Watercolor bookmark gifts

bookmarks-5Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and readers.

It’s a beautiful, snowy day here in Colorado. I’m enjoying a quiet moment watching big, fluffy snow flakes drift down before heading off to share the holiday with my family, with whom I have not spent this holiday in many years while I was living in Hawaii. My job at a newspaper at the time made travel pretty much impossible during this busy advertising month. But because of that inability to travel state-side, I was able to form many wonderful memories with my Hawaii “ohana” (family) during this day of gratitude.

I figure what a perfect day to share what I’m going to be sending some of those friends for Christmas this year.

You’d think, as a creative-type person, I would be doing hand-made Christmas cards.

I thought about doing it many times over the last few months, but decided against it, ultimately. Perhaps next year.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to still send my friends something special.

I decided it would be neat to send beautiful hand-painted and lettered bookmarks as small gifts. They’re light, mail easily and can be used indefinitely, instead of chucked out in the trash or stuffed into a box like a Christmas card would be, after the holidays are over. (Speaking personally, I’m a Christmas card hoarder. I keep those babies! But I need to start acquiring new ones as I had to regrettably depart with all my old ones when I moved from Hawaii. I’m looking forward to getting new ones that I can use for future art journaling projects.)

As you may know, I have an affinity for watercolor and full-spectrum use of colors, so that’s what I went with.


bookmarks-2For these I used a large sheet of Strathmore Bristol paper (11″x14″, 100 lb.) I painted the front with a gorgeous rainbow wash of watercolors, then when that dried I flipped it over and painted the back with acrylics in complimentary colors that would appear on the back-side of the bookmarks. The acrylics also add an additional layer of stiffness to the paper.


bookmarks-4I used my Fiskars 12″ folding rotary paper trimmer to quickly cut out 1 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ bookmarks. The paper yielded  16 bookmarks in total.

Using my trusty Uni-Ball Signo white pen, I hand-lettered sentiments that evoked harmony in my mind: “Peace”, “Gratitude”, “Joy” and “Serenity.” On some of the bookmarks that had a lighter background, I used Prismacolor Premier colored pencils to add a subtle drop-shadow behind the words to help them pop off the page.

The last step was to give the edges a more finished look by marking down the two long sides of the bookmarks with matching colors in my BIC Mark-It markers. I used a ruler to keep the edges straight.

bookmarks-7I’ve been filling out Christmas cards the last few days and have been happily inserting these bookmarks into some of my cards.

I’m eager to send these out and hear what my friends think. I love the idea of their tucking these bookmarks away into their favorite books and thinking about our friendship when they see the bookmark.

If you’re looking for a way to send a large group of friends something hand-made but easy and quick to produce, I suggest trying this out. If you do, let me know how it goes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May your day be filled with gratitude, laughter and love with your family and friends.

Please leave a comment below or like the page and share with your friends. :) Thanks for reading!

List of materials:

Contains affiliate links. See disclosure for more info.

Strathmore Bristol paper
Grumbacher Academy Watercolors
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors
Artist’s Loft Acrylic Paints
Prismacolor Premier colored pencils
Uni-Ball Signo pen
BIC Mark-It Markers
Fiskars 12″ folding rotary paper trimmer

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