Watercolor Ground: Decorative Boxes


With our DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground you can paint on almost surface including cardboard and papers transforming them into watercolor paper like surfaces perfect for your watercolors! You can now make your own Decorative Watercolor Boxes to keep or give as gifts for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Birthdays, Halloween, Christmas or whatever occasion you like!

What you’ll need for this project:

Cardboard craft boxes or any box you might have at home
DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Ground
DANIEL SMITH Watercolors
Synthetic Ox Hair Round Brush #12
2 ½ “Hake Sheep Hair Brush (for applying the watercolor ground)
GOLDEN Archival Aerosol Varnish
Small dish or container

Steps for Applying Watercolor Ground 24 hours before painting with your watercolors

1. Spoon watercolor ground into small dish.
2. Using the Hake brush, paint the watercolor ground on to all surfaces of your box that you want to decorate with your watercolors.
3. Allow the watercolor ground to cure for 24 hours before painting your design with your watercolors.

Pink Heart Box
Painted with Rhodonite Genuine

  1. Heart shape was lightly drawn on the box cover with pencil
  2. Then outlined with Rhodonite Genuine in a strong wash
  3. Then the interior of the heart was painted in lighter washes of Rhodonite Genuine, keeping the lovely translucency of the watercolor
  4. On the top edge of the box lid, lightly dot small decorative dots of Rhodonite Genuine
  5. On the side edge of the box lid, paint a strong line of Rhodonite Genuine, along the top edge, then rinse out the brush to dissolve that edge and pull a lighter wash to the bottom edge
  6. The sides of the box itself was painted as a light wash of Rhodonite Genuine to highlight the delicate translucent pink

Golden Gourd Box
Painted with:
Quinacridone Gold
Quinacridone Burnt Orange
Quinacridone Rose
Serpentine Genuine Watercolor Stick

  1. Gourd was lightly sketched in with pencil
  2. Gourd was outlined with Quin Gold, then a wash of Quin Gold to fill in.
  3. Quin Rose was dropped into the Quin Gold wash in the upper left of the gourds’ body to give it a blush.
  4. Quin Burnt Orange was then added to give roundness to the gourd.
  5. Serpentine Genuine Watercolor Stick was then used to draw in the stem.
  6. Serpentine Genuine WC Stick was used to drawn in the curved shapes on the edge of the box lid.
  7. hen, where the marks met the edge, they were drawn downwards to add a striped decorative edge.
  8. Take the paint brush and rinse it with clean water, then apply it to the drawn Serpentine Genuine WC Stick marks, dissolving the marks slightly, making a wash of Serpentine Genuine and coloring in between the stripes. Also, take the brush and lightly draw it over the mark made for the stem to soften the line.
  9. For the sides of the box, mix Quin Gold with Quin Rose and paint the mix in a light wash for glowing color.

Lifted Leaf Box
Painted with Sap Green

  1. Apply a strong wash of Sap Green to the lid, keeping the lovely brush stroke patterns.
    Let sit for a minuet or two to slightly dry.
  2. Rinse your brush, and wipe on a clean paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Now draw out the center stem of the leaf in a slight “S” shape with the brush by lifting and removing some of the Sap Green pigment.
  4. Repeat for the ribs of the leaf by starting at where the leaf edge would be, and drawing towards the center stem for each rib working from the top of the leaf to the bottom of the leaf.
  5. Repeat as necessary to lift enough Sap Green pigment for the leaf shape to appear.
  6. For the sides of the box, paint Sap Green with strong vertical strokes, keeping the painterliness of the brush strokes and keep adding them until you cover the sides. Our watercolor ground is very durable so you can wipe or wash the pigment off the box and re-do the painting until you achieve the effect you like!

Protect your creations with an Archival Aerosol Varnish.