How to Create a Dramatic Card With Block Letters

by Annette Green

Try this watercolor pencil technique for a smoky shadow effect that really makes the letters pop!


  • Graphic 45 12" x 12" Artisan Style papers
  • Black cardstock, Core'dinations
  • Peacj Forget-Me-Nots, Petaloo
  • Crochet lace trim, Petaloo
  • 1.5@ wide black /ivory striped ribbon, May Arts
  • Black Soot Distress Ink and blending tool
  • Black Stabilo pencil
  • Paint brush and water
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Cut black cardstock for a 5" x 7" card base then round off the right hand corners.

    Step 2

    Cut floral ("Decorative Flourish") 4 3/4" x 4 1/4" and round off the upper right corner. Cut the green ("Natural Beauty") 4 3/4" x 2 1/2" and round off the lower right corner.

    Step 3

    Cut apart the large image from "Attention to Detail" 4" x 6". The black strip ("Craftsmanship") 4 3/4" x 1/2", and the blue ("Decorative Flourish") 4 3/4" x 1 1/4" then punch a decorative border edge.

    Step 4

    Cut out the letters you desire from the "Craftsmanship" page. I also cut out Happy Birthday for the inside. (You could use stickers for this step if you don't have this paper.)

    Step 5

    Pick some trims and flowers.

    Step 6

    Ink all papers' edges with black ink on a blending tool. Use clear tape to tape the two main papers together on the back side. (Also, you'll notice I rounded the two corners on the 4" x 6" cut-apart.)

    Step 7

    Adhere the 4" x 6" cut-apart to the center then some lace trim across the seam and fold over excess to the back.

    Step 8

    Add the black strip, then the blue decorative border piece. Adhere this unit to the black card base.

    Step 9

    Tie a big bow, cut away a v-notch from the two tails then add some Fray-check to the raw edges so they don't fray.

    Step 10

    Use strong tacky glue or Fabri-Tac to adhere bow and small flowers as desired. I also added another small bit of striped ribbon in the upper right corner.

    Step 11

    Adhere the block letters to the card front. See how they don't stand out very well?

    Step 12

    Trace the letters with a black watercolor pencil. I used a Stabilo pencil from the art store.

    Step 13

    Wet a small (#4 size) paintbrush with water and wash over the black penciling to give a smoky shadow effect.

    Step 14

    Now the letters really stand out.

    Step 15

    See the difference between this one and the one in Step 11?

    Step 16

    Use your leftover papers to create a beautiful inside to your card too.

    Step 17

    I hope you give this dramatic effect a try on your next card or art journal page. Check out my blog for more creations & inspiration: