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How To Use Watercolor Paints to Create Backgrounds for Rubber Stamping Projects


Sheep against a watercolor background

Sheep against a watercolor background

Kate Pullen
A simple wash of watercolor can create an interesting background for rubber stamping projects. This is a useful way to suggest sky or sea and can be a great backdrop for many rubber stamped character images. This technique works particularly well for rubber stamped images that are cut out from paper and adhered to the background as this gives the illusion of depth to the project. Any watercolor paints are ideal for this technique and while high quality artist's paints give good reliable results, less expensive paints can be great to practice with. Shimmery paints such as Twinkling H20's give wonderful results.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Quick

Here's How:

  1. Gather materials and prepare work surface. Practice on scratch or waste paper before starting on good quality paper. This is a good opportunity to experiment with different density of paint and the amount of water to use.
  2. It is useful to work out what the approximate size of the finished background is to be. While this isn't absolutely necessary it does help with planning the layout of the project.
  3. Take a sheet of watercolor paper and brush over the top of the paper with a wash of blue watercolor paint. Add a wash of green paint to the bottom of the paper, it doesn't matter if the colors overlap slightly as the colors are simply giving a suggestion of sky and grass and are not supposed to be an accurate representation!
  4. Painting over dry paper means that the colors are less likely to blend together, interesting effects can be achieved by spritzing the paper with water before painting.
  5. Leave the paper to one side to dry before using in projects. To use the paper as a backdrop for a card, stamp images onto paper or cardstock, color and cut out and glue to the background.
  6. Further Reading About Using Watercolors More information about using watercolor paints can be found at the About.com Painting site. Interesting articles include:


  1. Don't allow the paint to 'pool' on the paper as this will pull the paper out of shape. If necessary, tape the paper to a flat surface to dry as this will help keep it from buckling.
  2. Prepare some extra papers for using when time is short. Store the painted paper flat, with clean paper between each sheet.
  3. Lighter or darker colors can be achieved by altering the amount of water that is used to dilute the paint.
  4. Blues and greens give a suggestion of sky and grass and is useful for projects with flowers, animals or characters. The use of other colors would create a different effect, for instance browns and yellows for the fall or a desert scene.
  5. Watercolor paper is ideal for this technique, however any uncoated paper will work well. If in doubt, practice with a small piece of paper first.

What You Need

  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Large paintbrush to give a smooth 'wash' of color
  • Rubber stamps to stamp over the background
  • Inks as required
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