Painting with Watercolors - Peony Flowers

Summer is here and I’m in the mood for some summer flowers.  Instead of gardening – I’m going to teach you how to paint watercolor peonies!

How to Paint Watercolor Peony Flowers

How to Paint Watercolor Peonies

I love painting with watercolors because it’s so forgiving. The watercolor artwork is not supposed to be super perfect – it’s those little imperfections that give your piece so much character!

Today, I thought it would be fun to give you a little lesson in painting watercolor flowers, like some easy peonies. It’s really a step-by-step process and I’m breaking it all down to show you how simple this really is.

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers

You definitely get better at painting with watercolors the more you do it. In just one session, you will be amazed at how much you have improved and you won’t believe that you can paint this good!

Painting watercolor peonies is great way to keep your mind active and positive in these unprecedented times. All you will need are some watercolors, brushes and watercolor paper. I ordered everything off Amazon so no need to leave the house.

(Here’s a little secret though – you can even use printer paper if you’re just starting out! It may ripple a little, but don’t worry about it!)

This is a great activity for the kiddos too – so tell them to follow along and let’s dive right in!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I ordered this set of brushes and paints and it’s been the best thing ever! The brush quality is good and the watercolors are vibrant. If you are serious about watercolors, you will want to purchase the watercolor paper eventually – it’s thicker and slightly textured and your artwork will look really good on it.

Instructions:

We are going to make beautiful watercolor peonies. I will show you the colors I used, but once you get the hang of it, you can use whatever colors you want! The steps are the same.

Step 1: Create the center of the peony

Paint the center of the flower first

Using a medium-sized brush to dip into a light, watery peachy pink color. With your brush, create a circular backward “C” shape on the paper – it doesn’t have to be perfect! In fact, it shouldn’t be. Keep this part light and airy. This is going to form the center of our open peony flower.

Rinse your brush in the water and wipe it on the paper towel.

Step 2: Create the petals surrounding the center

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers

Now grab a darker pink color with the same brush and form little curve shapes all around the “C” shape we created in step 1. These shapes should be rounded, like little smiles, and different in size. You are basically enclosing the center you created with these ‘smiles’. Some of the shapes should go out – like petals opening up.

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers

To give the flower more dimension, paint one petal in the front that’s more rounded in shape. It looks like it’s facing you. You can also add two smaller frown shapes in the back of the center to give the illusion of more petals in the back.

Step 3: Add the stamen

To finish, take a very small watercolor brush and a black or brown color and paint some small dots in the center. Then add a few thin lines coming down from these dots to represent the stamens. This final step will really help your flower come alive!

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers

All you need to do at this point is add a light green line down from the flower as your stem. Leaves are optional but are simple to paint. Create a few strokes of green with a medium-sized brush under your flower.

Once you get the hang of it, just changing the shape of the center can create a whole new flower look!

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers

And that’s it! Aren’t these watercolor peonies so beautiful?

A set of watercolor peony flowers

Paint a whole page of these beautiful flowers and frame it after they dry. I could sit here and paint all day – the time passes so quickly when I’m watercolor painting. I love these activities that help your mind focus, because I always feel so refreshed afterward!

A set of watercolor peony flowers

If you guys like this tutorial, I’d happily create more watercolor flower how-tos in the future, just let me know in the comments below.

Thanks so much for reading, see you next month!

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See More of Karen’s Tutorials ~


karen from decor hintHello!  I’m Karen, the creator of the Home Decor and DIY Blog: Decor Hint. I’m a Native of the East Coast, but I currently live in beautiful Seattle with my hubby, our two wonderful children, and our spunky wheaten terrier.

You can usually find me with some sort of craft in one hand and a coffee in the other. And I’m always rearranging furniture or moving lamps from room to room. I have a passion (read: obsession) for decorating, DIY, and gardening. In short, I love making my house into a home.

Like many, I’m inspired by what I see in home decor magazines, but I’m not so inspired by the price tags.  Consequently, I love finding and creating beautiful budget-friendly home decor items. In a head to head competition, I bet you’d never know the difference between the designer items and my DIY creations!  Many of my DIY projects focus on sewing, crafting, upcycling and organizing. Some of my favorite projects have been making pretty wreaths, sewing my own tassel hand towels, and crafting these trendy wood bead garlands. I can’t wait to inspire you and spark your creativity through my DIY projects.

You can always connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

If the birds are out in your area, chances are they are looking for a place to nest. Try your hand at doodle-painting a cute little birdhouse to help them start a family. Who knows, they may be lurking in your yard like a depressed House Hunter’s couple who can’t get past the color on your neighbor’s birdhouse. Check out this cute Doodle-Painted Birdhouse.

Doodle Painted Birdhouse

Doodle-Painted Birdhouse

Have you lost your mind Brittany? This looks like a Christmas tutorial in May? No, I haven’t lost my mind and yes, this is May (for those of us who have lost track of the days. But, this is the perfect project for anyone who has a simple birdhouse that needs sprucing up for those discerning House Hunter birds.

Although I created this little painted birdhouse to function as a tree topper, you can forgo drilling a hole in the bottom and add a hook to have a fully functional birdhouse for those bird watchers in your home.

This is a project you can do for fun or meditation. And kids can also get in the fun. All you need is some acrylic paint and a paint pen and you can have a blast making this Doodle-Painted Birdhouse for yourself or as a gift.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional:

 

Instructions:

Spray prime the unfinished birdhouse and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Sketch a star shape on the sides of the birdhouse. Mark the location where you wish to drill holes. (If you are using this for an outdoor birdhouse, it’s nice to have a little ventilation for the house. But, feel free to skip this step if you wish.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

If your birdhouse is a double-decker, you will probably want to drill holes through the sides at angle and down into the first floor roof. This will allow some of the light to come through the top story holes as well.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

For Tree Topper Only:

Mark the center location on the bottom and drill a 5/8″ hole through the bottom of the birdhouse. (Skip this step if you want a functional birdhouse.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Dump any wood shavings out of the birdhouse. Set up the birdhouse on the drop cloth for painting.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the sides of the birdhouse red (or any color you like.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the roof, steeple, and perches gold. Add a star and tree shape on the sides to accentuate the drilled hole patterns.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

After the gold and red paint has dried completely, use the white paint pen to doodle-paint all over the birdhouse.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Afraid to Doodle-Paint?

Nonsense, there is no rhyme or reason to the doodling, just make lots of little curly q’s, c’s, and loops. You can start by outlining the window structures. Then embellish them. Regardless of your doodle-painting style, it’s important to have fun!

You can see how I used the same technique on the chalkboard ornaments on my Feathered Nest Christmas Tree and they came out really cute.

Doodle Chalkboard Ornament | Pretty Handy Girl

When the paint pen lines have dried, add a few coats of an outdoor sealant.

Birdhouse Tree Topper:

You can use it as a tree topper by feeding the top branch(es) into the hole on the bottom of the birdhouse.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Outdoor Birdhouse:

Add the screw eye hook and hang the birdhouse from a tree in your yard.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Décor Birdhouse:

If you simply want to display your birdhouse as décor, set a little battery-powered light inside the hole in the bottom and enjoy a homey birdhouse on a shelf.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to decorate your birdhouse more? You can see how I created this little Christmas painted birdhouse and embellished the roof.

Christmas Wreath handpainted birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Doodle-painted birdhouses are adorable gifts and very frugal. Make it May is almost over, but stay tuned for one more project!

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How to Make a Painted Bird House Tree Topper | Pretty Handy Girl

thumbprint pillow tutorial

Envelope pillows are the easiest pillow covers to sew. Combine a beautiful pillow with a personalized thumbprint design and you have a great gift idea for parents or grandparents!

How to Make Thumbprint Design Pillows

How to Make Thumbprint Design Envelope Pillows

Hello, it’s Cristina from Remodelando la Casa once again happy to share an easy and fun project where kids are more than welcome to give a helping “thumb” 🙂

Thumbprint starfish pillow2 with tag

Envelope pillows are the easiest pillow covers I’ve sewn and let me tell you, my sewing skills are not that good.  A fabric rectangle is folded to create an “envelope”, four simple straight lines to sew and your cover is done! No zippers, no Velcro, the envelope holds the pillow really well.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

*Pre-wash and iron the fabric

Instructions:

For a 17″ x 17″ pillow insert, use the following dimensions.

Envelope pillow 17x17

Once the fabric is cut to size (18″x 40″), hem the left and right edges.  (Fold  in ½”  twice, as seen in the picture below.  Iron it flat and hem.)  Do the same on the other side.

envelope pillow side hems

To create the opening on the back, fold the left side over and iron.

Envelo pillow first fold

Do the same on the other side.  These folded lines are a good visual point to help you center the design on the front face of the pillow later on.

envelope pillow second fold

Before sewing across the top and bottom of the cover, let’s work on the design (the fun part!)  Print the starfish and seahorse silhouettes. (for these pillows print at 120%.)

starfish and seahorse silhouttes

Place each design on top of a big piece of contact paper, tape it in place.

starfish profile

Using the x-acto knife, cut through the printout and the contact paper following the outline of the silhouette.

cutting starfish profile out

After cutting, peel off the outer piece of contact paper and center the design on your pillow cover.  Press the contact paper firmly all around the design to prevent paint from seeping through.

contact paper silhouete on fabric

Now it’s time to call all those little artists and give them each a set of fabric paint.

kids thumbpainting

The thumb-printing / painting can begin…

thumb painting

…until the shapes are filled.

thumbprint starfish and seahorse

Let it dry according to the paint manufacturer’s instructions.  After the paint dries you can sew across the top and bottom, making sure the designs are on the inside.

sawing across envelope pillowIf desired, wash and iron the pillow covers. Insert your pillow form.

Thumbprint seahorse pillow front and back

Place it on your favorite chair and enjoy!

Thumbprint starfish pillow1

Our pillows are a present for a special person close to our hearts.

Thumbprint pillows with tag-2

Of course, the artists had to sign it, or thumbprint it! Well, we did both!

Thumbprint pillows with tag

Are you ready to give the thumb printing a try?  Kids love it!  Hint, hint… this could be a nice project for Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day).

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  ~ Learn more about Cristina ~

Many of us have been staring at the same walls and doors in our homes for many years (or maybe many decades.) If you’ve wanted to give your home an update, painting a door is a quick and easy way to do just that. Today I’ll to show you how to paint doors (the professional way) so they look amazing for years (or decades) to come.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Paint Doors (The Professional Way)

So you want to paint like a pro? Well, sit back and let me give you some tips and a tutorial for painting a door. This tutorial pertains to any paneled door (interior or exterior).

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Our doors are all the six panel type. If you have flat (non-panel) versions, you can skip this post and come back later. For the rest of us, get out your paper and pencils and take some notes (does anyone do this anymore?)

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

optional: Painting Pyramids

How to Test for Latex or Oil Paint?

To determine if you need to prime your door you need to assess if your door was painted with latex or oil paint first. To test the paint, rub a small spot with rubbing alcohol (or ammonia) and if the paint comes off it is latex. If not, it’s oil paint.

How Do I Know if My Door Has Lead Paint:

You can easily test your door (or any paint) for the presence of lead by using a lead test swab. I go into more detail about lead paint in this tutorial.

How to Easily Test for Lead Paint

But, the short of it is, if you have lead paint, you must be very careful when sanding it. Cover the area with disposable plastic. Use a wet sanding block (never use a power sander). Wear a respirator and be sure to clean everything with disposable wet wipes.)

When Do You Have to Prime?

As we determined above, if your door was painted with oil-based paint (and you want to use latex paint) you will need to prime. But, here are a few more reasons you need to prime your door first:

  • Bare wood or stained wood doors.
  • Dark painted doors you wish to paint lighter (or vice versa), you want to use a tinted-primer to cut down on coats.
  • If the door was painted with oil and you want to use latex paint. If you are painting over latex with latex (or oil over oil) and the previous paint job is in good shape you can skip the primer. (This was the case with my door, so I didn’t prime it.)
  • The paint is chipping. First, scrape or sand any flakes and then prime. (Important: Check for Lead Paint First.)
  • Lead paint (whether in good shape or not), you will need to prime.

Should I Remove or Paint a Hung Door?

The easiest way to paint a door is to remove the door, then remove the knobs and latch. Then you can lay it horizontally on sawhorses. Painting a door on sawhorses eliminates potential drips and is easier on your back. But, removing the door can also be a pain, especially if it’s a large solid wood door. I’ve painted plenty of doors without removing them, and they look great. It comes down to personal preference.

Preparation:

Whether you are removing the door or painting it in place, be sure to cover the area underneath with a drop cloth, newspapers, or flattened cardboard boxes (my favorite for hung doors because it gives some cushion when you are kneeling on the floor.

Lightly sand the entire door. No need to bust out the power sander, you can use a sanding block or sheet of sand paper. Be sure to sand down any bumps or blemishes. The main goal is to give your door a little “tooth” for the new paint or primer to adhere to. Wipe off the door with a damp rag to remove any sawdust.

Instructions for How to Paint Doors the Professional Way.

Step 1: Paint the interior panels first as shown in the graphic below.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional instructions

Using a small roller to paint doors can greatly speed the process. Begin by rolling paint on the flat panels. Work quickly by rolling on the paint, then use a brush to smooth out the paint and fill in the detailed areas around the flat panel.

This is one of the most important tips for getting a professional look:

Follow the grain direction when brushing on the paint

If you follow the grain and the direction of the arrows in the graphic above, you will maintain the look of the door construction. Original wood doors are made with several pieces and the wood grain changes direction. Even if you have cheap hollow core doors, you can fake the look of a quality door by following the grain pattern.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional Panels

In other words: NEVER run your brush strokes perpendicular to the wood grain. This does NOT look professional.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 2: Next, roll the inside center vertical piece. Start by rolling the paint on in an up and down direction.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Then drag your brush up and down vertically with the wood grain (see arrows in the above diagram.)

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 3: Next paint the horizontal cross pieces in the middle of the door.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Keep your brush strokes horizontal (with the grain) and cross over the tall vertical center.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 4: Paint the door border. Pay attention to the direction of the wood grain for this last step. The grain on the two sides should go vertically from top to bottom.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

There are header and footer panels sandwiched between the left and right sides. These “sandwiched” pieces should be painted by dragging your brush horizontally (see diagram above.)

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 5: The last step is to paint the edges of the door. (Do Not paint the hinges…that’s not very professional either!) If your hinges or doorknobs were painted previously you can follow this tutorial with four ways to remove paint from metal hinges.

4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges (& more) | Pretty Handy Girl

Roll paint onto the edges then smooth them with the paintbrush. Be on the lookout for drips or puddles of paint. Go back and check the face of your door for drips now before the paint cures.

Let your door dry (30 minutes – 1 hour), then follow up with a second coat of paint. When you are done let the doors dry for 2+ hours before flipping to paint the other side. I have found that it helps to put pieces of cardboard or rags under the door so the paint doesn’t stick to the sawhorses. But you can also buy Painting Pyraminds which elevate the door and hold it on tiny points.

Ready to perfect more of your painting skills? Check out the Paint Week series with 5 Lessons to Perfect Your Painting Skills:

Paint Week - 5 Lessons to Perfect Your Painting Skills

And if you really want to paint your front door but can’t decide on a color, you’ll love this collection of Bold Colored Front Doors!

Bright and Bold Colorful Front Doors

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Look around your house or the next time you’re at a thrift shop. Find either an unpainted tray or a tray that needs a makeover. This is a quick project to create a Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining for a beautiful and elegant tray to display or organize things in your home.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining

Today I have a really adorable and easy DIY idea for you! Scrapbook paper-lined and painted trays. These trays are so versatile, they can be used in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere you want to corral items or have a flat surface available. They also make a great gift if you want to load them up with some smaller gift items. But best of all, you can change their look in a snap.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

As I mentioned above unfinished trays can be purchased at many places. If you want a new one, look at your local craft supply store or order one online on Amazon for cheap.

You’ll also want some decorative scrapbook paper, gift wrap, or fabric to line the bottom of your tray.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Instructions:

Lightly sand and wipe off tray with a damp rag.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Prime tray (if using non-chalk paint.) Paint tray desired color. For this tray, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

After the paint has dried, brush antiquing wax onto your tray if desired. Buff off excess with a dry rag.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut scrapbook paper to fit inside the tray. When overlapping paper, make sure to line up the repeating pattern.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

For the best durability, line the tray with a piece of glass or plexiglass cut to fit inside the tray. (Ask your local home improvement store to cut or order online.) If you want it to be permanent, seal the edges of the glass with clear silicone.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

The paper you use to line the tray doesn’t have to necessarily be scrapbook paper. I got this paper from Ballard Designs. It’s actually cheese paper, but I loved the design. It doesn’t quite match up, so I just rotated the paper.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

When you put something on top of the tray, you hardly notice the seam.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

The nifty thing about these trays is the decorative paper can be swapped out when you bore of the design. (Unless, you seal the edges.)

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Once again, I’m loving this idea too much…I might be keeping this one for myself ;-).

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Do tell me if you love this idea or have any unique ideas for lining the bottom.

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DIY Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining | Pretty Handy Girl