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Watercolour die-cuts

Watercolour Die-cut Technique 1: 12×12″ Layout

The following tutorial features one of our watercolour die-cut techniques to create a 12×12″ scrapbook layout. This was originally a live demonstration for Trimcraft/The Range using products I was provided with for the demonstration.

Watercolour die-cut Shopping List:

This is a donation promotion through my work as a demonstrator for Trimcraft. Thoughts listed herein are entirely my own opinion based upon using the supplies in practice; Trimcraft have not requested or approved this article.

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Creating the background

Creating the frame

The frame for this piece was actually an offcut from creating a 3×3″ gift box.

  1. To emulate this, find your centre point and draw a centralised 3×3″ square on the 45º angle.
  2. From each side draw a further 3×3″ square.
  3. Draw a straight line between each corner to the next adjacent box.
  4. From each outside square, extend the lines slightly and finish with a triangular shape to create the lid of your box. Set the centre box shape to one side for another project.

Starting your layout

Mount this frame piece onto a further piece of 12×12″ patterned paper, using tape around the outside edges of your offcut. At this point you could mount this onto an additional 12×12″ cardstock piece for reinforcement (it depends on your album’s binding system).

Cut a strip of Kraft card just slightly wider than the aperture of your frame and to 3″ tall. You can then slot this into the centre your frame, using a little wet glue to pop it into place. The wet glue gives you wiggle room to fit it under the aperture; you only need the tiniest dots of adhesive to achieve this.


Creating your embellishments with dies

Cut your die set shapes, apart from your YAY die, from the Dovecraft Stamping Card ready to watercolour. Use the sandwich according to your die cutting machine or contact us if you need help. The YAY die is cut from your silver glitter card; this cuts as per regular cardstock.

Close-up of watercolored die-cuts using Derwent Watercolour Pencils
Close-up of watercolored die-cuts using Derwent Watercolour Pencils

You only need the basic 12 set of Derwent watercolour pencils (or any other brand but shades may vary). These pencils are ideal for achieving pastel shades and/or layering colours. Allow the paint to dry between layers when using pencils to avoid unexpected results.

Watercolour die-cut technique 1: Layering your pieces

Left-hand Cake

Lace layer: Apply your pencils to the card lightly; to the left hand edge add a light touch of black and light blue. You don’t need to worry if your line goes astray at this point. To the right hand edge, add a slightly heavier touch of black and light blue; do the same to the die-cut horizontal line to add form to the wrapper. Blend these with a clean, damp paintbrush with a loose hand until your lines are blended in. To the centre heart, add a covering of red pencil using the side of your pencil, and blend this with the damp paintbrush. The object of this exercise is to leave a painterly feel, so don’t worry about perfect blending or removing harsh lines.

Back this layer with a piece of the lilac card from the Basics pack, and trim around the outside to finish; the card needs to align to the horizontal die cut line on the lace piece. This means you get a nice flat back to apply your finished cake at the end.

Sponge shape (with hundreds and thousands): Remove all the hundreds and thousands from the piece and set to one side.
TOP TIP: put the hundreds and thousands face up on masking tape if you want to colour these separately.
Shade using the pencils from the right hand side with the dark brown, and yellow ochre from the left, with a good level of coverage because you need a much darker shading for this piece. Blend the tones together, but don’t worry about having a perfect blend as you want to keep some texture in. Stick this piece behind your lace layer using some fine double-sided tape applied onto the lace layer; aligned to the lilac card so you get a flush back.

Hundreds and Thousands: You can either colour these on masking tape as per our top tip section or do as we have done here and back the whole cake piece with lilac.

Dripping Icing Piece: To left hand edges (think of how light hits) add a touch of red pencil (not too much); and to the right hand edges add a touch of light blue pencil (a little heavier than the red). Blend these with slightly more water as you only want to create a hint of a shadow and try to keep a soft top edge to shadows to give a round form. Blot the piece using a Bamboo sheet to prevent the cardstock absorbing too much water and then warping.

Stick the icing to your sponge piece with glue or tape; add the YAY glitter card piece to the reverse to complete the cake. If you want to add a touch of sparkle at this point, you could use a clear shimmer pen.

Right-hand Cake

Cupcake wrapper: To the cut detail add a line of the red pencil down each die-cut line, as well as to the vertical edges and the bottom. Blend this layer first with a damp brush, work from the centre of your shape outwards then the pigment will slowly builds towards the outside of the shape. Between the lines, then add a touch of the blue with a damp paint brush (stroking it over the tip of the lead only) and blend to create the inwards shadow.

Whipped Cream Piece: Use the blue and grey pencils to add a shadow above each of the cut line details by blending out the colour and then softening the top line. Add a tiny touch of red beneath where your cherry will slot in because this colour would reflect in nature. Adhere this to the back of your cupcake wrapper piece using a thin strip of adhesive applied to the bottom of the cream piece.

Cherry Piece: To begin, colour solidly with the side of red pencil to the fruit portion, and use the green pencil with a touch of yellow ochre to the stem and leaf. Blend with a damp brush and dry before proceeding. Apply a further layer of the red to get the shading shown: one solid layer and one at the edges. Slot the cherry into one of the detail lines in your whipped cream piece where you have added the red reflection.


Completing the scrapbook layout using the Fairy Tales Sticker Book
Completing the scrapbook layout using the Fairy Tales Sticker Book

Finish the Layout

Back the photo frame with your chosen photo and trim (photos shown here with the lilac card stock); be sure to get the best crop before adhering and trimming. Trim your remaining photo to 3×4″. Adhere these to the right hand side of your kraft panel as shown. Next, adhere your watercolour die-cut embellishments using glue dots for a subtle amount of dimension; if you are going to showcase your layout in a shadow box frame, you could use 3D foam instead. I’ve placed them at a slight angle and slightly overlapping.

Slide one of the sticker borders beneath the watercolour die-cuts to add a decorative border to the kraft strip. You could use another die-cut border to do this if you can’t get the sticker book. Use one of the glitter sentiments to the right of the cakes.

To a contrasting paper, add a strip sentiment and trim on three edges with a 1~2mm border, leave a flap of 5-7mm and trim this to a flag shape; adhering with a glue dot or 3D strip.

Add a paper flower to finish the layout.

Moving Forward

For more Watercolour Die-cut techniques, follow the Facebook lives on our page as we will be showcasing a second technique there shortly. You can also see other watercolour techniques for use with your stamps in our Annual 2019.

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