I recently spent two weeks back home in Maine where, away from my Los Angeles studio, over many a bowl of fresh blueberries, I had the time to test out a number of the craft projects I’ve been dreaming up. My favorite one is this set of watercolor-patterned place cards finished off with calligraphy. I experimented with lots of colors and techniques and I found that making them was incredibly relaxing. In fact, I enjoyed making them so much that I wanted to share, so my sister and I whipped up this little video tutorial.
• Heavy watercolor paper
• Xacto blade, straight edge and cutting mat
• Artist tape (1″ wide is ideal)
• Large paint brush (or foam brush) for brushing on water
• Small paint brush for watercoloring
• Assorted watercolors of your choice
• Acrylic paint in an accent color for splattering
• Paper towels
• Table salt
• Calligraphy pen
• Ink (or watercolor or gouache) of your choice for the calligraphy
• Bone folder
1. Cut up heavy watercolor paper into 3.5 x 6″ cards.
2. Paste 1″ of artist tape across the full length of the cards starting 1″ from the bottom. Use at least two layers and press it down firmly so that no watercolor will be able to seep underneath it. There should be 1″ of paper exposed below the tape and 4″ exposed above it.
3. Using the large paint brush, brush both the front and back of each card with water then pat dry with a paper towel. (This prevents the paper from stretching and warping unevenly.)
4. With the smaller paint brush, paint the cards with an abstract watercolor design in the colors of your choice. I used four different shades — two pinks, peach and goldenrod.
5. Blot off excess watercolor with a folded paper towel then fill in especially empty spots with more watercolor.
6. Sprinkle the cards with a pinch of table salt. This creates a unique pattern by unevenly absorbing spots of wet color.
7. Fill the small paintbrush with the acrylic paint and splatter it randomly over the card. Choose a color that will really stand out from the background colors you chose. I used gold to add some sparkle.
8. Lay flat to dry.
9. Once dry, brush off the salt and carefully peel off the tape. If the cards aren’t flat (which can happen in humid weather), press them between a stack of books overnight.
10. Write the guests’ names on each card. I am a calligrapher so naturally this is my favorite part. If you’re nervous about messing up, just practice each name on scrap paper a few times until you’re comfortable. If you do not use a calligraphy pen and ink, then be sure to use a high-quality felt-tip pen and test it on a scrap of watercolor paper to make sure it doesn’t bleed.
11. Fold each card in half and crease firmly with a bone folder.
Et voilà! Finished!