Watercolor painting is a fun addition to your craft repertoire. You can use watercolor painting to decorate canvases, gift bags, tote bags, wooden items, hand-painted greeting cards, and other creative projects.
What is Watercolor Painting?
Most kids could tell you that watercolor painting is a technique by which you use solid paints that are dissolved in water to make your image. It is important to use good, heavy paper so the paper doesn't ripple or warp when you paint on it.
Most people think of watercolor as being done only on paper or canvas, but you can use watercolor paint on vellum, wood, fabric, leather, and plastic.
Watercolor painting is not the easiest technique to master, but it's a lot of fun to play with watercolors and use them in abstract designs in your crafts. Even if you never learn how to paint something realistic, you can paint pieces of paper with watery stripes and use them in card making, scrapbooking and other projects. Turn them into bookmarks, use them as matting for a picture frame, or cover them with clear shelf paper to use as coasters. It's a lot of fun even if it's not what you'd normally think of as "painting."
Watercolor Painting Techniques
People who are skilled at watercolor painting will tell you that it takes a long time to master the techniques of watercolor and be able to paint beautiful works of art. But, we aren't necessarily going for gallery-quality art here, so we won't be disheartened by that.
You can learn some of the basics of watercolor painting pretty easily and then play with those techniques and see what you can do. If you don't think of yourself as an artist, don't let that stop you. Just think of painting time as play time. In fact, if you have kids, you should paint with them. It's a huge lesson for both of you when you go into an activity with them with a sense of play and not being worried about the result.
That said, there are many online tutorials that can help you with the basics. One amazing source for information, inspiration and tutorials is the aptly named Watercolor Painting website. This site offers lessons on brush control, galleries for inspiration, and articles on topics like sketching in your journal. It's a great place to learn and to revisit from time to time as your skill grows.
The tutorials range from things as simple as how to hold your brush to much more complex matters like using salt, tissue paper and plastic wrap to add texture to your work.
Other good sites to check out include:
The basic supplies needed for watercolor are pretty simple: paint, paper and brushes. If you live near a good crafts store or art supply shop, you should be able to pick up everything you need pretty easily. Watercolor paints come in the classic little tins we remember from school. However, you can also get watercolor pencils and crayons that are activated by brushing or misting water on the finished piece. Adding water makes the colors much more vivid. Paper, as mentioned earlier, needs to be heavy enough to resist shape changes when painted on with water. Paper of at least 160 pound weight is fine, or you can buy watercolor paper from the paint supply store. Thinner papers can be used, but they will have to be stretched to make sure they don't buckle when you paint on them. The process for stretching paper can be found here.
Brushes used for watercolor painting are a little different from those used in acrylic painting. They are softer so as to hold water better and come in various shapes such as flat, round, mop and fan. The brushes also come in many different sizes. Often you can find brush collections that have several different shapes and sizes so you can learn which ones you like to use. Most watercolorists only use a couple of different kinds of brushes and can do all they need with them.
As you learn more about watercolor painting, you'll probably come up with more supplies you want to buy and try, as well as more craft projects that will benefit from a little watercolor.