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Monotone Cards with Distress inks and oxides.


Distress Ink and Distress Oxide pads give us a really easy to use for of watercolour that we can use to quickly add form and dimension to our stamped images. This project is all about working with one colour, and focusing on the differences between oxides and inks.
You will need:

  • One colour of Distress in both Ink and Oxide pads
  • Strathmore Mixed Media or other smooth watercolour surface
  • Paint brush and water
  • Palette sheet or blending mat to use as a palette
  • Chocolate Baroque Stamp Sets: Our House and English Cottages
  • Background stencil
  • Blending brushes or sponges
  • 6×6” card blank
  • Masking tape

Stamping & Watercolour

Step 1.

When stamping, use your Distress Oxide ink as this will give you a better impression. Start with one of the cottage stamps from English Cottages and stamp onto a piece of watercolour card.

Step 2.

Without masking the cottage, stamp your scenic elements. I didn’t use any masking for my layout to save time. The foreground elements in my image were planned to be darker in the areas they overlapped anyway, so this is something to consider when you are laying out your design.IMG_1194.jpeg

Step 3.

Once all your images are stamped, set you card to one side for a short while. This will help you to not lose to much detail when colouring the image.

Step 4.

Onto your blending mat or palette sheet, squidge out a little ink from both ink pads.

Step 5.

Taking your paintbrush, dampen it and blot off excess water onto a cloth.

Step 6.

Paint over the roof(s) of your cottage allowing the water to pick up a little colour from your stamped outline. Work from the bottom edge of the roof upwards.IMG_1201.jpeg

Step 7.

Next, dampen your paintbrush and move to the Distress Ink in your palette. Run the brush through the ink so you get a rich dark colour. We use the Distress Ink at this stage so we have the darkest colour we can go. Apply this to the tree, bushes and woodwork on the cottage.IMG_1203.jpeg

Step 8.

So, with all of your other elements, you can use the Distress Oxide to get a nice mid-tone. As these elements dry they will dry lighter and and flatter due to the Oxide in the ink.

Step 9.

If you want to add more depth to your Oxide coloured areas, you can go back in with the Distress Ink to add more colour. This will be translucent so you can build the depth of your colours. You can use a light wash of ink to also add shadows beneath window ledges, buildings and fences.IMG_1207.jpeg

Step 10. Putting your card together.

So, once your watercolour panel is complete, you are ready to crop it down. This is an important stage as this removes those white edges so your imageries from a pastiche to a proper scene. I aimed to get mine square; but your layout may be more rectangular, and if it is don’t worry – swap square formats here on to rectangle formats.IMG_1211.jpeg

Step 11.

Leading on from that, we need a mounting card to frame the image. You want to match this to your ink as closely as possible. Pull out cards that are rough matches for the ink. Place your image on top of the card stack and go for the one that matches the closest. Good time to pull out all your swatch cards.IMG_1212.jpeg

Step 12.

Mount the panel onto your chosen card and trim so you have an even border around it.

Step 13.

Pull out a square card base. I decided on using a 6×6” card rather than a 5×5”, but if you don’t have a background stencil you may prefer this option.IMG_1214.jpeg

Step 14.

If you are using the 6×6” and have a background stencil, fold your card base and mask off the edges. Apply your stencil over the top.IMG_1222.jpeg

Step 15.

Now, your next options depend on how confident you are with blending and which tools you have. If you are a beginner, use your Distress Oxide, if you are more confident and want to go darker, use the Ink. Brushes with give a lighter even coverage and really get into the nooks and crannies of your stencil. To build up your coverage though, you can go back over using a blending sponge to add a much deeper cover. If your stencil doesn’t cover your entire space, just do one section, then move it so you can match up the pattern and go again etc.

Step 16.

To match the style, I wanted a sentiment where some areas could use the same watercolour effect. I decided to use the House Warming sentiment from Our House for this. Again, stamp it in Oxide onto the watercolour card, but you can colour with either ink. Mount it onto an offcut of your main card.IMG_1227.jpeg

Step 17.

Adhere your sentiment and your card is finished…IMG_1229.jpeg

This project is great for starting your watercolour journey. The stamps give you so many clues as to where to go darker or lighter that watercolour becomes a joy to do. If you go wrong, its a small bit of paper… the most important thing is to be kind to yourself and practice.


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