Handmade Art Cards

Sandy Coleman creates handmade art cards that can be framed or sent with warm wishes to friends.


Materials and Tools:

90 lb. watercolor paper
watercolor paint set
thin small watercolor brush
small container for water
paper plate for paint palette
a pencil or fine tipped black felt pen
tacky glue
variety of buttons in various sizes and in primary colors (red, yellow, green, blue)
acrylic paint pots: yellow, red, green, white, and blue
blank greeting cards with envelopes made of acid-free paper (heavy card stock, 6-1/2" x 5")


1. Cut a sheet of watercolor paper into 6" x 4-5/8" rectangle.

2. Position the sheet so that the 6-inch side is the horizontal portion. Starting in the middle of the rectangle, draw a figure of a person similar to a gingerbread person standing with legs and arms outstretched as if the figure will hold hands with someone on each side of it.

3. On each side of the first figure, draw another one. Make sure the hands and feet overlap each other. Use the full space. It is okay if the hands and legs run off the paper. That makes the image more interesting.



4. Starting with the figure in the center, draw a large circle around it that reaches above the head and crosses at the figure's ankles. Don't worry if the circle is not perfect.

5. With each of the figures on either side, draw half circles around them and make sure the line of the half circle crosses the face and ankles and intersects with the center circle. This will resemble those paint-by-number kits with lots of shapes and spaces.



6. Paint the image one shape at a time using watercolors. The idea is to paint each shape a different color so that it looks like a kaleidoscope. Try not to paint the same two colors next to each other. Use a maximum of six colors so the image will have a unified appearance. Primary colors work best. Allow each section to dry so that the watercolors don't run into each other, which creates a tie-dye look, that is not the goal. Dab excess paint if it is too wet and about to run into another color with a paper towel.

7. Paint the background one color.



8. Once all the sections have dried turn the image over.

9. Measure squares that are 2" x 2" and cut them out. Save all your scraps because you use them later.



10. Lay the squares out on the table. Pick the ones that you like best. You won't need them all.

11. To add impact to the squares chose one color on the square to paint with acrylic paint, using the same color going over the watercolor. This will add an extra texture to the square. Repeat this until you have added one accent color to each square.

12. Let the squares dry.

Blank greeting card

13. Make sure the 5-inch side is the horizontal portion of the card so that the card opens right to left. Lay out your design prior to gluing anything down.

14. Place one square in the top left corner; place one square in the top right corner, and one square in the middle. Leave the white space of the blank card between the three squares for the patchwork pattern.

15. Go to the next row beneath your first. Place a square in the space between (but below the corner of) the first and second square. Then, place another square between (but below the corner of) the second and the third square.

16. Move to the next row and place a square at the edge of the card, below the second row. Place another square between the first and second square of the second row. Place the third square between the second square and the right edge of the card.

17. The design will begin to resemble a checkerboard (or patchwork quilt) that has colorful squares with blank white spaces in between.

18. Repeat this pattern until you reach the bottom of the card.

19. There will be a sliver of a horizontal space at the bottom of the card when you finish fitting your 2 by 2 squares. This is where the scraps are placed.



20. Cut the scraps into 2-inch long slivers to fit the space remaining at the bottom of the card. Fit them beneath the squares, continuing the above pattern for the final row.



21. Glue each piece down one square at a time.

22. Center and glue selected buttons in all the white spaces except the bottom row.

23. Let the glue dry overnight. You have a beautiful art card ready for giving and or framing.


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