Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tulips... twice!

Hi - introductions first!

I'm Neil, and I'm delighted to be on the design team for The Crafting Cafe. Looking through all your work, it looks like I have quite a different style and I look forward to sharing more ideas with you. I'm finishing a two year extended diploma in art and design at Leicester College in June, so don't be surprised if one or two ideas spring from what I've learnt there. If you'd to know more about me, or see more of my work, feel free to pop over to my blog at

For our 'anything goes' theme this month, I've used the fabulous 'Tulips 1' digi stamp from LEJ Designs. I've created two cards, the first using ProMarkers to colour, and the second with Distress Reinkers both on a bespoke background created with Distress Stain and kitchen salt:

Here's how to make the cards:


I cut a large sheet of 300gsm watercolour paper to 12x12" size, and misted it with water. I covered the whole page quickly with Peeled Paint Distress Stain and then spritzed it again with clean water to start to blend the colour. While still wet from the water mist, I then sprinkled sea salt crystals across the page (using a salt grinder) - the salt draws the water into the crystal, and with it the dye, resulting in the fabulous and unpredictable speckles. Leave to dry naturally and then cut to 3x3" square. Mount on yellow Bazzil card cut to 3.2" square.


I used MS Word to set an A4 page to landscape, fitting in three copies of the original digi stamp image along the top, and then adding cropped versions of each flower head beneath so that I could decoupage the petals. Print the image onto your favourite card for use with ProMarkers (I use Ryman's Bright White Coated Card 200gsm), preferably using a laser printer to avoid the outlines smudging later. Colour in using the following pens (light first, add next, finish covering all with first pen to blend):
  • Yellows: Yellow / Canary / Sunflower
  • Purples: Amethyst / Plum / Aubergine
  • Reds: Poppy / Crimson / Burgundy
  • Greens: Lime Green / Bright Green / Pear Green

I then cut out all the coloured images before running the appropriate colour pen round the cut edges to finish. I then stuck down the flowers, using double sided tape/glue for the first layer of flowers, and then mounting the individual petals (two either side for the large tulips and a single one for the small) on foam pads to add depth.


This technique essentially uses distress reinkers as a watercolour. I used the same Word file I created above to print onto 190gsm watercolour paper (the lighter weight goes through the printer). Don't be surprised if the laser toner doesn't stick as well to the watercolour paper. I used the following colours, adding a couple of drops of each to a palette and then using a waterbrush to apply the paint. Remember the 'paints' will interact with one another, particularly if wet:
  • Purples: Dusty Concord / Seedless Preserves
  • Pinks: Worn Lipstick / Picked Raspberries
  • Yellows: Squeezed Lemonade / Mustard Seed
  • Greens: Peeled Paint / Mowed Grass
After allowing the inks to dry, I cut out the flowers and again coloured the cut edges using the appropriate colour of Distress Marker before mounting onto the card as before. The inks running into one another give great feathering but a little more practice is needed for a consistent result.

For colour reference I found this image using Google Image Search:


I was recently lucky enough to win a Letraset 'surprise' in their Facebook draw, and what arrived in the post was a set of six AquaMarkers. I took the opportunity to have a play with them, and used the same card set up as above for the Distress Reinkers, this time adding the colour using the AquaMarkers before moving them about with the water brush. I didn't have a yellow, so added the pink instead:

  • Purple: outline in Flamingo Pink, centre in Cranberry, blend with water brush
  • Pink: outline in Rose Blush, centre in Flamingo Pink, blend with water brush
  • Red: outline in Raspberry, pull to centre with water brush
  • Green:  stem and shadows with Citrus, blend with water brush

If you want to add deeper colour, dab on to the wet paper with the AquaMarker and let the ink feather on its own. You can blend with water at any point, even when dry, which is ideal for producing several cards at the same time.

If you have any queries or comments, do leave me a note below :)


  1. These are so amazing Neil love all the different techniques you have used great job xxx

  2. All these cards are great. I love the effect of all the techniques you did here. It looks so special.
    xx Ria

  3. Really fabulous work, I love the colour variation with the promarkers, but they are all beautiful
    Lindsay xx

  4. Fabulous cards, the shading is brilliant xxx

  5. Hallo Neil,
    beide Karten sind wunderschön gestaltet. Du hast mich ganz neugierig gemacht, was du noch so alles kreierst. Vielleicht bekomme ich von dir ja die ein oder andere Inspiration. Danke auch für deine Beschreibung.
    Liebe Grüße, Anja