How to make Watercolour Collage Paper

Hi lovely Messians! It’s Essie again, here to share a video tutorial (ooh, faaaance!) of how I make watercolour collaging paper. I love to go through magazines to find interesting colours and patterns to collage with, but sometimes I need a specific effect, and that means making it myself. Here’s how I do it: 

So, as you can see it’s as simple as taking a piece of watercolour paper, taping it down with masking tape so that it doesn’t buckle, wetting it generously with water, and splashing it with dots of colour. The water does the rest. It’s like magic. As it dries, the colours continue to gently bleed into each other, and create softer and more subtle blends, and cloudier shapes. The effect is really quite mesmerising.


I love using black and blue, but magenta and yellow make a great combination, as do green and blue, and purple and red. You can also just use single colours, and watch the different saturation levels dance around on the page as the pigment interacts with the water.


I’ll often make several sheets of this at once (you can see how quick it is), so that I have loads to use at a time. That way I’m not stuck waiting for it to dry when I want to be cutting and pasting. When you’re ready to start collaging, you’ll find that there are natural shapes that you’ll want to cut around. They often make me think of geodes, cells, solar systems, or galaxies the way they fan out with their sometimes toothed edges, sometimes swirling arms. Follow your instincts, and cut the way the pattern wants you to.


And here’s my final art journal page, using the sheet I made in the video:



Essie is basically a Unicorn. She has healing powers, magical properties, and she refuses to be handled by men.


  1. Melody Willoughby

    I love the technique and your page. But I really want to know is the music artist?

    • Essie O'Rourke-deGraaf

      I should have credited her! How careless of me! The artist is Ruth Notman (one of my favourite young folk musicians), and the song is called ‘The Hedger and Ditcher’ 🙂

  2. Ashton Navarro

    Love the tutorial! I’m off to try this immediately!

    • Essie O'Rourke-deGraaf

      Yay! Can’t wait to seeeeee! 😀

  3. Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

    love that page!

    • Essie O'Rourke-deGraaf

      love YOU!

  4. Emily@squiggleandswirl

    Yay a great tutorial for me to try this weekend. Thanks Essie, you are totally fancy 🙂

  5. Holly Janssen

    This page is WONDERFUL!!! I adore everything about it. Thank you for the tutorial. I am going to try it this week!

  6. Gina Nieto

    Love it, thank you for sharing. Going to try it tomorrow. Just bought some new watercolors!

  7. Romana

    Watercolour is amazing! I love the quote on your jounal page for this, I totally relate.

  8. Laura Sullivan

    Love this, definitely going to give it a try!

  9. francine

    What an inspiration and how perfectly the music encourages md to let out the wild energy out in an explosion of color and shape