DIY embellishments using watercolors and acrylics paints | Photo Tutorial


Hello everyone! It’s Donna here and I am going to share my April project. For this month, the theme is about being grateful and it’s Pretty Paper Studio’s 5th year. I went a bit different with how I interpreted this challenge.

A little bit of background story how I came to my challenge interpretation. I have a lot of tech hiccups this month. First, my printer got wonky print outs. Then my computer decided to die a few days ago. As I was contemplating what to do, I looked for old photos that I already printed and might be able to use for my project. I have several photos I could use but this one particular photo of my daughter really caught my attention. The photo was taken during her first birthday’s cake smash photo session. I was the one who did everything from setting up the “backdrop” to taking the photos (how I wish I was the one who baked the cake too). It wasn’t really perfect but it was done with all my heart. I became very nostalgic while staring at the photo. It took me to those times that almost broke me as a person, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother. Then I was suddenly pregnant and my world changed. This little girl, eating the icing on her first birthday cake, came to our world so unexpectedly but wholeheartedly welcomed. So, that’s when I decided to use this photo. She is the embodiment of how big my thankful heart is to the One who blessed us with her. She is our rainbow baby, our miracle baby and I am so grateful to be called by this very sweet and quite active little girl “Mommy”.

So, on to the project.

I decided to make my own embellishments with watercolor, acrylic paints and die cutting machine and metal dies/embossing folders. Here’s the step-by-step tutorial how I created this layout:

  1. I gathered the  materials/supplies. I focused on using these watercolor set, acrylic paints and some glass glitters from Prima. I also used several sheets of watercolor paper and some scraps of white cardstock (plus the whole piece for the base, of course).

2.I tried the watercolors first. I have to say I am quite impressed because the pigment is so vivid. I didn’t need to dip my brush too much unless I wanted a really vivid/bold shade.

3. Then I started cutting and embossing. I wasn’t so sure how many I would use so I cut several pieces of flowers, leaves and butterflies. I also used two designs of embossing folders.

4. Then I colored them with acrylic paints and watercolors. I started with the Metallique Vintage Rose acrylic paint and then the Opal Magic Rose Gold one. I AM IN LOVE! The shimmer is amazing and the color is just WOW! I love how it looked well together too! The photo doesn’t do justice to how pretty the effect is.

5. Using gel medium, I adhered some glass glitters to the flowers and butterflies.

6. Then I started planning. The placement of the photo, the layering, etc. I started by drawing around the photo with a pencil, so I know where I will place the other embellishments etc. Watercolor is a great alternative to inks for stenciling like I did here. Then I used texture paste and stencil.

7. I mixed pink and brown watercolors to darken the edges of the pieces of the embossed papers which I will layer later on.

8. I adhered a white doily first before placing the photo. I also added some messy threads (my favorite).

9. Then I added depth of color by adding more of the pink shade around the photo, upper and lower area of the layout.

10. Once the watercolor dried, I brushed Opal Magic Rose Gold around the same areas. Then I slightly brushed the Metallique Light Patina on some of the flowers, leaves and other surfaces. 

11. Using a spatula and gel medium, I scattered glass glitters around the colored areas. I love the overall effect it did on the layout.

Here are more close up shots

That’s all from me today! I would love to hear your thoughts about my project. If you have queries, just leave the question in the comments and I’d gladly answer them as much as I can.

Happy crafting!


We are bringing back our “Show Us What You Made” contest. Pretty Paper Studio is turning 5 years old in April and this contest will run from February until the end of April.

See terms and conditions below:
1. Make a project using supplies you have purchased from our store –
2. Your purchases can be old or new but your project HAS to be new – made after this contest was announced (February 5, 2017). Please don’t pull out old photos from your archives.
3. Upload them to the Member Gallery on our website. Please list the name of items you have used in your projects in the description. Our tutorial here will guide you on uploading projects to our Gallery.
4. This step is optional – if you share your project on social media, please tag us @ppsuae or use the hashtag #madewithppsuae. Kindly note that your profile has to be public for us to see your projects.
5. We will pick one winner at the end of every month – February, March, and April – and the winner will receive an AED 100 prize pack. Three winners in total.
6. Start crafting!!