
Medium: Ranger: Texture Paste


  1. Hi, Anna-Karin! Just popping by to say "Hi!" and great big CONGRATULATIONS! Miss you! Love everything about this page! So mixed media yummy! ♥

  2. I always learn from you Anna-Karin. The ink blocks as splatter, the outlining while die cut is still in the die, the thiinlits to cut photos! Your entire layout is simply lovely & cheerful. And may I say, while you may feel tired in these photos, you look gorgeous.

  3. Hi Anna-Karin, so lovely to see your little bump and one of your inspirational pages. TFS

  4. I didn't know you were expecting! Congratulations!

  5. So glad you decided to document this. I love the baby belly and hope that you are doing ok. Settling in and getting ready for baby :D I would love to see your die stash. It must be AMAZING... love this layout and the process. I have just bought myself a silhouette and Lori Whitlock has a lot of PL stuff in the store. Going to check it out.

  6. Stunning work as always, Anna-Karin. I just love the watercolour effects you created, especially that beautifully intense splatter pattern, and the die-cut stencils are wonderful. Love the pop of the red hearts against the blue-greens, and those bittersweet photos - saying goodbye to a much loved spot, and hello to a new life (in more ways than one!!).
    Alison xx


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Happy Crafting!