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Fun painting activity : watercolor and mixed media postcards

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Fun painting activity : watercolor and mixed media postcards

When you want to learn new techniques, it can be a good idea to try them on postcard sized watercolor paper.

You will have fun with these painting exercises, the postcards are easy to make and they will look great.

You might also like: Fun summer art activity: Watercolor Ombre Postcards

Here are a few techniques you can try to make watercolor and mixed media postcards.

Salt textures

salt textures on watercolor wash

Paint a wash on the paper and sprinkle salt when the wash is still wet but just before the point where it will start loosing its shine.

visual texture on postcard

Once the wash had time to dry, brush off the salt, you should see the flower like texture made by the salt.

drawing with markers on top of watercolor

Draw with black markers, add designs on top of the background.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pen

Pigma Micron pens are acid-free and archival, making them ideal for any application requiring precision and permanance. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. – Set of 6, Black

simple pattern with marker on top of watercolor

Start with a simple pattern and slowly add more to it.

make your own watercolor postcards

Leave a bit of the background without marks.

layering watercolor for background

Paint a darker wash in the same tones on the background and on some places of the design if you want to.

fun painting activity mixed media postcards

The finished postcard.

Sponge textures

watercolor sponge texture

Using a natural sponge dipped in a watercolor wash, paint textures in the background.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

White Silk Sponge, 2-1/2″ – 3″

White Silk Sponges have an open texture for stipling. These sponges are highly absorbant with tiny refined pores.

marker on top of sponge visual texture

Using a regular marker or an acrylic marker like here, start adding textures to the background.

drawing patterns with sharpies
make your own postcards

Keep building up on your design to add complexity

fun watercolor activity on cards

The finished postcard.

Wax resist

oil resist with pastels

Drawing with oil pastels is a simple way to add resist ( areas that won’t be painted) on a card.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Holbein Academic Oil Pastel Sets

These superior student grade oil pastels feature smooth, even pigmentation and no hard spots or bubbles. They handle, blend, and clean easily. Holbein Academic pastels can be used on virtually any surface. Ideal for quick sketching and student use.

you can see the white oil pastel against the light

Here I am using a white oil pastel on white paper so it is easier to see when the paper is hold flat against the light of a window.

watercolor on top of oil pastel resist

Once you are done with the design you can start painting a watercolor wash on top.

oil pastel will push away the paint

The paint won’t go on the paper in the places where you did use the pastel, although tiny drops can still dry on the wax.

oil pastel resist watercolor painting

The finish postcard, I like the tile-like appearance.

Plastic wrap visual textures

mixing watercolors wet into wet

Wrap paper will make the paint form geometric textures, this technique works on regular watercolor paper as well as on yupo paper. Here on regular paper, I am painting an irregular wash mixing tones of blue and yellow.

plastic wrap on top of wet watercolor wash

While the wash is still wet, place some plastic wrap on top. It will stick to the paper in some places and make folds in other places.

plastic wrap visual textures

Once the wash has dried, take off the plastic wrap and start adding designs with a marker.

marker on top of plastic wrap visual texture

Here again, once you are done drawing you can add more contrast by painting the background a bit darker.

make your own flower postcards

The finished postcard.

wet into wet watercolor on yupo paper

You can proceed the same way on yupo paper. Start by painting a wash with a few colors mixing wet into wet.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Yupo Watercolor Paper

Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It’s a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain resistant, and extremely strong and durable. PH neutral.

plastic wrap textures on yupo paper

Plastic wrap will also adhere to yupo in some places, forming geometric textures.

plastic wrap visual texture on top of yupo paper

Remove the plastic wrap once the wash has dried, which will take longer on yupo paper because the paper is waterproof.

marker on yupo paper

Then start adding designs with a marker, you can use tissue paper under your hand not to disrupt the watercolor background.

drawing flower designs on yupo paper

Here I did draw Flower overlapping each other.

flower patterns on yupo paper

The finished design.

Feel free to share picture of your postcards in the comments!

4.7/5 - (8 votes)

Comments (48)

  1. Karen Cornelius

    Absolutely love your inspirational and fun site.
    Please tell me how to download your PDF because it tells me the reCAPTCHA verification has expired. Thank you so very much. Your art gives such uplifting joy to try and experiment! Karen

    1. Thank you Karen, I just emailed you the link to the PDF 🙂

  2. Frances Fagan

    I’ll will try this for my art today. I just starting a few days ago to make myself do a small art piece everyday. A couple of days ago I did another one of yours (monochrome painting – flowers in vase). I used art crayons (which I hadn’t used before). Thank you for these art lessons.

    1. Thanks Frances 🙂

  3. Christine Heeren

    Beautiful ideas. Question, how do you keep your paper from curling?

    1. Thanks Christine 🙂 you can either use thick watercolour paper or tape your paper to a board.

  4. […] 12. watercolor. Watercolor paint works on most papers that have a tooth, and can add a beautiful background or lovely details. […]

  5. Louise Kralich

    What a wonderful day when I discovered this site! Thank you

    1. Thanks Louise 🙂

  6. elenor

    It’s very generous to share this lovely tutorial. THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks Elenor, I am glad you liked the demo:)

  7. Nicky Levy

    Thank you so much for sharing these great ideas, can’t wait to try them not only with doodling on top but also rubber stamping 🙂

    1. Yes rubber stamping will also work great with these techniques.

  8. Anita Goodson

    Love ur painting, the 4 demos. Question, what paint do u use? What do u thin it with, water.

    1. Thanks Anita, for these techniques I used watercolor paint.

  9. Naida ali

    Love the tutorial ? I can certainly incorporate a technique from your tutorial to my work. TY

    1. Great! I am glad you liked it:)

  10. Becky

    I am really enjoying your web site and all the ideas and information. Still checking it out! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Becky!

  11. carol

    I just love these! My grandkids will love to do these too. Thank you for sharing so freely of your process.

    1. Thank you so much Carol for your nice comment:)

  12. Awesome post!
    Thanks for the tutorials. I will share it with the participants of my postcard swap. Maybe you’re interested in participating, too?
    Apart from postage it’s free and you can sign up until the 30th of July, 2015:

    Have a wonderful day,


    1. Thanks Ursula:) a postcard swap is a wonderful idea!

  13. Jean Gronewold

    Thanks for the inspirational informative ideas! You are doing exactly what I like to do! I have been using alcohol inks on Yupo, but not other media and I really like what you are creating with other media!

    1. Thanks Jean, I am very happy to hear that 🙂

  14. Lacey M

    Thank you so much for these tutorials! I just stumbled across your site today and am so inspired. I’ve always wanted to create art like this but never figured out how to do it on my own. So thank you, I can’t wait to get to work creating things for friends and family! <3

    1. Thanks Lacey! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  15. ginimom21770600

    Great ideas! One question – why do you use yupo paper vs watercolour paper?
    Thanks for sharing these fun projects!

    1. Thanks ginimom21770600 🙂
      All these techniques will work on regular watercolor paper and on yupo paper. The advantage of yupo paper is that any texture technique will work very very well. You can see it with the plastic wrap texture on this post, it was done on regular paper and on yupo paper, it shows more on the yupo paper than on the regular paper. I also like to work with markers on yupo paper as the surface is very smooth.

  16. Louisa Zendt

    Fantastic summer activity for rainy days! Paint one day, write letters the next day…Thank you for the great ideas.

    1. Thanks Louisa 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial!!!!

  18. Therese Gena

    Just love making zendangles doodles and mixed media so thankful for your generous information! I f you have a moment please check out some of my artwork on FB. Thanks,

    1. Sandrine Pelissier

      I will, Thanks Therese 🙂 Nice tree!

  19. bon ca y est t’AS piqué ma curiosité

    1. Sandrine Pelissier

      Bien 🙂

  20. Susan Rorick Donze

    Really lovely little paintings and fun techniques. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sandrine Pelissier

      Thanks Susan 🙂

  21. Donna Reid

    Love this step by step on the cards….Thanks for sharing this Sandrine.

    1. Thanks Donna, I am glad you liked it:)

  22. Great idea!

    1. Sandrine Pelissier

      Thanks Norma 🙂

  23. Great idea for a craft workshop.

    1. Thanks Dorothy!

  24. Kathy Dunback

    You always seem to know what to add AND when to stop! I greatly admire that delicate process.

    1. Sandrine Pelissier

      Thank Kathy !

  25. Sandrine Pelissier

    Thanks Kathy :), for the postcards I had an idea for each design of what I wanted it to look but not a precise composition and all, the patterns kind of grew organically.

  26. Kathy Dunback

    Your designs are flawless. Do you plan ahead or just create the wonderful balance?

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