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Christmas Scene with gouache

Cool Crafting: Keeping cool with Christmas

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Cool Christmas card with gouache painted landscape scene of a snow covered country cottage.

Christmas Crafting

In previous years, typically on the hottest day of the year is when I start making may Christmas cards. This year, it could be a bumper year if the predicted temperatures are correct. Here’s my tips for staying cool while crafting…

  1. Keep warm or strenuous activities to cooler times of the day or locations. These include heat embossing, laminating, drying prints artificially or gluing with glue guns. 
  2. Adhesives can be affected by heat not only when using, but also when being stored. Move any sheet or tape adhesives into cooler storage and use at cooler times. You should also consider your pens, wax based crayons, inks and paints if they are in a warm spot.
  3. Keep a bowl of iced water in your crafting area to help lower the local temperature. 
  4. When the warmer temperatures can no longer be avoided, keep to more sedentary techniques. Die-cutting/embossing with an electric or electronic cutter, colouring, stamping with rubber stamps are all fabulous to do in batches.
  5. Keep a drinks flask handy so you are kept refreshed during your crafting session. A cool flannel applied to your wrists can also help to lower your temperature.

The Cool Christmas Card Project

For this project, any snowy landscape (or any landscape if you are confident adding snow) will do. This one is a retired stamp, so take a look at The Gift of Christmas as a great alternative design. Easy techniques are key for when we are feeling uncomfortable while crafting.

This card is painted using gouache paints which take very little water by comparison to watercolours, making them ideal to use with water brushes. I used the Pastel Paint Pan Set and Line and Wash Paint Pan Set from Derwent.

Squeeze a little water into the pan you want to use, then stir the paint with your brush. Whereas with watercolour we want a milky texture, with gouache we go a little thicker. These paints are opaque, so you want to carefully paint around your outlines, or conceal them beneath your paint for a no-line finish.

Choose a cardstock that can take water: a good watercolour paper or mixed media (for wet work) paper are both great choices.

Swap your black ink pad for a softer grey pad, but it needs to be permanent and non-water reactive. I used the Ranger Archival ink which is oil based and ideal. A softer outline will enable a more realistic result without going all the way to no-line colouring.

The finishing touch you can’t see in the photo is a touch of sparkle. Use a clear shimmer pen over the top of your painting. It will soften your painting slightly while giving a festive sparkle without having to go all out bling.

A textured metallic or pearlescent card can be a more subtle mount than glitter card. However, the choice is yours.

There are many more fabulous Chocolate Baroque projects on the blog to keep the inspiration flowing. You can also find project portfolios for many of their stamp sets.

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