Here's a run down of the steps we took to make the cards, hope you enjoy reading about the ups and downs of this project!
1) We measured out a long piece of paper that would serve as our canvas and taped it down to our table. We used a thicker paper so that it would withstand watercolor.
2) I placed a blue watercolor in a bottle with water and shook it up to my desired shade, I slowly poured it all over the large sheet of paper following along with my free hand to smear the watercolor as far as I could and making sure I moved in a horizontal direction so as to mimic wind.
3) I loosely sketched out where mountains would go and started outlining them with a dark green watercolor. I used a stiff bristled fan brush for the trees, which is a really easy technique to use. I ended up with extra green watercolor so I poured it slowly toward the bottom of the paper and pushed it around with the fan brush until it was all used up. I went back with a white acrylic and painted the peaks of the mountains and added some stars and streaks for wind. I then diluted my white acrylic and used my fan brush to splatter more white onto the painting, this gave it the effect of snow falling.
4) I let it dry completely then decided the painting looked washed out so I mixed water and a darker blue watercolor and did the same thing as step 2. The darker areas of blue seen on the painting are there because I left those areas very damp with pools of dark blue water and let it dry overnight.
5) We added the huge words HAPPY HOLIDAYS. This was originally supposed to be a cursive, flowy font that would've been painted on, but due to time constraints we eyeballed it and went with a block type of font, which I painted gold to stick with the theme. I think I lost some of the whimsical effect I was going for because of the bulky lettering, but still turned out fine once we cut them all up.
6) We drew grid lines for cutting on the backside of the painting, making sure we had at least the 60 squares we needed for our list - we ended up with about 90 (and will be selling our extras on Etsy later this year)! We laid out a large cutting board and cut everything out using exact-o knives and rulers.
7) We setup our screen printing frames and inked each of the cut outs with a white HAPPY HOLIDAYS. There are tons of how to's on screen printing on Youtube. This is a time consuming step, so other alternatives would be to printing you message with your inkjet printer (safest method, I think) or leave the art as is.
8) We then cut out slightly larger squares out of a kraft paper to create the border around the artwork. We had to take this extra step because the artwork was smaller than the card and I left it left too much of a white border. Adding the kraft paper border broke up some of the white space.
9) We created all the card text in photoshop and with some trial and error were able to print on the front, inside and back of each card. I decided the art would go on the top inside of the card so that it could be displayed more easily (see All Done! photo below). I thought this method would also help protect the art from the wear and tear of sliding it into or out of the envelope.
10) At this stage we had everything lined up on our table - Art squares, Kraft squares, printed cards and envelopes stacked next to each other and ready for assembly. We glued the art onto the kraft paper first, then glued the kraft paper with art onto the card.
Things I'd do next year...not short cut with block lettering (unless it fits the theme) and start prepping earlier so as to not have to short cut!