How to Make Stamped, Brushless Watercolor Greeting Cards

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


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

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