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Getting Started: Watercolor Powders

 

If you’ve been wondering about the watercolor powders seen popping up lately in craftyland, and have been asking me to tackle them – well today’s your day! Thanks for the encouragement to get ‘er done! It helped that the products are more available now in the stores we shop in….my first set had to come from the UK and took over 8 weeks to ship, and I don’t like to suggest that anyone else go through that nailbiting!

Oh and remember – if I didn’t cover something, it might have been deliberate! There’s already plenty of info here, more will come in the future.

This post has THREE sections in it.

  1. First up are product basics for Brusho and Colorburst; there are more brands out there, but I’m limited to what I can afford to go get, so for now you get these two!
  2. Second will be a flower painting video – it’s done in real time and will help you know that we can do more than just sprinkle! Stay tuned for more videos to come, too. My mind is reeling!
  3. Last but not least, I share how I labeled and my Brusho bottles, plus all the swatches I created, with a free download for you. Hexchart to the rescue!

Note that MOST supplies used throughout these videos are in text links within the text in that section, but card supplies will be listed at the end of the post in their captions. Confusing, I know! Leave a comment if I left out something you can’t find; I’m travelling right now, but will get to edits asap.

***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT***

My winner from this bloghop post is: junglebarrya

Don’t forget that if you’re not on the winners list for the hop last week,
get those stamps into your carts asap. I’m not home to check
what quantities are left,  but lots of you told me you’re dying
for the stamp I used if you weren’t lucky enough to win it!**

1: Product Basics

First I wanted to begin by looking at the products themselves, colors, bottle sizes, etc. Check out the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

The brands:

  • Brusho has been made in England for 35 years. It’s available in 32 colors, and the bottles are 15g each. They do NOT come with the color labels or handles shown in the picture above; you can pop open the top (risking powder everywhere!) or just poke a hole in it to shake out a bit of color. They’ve been hard to get until recently; I heard there’s a new US distributor, so I hope that makes it easier to keep them in stock. Powder colors don’t always match what it will paint like.
  • Colorburst are made in the USA, and just began in 2015….I’m guessing that’ll mean more colors are to come! They are very very bright and instense colors, and the color of the powder is generally what it will look like when wet.

The techniques:

  • Dry then wet: Sprinkle powder onto watercolor cardstock, then spritz with a mini mister!
  • Wet then dry: Spritz the paper first, then sprinkle powder.
  • Pickup Painting: Use leftover color on your work surface to create swooshy backgrounds.
  • Direct Painting: Sprinkle powder into a palette or on a work surface, and wet with a brush to paint with.
  • Spritzed Diecuts: Sprinkle powder over a sheet of watercolor diecuts to create washy shapes!

Tidy Tips:

  1. These are as fine as baby powder – so consider everything on your work surface nearby. Colored dust will get everywhere!
  2. Clean often. Work on a washable surface that you can wipe down regularly. I’ve used a craft sheet, but lately have been using my Craft Assistant instead since it stays flatter.

2: Painting Flowers

While most people in craftyland are using watercolor powders for sprinkly backgrounds – you know I want to do more! Watch this early trial at painting flowers for a card background…and be sure to come back for more as time goes on. This is only scratching the surface! Click on the video below or go HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

3: Labelling and Swatching

I usually don’t succumb to all the organizing that everyone else does; I’d much rather use a product than sort it and find the best storage etc. (I’ve heard from so many of you that you’ve got

all sorted, swatched, and categorized, but you haven’t made anything with it yet! That makes me sad!) But for the Brusho especially, I had to channel my inner Jennifer McGuire. The white bottles come with NO indication of the color inside, and even the powder color isn’t helpful in many cases. Watch the video below to see how I created my cute little color swatch toppers for my bottles, as well as the process for swatching  – and read more below the video about that! Check out the video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Labelling Tips:

  • Brusho has no color indication on the bottles. To make mine, I cut strips of 1-3/4″ watercolor paper, added THIS tape to the back to turn it into stickers, and punched 1″ circles to paint with a brush.
  • You could leave the bottles without a tack in the top – it shouldn’t spill, and wouldn’t be a huge disaster if a few flakes fell out. But I picked up a couple mixed packs of oversized tacks, and used just the clear; if anyone wants a bunch of red or black, you can have mine! I used white ones for my first set of 12, they were cute too.
  • Be sure to get a little powder out to paint with BEFORE adding the circle onto the top of the bottle. Otherwise you’ll have to pop open that top. Believe me, you don’t want to do that….and I’m not going to tell how long my mess took to clean up when I found that out!
  • While the paint may look like it’s pooling unevenly on the circles, it should even out pretty well.
  • Wait til the paint swatch is really dry before re-punching a hole. The watercolor paper fibers will try to “fill in” that hole while soft and wet, and might even let water into the bottle.

Swatching Tips

  • Download my Color Swatch Charts These show each set I’ve mentioned. Remember you can also get them individually too, so pick out what you’d actually use. As you’re looking through them, note that I tried to make it easy if you want to go find that set; click on the blue title on that page of the pdf. (I hope the hyperlinks work, let me know if they do!)
  • Note that colors get weird from being photographed, photoshopped, pdf’d, downloaded, and printed. So results may vary!
  • Download my BW Swatch Charts Print on cardstock, then glue your hexes (cut from watercolor paper) in place on the chart. You might want to print the chart a second time on acetate so you can tape it over the chart as an overlay with color names. When I get a new printer I plan on doing that!
  • I created my hex chart using this Hexagon Die Set; there are smaller hex dies out there, but I wanted a nice big one so I could really see what the sprinkled and spritzed color would look like. A tiny hex wouldn’t really show much. And by the way I just noticed while typing this up that those Hex dies are on sale, woohoo! I’ll be using that die set on upcoming cards too, so don’t feel like you can’t use that set for much else….just stay tuned. (#ilovehexagons)
  • When cutting out your hex shapes, use whatever watercolor paper you USUALLY use. If you’re an Arches gal, use Arches, because colors seem to go a little darker on that. (Did you see the poinsettia card in video 1? Rich color! That was because it was on Arches.)

Buying Tips

So which brand did I like best? Both! Which brand you buy is your call. I found they both give good results, just different, and here’s why.

  1. I like the Brusho best for a few reasons because it’s more of my style – softer colors, more of the detail can be held.
    • If you just want to try out some in a set, I’d go for the set of 8, or a few within that set. Why? Because if you buy the 12 or 24 later, you won’t duplicate; and because it has reds, yellows, and greens which would be awesome for holiday cards. Yellow Ochre, Rose Red, Terra Cotta, Lime Green, Olive Green, Burnt Sienna, Sandstone, Moss Green.
    • If you are only going for a limited investment but want the most bang for your buck – go for the set of 12. It’s a good rounded collection of colors. And has the awesome black that I love. lol. If I were buying just for my personal use and not because I’m teaching you – I’d get this one only.
    • Or buy them individually as you desire. The full collection, when all together, has a LOT of reds – and most folks wouldn’t know the difference between them. So you may find that choosing your own colors from my Color Swatch Charts would actually work best in the long run!
    • Try out just TWO. Get the Rose Red and Olive Green for holiday cards. If you love them, you haven’t duplicated anything in the big sets, only in that set of 8. And you can do crazy awesome Christmas card backgrounds! I’ll be showing you how in a couple weeks, I have ideas coming up and will use those two colors, in case that helps.
  2. Color Burst are great for a few reasons too.
    1. The colors are so intense. And I’m betting they’ll have more. Hopefully at next winter CHA? Who knows.
    2. They blend really softly – leave them to dry naturally and it just keeps moving across the paper and you can get a very cool smooth look.
    3. A con of these: They are way more expensive, since it’s half the bottle size. They’re also currently (August 2015) available in a limited way, stores are having a hard time getting them, so you may have to hunt around.

Cards!

Your reward for making it to the end of this post is cards cards cards! The links for each card are in the captions below it.

Sandy Allnock Brusho Colorburst Flowers
Brusho on the left, using Orange, Brilliant Red, Dark Brown, and Lemon. ColorBurst on the right, using Lemon Yellow, Orange, Alizarin Crimson, and Phthalo Green. Sentiment and heart from Fancy Thanks – stamped in Delicata Gold and Versafine Black, then embossed with clear powder. I attached the panels with StickIt since they were a little on the curling side since I hadn’t taped them down!
Sandy Allnock Brusho vs Colorburst
My “reject” cards – I don’t remember the colors, but the die is Say Hello – what a FUN coverup! It’s easiest to put StickIt on the back before diecutting to make the thin letters a sticker.
Sandy Allnock Diecut Brusho
Spritzed Diecuts! These were so fun and will make a lot of cards.  Brusho on the left, using Orange, Brilliant Red, Dark Brown, and Lemon. ColorBurst on the right, using Lemon Yellow, Orange, Alizarin Crimson, and Phthalo Green. Sentiment from Fancy Thanks – stamped in Delicata Gold – and I edged the right side of the card base with the gold ink too!
Sandy Allnock Brusho Poinsettia
I created the background and poinsettias both using Brusho on Arches watercolor paper – the colors were much richer on that paper! Stamp set is Mondo Poinsettia by Julie Ebersole – same stamp set I used HERE to make white flowers. Background is Ultramarine, Leaf Green, and Emerald; flowers are Brilliant Red, Scarlet, and Leaf Green. Peace die by Impression Obsession. The card is cut a little smaller than A2 so the flowers can hang off the edge.
Sandy Allnock Brusho Flowers
You know I had to end with yellow! Brusho using Lemon Yellow and Dark Brown. Delicata Gold and Versafine ink for the sentiment, embossed with clear powder.

WHEW!

I think these “Getting Started” posts nearly do me in! I remember this feeling after finally finishing the Getting Started with Watercolor post….I need a nap! 🙂 There’s enough info here to overwhelm anyone, so be sure to stay tuned. I’ve started a “Watercolor Powders” Playlist on YouTube and Category here on my blog, too, so eventually will hook all the info together for you.