Swedish Dala Horse Watercolor Christmas Card for Beginners
Nothing says “I care” like a piece of hand painted artwork. And it is so easy to make something special that can be ready in time for the holidays. Watercolor is such a great medium because it’s so versatile and dries quickly making it easy to get a whole stack of cards done in less than an hour. Beginners of all ages find success with this watercolor dala horse tutorial. This is one of eight patterns I’ve made this year for YOU! All of the patterns are available in the Resource Library. If you don’t already have a password, you can sign up HERE to get yours and then get started right away!
If you don’t have time to do a watercolor project right now (I get it) and just want to print out my finished cards for your own use, you can find them HERE.
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Light the World
Our family has had the privilege of participating in Light the World for a few years now. I love how it helps to bring the true meaning of Christmas back into focus for all of us each day. This year I made a special advent calendar for the kids to help us remember the true meaning of the season. Now I’m sharing some card patterns (and free printables if you don’t have time) to help spread His light in your community and family. If you haven’t heard of Light the World, you can check it out here.
I designed this project with the busy mama/grandma in mind so I hope it will bring you lots of enjoyment and fun. In fact, it’s the perfect project to invite the kids to join you!
Paint with Me
Notice I said paint and not draw? I’m taking the drawing part out of the equation (and I have many more of these types of projects planned for you!). Let’s not get caught up on the drawing part yet (unless of course, you want to). Just enjoy the watercolor painting process. You will learn so much as you just experiment without the pressure to draw the perfect picture. One skill at a time, I say.
If you’d like to learn the basics of watercolor in a simple way, and fast- I’d like to invite you to join us at Lily & Thistle Watercolor School. It’s an online membership designed to help you become a more confident artist quickly. You can check it out here. Or just click on the photo below.
Now let’s paint this watercolor Dala horse!
- Winsor Newton 12 pan watercolor set (or whatever you have on hand)
- Paintbrush (you can use the brush included in your watercolor set but I recommend getting at least one or two quality brushes. Look for a round brush size 0-5. This set has some great options and I always use this handy set both in nature journaling and in the studio)
- 140lb Watercolor Paper (this is my favorite for these kinds of projects and if you cut it in half you can get two cards from one page)
- Black Non-bleed pen (my favorite)
- Printable Pattern (found in the Resource Library)
- Window, iPad or Lightboard (see below)
- Pencil (I prefer to use a blue pencil but any pencil will do)
For this project, I am using a traditional Christmas color range. Below are the colors I used (I circled them). Don’t worry if you don’t have Winsor & Newton brand of paints (although if you are in the market for inexpensive but high-quality paints I wholeheartedly recommend this set), most watercolor colors have the same name across brands so just look for the names in whatever you have. If you are using a pan that doesn’t have names, just try to get close to these colors as you paint. Just keep your color palette limited and it will turn out great!
Note: For a nice traditional Christmas red I used a mixture of 1/4 cadmium red with 3/4 alizarin crimson (not an exact science, just mix until you get a color you are happy with). For the blue, I add A LOT of water to make it very light. Perfect for snow and skies.
1. Print Out Your Pattern
If you are already a member of the Lily and Thistle tribe, you can access the pattern in the Resource Library with your password (found in every email I send to you) HERE. If you aren’t a member of our creative community, you can sign up and grab your password HERE.
2. Trace Your Card
There are so many ways to trace your pattern. You can use graphite paper, a window, an iPad or you can even purchase an inexpensive light board. I did a post all about tracing HERE.
Just remember not to push down too hard when tracing. You want your lines to be visible enough to guide you as you are painting but not so dark that they distract from your watercolor.
Watercolor is such a forgiving and fun way to get into painting. Just pretend you are coloring in a coloring book but with paint instead! Remember more water equals lighter, pastel-like colors, less water equals darker, more vibrant colors. Just have fun and don’t overthink it.
You can follow the steps below or you can watch the full video tutorial.
Here I am just basically coloring in the lines. I’m not too concerned with covering everything perfectly. Some parts will be lighter than others and that’s great! Don’t overthink it.
Now I’m just bringing in some other colors. I’m using a number 3 round brush here by-the-way.
Now, I’m creating a bit of shadow using a reeeeally light wash of ultramarine blue. This just gives it some depth.
Just filling in the lettering with red.
Now I’m just outlining the outside of the horse with a thin black pen. This helps define the horse.
And you’re done!
4. Give to Someone You Cherish
Now go and give someone you cherish a bit of JOY! I hope this will be a fun little project and provide many happy memories. Please let me know if you have any questions. I am so happy to help.
P.S. If you’d like to learn the basics of watercolor in a simple way, and fast- I’d like to invite you to join us at Lily & Thistle Watercolor School. It’s an online membership designed to help you become a more confident artist quickly. You can check it out here. Or just click on the photo below. It makes a great gift too!