Sepia Watercolor Technique

Since July is World Watercolor month, I spent a little time learning some new techniques. I was quickly drawn to learning more about the Sepia Watercolor Technique. The natural, rustic look this technique creates in the background of the card if fabulous! I also dabbled a bit with water coloring the flowers and I definitely need more practice! The cards feature the Quiet Meadow stamp set from Stampin’ Up! However, keep in mind you can use any stamp set you have on hand with this technique. 

Sepia Watercolor

Let’s start by talking about the sepia watercolor technique. Sepia is a reddish-brown color, named after the rich brown pigment, derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia. (Source: Wikipedia). Basically, sepia are the shades of brown colors in the background of these cards. And it’s super simple to create! This technique is very similar to a watercolor wash. Start by using a water painter to complete cover a piece of watercolor paper with water. Once the paper is wet, dip your water painter into a bit of ink and touch the ink to the paper. You will notice the ink immediately start to seep into the watercolor paper. It’s magically to watch it move across the paper. Continue this process until the entire piece of watercolor paper is covered in brown ink. Let the paper dry. I recommend watching the video to see this process in action.

Once the sepia watercolor is dry, you can add the stamp images. I used jet black stazon ink to add the darker images. The white images feature a bit of heat embossing. I also used a bit of bleach to add white to the floral images. A white watercolor pencil or white craft ink will also work in place of bleach. Now I am no expert at water coloring. However, I did play around with water coloring the floral images with some soft suede ink. While I know I need a bit of practice with it, I still love the irregular look that water coloring gives on the card. The sepia watercolor technique is a super fun and simple way to create an absolutely stunning card.

Alternate Ideas

You can also use the sepia technique without water coloring the floral images. The cards featured below are the exact same card layouts as the previous two cards. The only difference is that I simply stamped the floral and splatter images with black ink (no additional water coloring or the use of bleach).

The layout of these cards was inspired by the size of the watercolor paper. The Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper comes in 5 x 7 inch sheets. I simply placed the 7 inch side at the top of my paper trimmer and cut a 3-3/4 and 2 inch piece. This means I ended up with a 3-3/4 x 5 inch piece of watercolor paper for the first card. The second card features a 2 x 5 and 1-1/4 x 5 inch piece of watercolor paper. That way I used up the entire sheet of watercolor paper with no leftover pieces!

Tutorial & Supplies

Now you have four different card ideas featuring the sepia watercolor technique. For a complete list of supplies and all the step-by-step instructions for creating these cards, feel free to download the printable tutorial. For more fun water coloring ideas, check out my latest post featuring a simple watercolor wash HERE.

I hope these card ideas inspire you to try your hand at water coloring this month. Be sure to watch the video to see this technique in action. Have a fun and creative day my friends! ~ Lynn


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