Here’s a fun DIY project you can do with your kids to decorate gifts year round, and especially for the holidays!
First, we need to gather our supplies – I’m using both a kid’s watercolor palette and a grown-up palette to do our tags. (In my palette, I’m using Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose watercolor paint). For a project like this, I love this Canson Mixed Media paper instead of the fancy schmancy stuff since it’s so affordable and the kids can use it to do lots of other types of art projects afterwards. You can use the brush included with the kid’s palette, or one like this Princeton Heritage watercolor brush. Don’t forget the cup of water for rinsing!
Now that we’ve got our supplies ready, let’s get started! Wet your watercolor paint with some water on your brush until you make a small puddle. Then you can do any of these techniques to make your gift tags. Here’s what I did, from left to right:
- Color Bleeds: Wet your paper first then “drop” in dots of color in varying intensities by adding more water or using less water to get lighter and darker tones. The colors will “bleed” together as the water carries them across the paper, blending into some gorgeous mixes. You don’t have to help it mix together, the paper and the water will do all the work for you! On the far left, I did a more concentrated area, then painted a large swatch in the middle to make bigger color drops.
- Variegated Stripes: Simply paint parallel lines on the paper horizontally or vertically. Again, I varied the color intensity by adding more water for light tones or taking it straight from the paint source for darker tones.
- Dropping In: For this one, I painted a light pink square then loaded my brush with more paint and dripped it in at the top of the square while the paper was still wet. Make sure to hold your paper up vertically during painting and while it dries to get the drippy effect as the paper pulls the watercolor downward.
- Color Gradient: This is a really easy technique you can use to get a pretty ombre look. Starting with dry paper, use your darkest tone at the top then gradually add more water to your paint as you go down, ending with just a teensy bit of paint and mostly water to get the lightest wash. Make sure as you’re going down to grab the “bead” of water at the end of your stroke to start the next stroke.
Next step is punching your tags out which is super fun! Here are some paper punches I love:
Pro tip: flip the punch over and insert your paper facing you so you can line your design up in the punch’s window – you can pick exactly the section of your swatches you’d like. If your tags don’t have an eyelet punch, use a hole punch like this one so you can thread string or ribbon through to attach it to a present.
Don’t they look pretty all punched out and ready to go?
This year I’m using cute pink wrapping paper with gnomes and woodland creatures, I thought the striped tag would look sweet with it. Another nice touch is to write the recipient’s name or initial in metallic ink – I’d recommend these gold and silver metallic pens with over 2,000 glowing reviews!
You can color match your tags to your wrapping paper, or choose a contrasting color to really make your gift pop!