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Use watercolor pencils to add an interesting effect on your next paper craft project. It is a great technique to highlight and add depth to stamping and embossing. The name ‘watercolor’ does not indicate the need to use water. It simply refers to the fact that they are water based. But, adding some type of blending solution does add depth and warmth to them.

Thing You’ll Need:
Watercolor pencils
Paintbrush /Cotton swabs/ Water Brush
Wet Blender pen
Cardstock (best to use watercolor paper)
Rubber stamped image on paper

Step 1:
Create a stamped or embossed image (use non bleeding, waterproof ink)

Step 2:
Visualize a light source. Then ‘see’ your image as if the light source is shining on it from whichever direction you choose. For example, from the top right, darker tones will be at the bottom left. Apply Watercolor Pencils to darker toned areas, opposite the light source, where color would naturally be darker. Note: When coloring image start with lighter colors working toward darker ones.

Step 3:
You can simply color your image or use one of various techniques:

  • Blend the colors with dry blender pen, eliminating the need for brush or water
  • For softer color tones use a damp brush to blend. Note: The more water you use, the less intense your colors will be, if too much is used the paper may ‘peel’ and have a fuzzy look.
  • For bolder colors, use your brush or wet blender and take the color directly from your pencil tip or for a more opaque feel, dip pencils tip directly in the water and apply color wet.
  • To mix colors, simply apply them to a glossy surface such as plastic tray or wax paper and pick up or mix right there.
  • Remember to clean off brush or blender pen in between colors so you do not contaminate the image.

Step 4:

Using the methods from above begin highlighting your stamped image. I start where I want the darker colors to be, opposite the light source, and then slowly dragging the watercolors outward toward the lighter areas. Keep brush clean in between colors so they don’t run together, wipe tip on paper towel, or I have read that some use cloth with blending solution on it. Stray marks can be erased with an art eraser. Note: If using water brush or wet blender pen erase strays before you begin.

Going in one direction, pull the color away from the light source. Use single strokes not a back and forth motion. Dragging the color outward toward the lighter areas. Note: To apply shadows you can use grays or lighter gray-blues. This helps top provide more depth and visual interest to the image.


  • Just color image with watercolor pencils, starting with from lighter to darker colors until desired intensity is achieved.
  • Shading Technique – use darker colors opposite the light source (outside edges) and blend toward center and inside edges areas with a water brush or wet blender.
  • To vary the boldness of the color apply more pressure or less pressure when applying the color, or more or less water when blending.

Make your own blending pen by soaking dried up marker. – Recipe found on the web

For 1 ounce bottle fill
2 teaspoons glycerin
4 teaspoons distilled water
1/2 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
Put in dropper bottle

You can make any pen a blender. Take an empty, dried up pen of your choice. I have not had luck refilling dried up blender pens because by the time I am done the tip or nub is usually too damaged.

Take it apart and immerse the core into a glass of warm water…and wait. Change out the water several times until the water stays clear. Don’t forget to do the tip. Squeeze out the excess water and let it dry completely, then soak the core in the blending fluid and reassemble. Make sure to soak the tip as well.

Watercolor Spritz – Color image and spritz it with water and let colors run and dry, good for backgrounds

TIP: Save your shavings after you sharpen your pencil. Add small amount of water (few drops at a time) and make a ‘paint’ to make backgrounds or color onto your stamps!