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Watercolor Painting Cards: How to Use Discarded Paintings to Make Cards

Updated on June 8, 2020
Mary Borges profile image

Since the moment I held a pencil I've been creating visual and written art. I believe paintings enlighten and poems entice our thoughts.

Hand-made Cards

What do you do with those discarded watercolor paintings you have in your closet? Here's an inspirational idea that will allow you to use them in a creative way. You can turn them into cards for any occasion. It's easy and fun.

How many times have you worked on a painting until you got to the point of frustration, and then you realized you couldn’t save it? When I talk about discarded paintings, I’m referring to those watercolor conquests that didn’t quite make the grade. It could be an error where too much color was applied to your paper or a complete loss of negative spaces on your painting. Either way, you know the end result will be to put your painting in the trash can or discard box. I have an alternative use for these pieces of work, because they can be made into creative cards and used for many different occasions.

Items for Cards

To start this project you need a few items:

  • Blank card stock with envelopes
  • Discarded water color paintings
  • Rice paper of various colors and textures
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape for craft projects
  • Scissors
  • Colorful gel pens, glitter pen, and/or glitter

The hard part is collecting all of these items, the rest is creative and easy. The first item, blank card stock, I’ve been able to buy at Michaels. You can find card stock online at Cheap Joe’s, Jerry’s Artarama, and Michaels online if you don’t have a store in your area. The rice paper is more of a challenge because it’s better to have a variety of colors and that can become expensive. I was able to find bulk scraps in small squares at Blicks, this link has many options for bulk-type paper products. If you can’t get rice paper then consider using other types of colorful textural papers to make your cards. The best part of being creative is making projects work for you.

Now that you’ve collected all of your items, the business part is over and you’re ready to start on your first card project. I like to begin with my watercolor painting rejects first, so I lay them out along with my colorful rice papers to get a feel for what I can put together on my first card. As you can see by the picture below there's no fine rule for putting your cards together, it’s what appeals to your sense of creative mixtures.

The idea is the same as a painting where you make artistic decisions when you apply paint to the paper or canvas you’re working on at that time. I tend to use my abstract paintings for these cards because I do love abstract work. I like to mix them up by tearing them into funny shapes and have some of the paper tear show on the front of the paper. It makes for an interesting mingle of textures when I finally apply them to my cards.

I set up the rice papers that I’ve picked to use along with my watercolor pieces and then when I get that “AHA” moment I’m ready to apply them to my card stock. That’s where the glue stick or double-sided tape comes into play. I apply glue to the front of my card stock first, and then I put down the rice papers that I’ve assembled on top of the glued surface. When I overlay the watercolor paper then I’ll apply the glue to the back of the paper before putting it on my card surface. I keep on applying paper until I reach that point of completion, the final “AHA.”

For me, to make sure it stays flat I will put my card upside down on a piece of acrylic paneling I have and I will put a heavy book on it while it dries. Sometimes, I don’t use this last step and I allow the paper to dry as is because I find it adds to the element of its natural home-made beauty.

I prefer to tear the rice paper as well as the watercolor painting paper because I like the natural look of the rough edges but you can use scissors if you favor a cleaner paper edge and look. The best part of art is our individual styles.

You can also make cards using holiday themes. If you like to add stickers or other fun items to your design then go for it because it’s your card. The gel pens I use as a finishing touch for my craft project. I use them to put a message inside my card or to add an extra element of color to my design. Glitter pens are great to use as well. You can add regular glitter to your card too. Again, make it your own masterpiece.

On a final note, before I leave you to your card making project, my family and friends have loved all of the hand-made cards I’ve sent them. It means so much to our loved ones when we give them a card. The bonus is knowing that we took the extra time to make their card unique. It’s fun for you and special for the recipient. Last of all, an important ingredient for creating cards is to enjoy making them.

© 2020 Mary Borges


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