The Secret of Crayola Washes

Updated: Dec 2, 2019


You've seen those beautiful calligraphy projects on Instagram -- the ones all full of color in the background, and the lettering just sitting beautifully on top. How do they do it? Well, here's an easy way to create your own colorful background, in less than a minute!

How to Create a Crayola Wash

Materials you will need:

-markers (I use Crayola Supertips, but any washable markers will do)

-a piece of plastic (a ziplock bag works well. so does a sheet protector)

-water in a spray bottle (the smaller the bottle the better)

Step 1: Choose your color(s) and color in your piece of plastic.

I like using 3-5 colors, usually multiple shades and not many contrasting colors. You want colors that will blend well together and that won't create mud brown when they mingle. Color in bits of your sheet protector/ziplock bag, leaving some space between patches of color.

Step 2: Spray your colored sheet of plastic with water.

You don't want too much water, just a fine mist should be good. If you introduce too much water, the colors will drip off the edge during the next step and create streaks.

Step 3: Flip the sheet of plastic over onto your paper.

For best results, use watercolor paper (which is made to absorb the moisture without crinkling as it dries).

Step 4: Use your hands to blend colors and spread the water evenly over the paper.

If there are any dry spots, gently lift up that corner of the plastic and spritz a little more water in the area. When you're happy with the look of your background wash, move onto Step 5.

Step 5: Gently lift your plastic off the paper, and dry (optional).

It's important to remember that wherever you lift the plastic off the paper last, there will be a small puddle of water. I typically roll the plastic off left-to-right, or top-to-bottom so that this puddle ends up on the edge of my wash. Gently dab the excess water with a paper towel, and let air dry (or pull out your embossing heating tool if you're impatient like me. :)

And you're done! You have a beautifully colorful background to add your calligraphy onto.

NOTE: I recommend using thicker or waterproof inks when lettering on top of a crayons wash. Otherwise, your ink will feather and bleed into the background a bit. (Watch for my upcoming post on how to mix your own inks! These NEVER bleed on washes!)

#calligraphy #crayola #backgroundwash

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