Watercolor Phrase Art DIY

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) I love craft projects that can also double as wall art once you’re done—you get your craft time in for the day, learn a new artistic skill, and hang a cute finished piece on your wall to admire at the end. If the idea of watercoloring your own art scared you in the post title, don’t worry. You only need a minimal amount of watercolor skill for this, and if you’re a total beginner, this is a great project to learn on and play around with. I consider my watercolor skills to be pretty sub-par, but this was fun even for me to complete. And the tricky looking phrase in the middle of the watercolor? You’re going to trace it, dude, so don’t let that get you down either.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) We’re working with our friends at Pentel and using their awesome watercolor set on this project, which is all the more appropriate on Earth Day! Many of Pentel’s products use recycled materials and are designed with the environment in mind. You can see on the packaging exactly how much of each item is recycled. Anyway, it’s always fun to learn a company you love is doing its part. You can read more about their Recycology commitment here

-watercolor paper
Pentel Watercolors, set of 24
-masking tape and board (or flat surface)
light box or access to a window for tracing
art masking fluid 

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) First you want to choose a phrase for your wall art. Print out your phrase in a font that you like and in the size you want it to appear on your paper. I would choose a more cursive/handwritten looking font because the more the letters connect, the easier it is to pull off the masking fluid when you’re done (this font is a great choice). Put your printed phrase under your watercolor paper and use a light box or hold it up to a window during daylight to see your phrase through the watercolor paper. If your final print size will be smaller than the watercolor paper (like an 8×10″ size), draw a box the size of your final print first, and then center the phrase in the middle of that area.

If you are using a light box and have your paper flat, you can skip the tracing step and just use your paintbrush to paint in the phrase with the art masking fluid. If you’re using the window, use a pencil to first lightly trace your phrase onto the watercolor paper, then fill in the traced phrase with the masking fluid. Allow the masking fluid to dry until it feels only slightly tacky.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) Tape your paper down onto a flat surface like a clipboard or piece of wood to keep it flat while it dries and use a brush, cup of water, and watercolors to create splashes of color over and around the phrase. I find it works best to wet the area you want to color first with plain water. Then dip your brush in water again and pick up some color on the palette to transfer to the paper. I basically just chose a few colors that I liked together (that also make pretty colors when they mix with each other) and painted five splashy corners around the phrase in different colors.

Then, I let them mix together at some point in the middle. Add a more concentrated paint (use less water on your brush) to increase the color and use plain water on a brush to help two colors blend together where they meet up. It’s actually a pretty easy look to accomplish once you play around for a few minutes. Just work on blending the colors with more or less water and push and pull the color where you want it to go.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) Allow the watercolor to fully dry, and then rub the masking fluid near the beginning of the phrase to start to pull it away from the paper. It’s a lot like rubber cement glue, so just roll it into a little ball that you can pick up and start to pull on. It should pull up really easily and reveal a perfectly white phrase underneath. So cool! I did love the warm tone colors in the first one I tried above, but the yellow was a bit too light of a shade to really show the phrase once it was revealed. So I redid it again with some darker cool tones so the white would stand out more.

Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)
Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial)
Watercolor Phrase Wall Art DIY (click through for tutorial) I love the freeform watercolor look that surrounds the phrase, and I extra love that it’s so easy to create. This is a great project to do with a phrase or saying that’s special to you or as a gift for someone else too! I love things that are really customizable as far as color choice and size are concerned. This would be a great project to do on a really large scale as well for a big impact. The masking fluid is such a fun tool to play with, and I can’t wait to think of lots more projects to use it for soon! xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

  • So I just so happened to spot art masking fluid at Wal Mart, of all places! It’s $8 and it’s in the sectio with art supplies, paints, crafts. I’ve been itching to try this one out! Hope this helps!

  • This is a wonderful idea and artwork- thank you very much. I love watercolor painting!’

  • Love this! So pretty and simple. Going to have to try this out.

    Thanks for the step-by-step!

  • I did this, but what is the secret to 1) applying the masking fluid and 2) cleaning the brush? I had a terribly hard time getting the fluid on the paper (I used heavy watercolor paper). It didn’t go on smooth at all and once the brush got to a certain point it wouldn’t spread at all. I basically ruined 3 brushes. My fluid is thick. I used what you did, but it’s not liquidy at all. It’s more like a gel. Right now I have vaseline all over my brushes and I’m hoping that will take most of it off and then I’m told to use dish soap. My letters also have small areas where there was no gel so the paint got on. That I don’t mind because it’s small amounts but that gel is almost impossible to work with. Is there a kind that’s really like a liquid?

  • This looks like a fantastic little project! I’ll have to do some of my own artwork next time the kids get their paints out!


  • omg this is absolutely beautiful!!!! love watercolors


  • Is it me, or is this the most simple, fantastic idea for a quote! Deffo trying this 🙂

  • I’m going to try this using a white crayon first. If it does not work, I’ll go out and get the masking fluid. Thanks, looks like fun!

  • Laura, I love all the projects you do for ABM! They are always some of my faves and I’m always excited to try them! Thanks for being awesome 😉

  • Oh how gorgeous is this! Definitely something that would fit perfectly in my office space 🙂 I’ll give this a try very very soon x Ilia from www.iliascupoftea.com

  • Beautiful! This would make such a fabulous gift – you could even do sports teams and their colors!

    Warm Regards,

  • Good thought Courtney! Yes, expensive brushes should be babied and probably not for this sort of thing 🙂


  • Good to know! The brand I bought worked really well so I would recommend that one 🙂


  • Hmm, good question! I would try it on different materials and see if it works better on a stiffer canvas or something that’s been coated in some way. You just don’t want the liquid soaking into fabric rather than sitting on top of it, so it may depend on what the fabric actually is…

    Laura 🙂

  • Well, I haven’t used the wax technique myself, but I imagine that the wax areas would look, well, waxier than peeling off the fluid. Once you peel it off, it’s just the paper texture with nothing on top. Also, painting the fluid rather than drawing it on probably gives you a different line quality. Try both and see which you like better!

    Laura 🙂

  • Well, I definitely didn’t have any problem with that on mine, but try using a thicker paper like a watercolor paper or a canvas paper I don’t think you’ll have any trouble 🙂


  • Public service announcement!
    Super cute project! But in defense of nicer brushes, may I state that masking fluid should be used with a disposable/non-favorite brush? It helps to get the bristles damp with soapy water first too, and improves the flow of the mask. But I have ruined more than a few brushes with this stuff. Still, though, darling project!!

  • I love the look of watercolor, so this DIY is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    XO – Sarah

  • This is so pretty! I’m getting ideas ready to create a gallery wall when I move and I’m definitely bookmarking this! Love it!

    The White Corner Creative

  • Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! Thank you for inspiring the creativity in me. You guys are such an inspiration 🙂
    Grace, Faith, & Glitter

  • Watercolor will resist wax… which means you could use a white crayon to draw a phrase and then watercolor around it!

  • Watercolors always dry looking lighter in color then when they are wet. So go dark! It will look lighter when dry. Love this project so much. You don’t need a pricey piece of paper either. Beware: not all masking fluids peel off! I bought one once that was NOT removable so be sure to check the bottle.

  • This is so darn lovely. Would be perfect to personalize for a baby’s room! Brilliant idea!


  • That’s a really cool idea, I love the colours and I think that would work well in almost any room 🙂

  • i don’t know why i never thought of doing this. i have all the stuff lying around to try it and omg, so cute. must make a dozen lol

    xo, allie

  • So pretty! I’ve been meaning to try out art masking fluid for a while. Yet another reason to try it!

  • Need to try this! 🙂

    Check out my blog with drawings ar graphic art:

  • This is gorgeous! I want to make one for my son’s bedroom!


  • oh my goodness! this is such an amazing DIY! I am in the process of trying to redecorate my apartment and this would be perfect. I’m definitely going to try this one x

    It’s That Time For … My Autumn/Winter Nail Polish Picks! 

  • I love this DIY!! I’ll have to give it a try!

    – lauren schroer | graphic designer & blogger

  • This is very pretty. Love watercolor art. I think it might be a cool idea for a collage I’m making. Actually, it’s my vision board. Thanks for the inspiration!


    Laurali Star


  • Oh wow, this is amazing. While I don’t have all the supplies I think I can manage to substitute some. May be a weekend project for me.

  • Wow! I’ve seen these prints all over the Internet. I wanted to make one myself but thought it was super hard to do! Thanks for letting me know what the process is. I wil be trying this out myself! 🙂

  • Lovely project. Seeing as I use watercolours everyday, this shouldn’t be too hard to recreate! 🙂

  • Such a great idea! Could you use the masking fluid on canvas to do a similar project on a plain tote bag or something similar??



  • Neat! What’s the difference between using masking fluid and wax to preserve white spots in water color?

  • Ive tried doing this type of thing with a white crayon instead of the art masking fluid and it didn’t work out to well. I was really bummed, because I loved the look of it! So glad you posted it! Going to have to give it another go!

  • I love this idea – it’s super pretty and you can use it for pretty much anything.


  • Wow this is such a fantastic idea. I had no idea this is what masking fluid was for (which is a bit silly really as it’s kinda in the title)! I feel like if I tried this I’d become addicted to masking stuff just to pull off the fluid, it’s like pva on your hands.

    Brilliant – must try!


  • Beautiful project! I’ve heard that masking fluid can rip up the paper when you remove it. Do you have any tips to help with that?

    • It is very important you get hot press water color paper. Art masking fluid rips the top layer of cold press paper.

  • I love all the DIYs for how to show off photos and wall art, but I was wondering if you could do a post on how to showcase both without totally overwhelming your space?

  • This is so cool! It would be great for home decor or scrapbooking projects! I can’t wait to try it!


  • this came in perfect timing. I have been started to play with water colors and hand lettering. so I will definitely be giving this a go this weekend. thank you!

  • Really lovely project! I know this has nothing to do with it, but I gotta ask: what nail polish color are you wearing in the pictures? It’s the perfect pink! Sorry to be so random haha hope it’s ok to ask 🙂

  • OMG! I have all of these supplies just laying around I would love to try this out!

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