Various Fun Themes | Very Easy Heart | Beautiful Floral Heart | Cute Flamingoes | Yummy Cupcake and Cake | Sweet Words
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! What better way to show your appreciation to your loved ones than to give them hand-painted watercolor Valentine’s Day Cards that you made yourself! It’s a wonderful gift they will truly treasure and keep forever. If you’re unsure of what to make, I’ve put together several different ideas that I hope will help inspire you.
I’ve come up with several options that you can explore depending on your preference. From floral elements, to animals, to food, and even one with sweet words spelled out. I’ve added some quick and easy step-by-step guides into how I created each one. Take your pick and choose or make them all, why not right?
But first, I’ll list down the materials I used…
Materials I used:
Watercolor paint set - I used the Classico watercolor palette from the Virtuoso series of ZenART Supplies.
Watercolor paint brushes - I used brushes from the Black Tulip and Fine Line brush sets of ZenART Supplies.
Watercolor paper in sheets or store-bought pre-cut watercolor cards - I used 9x12in sized paper from ZenART’s Watercolor pads and equally divided and cut each paper into four (card-sized).
You can of course just halve the paper and fold to create a card with no gluing involved. But unless you’re painting on both sides, it’s thriftier to just glue them over cardstock-thick plain cards when you’re done painting. That way you can paint four different cards instead of just two from a 9x12in paper. And don’t let this stop you from creating bigger cards or extra small ones – you do you!
Masking tape - For some tape-resist fun times.
Masking fluid - For other more delicate watercolor resist explorations.
Silicone color shaper - My favorite tool to use for applying the masking fluid. I used the one from the Verbena brush set from ZenART Supplies.
Regular paper - For tracing the heart shape. I used a sheet of Origami paper. You can also just sketch it out if you're just making one card.
Scissors - For all the cutting here and there.
Jar of water and paper towels (or your preferred absorbent material) - Let’s not forget the all-important water. And the paper towels for all the absorbing that we need to do.
Quick and Easy Heart Valentine’s Watercolor Idea
This is a super easy and fun one to make especially if you’re in a hurry. But don’t worry it’ll still look awesome in a minimalistic way! Start by folding your paper of choice in half. Then draw a half-heart where the folded part is and then cut around it.
Keep in mind the size and make sure that it’s not too big for your paper. Now, you’ll have a perfectly symmetrical heart shape that you can trace around and use multiple times.
Make sure to place your heart at the center, that is unless you want to write some greeting words. In which case, leave enough space for where you plan on writing them. Once you’ve traced the shape, it’s time to get your masking tape.
For mine, I used a thick one and taped a length that’s a bit longer than the heart to a cutting mat. Use what thickness works best for you.
Then I used a box cutter to cut it into thin strips. You can also use scissors, just be extra patient and careful. Try to cut the strips into varying thicknesses so the end result will look more interesting.
Then attach the tape strips on the heart, find the center, and do your crisscrossing over that. Don’t overdo the strips and make sure to leave enough paper spacing in between them. Because you’ll be painting those next!
Paint the spaces between the tapes using the colors that you want to use. For mine, I mixed and used pale pink, mid-pink, and red. Don’t forget to stay within the heart shape!
Then wait for everything to fully dry before peeling off the tape. Gently lift it off and pull away at a diagonal angle and stay as close to the surface as possible. This really helps to keep the paper from tearing. And your card is done or you may add some words to it if you wish.
Floral Heart Watercolor Valentine’s Day Card
Let’s make use of the heart template and create another heart-themed card. But this time painting around the shape instead of in it. I made a floral composition that you can use as well, you can download this, print it out, and trace it. Or you can copy it freehand if you prefer to do so.
Draw or trace the design, and don’t be afraid to create your very own if you want it to be your own original drawing. And get ready to paint in several layers! This one will take a bit of time but the end result will be truly worth it.
Start by planning out your color palette. This way, you’ll get to visualize if the colors you chose will work together before putting them to paper. For mine, I used pale pink, orange, warm and bright yellow, cool green, red-orange, and red for the tiny blooms.
All the colors I used are from ZenART’s Classico watercolor palette - Lemon Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Pyrrol Orange, Pyrrol Red, and Ultramarine Blue.
Paint in your first layers, start with the lightest and palest colors in your composition. I started with the yellow. Then the pale pink, followed by green, and then orange and red-orange, and finally the red for last.
For the translucent pink flower, I painted the inner center petal first, then used a tissue to dab the center. Leaving the edges darker and creating this beautiful delicate effect. Once the center petal has dried, do the same process for the two outer petals. Let everything fully dry.
Now it’s time to add extra details to the flowers. Mix and use a yellow-orange color to create a gradated effect on the yellow petals starting from the center. Leave it to dry and work on the orange flowers.
I used a small #1 Rigger brush from the Fine Line detail brush set to help me paint in the fine lines. Start with the tapering line at the center of each petal, then add the two thin lines flanking it at the sides. Take your time when doing this. Once the yellow flowers have dried, add the vein-like lines.
Use red to define the edges of each petal on the red-orange blooms. Add red-orange to the center of the yellow flower, slowly fading into the orange to add depth. Paint the thin ring on the orange flower green. I also added the palest green wash at the base of the pink flowers.
And now you can add leaves here and there to help bring everything together. I just added about ten leaves here and there, feel free to add more to yours. And I just kept it simple with a vein running down the middle. I didn’t want the work to look too busy, and I wanted the flowers to be the focal point.
Take a break and come back to your work before deciding to add anything else to it. Fresher eyes will give you a better perspective on things. Here’s the finished look of my floral watercolor Valentine’s day card - I personally had the most fun with this card!
Check out the livestreamed video below for a real time step-by-step painting process. Done during one of our lives over on our Painting Inspiration Daily group on Facebook so it's not a time-lapsed one!
Cute Flamingos Watercolor Valentine’s Card
Why not paint some cute flamingos for your watercolor Valentine’s Day card? They’re fairly easy to draw and paint and are just adorable. I drew two flamingos facing each other with their heads touching. I added some hearts, you can add them or not, or you can place them elsewhere, too.
I used just three colors for this - Pyrrol Red, Phthalo Blue GS, and Lamp Black from the Classico watercolor palette. But really the red for the most part. When thinned down, Pyrrol Red gives this really beautiful transparent pinkish tone that I find perfect for painting flamingos.
Try out the various reds that you have to see which one gives you the pink that you want to use. Then paint a pale but not too pale pink flat wash all over except for the beak. Make the breast part near the neck a bit paler, do it gradually with a smooth transition. Add pink to the tip of the beaks, slowly fading as it moves towards the heads. Then wait for this first layer to dry.
Add a bit more red to your mixture and use it to give your flamingos a more solid look. Imagine the light coming from the right and add the necessary ‘shadowing’ here and there. Use the same mixture to paint in the thin lines that suggest the feathers on the body. Use a clean wet brush to go over some of them in long thin strokes to soften some of the lines.
Mix some blue with red to create a muted down purple to layer over the pink of the legs. Once dry, add the deeper pink-red mixture to define the joints and add details to the feet.
Now it’s time for the black parts - all found in the head only. Paint in the thin line for the opening of the beak and let it dry. Paint in the black dots for the eyes. Then start with a concentrated black from the tip of the beak and fade it to white as you move in.
And finally, you can add those hearts if you want to have them. For mine, I decided to have the negative of the hearts and paint a pale pink mix around them to softly frame the shapes. I also added a rough pink wash at the bottom for the ground around the birds. And it’s done!
Fun fact about flamingos from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute!
"Flamingos get their pink color from their food."
“Flamingos really are what they eat. Many plants produce natural red, yellow or orange pigments, called carotenoids. Carotenoids give carrots their orange color or turn ripe tomatoes red. They are also found in the microscopic algae that brine shrimp eat. As a flamingo dines on algae and brine shrimp, its body metabolizes the pigments — turning its feathers pink.”
Sweet Words for a Valentine’s Day Card
Do you have some quotes or sweet messages in mind? You can use those too not just for the inside of your cards but to decorate the outside as well! Try to play around with how you want to write them or place them on your card. I chose a short but sweet message that’s appropriate for all kinds of love.
Once you’re satisfied with how your written words are placed and drawn in, you can paint around them to leave them white. Or you can paint the words themselves, too. I used masking fluid to cover the words and let them fully dry.
If you choose to mask the words - you can go crazy with your color palettes and textures for this watercolor Valentine's day card! No need to worry about painting around the words, they'll remain pristine under the masking fluid.
The silicone color shaper from the Verbena brush set (in photo below) is my absolute favorite for this job. No need to worry about ruining or having to wash after any of my brushes to apply this stick and quick-drying fluid.
Then I added three layers of red in circles, each one a bit darker than the last to frame around the words. Start with the outermost and biggest circle and wet the shape first with just clean water for a wet-on-wet application. Add your color to it just barely to the edge of the wet area, then allow the pigment to spread on its own to the edges for a more organic look. Wait for each layer of circle to dry before adding the next one using the same process.
Wait for everything to be fully and completely dry before removing the masking fluid. Just use your finger to gently rub it off to reveal the white of the paper underneath.
Now think of some sweet words you want to use on your very own cards. Have fun exploring various color combinations and textures!
Isn’t Pyrrol Red just the perfect red for Valentine’s Day? I also love using it for painting Christmas reds!
Yummy Dessert Watercolor Valentine Card Ideas
Here are two fantastic Valentine's day ideas featuring sweet edibles for the foodie loved ones in your life. These are from ZenART’s in-house artist, Theodora, done during her live streaming tutorials on our Facebook group, Painting Inspiration Daily. You’ll find the videos below to see the step-by-step process.
Scrumptious Valentine’s Day Cupcakes
You can also totally paint these cupcakes on regular days! Just change up the romantic elements – like hearts and such – and have fun with them!
Heart-shaped Cake Valentine’s Day Card
This is another super adorable romantic food painting idea. You can also paint this for birthdays and anniversaries!
And that’s about it, I hope you found one (or more!) to your liking! Don’t be afraid to experiment and just really have fun doing it. It doesn’t have to be perfect so don’t stress about making it so. What’s important is it’s done from the heart!
We’d love to hear from you!
Which theme do you like best? Any new ones from above that you’re inspired to try out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Join our friendly art community Painting Inspiration Daily on Facebook. You can share your art and ideas, watch LIVE tutorials, and be inspired to paint!
Have a lovely time painting your very own watercolor Valentine’s Day cards!
- MEET THE AUTHOR -
Kathleen is the Wordsmith at ZenART, resident artist and art editor. When God sent a shower of talents, Kathleen made sure she got a basketful of them! She's a visual artist with practical knowledge on various fields from painting and sculpture, to costume and set design which comes in very handy when writing about various art techniques and theories. She also shares her passion for the arts through teaching. She runs her own brand of handmade wirework jewelry designs.