Making cards is a terrific activity for kids because it’s not only an art project (which most kids enjoy), it results in something useful. Kids can use their cards for thank you notes or to accompany birthday gifts, or they could even make a set of four (or more!) and package them up as a gift. Quick to make, these little works of art also offer the flexibility to try new things.
- Watercolor pencils (see note below on using regular colored pencils instead)
- Small scraps of watercolor paper or other thick white or off-white paper
- Colored or patterned cardstock
- Double sided tape or glue dots
- Paintbrush (any kind will work but a flatter one works best)
- Cup of water
- Masking tape
- Hard surface to tape paper to (such as a clipboard or firm cardboard)
- Wax paper
- A heavy book (like a dictionary)
Cut your watercolor paper in a rectangle approximately 4” by 5” and using the masking tape, tape along each edge of the paper, securing it to the clipboard. (smooth side)
Draw parallel straight lines on the paper, starting and ending where the tape is.
Once the whole rectangle of paper is covered with colored pencil lines, use a damp paintbrush (just damp and not soaking wet – make sure it’s not dripping or your paper will get too wet and be a buckled mess when you’re done) and lightly brush over the colored pencil lines, blending them as you go.
Try different amounts of pressure with the brush and different amounts of water on your brush to get different effects with the lines. The more water you use and the more pressure you apply, the more blurry the lines get and the more the colors mix.
When you’re satisfied with the results, carefully lift up the masking tape, releasing the paper. Take it slow – sometimes when the paper gets wet, it can be a little weak, so peel back the tape slowly.
Sandwich the watercolored paper between sheets of wax paper and place it in the back of a heavy book for several hours until dry.
Use your colored or patterned cardstock to make a card and affix the watercolored piece to the card using glue dots or double-stick tape.
You can leave the watercolored sheet as it, or they also make terrific backgrounds for rubber stamped images – use what you have on hand and be creative!
* Note about colored pencils: Watercolor pencils are fun to use and you can usually pick up an inexpensive set for less than $10 at craft stores (don’t forget to use your coupon!) and they serve as regular colored pencils too. But if you’re in a hurry to do this and don’t have watercolor pencils or don’t want to buy them, you can use regular colored pencils too. If you’re using regular colored pencils, however, quality really matters - the cheaper they are, the harder the lead and the less you’ll be able to blend the colors. If you have a nice brand of colored pencils already (like Prismacolor), give it a go. Otherwise, it might be better to just pick up an inexpensive set of watercolor pencils.