Princeton Blog

by Kaitlyn Bonack

How to Make Hand-Painted Holiday Cards


The holiday season is here! There’s nothing better than a hand-painted holiday card to send to your friends and family. Artist Jess Park used Velvetouch and Heritage Brushes on Strathmore Greeting Cards to make three different holiday card designs that you can recreate!

Wreath Holiday CardWreath Holiday Card: What You’ll Need: Princeton Heritage Round Brushes 2 and 6 → Strathmore Watercolor Cards: 140lb (300gsm), cold press surface, 5″ x 6.875″ → Watercolor Paint (various shades of green, red, and metallic gold). We love Daler-Rowney’s Aquafine Watercolours.

Process: 1. Pick your watercolors. Jess uses a light and dark blue and green as well as a warm green for the leaves and stems. Red watercolor is used for the berries and a gold metallic paint for the lettering and details. 2. Before starting your holiday card, practice painting some leaves and berries on a scratch piece of watercolor paper until you create leaves that you like. 3. With the light blue and green colors, paint a ring of leaves. Let the paint dry between layers or the colors will run together. 4. Create darker values with your dark blue and green paint on top of the initial light leaves you painted. Let it dry fully. 5. Add in clusters of red berries throughout the wreath. Add differing color values of berries to keep the painting from looking flat. Let the paint dry. 6. Add in any final leaf shapes with your warm green color. Once again, let this dry. 7. Add in darker details to your leaves and berries. 8. Use the metallic gold paint to hand letter a phrase in the middle of your leaf. For the modern calligraphy look, add a little pressure to your downstrokes and release pressure on your upstrokes. 9. Finish the card with small gold details to add a little sparkle.

Holiday Lights CardHoliday Lights Card: What You’ll Need:

Princeton Heritage Round Brushes 2 and 6 → Strathmore Watercolor Cards: 140lb (300gsm), cold press surface, 5″x 6.875″ → Watercolor Paint → Black Marker or Black Permanent Ink Pen

Process: 1. Pick your colors that you would like to use and start by painting a row of bulbs. Paint a couple more rows of bulbs and allow the colors to bleed into one another. To create the proper shape of a bulb, think of an upside-down egg. 2. Allow the bulbs to dry. 3. Use a permanent black pen or marker to letter a message of your choice on top of the bulbs. 4. Add in details to the bulbs themselves with the black marker.

Gingerbread House Holiday CardGingerbread House Card

What you’ll need:

Princeton Heritage Round Brushes 2 and 6 → Princeton Velvetouch 1/2″ Wash Brush → Strathmore Mixed Media Postcards: 184lb (300gsm), vellum surface, 4″x 6″, printed with postcard markings on the back → Gouache paint → Optional: Low Tack Tape

Process: 1. Tape your postcard to a board to hold it in place and create a thin white border. 2. Start by painting a background with the wash brush and color of your choice. Leave some white at the bottom to illustrate fresh snow on the ground. 3. Let the background layer completely dry. 4. Paint the base of the house and a chimney and allow this layer to fully dry. 5. Add in windows and a door. Let this dry. 6. Now it’s time to decorate the gingerbread house with frosting and candy! You can also add a gum drop path leading to the door. 7. Once you are done decorating and the paint has dried, go back with a thin brush and white paint to add details. 8. Once it is fully dry, gently peel the tape off and mail out your postcard!

We would love to see your hand-painted holiday cards! You can share your creations with us by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook.

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