Technique: Watercolor Resist

watercolors 010I love stamping and I love watercolors… it’s so soothing to blend those translucent colors on my paper! So today, I’m going to show you how to use stamping and clear embossing powder as a “resist” to make some lovely (and easy) greeting cards.

(Note: in traditional watercolor painting, wax, oil, or a liquid gum is applied to paper. When the watercolor is applied, the paint doesn’t stick to the areas that have been treated with the application, and therefore no color is absorbed. Often the wax or gum is removed, leaving clear, white paper.)


Start off by stamping a design on the front of your greeting card. Make sure you use an embossing-style pad (one that has no pigment in it.) This is essential for letting the color of the paper show through. Follow up by sprinkling on your clear embossing powder and then melting it with your heat gun.

Stamp your design with embossing ink and sprinkle with CLEAR embossing powder.
Stamp your design with embossing ink and sprinkle with CLEAR embossing powder.
Melt embossing powder with a heat gun.
Melt embossing powder with a heat gun.

Next, tape your card down to your work surface. The paper will tend to wrinkle, and the tape will help it keep it’s shape as it dries. I also like the “border” it creates!

Use the Painter's tape to secure the card to your work surface.
Use the Painter’s tape to secure the card to your work surface.

Give your watercolors a few drops of water to soften them up and get the pigment flowing…then just do a wash of color over the top of your card. You’ll see that the watercolor paint soaks into the card, but just beads up and rolls off of the stamped areas:

The watercolor paint wont' stick to the stamped images.
The watercolor paint wont’ stick to the stamped images.

Continue to add color as you like. Let the paper dry completely before you peel off the tape.

Let dry completely before taking off the tape.
Let dry completely before taking off the tape.

Here’s on more I made using the same stamp set:

watercolors 011There you go! This fun technique also looks great on scrapbook pages and ATC’s, so have some fun experimenting!

About Jenny

Jenny is the editor-in-chief and craft concierge for Craft Test Dummies. She can be contacted at crafttherapy at gmail dot com. Visit her craft blog at!


    • says

      Thanks, Eleanor– and you’ll find it’s so easy and the results are so spectacular, you’ll be looking for reasons to send cards! ; ) -Jenny

  1. Sharon says

    I LOVE embossing and have done embossing on surfaces that I have sprayed with glimmer mist colors, but I haven’t tried it with watercolors. Great idea and looks terrific!

    • says

      Sharon, you can use this technique with Perfect Pearls mixed with water, Twinkling H2O’s, or your kid’s cheap-o watercolors! It’s very versatile. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Marfa (Crafting Marfa) says

    This is a very cool idea. I’ve never used embossing ink before, but I HAVE used embossing powder. I also haven’t used watercolors since my school days (a long time ago…lol). But your card looks awesome so I’m going to save this project for the next time that I make cards. Thank you for sharing.

    • says

      Marfa- embossing ink is a great tool to have in your crafter’s tool box. It’s the same “ink” as your pigment-based stamp pads, but with out the pigment! You can also use the embossing pads to stamp an image, then brush with chalk or perfect pearls to add a different look. You’ve given me a great idea for another post! Thanks!-Jenny

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