I hate buying greeting cards in Italy. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s because I live in rural Tuscany, but I can only get my hands on the ugliest, tackiest and most hideous greeting cards. Case in point: my husband’s last Valentine’s Day card had a cartoon dog on the front with love hearts instead of eyes. Like I said, tacky. I also have a fierce addiction to English greeting cards. I feel like giving people English greeting cards is more ‘me’. I’m that weird godmother/wife/daughter-in-law who writes all her cards in English and I want my greetings cards to also be in English, preferably without the spelling mistakes I always see on commercial cards.
With Easter around the corner, I decided to make my own. Anyone who has ever attempted DIY in Italy, knows it’s not as easy as going to your local crafts store back home. In Australia, we call it Spotlight. I’ve been forced to get creative and my husband says I’m a ‘furia d’idea’ (in other words, a volcano of ideas). So this year I came up with a really beautiful stationary idea that’s cheap, easy and completely doable with the meagre bits and pieces you can find in your local supermarket or discount store.
- a super cheap watercolour set
- card stock. I bought Fabriano’s A4 Disegno paper, 200 gsm, 24×33 cm, ruvido block of paper for about €3
I started by making the gift tags. I tried my hand at homemade chocolate Easter eggs this year and I wanted something really pretty to tie on them along with the ribbon. So I cut a sheet into roughly 5cm strips. You can make them wider or thinner depending on your preference. Then I sketched an oval shaped egg and a few horizontal bands. The pencil rubs off really easily and even fades the watercolour paint a bit for a really pretty effect.
I decided to paint my eggs all one colour. Be careful not to wet the brush too much before you dip it in the paint as it will become too watery and your colour will be too light. Don’t worry if the bands aren’t evenly coloured. Part of the charm of watercolour is to have an ombre effect. I decided to keep it simple by just writing happy easter above the egg. I was originally going to use a felt tipped pen, but I like the washed-out look of a simple black pencil. You can keep the egg’s outline or rub it out once the paint has dried like I did. Or you can trace around the pencil in really thin black watercolour or felt tipped pen. Wait until after you’ve written your final message to cut the gift tags to size and punch a small hole. I plan on tying these to my wrapped eggs with brown cooking twine to keep with the homemade effect.
I loved the final look so much, I decided to make a greeting card for my husband and parents-in-law too. I simply folded an A4 sheet of drawing paper in half, cut it and folded each piece in half for an A5 card. This time I used cursive and watercolour for the happy easter message. If you want, you can make your own envelopes to finish the look. It’s as simple as cutting, folding and gluing a plain sheet of A4 printing paper.
I started this project as just a weekend time filler, but I think they turned out great. They would make gorgeous name tags for your Easter lunch or a simple weekend brunch. You could even handwrite menus and thank you notes. As you can tell, I’ve become a little obsessed with the endless possibilities of watercolours!
Hope you love my little project and Happy Easter!