Watercolors and Rubber Stamping

Add Some Whimsy to Your Stamping Projects With Watercolor Paints

watercolor paints

The Spruce / Kate Pullen

Watercolor effects are on trend at the moment. Everything from greeting cards to wall art is graced with watercolor texture, watercolor splashes, or some subtle watercolor shading. If you fancy bringing your rubber stamping projects up to date, how about including some watercolor techniques in your projects. While you can achieve some wonderful watercolor effects using special inking techniques, there's nothing quite as easy as using the real thing.

Best Watercolors for Rubber Stamping Projects

Any watercolor paints are fine for use in your craft projects. However, if you are creating heirloom quality work which you want to last for many years then you will need to look for artist quality watercolor paints. But for day to day crafts, perhaps to make a card which you know isn't going to be kept, cheap kid's watercolor paints will work fine. One of the differences between artist quality paints and general watercolor paints is that artist quality paints contain more pigment and are of higher quality. Hence the difference in price. There's a huge variety of watercolor paints available. One of the best ways to get a feel for types and prices is to browse online.

How to Create Watercolor Effects 

Obviously, one way to use watercolor paints in your stamping projects is to color the stamped design with watercolor paint or to use paint to create a themed background to an image. This will give you lovely subtle shading and will add a professional touch to your projects. However, this isn't the only way you can use your watercolors. Why not try some of these ideas:

  • Watercolor backgrounds provide a stylish base for a simple stamped image. It is best to use watercolor paper or at least heavyweight paper to do this, as thin paper may buckle when drying. Try brushing some watercolor paint over the paper and letting it dry and then stamping on this. Don't be afraid to let the paint run into pools or to dribble down the page—this all adds a painterly finish to your work.
  • Stamping with watercolor paint instead of ink is another way to achieve painterly results. You will not get the crisp results of inked stamped images, instead, you will get much softer results. Try painting watercolor paint directly onto the stamp. You could graduate the paint from one color to another to create great-looking effects. Paint is likely to pool in parts of the stamp which will create interesting depths of color and texture.
  • Paint spots and dribbles bring a touch of interest to a project and you will see that this technique is hot right now. It may seem strange that after years of trying not to get paint spots and dribbles on a piece of work to now be actively adding them, but it's easy and fun to do. Just load your paintbrush with paint and flick it onto your paper. Before you start, you might want to practice a bit first on scratch paper just to get a feel for how hard you need to flick the brush and how much paint you should load on, because once you start, there's no going back.
  • Another simple way to achieve eye-catching results with watercolor paint is to stamp a simple image in the center of a page and paint around this with watercolor paint, leaving the stamped image unpainted. Don't be too precise, leave rough edges for a more organic and natural look.

Part of the joy of creating watercolor effects is that it is unrepeatable. Overlapping strokes or splashing paint onto the page will create a very different look.


  • Use watercolor or art paper for better results.
  • You will get different effects when you paint onto wet paper or dry paper. Try both and see which effect you like best.