A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Watercolor Tote Canvas for Summer Swim Gear

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29 May 2014

Watercolor Tote Canvas for Summer Swim Gear

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Canvas Totes make the perfect...well...canvas.

Portions of this post have been previously published on Crafts Unleashed.

To celebrate the sweet, spring days ahead, I decided to create this watercolor totes in the pastels of early daffodils, tulips and crocus.  Combining watercolors with stronger yellows and pinks made pretty combinations reminiscent of the garden this time of year.  The two basic things you will need are your paints and a canvas.  In this case, I am using a canvas TOTE as my canvas!



Tape off any parts of your canvas that you don't want paint on.  I put a big piece of packing tape along the seam edge on the bottom of the tote (See below).  Then the fun begins!  Choose two colors that are similar in shade.  Dip your paintbrush into water, then into the watercolor to moisten the paint.  Once the paint is loosened up, make a long line of your first color.  Skip a space of 1-2 inches of canvas, then make your second color.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Leave Space

Dip your paintbrush in water ONLY (a little residual watercolor paint is ok) and slowly blend the two colors towards each other.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Blending

See the two strong colors and the blend between them?  You can continue this technique all along your tote for a very soft, sweet, pastel look.  If the color ever becomes too strong, simply dilute it and drag the color to a new spot on your canvas.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Watercolors Blended

I can't stop while I am ahead though and wanted to try a few different techniques.  
I tried flicking dots of "painty water"  directly on the canvas which was a fun effect.

Dots mixed with the lines of color was not the look I wanted though so I decided to move ahead with craft paints.  Do you know how all the flowers in spring are pastel, but then there are those SUPER bold tulips and crocuses that want a little more attention?  They seem to think they are blooming in the summer or something and come out with bright hues of magenta, lime, lemon and goldenrod.  I wanted my spring tote to reflect THOSE blooms too, so I started adding in deeper tones and blending them with water and additional watercolors.  (Beware: this technique is not for the faint of heart -- it is scary at first!)

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Adding red

Add a tiny bit of craft paint (glass paints, metallic paints, etc all work) and gently blend it into your already wet canvas.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Adding Yellow Glass Paint

If the color became too strong, I used a little pinkish glitter paint to "calm it down".

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Pink Glitter Paint

The idea is always to keep blending, blending, blending.  One note:  If you do not want your canvas to start looking "muddy" choose a limited palette and stick to it!  I used primarily yellows, pinks and orange/corals.  I used a tiny bit of green and blue, but put them in a seperate part of the bag, allowed them to dry fully, THEN layered on top of them.  If you mix all the colors of the rainbow while wet, everything will just turn a nice shade of BROWN.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea Red Paint
Once the bag dries, everything will lighten.  You might want to go back in several times and add more color layers.  Allowing the bag to dry several times along the way is a good strategy for making sure you don't go TOO far with bright colors and then hate the result.  I painted this over 3 days, allowing the bag to dry.  Total painting time was probably only 30-45 minutes though.

Watercolor Tote for Crafts Unleashed by Amy Renea

Now go enjoy spring with your spring tote, why don't you?

Additional note:  Using watercolors means this tote will NOT be washable.  Use fabric paints for a washable canvas tote!

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