Using Watercolors with Julie Nutting Paper Doll Stamps

The best thing about Julie Nutting Paper Doll stamps is how incredibly versatile they are. They can be paper pieced, colored in or a combination of both.  They can even be painted!  I tested this last one just recently to create a birthday card for one of my granddaughters.  I had just received my new Peerless Watercolors from an incredible sale on Blitsy and wanted desperately to play with them.  What better way to play than with a paper doll?

First a quick word about Peerless watercolors.  They aren’t your traditional watercolors at all.  First, they come in a paper booklet because your colors are actually on strips of film/paper that has been dipped repeatedly in a highly pigmented color and then dried.  Second, although they are transparent, they are also extremely vivid, so you end up with bright colors that you can actually layer on top of one another without them becoming muddy.  And third, the reason I had to have these awesome paints, you can cut your colors into smaller pieces and create a completely flat, portable set of watercolors that can fit right into your art journal for traveling.

Now that you know about the watercolors I’m using, let’s get back to using them with Julie Nutting Stamps.   The first thing you’ll want to do is use a heavyweight watercolor paper.  I cut a piece of Canson XL 140 lb. watercolor paper so it was about ¼ “ smaller than an A2 card, knowing I wanted to mat it with a decorative paper.   I then stamped the Julie Nutting paper doll from the Love Day set on the paper with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink.  It’s waterproof and permanent when dry and it’s important that the ink you use doesn’t smear when adding water.

Using washi tape, I taped it down to my clipboard.  I did this to keep the paper from buckling because I knew I’d be using lots of water.  In fact, I started out by using a big brush and adding water to the entire piece of paper.  I wanted the surface to have a nice layer of water on top.

Using a smaller, slightly wet brush I simply touched my brush to the color I wanted on my palette, just a touch is all it takes, swirling your brush around will just waste color.  After picking up my color I then touched it to the surface of the watercolor paper in the area I wanted and let the color flow onto the page.  Once the color started to ‘bloom’ on the paper I gently pushed it around and into the areas I desired it to be in.  I continued to do this, picking up color and adding it to my paper doll, until it was the way I wanted it.  I did add a little water in areas if it had dried up too much, as I wanted to keep that blooming effect rather than pushing color into the paper.

Once I had my doll complete, I added even more water around the image and created a wash effect pretty much the same way I had colored the image. The difference was I didn’t have defined areas, so I simply added colors to the page letting them blend together until I had covered the background and had the intensity of color I wanted.

I forced myself to have the patience to wait for the page to dry normally rather than risk pushing colors around with a heat tool.  Once it was dry I mounted it on a piece of Carta Bella plaid paper from my March Simon Says Stamp card kit and then attached it to the front of an A2 card.  I added embellishments by hand cutting little triangles of the same paper as my mat to create a banner, cut the word ‘Happy’ with my Art-C uppercase alphabet dies and added them to the banner, accenting them with white gel pen.  I stamped the ‘it’s your birthday…” sentiment from the Tim Holtz Crazy Talk stamp set next to our paper doll with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink and scattered a few sequins to add a little sparkle.

Two things I learned in my ‘play’ session creating this card.

  1. Plenty of water is the key to getting that beautiful watercolor wash look that is so popular.
  2. Don’t worry about your watercolor going ‘outside the lines’ a bit when you’re coloring in your doll. It’s the nature of watercolors, and again gives your doll and project the fluid look that identifies it as watercolor.

My granddaughter loved her beautiful paper doll card and I got to have tons of fun playing with Paper dolls and watercolors. Have you used watercolors with your Julie Nutting doll stamps?  Share your experiences or questions in the comments below.

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