How to Make Stamped, Brushless Watercolor Greeting Cards

Make unique handmade greeting cards using inked stamps for a watercolor effect without the brush.
Related To:


Materials and Tools:

8-1/2" x 11" card stock, various colors
8-1/2" x 11" watercolor paper or textured card stock
bone folder
rubber stamps with bold designs (no fine lines)
Ranger Adirondack water-based dye ink pads
Ranger Heat It craft tool
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads
phrase stamp (optional)
embellishments (fibers) as desired
spray water bottle 


  1. Card base: Cut a piece of 8-1/2" x 11" card stock in half so you have a piece 8-1/2" x 5-1/2". Using a bone folder, score a line down the center (vertically) and crease. The card will be approximately 8-1/2" x 2-3/4".
  2. For the matting, cut three strips of card stock 8-1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch narrower than the card base. Cut each subsequent strip 1/4 inch smaller than the previous mat. Set aside.
  3. Cut a strip of the watercolor paper 1/4 inch smaller than the top layer of your matting.

Brushless watercolor technique

  1. Ink stamp with various water-based dye ink pads using only the corner of the pad.
  2. Spray stamp heavily with water and stamp image onto textured card stock or watercolor paper.
  3. Immediately heat the image to dry the inks and water and achieve the look of hand-painted watercolors.
  4. If desired, add more water and stamp a second image on the same or another piece of watercolor paper to use on another project. One inking can produce four or five stampings, with the image becoming lighter each time.
  5. Add additional stamping (such as a phrase or greeting) and/or other embellishments as desired.

Construct the card

  1. Adhere the completed brushless watercolor design onto the top mat, leaving about a 1/8-inch border along the top. Tear away the bottom of the design piece, revealing the mat underneath.
  2. Adhere these pieces to the next mat layer in the same manner as the first, again leaving about a 1/8-inch border on the top. Tear away the bottom of the top mat piece to reveal the mat underneath. Repeat until you have layered and torn all of the mat pieces.
  3. Adhere the entire matted piece to the card body and embellish as desired.

Tim Holtz, education director, Ranger Industries

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make a Scratch-Off Card for Father's Day

Give Dad a break this year with a DIY scratch-off lotto-style card with prizes like breakfast in bed, a free pass from mowing the lawn and a car wash.

How to Make a Cat Condo

Use everyday items to build a fancy cat post with baskets.

How to Make Rolled Paper Roses

Paper flowers fashioned from old book pages, newspaper or brown Kraft paper are a frugal alternative to store-bought ribbons and bows.

How to Sew a Card Table Slipcover

Card tables are convenient to use when entertaining over the holidays, but they can be eyesores. A simple slipcover that is fitted and washable (not to mention pretty) is the perfect solution.

How to Make Wedding Confetti Cones

Adorn wedding reception chairs with these sweet confetti cones so guests can celebrate the bride and groom as they leave for their honeymoon.

How to Make a Trellis Planter

Take your plants vertical with a trellis planter. Use this planter as a focal point or as a privacy screen.

How to Make a Tea Bag

Make morning tea extra special with a handmade tea bag filled with a delicious herbal blend and a special love note

How to Make a Rowboat Sandbox

Inspire your little pirate's imagination and add nautical flair to your backyard with a one-of-a-kind sandbox made from a wooden rowboat.

How to Make Rose Oil and Rose Water

Everything is coming up roses when you know how to capture this intoxicating aroma.

How to Make a Backyard Fire Pit

Create a cozy space for outdoor entertaining with a stone fire pit.


Flea Market Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Bahamas Life

2:30pm | 1:30c

Bahamas Life

3:30pm | 2:30c

Bahamas Life

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Bahamas Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Life

10pm | 9c

Island Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

Caribbean Life

11pm | 10c

Caribbean Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

Bahamas Life

12am | 11c

Bahamas Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Life

1am | 12c

Island Life

1:30am | 12:30c

Caribbean Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.