If you’ve been wondering about the watercolor powders seen popping up lately, 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
1: Product Basics
First I wanted to begin by looking at the products themselves, colors, bottle sizes, etc.
- 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.
- 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!
- These are as fine as baby powder – so consider everything on your work surface nearby. Colored dust will get everywhere!
- 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!
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 (random product) 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 guru. 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!
- Brusho has no color indication on the bottles. To make mine, I cut strips of 1-3/4″ watercolor paper, added doublesided 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.
- Download my free 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.)
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.
- 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.
- Color Burst are great for a few reasons too.
- The colors are so intense. And I’m betting they’ll have more. Hopefully at next winter CHA? Who knows.
- 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.
- A con of these: They are way more expensive, since it’s half the bottle size.
Your reward for making it to the end of this post is cards cards cards!
Below: 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!\
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.
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!
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. 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.
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.
I think these “Getting Started” posts nearly do me in! Thanks for reading to the end 🙂
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I love Color bursts but the big question is, how do you seal them??
I’ve tried a spray fixative and spray varnish but adding more wet stuff on top after reactivates them so that didn’t work.
Gel medium is the only thing but apart from doing it with a gel plate there is no simple way to apply it without disturbing colours one way or another. What do you do with yours?
Hope you will reply
Love my Brushos. A good place to buy them is at dickblick.com . They are only $3.99 each and they have all the colors.
I cant thank you enough!! just invested in the Brushos and was feeling like I shouldn’t have. Not I am really glad I did. LOVE the bear painting video you did!! I have the original colorbursts as well.
Thank u so much for another informative packed video
If you could guide me pls which three primary colors would you recomend in Brusho series TIA …
Well, many months have gone by and I have the original colorburst colors (more came out at CHA I think) and I just ordered the 24 brusho colors. You are truly a drug dealer. Thanks for all the information – AND for the hex charts …. YES I think I’ll be doing that. It’s a great tool. Tools. Are. Good.
Perfect timing! I have been thinking about getting some Brusho colours but I wasn’t sure I would get the use out of them… I have so many things already with Copics, pencils, chalks… it is hard to justify getting more product. But… I am loving the Brusho!
Not everyone needs every medium…I just like to show you how to use it if you decide to try it
You inspired me to buy the 12 piece set. I have been wavering about getting them and you just made up my mind for me. Thank you for sharing.
Been wondering about these powders and you have answered a lot of my questions. TFS
‘Love the time you take to make your videos! These watercolor powders videos inspired me to try my hand at watercolor powder flowers. I tried with Brushos and Colorburst powders and had so much fun. Mine weren’t as cool as yours, but I had a lot of enjoyment trying! Keep up the great work!
It takes some practice – I did a LOT of bad paintings first. LOL.
Thanks so much for the chart pdf. I’m one of those chart people. You should see how I’ve catalogued all my stamp sets with headings and sub-headings. It takes a bit at the beginning when I first get the stamp (even the dies) and catalogue it, but what a great time I have when I actually am putting the stamp sets/dies into use. I can quickly find what I need, or what can go with something else, or the biggest headache before cataloguing was which sentiment to use. Sentiments are catalogued by headings as well. Love it!
Sandy, I am so impressed with the samples you have shown and all of the explanations and comparisons of the products. I have only used the Color Burst because I have a wholesale account to get them. They are a lot of fun. I’d also like to try the Bister powder inks too because those colors are a little more like the Brusho ones you compared. I need to come back later too to watch videos. I’d love to see too how you did that last card! They’re all beautiful!!!!
Thanks for all the information and demos, Sandy.
I got my set of 12 Brushos a few weeks ago, had a little play with them last week and had been wondering about how to colour code and reseal them, so your videos came just in time. I ordered my Brushos from the UK (so much cheaper and quicker if you live in Europe!).
Also love how those poinsettias came out!
There is a new set of Color Burst called Earth Colors. I don’t think it is widely available yet. I’m on the hunt for them. I love the intense colors of the first set!
Love your videos – you are such a talented lady – thanks for sharing with us
Wonderful videos – so very informative. Thanks for taking the time to do these. I’ve had my Brushos for about a month and after doing a couple of backgrounds, they just sat. I had no idea the black had so many other colors and immediately I saw your video, I thought of a galaxy effect. Couldn’t sleep last night plotting a card out in my head, which I’ve just made and am really happy with! So thanks for the inspiration!
Great post and beautiful creations. I had to smile at your “tidy tips”. I thought it was me, but now I feel better that YOU said that powder gets everywhere. Yes, it does!!!!!
Sandy, I really like all three videos…a lot of informative information…awesome. Beautiful cards, even the hello cards that you stated you “messed” up.
Sandy thank you soooooooooooooooo very much for making these video’s. I just seen them all.
And ‘painting’ with them was a real eyeopener. I too just used the powders for making backgrounds.
Very nice comparison and explanations. I’m looking forward to seeing what you follow up with.
Wow! Such a comprehensive post with so much great info. This is my first time hearing of these and your cards turned out gorgeous! 🙂
P.S. I sent you an email on Monday and I have some things to send you now if you’re interested. I just need your address (you can email me at: yoshikawa home at aol dot com). 😉
Great videos thank you
Thanks so much for another great series! I really appreciate how much care you put in your videos.
Thank you Sandy for putting these videos together and comparing the Brusho and the Color Burst powders. They have helped make up my mind.
Thank you for being so thorough. I realize it takes much time and effort, but it is very helpful and I hope you know it is appreciated.
Exciting products! Thanks for the three videos. I don’t use all the products you show us, but love to watch and find out what’s out there. One note — if possible, you might wish to edit this blog post to add the information about available sets and crossover colors for Brusho (in video 3 between 0:45 and 1:10) you said you’d include here.
Oh shoot! I did forget that. Will add right now, thanks!
Thanks for the great video tutorials. I love that you do these videos to help guide us in what to buy. Its very helpful. Your cards are beautiful.
Thank you so much for the comparison! This helps me make my decision before I take the plunge. I love the organization tips as well. You really covered everything
I bought a Derwent Grate and shake for $7 and make my own powders from Inktense blocks and pencils I already own (blocks work the best)! Same think for free! And since I just shave what I need onto a palette, I don’t need to save the extra in bottles, just start fresh each time. And I always know what color since I already have an Inktense color swatch in my box.
I wouldn’t say free since you did already buy the Inktense – but yes, that should work 🙂 Have fun!
Great videos and love the hex chart!
Wow! Those look like they were fun to work with!
I’m going to need a nap also after going through all this. Be back later to watch vids….right now my to do list is arms length.
Great Videos. I am just getting started with the powders and wea a little nervous. I love the powder and am looking forward to purchasing more.It appears the way is on line.Thank You So Much!