For Elijah: DIY Watercolor Birth Announcements

Once in a while, I’ll commit to a project that ends up being just a little more than I had bargained for. What starts out as a simple, “Hey, I can do that!  It’ll just take me an hour or two” usually turns into my slaving away at two in the morning to finish what I started. Take, for example, the Super Mario cake I made for Dean that ended up taking me two entire days. Or our hand-letterpressed wedding invitations that took the two of us a whole day just to feed through the letterpress machine. In the end though, it’s these same projects that I really pour myself into that end up being the most memorable and meaningful pieces that I make.

For my nephew Elijah’s birth announcements, I wanted to create a piece that could be kept as a keepsake, not only for his parents, but for each friend and family member that received them. I decided to hand-watercolor his announcements so that each one would be unique. With some watercolor paints, paintbrushes, and painter’s tape in hand, I set off to begin a project that ended up taking about two weeks. Here’s the finished announcement!

And here are a few process pictures to give you an idea of how it all came together:
*Edit: For those curious about more of the process, here are a few more details on how I made the announcements.
I was experimenting with my watercolors and was intrigued with the idea of masking off areas to reveal positive/negatives spaces with paint.  I played around a bit and discovered that painter’s tape worked perfectly with watercolor paper (other tapes tend to stick too much and peel off paper when you remove it).
In order to cut out the shapes I wanted, I ran the tape through my Silhouette SD cutter and cut out hundreds of stars and the name “ELIJAH.”  For the stars, I used the actual star cut-outs to tape onto the paper, and for the name, I actually use the outlined part.
After taping everything down exactly where I wanted, I watercolored away!  In order for the outlines to look crisp, make sure that your brush is damp with watercolor paint, but not sopping wet.  You want it to be just wet enough to move around the page.
The funnest part, of course, was removing all the tape and seeing the shapes and words appear!  I used tweezers to help make it easier to pick up all the little pieces.
Some alternative ways this could be done:
1.) A way that you could make this without a Silhouette SD is to tape the painter’s tape down onto some cardstock and use a craft punch to punch out star shapes.  Then, peel the painter’s tape “sticker” off and use that to stick onto your watercolor paper.  Of course, you could always try to use an Xacto knife to cut out stars (but I don’t think I have that kind of patience!).
2.) Another way to do this might be to use pre-bought stickers at the craft store in the shapes of stars and letters.  In order for them not to stick permanently to the watercolor paper, simply peel them off the sheet and stick them on your pants or shirt a couple times. They should attach to some fibers from your clothing and not be quite so sticky.  Try sticking them onto the watercolor paper and make sure that they stick firmly so that paint doesn’t seep through, but also make sure that they can be peeled off without taking any paper with it.  (I learned this trick for “making” painter’s tape/drafting tape in architecture school from one of my professors. :D)
3.) I just saw this yesterday on Pinterest, and I think it’s so smart and lends itself to a lot of possibilities. Using a wax pencil, you could also draw each of the stars directly onto the paper and write out the words very carefully (or trace them).  Just watercolor on top of the wax and dab lightly to pick up all the paint.
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