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The Prettiest Mini Holiday Watercolour Wreaths

Easy DIY watercolour painted wreaths in less than 10 min! (FOUR WAYS!)

Handpainted Wateroclour Christmas Greeting Cards
Mini Holiday Watercolour Wreaths

I’ve been painting these every holiday seasons for the last four years. They make excellent little art gifts for family, friends, teachers and coworkers but can also be duplicated quickly to make greeting cards, gift tags or table setting cards. Really simple to do, all you need is paper, watercolour paints, a paintbrush, a compass (or circular shaped object for tracing) and a fineliner (waterproof ink pen).

Why Handmade Makes a Difference

Thoughtful but also simple, making gifts by hand will guarantee you three things; the first being that your gift will be entirely unique and one of a kind and that goes a long way, and second, the giftee will almost always appreciate the time and thought you put into making something yourself. Third, you’ll give yourself the gift of immense satisfaction in creating something by hand. And all of these benefits might feel like they’d be a lot of work but really you can make something really lovely in less than 10 min and today I’m going to show you how!

And if you need a bit of practice with watercolours, and some of you won’t reach the bottom of the post and this is a limited time offer which I want to share with you, you can download the FREE WATERCOLOUR WORKBOOK and learn watercolour painting in 30 days. This digital download will take you through all the techniques, colour theory and daily watercolour exercises to get your watercolour painting game on point! Don’t miss it!

Supplies

Let’s get right into this fun tutorial.
Starting with what you’ll need, here are the tools I used to create this tutorial. You’ll need nothing more!

  • Watercolour Paper or Handmade Cotton Paper (A deckle edge paper will work really well here too!)
  • Watercolour Paints – 3 to 5 colours (I used sap green, yellow ochre, sepia, scarlet lake, perylene green and indigo in this tutorial)
  • Watercolour Brush (size 2 or 4 round)
  • Compass or Circular shaped object for tracing (approximately 3-4″ in diameter)
  • Pencil for linework (optional)
  • Permanent Fineliner (size 0.5, 0.7 or 1)
  • Scissors (if you’re cutting smaller cards from larger paper)

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Take your watercolour paper and cut it down into cards sized between 4×6″ or 5×7″ for greeting cards. If you want to do a folded card, cut each piece into 8×6″, scored down the middle or 10×7″, scored down the middle. If you’re making smaller cards for table settings or gift tags, cut them down to the size you want now.
  2. Once you have each card cut, find the middle of each one. That is where you’ll place the point of your compass or the middle of your circle template. For example, for a 4×6″ card, the middle will be at 2 inches across and 3″ down.
  3. Now you’re ready to start on each wreath!

Wreath No.01 – Pine cones

wreath no1

Colours: sap green, perylene green, yellow ochre, sepia.

  1. Start by drawing your penciled circle in the middle of the card. My circle is about 3″ in diameter.
  2. Taking your compass or circle template trace a light circle in pencil so that you’ll know where to sketch in your wreath.
  3. Following the diagram below, draw in the stem, then leaves and then pine cone using your fine liner marker. To draw the pine cone, I use small little dots that I doodle close together, narrowing down each row as I move up adding a little stem to the top.
instructions for drawing the wreath

4. Keep your doodles light and imperfect, they’re meant to be sketchy and loose.

5. Optional, you can add little pine cones next to or around the wreath as well to fill the wreath out a bit more but I like them quite minimal.

6. Continue working your way around the circle, differing each stem just a little for some variety. You can do one that is just one stem, or one with two, a longer and shorter one. You get the idea! Just leave a little gap between each one.

7. Once the ink has dried (a few minutes, really) we can add the watercolour. To do this, we’re going to use the wet on wet technique, meaning we will add tiny water drops on top of each leaf first, and then go in with a wet brush with paint on it and drop the paint into the wet water drop.

8. Using your watercolours, activate a little sap green, sepia, perylene green and yellow ochre. Activating just means mixing your paint with some water to get it ready to apply to the paper.

9. Working one ” pine bunch” at a time, take your small size 2 or 4 round brush and add some clean water in small drops to the leaves on each stem. Don’t try to stay within the lines, the idea is that the paint and ink play off each other so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Take your brush and then dip it into your darker green colour and then slowly touch the tip of your brush to the water drop on the paper. Your paint should ‘slide’ off your brush and into the water drop. Next take your lighter green or yellow ochre and drop those colours into the remaining water drops. By this point, your water drops should or will combine all together, allowing the paint colours to mix and blend together. Lastly, take your sepia or other brown colour and do the same with the pine cones. Repeat for all bunches around the wreath. Let dry. We will repeat the same technique for the remaining three wreaths but let’s go one by one to make sure you have the technique down!

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Wreath No.02 – Mistletoe + Pine

Colours: Perylene Green or Sap Green, Scarlet Red, Indigo

  1. Repeat the same step to place your circle on your card.
  2. Using the steps below, draw in each mistletoe and pine bundle. Start with the stem, adding the needles, then the berries, followed by some bigger leaves around the berries, and lastly some twinkling stars between and around each bunch.
instructions for drawing the wreath

3. Continue working your way around the circle, differing each stem just a little for some variety.

4. Working one “mistletoe bunch” at a time, take your small size 2 or 4 round brush and add some clean water in small drops to the leaves on each stem. Don’t try to stay within the lines, the idea is that the paint and ink play off each other so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Take your brush and then dip it into your red colour and then slowly fill in the little berries throughout. Next take your dark blue or turquoise colour and fill in the darker leaves closer to the middle of each bunch. By this point, your water drops should or will combine all together, allowing the paint colours to mix and blend together. Do this for all the remaining sketch. Let dry.

Mini Holiday Watercolour Wreaths

Wreath No.03 – Icy Blue Spruce

wreath no3

Colours: Indigo Blue

  1. Repeat the same step to place your circle on your card.
  2. Using the steps below, draw your stem but a little more wider than the first two as the leaves will be bigger.
  3. Add longer and slightly wider leaves than in the first wreath.
  4. Add a few loose leaves around the wreath to fill out any empty void spaces.
instructions for drawing the wreath

5. Continue working your way around the circle, with the main or biggest stem being on the circle you’ve drawn. Try to differ each stem just a little for some variety.

6. Working one bunch at a time, take your small size 2 or 4 and dip it into your blue shade, indigo or similar. Don’t try to stay within the lines, the idea is that the paint and ink play off each other so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Pick up a lot of pigment and pick half of the leaves on each bunch to paint in dark. Then, dip your brush in water and using an almost clean brush, fill in the remaining leaves. The dark and light leaves should start to blend and mix slowly, adding nice soft transitions in dark and light spots. Do this for all the remaining sketch. Let dry.

Wreath No.04 – Leafy Green

wreath no4

Colours: Sap Green and Perylene Green (or any two different greens in your palette)

  1. Repeat the same step to place your circle on your card.
  2. Using the steps below, draw your first stem with two or three branches.
  3. Add short and wide leaves on each stem.
  4. Add a few loose leaves around the wreath to fill out any empty void spaces.

5. Similar to the wreath above, working one bunch at a time, take your small size 2 or 4 and dip it into your darker green shade. Paint half of the leaves in the darker green. Then, dip your brush in water and pick up some of your lighter green, fill in the remaining leaves. The dark and light leaves should start to blend and mix slowly, adding nice soft transitions in dark and light spots. Do this for all the remaining sketch. Let dry.

Ways To Use Your Little Wreaths

One of my favourite ways to use these little wreaths is for place cards. I paint tiny little wreaths on each place card and add a name in the middle.

table cards wreaths with name

But, you can also frame them and gift them as teachers gifts, which I’ve done twice now!

framed holiday wreath

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you’ll give it a try! If you do, share the results with me on Instagram @donatdelanoart.com and I’ll reshare them on my stories.

If you’re new here, I’m Donata Delano. I am the creative owner and artist behind Donata Delano Art. I started the good Canvas in an effort to build an art community focused on art, creativity and business. Aside from art related tutorials, tips and information occasionally, I also post recipes, crafts and out adventures living abroad in Mexico.

As for my business, as some of you know, I run my art studio out of our home. I have a dedicated room where I paint, package and ship all my artwork to you. If you’re curious about my daily life and how I run my business, I post often about my process, my studio and my work on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/donatadelanoart/

You can also follow along on Pinterest, where I pin all things design, decor, crafts style and holiday goodies: https://www.pinterest.ca/donatadelanoart/

Also, if you’d like to follow along and subscribe to the mailing list to receive more post notifications like this, including special promotions for artwork, collections and freebies, head here and join the list below!

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Happy Painting!

Donata

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