Watercolor Techniques for Newbies

Try your hand at these easy watercolor techniques and make gift-giving more special (and artsy!) this holiday season


Make your friends and loved ones feel extra special this season by creating a special watercolor print. These watercolor techniques, shared by The Girls’ Room (, are easy enough for newbies and can be developed into more complex and challenging projects. Find out which one is best suited for you!

Crafts and Photos by The Girls' Room (


Familiarize yourself with the materials and make sure you have everything you need.

Technique 1: Stamping


  • Watercolor
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Makeup sponge
  • Paintbrush


Prepare the Stamp.

Cut out the basic shape you want from the makeup sponge. In this example, a triangle represents the shape of a tree.

Dab the Colors.

Pick your colors and dab the paint onto the sponge with your paintbrush. Consistency of the paint should be a bit runny.

Stamp on.

Stamp on your sponge however you want on the paper. Make sure to dab on some paint on the sponge after two or three stamps.

Draw it in.

To make the tree look more like a tree, grab a finer paintbrush and draw on the trunks and branches. 

Tip: You can make your own wrapping paper with this technique.

First seen at (DIY: Watercolor Seasons Wall Art)

Technique 2: Resist-Dye


  • Watercolor
  • Watercolor Paper
  • 3M Magic Tape
  • Paintbrush


Resistive Pattern

Model your pattern with 3M Magic Tape – cut however you want and stick them on the paper. You can make a stylized forest scene with thick trunks and thinner branches.

Paper Wash

Prepare the watercolor paper by washing the whole surface with one pass of water. Let it dry.


Hues of Fun

Pick a color palette. Go for a warm feel with citrus colors, or cool scene with blues and purples. Paint over your pattern. The tape will resist the dye and will reveal a pattern. Peel off tape only after the paper is completely dry.

Tip: Create postcards and greeting cards with this technique!

Technique 3: Imitation + Learning


  • Various foliage samples
  • Watercolor
  • Watercolor paper
  • Paintbrush


Walk and Gather

Gather a few samples of leaves and flowers that have interesting shapes and have different colors. Pick up about six to ten different pieces.

Even Surface

Prepare the watercolor paper with a water wash – brushing over the surface with one pass of water.  Let it dry.

Pencil In

Think of how you want to compose the different leaf shapes and the lettering on the paper. Draw in guidelines with light pencil marks.

Art Imitation

Once you’ve finalized your layout, paint on the leaves and flowers with the actual leaf sample as reference. Try to get as much detail as you can. Write your loved one’s name or favorite line from a song or a book. Let it dry.

Tip: Frame this up and wrap it as a gift!


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For more holiday tips and gift ideas, click here.


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