Scrapbook Sunday: Making Watercolor Cards With Stamping Ink

Make your own watercolor cards for a scrapbook page! (click through for simple how-to!) Hey, guys! This week I’m starting a new feature, Scrapbook Sundays. Each time I’ll just share the random projects I’ve been working on, big and small. I have a pretty epic goal this year to get caught up on my family photo books. I’ve already got a pretty decent start (completed marriage year 1 and have my photos fairly organized, finally!), but the thing I’ve realized I’m missing is the weekly habit of making time to work on my books.

Maybe some of you feel the same way? 

I’m hoping my new Sunday feature will be a way for us to stay motivated together. So let’s grab a cup of coffee and talk about scrapbooking. Shall we? 

Today I want to teach you to create cards for your pocket pages that look like watercolor paintings made with stamping ink!

How to create a watercolor look with stamping inks!  1. Supplies: 
-a spray bottle (make sure you can set it to spray a fine mist) 
-stamping inks
-an acrylic block

2-3. Smear ink on the acrylic block. 4. Spray water on your inked block until the colors begin to run together. 5. It should look like this. 6. Press a white cardstock card on the stamping block. 

Tip: If you don’t have a stamping block, you can use any plastic surface that is wipeable. A piece of packaging would work just as well! 

Watercolor look make with stamping inks!Here’s the result! Each impression is a little bit different. I love the natural look. 

Not enough waterJust FYI—this is what happens when you don’t spray quite enough water on the block. Some of you might like this look too, but if you don’t, just use more water. 

Cards are madeNow that my cards are dry and trimmed, it’s time to add words and embellishments. 

I decided to start my Costa Rica pages because the watercolor impressions reminded me of a tropical vacation. As a bonus, it was REALLY fun to go back through our Costa Rica photos. 

Costa ricaI used my new alphabet stamps to stamp the title across two cards. I also did a little bit of stamping on the other cards, used one square for journaling and added the date. All in all, it was a pretty simple page to create, and I love how the watercolor prints mix with the black and white photos. 

Make your own watercolor cards for a scrapbook page! (click through for simple how-to!) Here’s my completed page. As soon as I was finished, I knew I wanted to do a full page photo for the page beside it, maybe with a color photo this time. 

A note about album size—over the summer I designed an album system for the ABM shop that will be out after the new year. The size is 9″ x 12″ and ever since I made that choice, I’ve been making all my pages in that size even though I don’t have any albums in yet. 🙂 I love the format, especially since I don’t like to crop my photos to squares, and I use a LOT of full page photos. 

I’ll share much more about the album system after I start to receive samples. I can’t wait to show you. It was one of the funnest things to design for the shop so far! 

StampingNext up, I printed a full page photo for the next page (9″ x 12″). I blocked off space down the center to add stamping and journaling. I probably didn’t really need these guides because I’m OK with “eyeballing it”, but they were helpful. 

First I stamped a bunch of words all the way down the page. Then I filled in all the gaps with handwritten memories. They are random. I didn’t plan anything before I started writing. There may be a spelling error (please don’t tell me if there is—I don’t want to know). And I LOVE the look of it! 

Words- close upLove ThisHere’s the completed page. I think the key here was using a really simple photo. This photo was kinda boring before I added the stamps and handwriting. That’s the type of photo to look for if you want to create a similar page. 🙂 

Supplies used: 
-stamping inks, alphabet stamp, pen: A Beautiful Mess (coming soon!!) 
-handwriting stamps: Ali Edwards 
-doodle stamps: Ashley G/Studio Calico (I think they’re sold out.) 
-photos printed with Canon PIXMA iP8720

Two page spreadAnd here are both pages together. I’m happy with how they pair together and now even MORE excited to get our new albums in the mail. Hopefully by the time they arrive, I’ll have lots and lots of pages ready for albums! 

Wanna talk about goals? 

So my big goal is to catch up on our family books this year. We’re looking forward to starting a family in the near future (not pregnant), and so I feel like this is my window to get caught up. Now, I will say that even though catching up is my goal, it doesn’t have to be your goal. Maybe you just want to make some photo books for fun? Or just do one important album like a wedding? Those are great goals. 

So after I realized that I am a crazy person and need to have all our albums done, I made a list of all the books I thought I might want to make. I did this on a flight one day. That list includes an album of our dating years, an album for our wedding, an album for each year we’ve been married (we’re in our fourth year now), and a few other occasions that I have a lot of photos from like Emma’s wedding. I also want to make an album about our current home with before/after photos because we dig through our cell phones to show everybody who comes to our house what we started with. 

So yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. And even more importantly than getting “caught up”, I want to enjoy the process of making a home for our memories. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, and put off. So the last thing I want to do is rush through it and make it into a chore. I want to enjoy it! That’s half the fun, right? 

Alright! I’ll be back again next Sunday to talk about paper and scissors and photos. Hope your week is already off to a great start! Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.

  • I love that they are the same, especially since I love the Color Theory inks. The ABM colors are fun!

  • I love so-so-so much your scrapbook posts Elsie, I think these posts are my favourite! I will start a Project Life album in few weeks, and a December Daily album too, so I need a lots of good ideas aboout scrapbooking. Thanks sou much for inspiring me, you’re great!!!

  • Elsie,

    When you print off your photos is there a certain size that you default to and then cut them down to size? Or do you print specific sizes based on the size pockets you want to use?

  • I love the watercolor blocks! This method could be used for so many pretty projects, not just scrapbooking!

  • love your creative ideas and I really like your works. the color looks so beautiful! I always don’t know what to make as a lovely gift, and I think this can be a very romantic gift suitable for all friends, family and spouse.

  • Elsie,thank YOU so so much for writing this! This is exactly what I need because I REALLY need to make a wedding album (my 3rd anniversary is coming real soon and I don’t have any wedding album.How embarrassing right?) Looking forward for your updates on the products & stay inspiring as always!


  • I am seriously so excited about this! I am looking forward to you posting weekly about scrapbooking and I can’t wait for your line to come out.

    I have a ton of goals too!!!!

    I want to do
    – An All About Me Album (me and my family as a kid)
    – A 2012-2013 Album from when I was with the African Children’s Choir
    – And one for this last year.

  • Love that you came back around to scrapbooking again Elsie. You were the reason I started scrapbooking 5-6 years ago. I loved your Love, Elsie stuff. Some questions for you. Why do you like the 9×12 size better? What are the advantages you see over the 6×8? Is it just more real estate? I can see how it would be easier to hold than the 12×12. And for the full 9×12 pages, are they truely 9×12? If it is, then regular printers that only print letter size won’t be able to print a real full page, huh?

    Thanks in advance and I’m looking forward to see more of the products and you+scrapbooking!


  • Elsie, goodness, thank you! Keeping memories is so important to me and you have such a great way of sharing inspiration. Every scrap-booking post, I feel ready to bust out all my photos and continue on!

  • Im planning my first Album right now and love every inspiration I can get!
    Especially when it comes from you.
    Cant wait to see what your new store is like and what kind of tricks I can learn from you.

  • Really!

    I so love this idea. Just recently checked the sheer amount of pictures stashed away on my harddrive and was shocked…. they need to be freed!

    That and the combination of creativity and simplicity did get me started… Thank you for that!


  • Elsie!!! This makes me so, so happy.:) You remember how obsessed I was with your scrapbooking style right? I haven’t scrapbooked in several years but have never given up the dream of getting back into it and feeling really inspired to do it. I’m buying a new house that I will have a scrapbook room/home office and I CAN’T WAIT to have some of your products on my scrapbook table! This is magic.:) Miss you! Charin

  • I have something crafty to look forward to every Sunday now with Scrapbooking Sunday! I really love how you showed us step-by-step for this technique.

  • The colours are very pretty together! They help set the tone of a vacation page. Great job! 🙂

  • I can already feel myself turning on the computer on Sundays (something I rarely do) to read this series. I plan on starting scrapbooking next year so I need all the help I can get!! Super excited about the series and all the new products 😀

  • This looks great! I love the words and the feet. you know what I’ve been doing? I wanted to help my son practice his writing. I’ve been making the pages and adding the pictures and letting him write the captions or explain the pictures from his perspective. I love it so much. I love to look back and see his writing and the things that he said about the pictures. it’s a great way to scrapbook together. 🙂 I can’t wait for some more fun tips.

  • Hi!
    Yes, the page size is 9×12. It will have a full page option and pocket pages with 3×3, 3×4 and 4×6 squares. So the albums will be a little larger to fit the pages. :))

  • Hi Hilde,
    Yes! I do worry about it and I feel like I DO sound cheesy and awkward sometimes. It’s worth it though! :)) Elsie

  • I think I might need to ask for gift certificates to your shop for Christmas 🙂 (Does that exist or should I ask for cash in an envelope, haha)
    I am seriously excited that you’re returning to scrapbooking. I left it for a while and came back 3 years ago when I discovered Project Life, Studio Calico and the simplicity of ‘pocket style’ pages.
    I really hope your venture breathes new life into the industry, and Sundays are already my scrappy time, so this is perfect.
    Will you eventually have a creative team? I would be first in line to apply.
    Also happy to see people scrapbooking who don’t have kids.
    My album to do list includes:
    Halloweens & Past Christmases – to add to each year
    Albums for each year of my boyfriend & I being together – 1, 4, 5, & 6 are done
    Jobs – stories from work and jobs I’ve had freelancing

    As you can tell, I’m excited.

  • These squares are 3×3. It’s a protector from October Afternoon that was 12×12, filled with 3 inch squares. So I just cut off some of the squares on one side to make it 9×12. 🙂 Just hacking a product until our albums are ready! :))

  • Hi Kristina,
    Yes, they will. We created a schedule where we all only have to moderate comments one weekend each month. We really wanted to turn them back on so we could post more different types of content. So, I’ll probably pop in and respond to comments, but it won’t really disturb our weekend. 😀 Thanks for asking.

    xx- Elsie

  • I’ve been reading A Beautiful Mess for years now and I always see DIY’s and think – hey i should try that!? But don’t seem to get around to trying. However – THIS, This i can get behind. I’ve been married about the same amount of time as you Elsie and I’ve recently made an album of my first year of marriage and it was SO FUN. I thought to myself hmmmm now I just need to catch up on the dating years, vacations, sisters wedding and every year of marriage since then! haha reading your post was like reading my own thoughts. I CANT WAIT TO TRY YOUR PRODUCTS!

  • I LOVE this Sunday feature. Will comments always be open for it? I hope it won’t take up too much of your Sunday with Jeremy, Suki & Dolly… 🙂

    I feel like the scrapbooker DREAM is to be all caught up and able to scrapbook life as it happens – when memories are fresh (I would love to scrapbook last weekend… but feel like I need to complete a million other weekends first). Graham & I are engaged, and my main goal is to finish scrapbooking our dating years in time for our wedding! Wish me luck… 😉

  • I am so glad you’re going back to your scrapbooking roots. It’s why many of us fell in love with your style to begin with. Beautiful watercolor!

  • LOVE this!!! I can’t wait to try it:) Can you please tell us where you got this particular page protector from? are all the squares 3×4? I’ve never seen this size before. Thanks so much!

  • A therapist recently suggested making a scrapbook of all the things that makes me feel happy – things to remember and hold on to, for those moments and days when things are rough. Something visual to focus on. I’ve never tried scrap-booking before, so I’m looking forward to this series & learning.

  • Jill, that looks so perfect. The right thing for our Trip to Costa Rica in Dec 🙂
    Warmest regards from germany,

  • Elsie amen to what Whitney said! It is soooo good to see you scrapbooking and sounding so passionate about it again!!! Can’t wait to see more girl 🙂

    Karen xx

  • I’ve never really understood the value of scrapbooking before, but these posts make it look more and more enticing! Plus, I am completely in love with those stamps!!!

  • Yay! I’m excited about this column. I actualy spent my Sunday working on a photo book myself, which I got finished and ordered. Can’t wait to get it in the post! I’ve also made a few goals in terms of what photo books I want to complete and currently have a list of four. So far, I’ve only made photo books with about 99% photos–that 1% being a page at the start of one of the photo books with details of the trip, but I love how personal and cute you manage to make this. I’m terrified if I add text it’ll just end up sounding cheesy and awkward! Especially as they’re not individual scrapbooking pages, so i can’t just redo it if i don’t like it. Do you ever get worried about that?

  • I’ve really been enjoying our recent scrapbook posts, Elsie! <3 I’m so excited to see the 9×12 album system, along with the other new products you designed. I still remember your Love, Elsie days and it’s been good to see you making the gradual return to the scrapbook industry 🙂

  • Elsie, I understand you can’t say much about the new albums but since you mentioned they were 9×12 I was wondering if the page protectors were that size as well.
    I also use a different size, Basic Grey’s albums. They are listed as 9×10 but the page protectors are a smaller size 6.8×9.5. Which makes sense otherwise they would stick out a tiny bit.

    I was hoping you could shed a light on this before we go off and design our 9×12 pages and discover that the page protectors are smaller.

  • I’m so excited for the ABM line to launch!! And even more excited that you’re posting more regularly Elsie, AND DOING SCRAPBOOKING SUNDAYS!!! As we get closer to the holiday season, I am excited and already feeling tired.. I cram so much into my weekends between the house chores and catching up and then all of the fun diy house projects and things too.. I think scrapbook Sundays is a fabulous idea to take a break, play with paper and decompress. High five! This is a fabulous idea. xo

  • Hi Sierra! The one pictured here is a hacked pocket page I made from a 12×12 October Afternoon page, but yes- We’re doing this design as one of the options! (it’s secretly my favorite due to my instagram obsession!)
    xx- Elsie

  • i love the mix between smaller photos on one page with a large photo on the opposite page, especially with the handwritten details. your approach on scrapbooking is so refreshing!

  • Your pages are so cool, I really like the one on the left. It will be great to see what techniques you teach us. 🙂

  • So neat! I just got married so I’m thinking I might make a little scrapbook of our wedding and honeymoon. I haven’t tried scrapbooking since college, and I didn’t even do much of it then, but hopefully your Scrapbook Sundays will give me the inspiration I need!

  • So excited for a regular scrapbooking feature on ABM!!! I’ve always been put off by traditional scrapbooking with the pages and embleshiments. I love your similar approavh and it’s inspiring me to want to scrapbook. Really looking forward to more scrapbooking posts and to hear more about your product line. You are so inspiring!!!

  • Really cool! I love both the writing on the large photo and the watercoloring technique.

    Have you ever tried filling in a smash book? It is kinda like a scrapbook/journal with a ton of random pages, which makes it extra special to turn weird pages into something special. There is also simple ad pretty pages too. You should check it out! They carry supplies at Michael’s and Jo-Anns. Here is a few pages I did awhile ago:


  • I love it….so simple yet so beautiful! I am SOOO glad you are Scrapbooking again & even more glad that you have a 9×12 album coming out! That’s the size I’ve been doing my PL pages. 🙂 And I LOVE the all 3×3 page protector….is that part of your new line too????

  • The watercolor effect is so cool…perfect for vacation photos books…


  • yaaay! so glad you will be scrapping regularly. still have a few of your products and your book and use them. cheers!

  • Thanks Laura!! I’ll share them before the new year for sure!! The album has 9×12 pages and also some pocket options. The pockets are 4×6, 3×4 and 3×3 (for instagrams- yay!) and we’ll be making cards and papers in all those sizes to fit. Can’t wait to share more in the next few months! :))

  • This is lovely! I ordered some scrapbooking supplies inspired by your last post. Looking forward to getting our photos organised!

  • Thanks for following Elizabeth! Sounds like you have your choice of a lot of fun albums, though, which is awesome! Better to have too many memories than too few.

    In the new year Emma and I are going to teach some speedier methods too. Emma is WAY fast at making her books and is always caught up, so we’ve been talking about doing some posts about making a whole scrapbook in a weekend. We’ll see!!!

    Thanks again for following all these years. That’s so incredibly kind to hear!
    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Hilary,
    Wow- such a compliment that you’re interested without even seeing it. That means a lot to me. Can’t wait to share peek! 😀

  • Awesome goal Itziar!
    Emma only does photo books too and they look great (and she’s always caught up, unlike me!). 😀 Hope you have fun trying scrapbooking!
    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Lea,
    Yes, it will. Our pens come in three weights and they are safe for photos and the ink is safe for photos as well. I use semi-glossy paper and it’s been working great. Haven’t tried them yet on ultra glossy.
    xx- Elsie

  • Thank you so much Lucy! I had SO much fun working on this!

    Holly’s crochet videos ARE awesome. I feel like she was born to teach on camera. I love listening to her!
    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Jill,
    Oh, it’s ok! No offense taken. 🙂
    I feel like our album system is somewhat traditional, but there are some special features that I think you might like. For example, we’re making chipboard pages that you can cover with photos and use (no plastic needed).

    Personally, I’m ok with the plastic, but I do totally understand where you’re coming from! Anyway- I hope you like our albums OR find the perfect one out there for you. 🙂
    xx- Elsie

  • Haha! That’s so sweet of you, Sammi! Well no need to hoard anymore because we have so much new stuff coming out. Can’t wait to share it all.
    xx- Elsie

  • Hey Maja,
    Our cases look the same as Studio Calico’s cases because they actually are exactly the same. This was intentional. SC is our “sister company” since we’ve partnered with them to create our products. When we were developing our inks they asked it we wanted to use the same case mold and, of course, I said YES because I love how they stack. Why fix it if it’s not broke? We have a very different audience than SC, but after thinking about it I felt that even the portion of our audience that overlaps would be happy that the cases are compatible and look great together. I am very pleased with how they turned out!

    I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the products! 🙂 I think you WILL be impressed.

  • Can’t wait to share more when the samples arrive! Thanks so much!
    xx- Elsie

  • I LOVE these pages! This looks like the type of scrapbooking that I could get into (I’m not super creative and these make it look easy to add simple details and make an amazing page for photos!). I love all the full page photo pages (including past books you’ve posted about). Can’t wait for your products to come out! 🙂

  • Oh I can’t wait for all the stamps and other products you girls came up with.
    Love the water colors!

  • I’m super excited about this new size. I’ve been saying 6×8 is too small and 12×12 is too big forever. I’m an 8.5×11 scrapper, but that size doesn’t work with PL sized cards. Ugh! I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope you can share with us the page protector format/size/layout, so we can also start scrapping to fit your new albums. I don’t want to make a single new page until I know it will fit in your fabulous new binders! The world is little bit brighter today. Ahhhhh!

  • It’s really fantastic idea, and easy to make. Thanks for next inspiration. Eliza

  • I’m really excited to see (and buy)your stuff! I’ve just gotten into scrapbooking again after almost a decade. I think it’s a combination of finally having more time and seeing my big kids & already missing their baby years plus inspiration here. I love your simpler style and photo-centric pages. My current goals is to find and organize all the baby/little kids photos because I’m working on making some scrapbooks for the grandparents for Christmas. Then in the new year, I’m going to work on my own. Debating on making a book for each year like you mentioned. At 14 yrs of marriage with hopefully many more, that starts to seem like A LOT of books. And shelf space. Not sure. May make a book just for Christmases though, because our family really loves it and those are the only cheesy scrapbooking supplies I like. 😉 Also, loving the idea of scrapbook Sundays!

  • I am going to have to try that stamping technique! I have a journal that I write/draw/paint/glue ticket stubs in as I go through the days, but because I do it on a daily basis it doesn’t have any photos. After seeing this I think it is definitely time to ramp up my photo game! Thanks for sharing!

  • This is such a great post, it has inspired me to start journaling again! I would also enjoy some feedback on my latest post!

  • Elsie, this is the PRETTIEST photo page I have ever seen! Totally love it. Super inspiration. I am like you, so many photo albums I want to make still. Ithis is really inspiring and will give me the motivation. Thanks xxx

  • You are so creative! This is very inspiring..thanks for sharing your beautiful pages 🙂

  • I don’t do any scrapbooking, but I love this feature! It’s creative and inspiring so I’ll look out for next Sunday. Hope you’ll share more and keep motivated Elsie! Love, Cinnamon

  • This is so cool!! I swear you girls are the most creative people in the world!

  • I always put my photos in albums
    Some tickets and papers are in them too
    but never try scrapbooking, too much work…

    But i have one project ! I wanna organize my photos from 2013
    I wanna make a scrapbook album this time. If it is not too bad, i will repeat with 2014 ; )

    Love all your ideas of scrapbooking, You’ve encouraged me to start

  • Your recent posts have totally sold me on scrapbooking – but I just know I’m going to want to use your system – so I decided to wait until that’s available to start… The new year seems so far away, but I think January/February will be the perfect time to start up since there’s generally not as much going on.

  • Love your project list. The norm nowadays in the scrapbooking world is to eschew chronological scrapbooking (due to wanting to decrease pressure on one’s self or some such thing). I prefer to think of my books as records of particular times. Finished my wedding album a couple years ago and am working on making a dent in the one album per year of marriage thing. I’m on 2007, ha! I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be completely “caught up” but getting there isn’t the point because scrapbooking is as much a hobby as it is a means to an end.

  • will your collection include ink and pens that work on photo paper then? (even glossy one?) <3
    very excited by the stamps too!

  • Cute DIY idea!! And I am SO stoked about this new Sunday feature!! Seriously, I’ve been loving seeing you get back into scrapbooking and everything you do is just so inspiring. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of inspiration on Sundays now! 🙂

    xo, Kathleen

  • I love this new series and excited for the new line of ABM products. You guys are so inspiring!

  • I’ll definitely be popping over on Sundays to see what you’ve been working on!

  • Elsie blogging about scrapbooking on a Beautiful Mess…something feels right with the world.

    Thank you so much for the continued inspiration!

  • The watercolours really add to the overall product! love the post!

  • Thanks,I really enjoyed this post Elsie, you’re very talented at scrapbooking! The crochet videos are brilliant too.

  • So…here’s my problem with scrap booking – I just don’t like the plastic pockets and ring binder albums. I really like plain paper albums but if they’re ring bound they don’t close properly with loads of photos in. The other albums I’ve tried, the pages curve when opened so the photos don’t stick well….! Just can’t seem to find the right album for me! Was really hoping you’d design one but looks like your sticking with the regular format. Perhaps you can convert me? Don’t you feel that the look is so “schoolteacher-y?” No offence intended to anyone! Just my opinion…

  • Yes!!! I soo soo miss the scrapbooking here in your blog and I am so happy it’s back! Sounds like you do have lots to “catch up” on but nothing a little vino can’t help get done in no time ??

  • Nice pages. I been a fan since your Love, Elsie days. And I still hoard those, haha. Can’t wait to see what is coming next.

  • These stamping inks look exactly like the color theory ones, just another label…wow, not so impressed at all. And come on: watercoloring is an old one, want to see new techniques for scrapbooking. 😉

  • love this idea! I haven’t scrapbooked in the longest time, maybe I will make Sunday’s my day as well. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • I know my best friend would love receiving something like this (documenting our friendship) for her birthday! Thanks for the great idea, Elsie. Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

  • I’m pretty excited about 9×12 albums! I think that would be the perfect size for vacation book! Can’t wait!

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