1. Home

Painting Your Own Christmas Cards

Various painting techniques to make your own Christmas cards.

By

Make this festive season particularly special by painting your own Christmas cards, or using prints and/or photos of your paintings for Christmas cards. Here is a list of various painting techniques or approaches you can use, some of which are perfect for last-minute cards.

Wax-Resist Handmade Christmas Cards

Use the wax resist painting technique to make quick Christmas cards
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
The wax-resist painting technique is very simple to learn but produces very effective, fast results. It's based on the fact that wax and water don't mix, so you draw with a wax crayon (I think white is most effective) and then paint over with watercolor. The wax crayon repels the paint, revealing the image you've created.
Step-by-Step Demo: Wax Resist Christmas Cards

Use a Christmas Stencil

Use stencils to make Christmas cards
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
It takes a little time to cut out a stencil, but once that's done you can use it to paint multiple cards. Change the color paint you're using, or use more than one color at a time. Wax resist creates a lovely stenciled card very quickly: use a white wax crayon with the stencil, then paint over in a suitable Christmas red.
Free Printable Christmas Stencils
How to Cut a Stencil

Unique Christmas Card with Monotype Prints

Print a monotype Christmas card
Photo: © B.Zedan
A monotype is simply the name given for a print where you press a damp sheet of paper onto a painted design, creating a once-off print. Add a bit more paint to your design, and you're ready to make another print.
How to Make a Monotype Print (detailed instructions)
How to Make a Monoprint in 7 Steps
Oil Paint Sticks Monotypes

Linocut Christmas Tree for a Card

How to make a linocut
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Linocut prints are fun to make and the technique is easy to learn. This tutorial takes you through the process step by step, and includes a Christmas tree design you can use.

Robin Block Print for a Card

Lino block printing Christmas cards
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
If you're going to be making lots of cards, go for a lino-block design that's relatively straightforward to cut and print. My robin design uses only two colors, and the lining up of the blocks isn't critical.

Collage Cards

Don't throw away failed paintings, but tear or cut them up to into pieces and use these for making collage cards. Use a piece of card or thick watercolor paper as the base for the card, fold it in half, and create a collage on the front. Paint a border around the card with some red, gold, or green paint.

Use Photos of Your Paintings

Take some photos of your favorite paintings from the past year, print them out (either on your own photo printer or at a print shop), then stick them onto the front of a folded sheet of card or watercolor paper. Ensure there's a white border around the photo, and add your signature at the bottom. It's a card that's good enough to frame!

Printing Cards from Your Art

Digitally Painting Cards (Perfect for Emailed Christmas Cards)

Digital painting Christmas cards
Digitally painted card created from a drawing by a five-year-old. Image ©2007 Marion Boddy-Evans
You don't need a sophisticated digital painting program to create an effective Christmas card suitable for emailing or printing, and it doesn't take long to make. Basically all you need to do is scan or photograph a drawing (or do one digitally) that has a strong, dark outline, then drop in the paint colors.

Most photo editing/paint programs have a "fill" option, for filling an area with a color (usually an icon like a bucket tipping over.) Ensure individual areas (e.g. the star on the tree shown here) are completed closed so the color doesn't spill into other areas when you fill an area. Color in, sign, and email.

Free Painting Software for Windows and Free Photo Editors for Windows (From About.com's Graphics Software Guide)

Fold a Christmas Card from a Sheet of Paper

Print your paintings as Christmas cards
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
If you've got photos of your paintings and a color cartridge in your computer printer, you can print your own Christmas cards featuring your artwork and a personalized greeting inside. These instructions show you how to set up the page you're going to print so that when it's folded, everything is where it should be.
How to Fold a Christmas Card from a Sheet of Paper

See Also:
Art Worksheet: Printable Christmas Card
Painting Cards Demo & Worksheet: Pear Diamonds

If You've Loads of Time: Make the Paper

Make your own paper for your Christmas cards.
Photo: © B.Zedan
Why not make your entire Christmas card yourself, starting with the paper? You could recycle failed paintings done on paper, or even last year's Christmas cards.
How to Make Paper

December Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards

Paint your own Christmas cards
Photo © Bernard Victor
Find inspiration from the Christmas cards other artists have made by browsing around the photo gallery of this painting project.
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.