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Art Lessons

Cheap Frills: Watercolor Greeting Cards

Inspiration from Water Paper Paint



Confession: I'm the mom who buys birthday cards at the last minute and makes a beeline for the 99-cent rack every time. (Tell me I'm not alone...?) Is that frugality or a sad commentary on my lack of creativity? In desperate need of stationary inspiration, I was recently thrilled to have a brush with Water Paper Paint: A Creative Card-Painting Kit by Heather Smith Jones.

water paper paint

My interest was immediately piqued by Project 3: Using Salt to Make Texture. The inspiration? A salt glazing technique used in ceramics. When modified for this project, the result is a beautiful variation of a traditional watercolor painting.

Begin by dampening the entire paper surface first with broad strokes. Next, use a dark color to draw a shape in the middle of the paper. Add another shade around the first, watching the paint spread on the wet paper and blend with the previous color.

paint with salt

Here comes the tricky part: finding the right time to add the salt. Too wet or too dry, and the desired effect won't happen. The paper should have a sheen to it but no puddles. When it's time, sprinkle a small amount onto the paper. Less is more. Author Smith Jones added a contrasting shade around the starting point and salted it as well for a finished product like this:

painting project for kids

Images excerpted from Water Paper Paint: A Creative Card Painting Kit

Smith Jones explains that the salt will visibly attract and absorb small amounts of paint and create a halo of light and dark. Who would have thought something as simple as table salt could add such variety to watercolor? And who wouldn't love to receive a beautiful, handmade card with this type of detail?

Note: I *may* resort to buying a 99-cent greeting card somewhere down the road. Just being honest. That's the cheapskate in me. But the artist in me knows crafting and sending beautiful watercolor cards to my family would be priceless.

Have you ever hand-painted your own stationary?


Beth Bauer

Beth is a freelance writer residing in Fishers, Indiana with a background in print journalism. Her full time job as a stay at home mom allows her to explore the beauty of art and life through her two young daughters' eyesone finger painting at a time.



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