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Lilac Cut-out Card

Today, I am sharing my process for some of our favorite things: watercolor flowers and handmade greeting cards. But this project has a little twist, and you're going to love it!

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Before working on the card I am painting the lilacs on some scrap watercolor paper. I have mixed up three different purples along with a green and brown. My paint set has two purples so I am mixing each with a little bit of brown to mute them ever so slightly, and making a third purple by mixing one with a little magenta and brown to give us a pinker purple.

I start at the top of the flower, painting clustered little ovals. With very loose, little brushstrokes, just hitting the page with the tip of my brush. Some areas are light and some are quite dark, as I create the cone shape of the blossom. As I work my way down and it gets wider, the brushstrokes get messier. By getting lighter with the paint, I can let the darker paint seep into the wet, to create a beautiful blend.

At any point you can grab the brown, and drag it through the purple to create the stems. By starting this before you get to the bottom of the flower, it will blend more with the purple. Then, of course, we can add a few leaves as well. I'm just using one or two strokes of the brush to create the leaves. I want them to be very organic, loose, and free.

By using the same formula, you can create lots of quick and loose florals, so you can create as many cards as you want. Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers and work well in this loose, free style. I think that these cards would work well with just about any watercolor flower though, so you can use the florals you are comfortable with.

I have three lilacs and three sprigs of leaves on my scrap paper to cut out. When we assemble the card, the leaves will frame the lilacs really nicely.

When making your own cards out of watercolor paper, you want to fold it on the wrong side of the paper first. Using a ruler to crease it, it gets a bit of a rough edge on that first fold. When you fold it back in the other way the rough edge will be hidden and the good side of the watercolor paper is on the front for your painting.

Using a pencil, I am marking the center and drawing a little vase or jar shape. For a mason jar, I like to do a couple of horizontal lines and a rounded square below, for a whimsical look. Using french gray, I want to give the jar a cloudy look. I create this by starting with darker edges and using a damp brush to blend and bleed everything out. I want there to be some darker and some lighter spots at the top of the jar as well, keeping it loose and messy.

Remember to open the card before cutting the slit across the top of the jar! The cut-out flowers and leaves fit right inside. Once you are happy with the arrangement you can place tape across the bottom on the inside of the card. It's not quite a pop-up card, but creates a fun, dynamic, floral card. I think this looks so special and thoughtful.

The last step is to paint the stems into the jar. By arranging the flowers first, you can make sure they line up to look continuous. Just drag the brush across the page to make a messy line, thicker in some areas than others, broken, and messy. I like to use a damp brush after to mess up the stems even more, so it looks like you are viewing the stems through the glass.

That is our card! It is such a fun project, and a special card. It is up to you whether you want to add a message to the front, but it also works beautifully as a blank card.

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1 Comment

Lora K
Lora K
Jun 28, 2021

So beautiful! I love the calm, gentle nature of your work. Thank you for sharing this!

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