You can create a very effective background using watercolour paints or inks.  The following pictures show the use of ink to create a sky and beach effect landscape to be used as a background for other craft projects.

I chose to use a good quality watercolour paper that can be bought from most good craft shops. (The disadvantage of using watercolour paper or a card with a texture to it is that it makes it very difficult if you want to be able to use stamps on the background afterwards).

I began with a dark blue wash at the top.

Below this I used a lighter blue...

And then graded this with a lighter blue still and a touch of green for a watery effect.  At the bottom I used a clean brush to add a light brown sandy colour, working from the bottom up to meet the blue.  I then used a wet brush to blend the shades into each other.

By drying the brush on some kitchen towel I was able to lift some of the colour off in places to create a cloudy effect in the sky.

Some dry kitchen towel can also be used to create this effect.

To dry this off quickly I used a heat gun.  This can curl the paper slightly so it helps if this happens to turn the paper over and dry from the back too.  This helps to flatten it back out again.

The inks I used here in this project were called Aquatints, but these unfortunately have been discontinued.

Crafter's Companion have recently launched an alternative to these inks in the form of a pen with a brush at one end and a nib at the other.  These are called 'Spectrum Noir AquaTints'.

Other good alternatives may be to use distress inks blended with some glycerine, watercolour paints, Spectrum Noir Aquamarkers or another type of ink.  This range of media could help you create some wonderful effects.   


First we applied some ink to an ink blending mat (any wipe-clean surface would do, such as a tile or old plate). The first picture below shows a Spectrum Aqua marker and the second picture shows a distress ink pad.


As previously mentioned, a little glycerine could be added to the mat and blended in to help the ink spread evenly on the paper, or a wet paintbrush to add water to the ink.  Try out different techniques and see which you prefer.  The different inks and techniques will give different results.

We applied the ink to the page with a brush.

Using a water spray on the background can produce a different effect again. This can create a dappled or snowy sky look, or foamy water, depending on what you want to use the background for.

A dry brush can be used with neat ink to 'stipple' colour in a directed fashion for a different effect again, as shown below.  Here it has been used to create a landscape with bushes in the foreground.

Experiment with different colours to gain a range of backgrounds that would be great for landscapes or just backing papers for cardmaking or scrapbooking. Be creative!


 As I gather more pictures of my crafts I will continue to add them to this page to give further examples.