How to Do a Simple Watercolor Background for Memory Keeping (With Video Tutorial!)

by Nathalie

Hi there!

Today, I want to share with you an idea on how to do a simple watercolor background for memory keeping using Altenew's products.

Many are so afraid of mixed media and making a mess on your projects, but there is something magical about starting with a plain piece of paper to then transforming it into a colorful page.  Today's technique will have you reaching for pigments and watercolor paper to create all sorts of colorful backgrounds.  What is even better, it takes no time to create them! Let me show you the project.

@altenew_how to do watercolor backgrounds by Nathalie DeSousa

Simple Watercolor Background

Don't let the color and organic look of the page scare you…  this type of background can easily be created in seconds with 3 main components: Pigment, Water, and Watercolor Paper.

  1. Pigment

Pigments are nothing but sources of color. My choice today are the Liquid Watercolor Brush Marker Refills (in Turquoise, Warm Sunshine, Mountain Mist, and Lagoon), but you can use any dye-based pigment – or in simple words, any ink/crayon/palette that is water-soluble. My only advice is to follow a bit of color theory when choosing your colors.  To avoid making mud, do not mix the three primary colors in the same palette. You just need small amounts of the pigment on a non-porous surface (make sure there is a bit of separation between the colors), and a bit of our next main component, water.

@altenew_how to do watercolor backgrounds by Nathalie DeSousa

2. Water

In order to move the pigment on the surface, you need to add water. The key is to make sure there is enough water to make the pigment fluid (think of it as small puddles of color on your palette). Remember to make sure your pigments are placed closed to each other, but not directly on top of each other. The small separation of colors plus the water will create that organic color mix in the background.

@altenew_how to do watercolor backgrounds by Nathalie DeSousa

3.  Paper

The last main component is a good transferable surface, in this case I am using Altenew's 9×12 Watercolor Paper Pad. You need a porous surface that will soak up the pigment.  However not all paper is made the same, so opt for watercolor paper, mixed media paper or heavy cardstock.  These are the best choices to create that mixed color background you see in the layout.

simple watercolor background for memory keeping

All you need now is to literally smoosh the paper on the palette and voila! You have a background. I am using my background in my journal. I am using the Paint-A-Flower: Fashion Monger Dahlia Outline Stamp set to create my embellishments and add more interest to the background, and the All About You Words Die Set for the title work. You can see the page come together in the following video, or stop by the Altenew YouTube channel to watch it in HD:

[penci_video url=”” align=”center” width=”560″ /]

Cannot wait to see how you use this simple watercolor background for your next project!  Remember to share your finished projects with us!




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Karen Joslin February 5, 2022 - 11:14 am

Thank you for this video/blog. I have been wanting to delve into more with watercolor, so this is a good start.

Tara Prince December 20, 2022 - 2:38 pm

so lovely


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