How to Use Gelatos for a Splash of Color on Handmade Cards

decorated butterfly card

In cardmaking, there are a few ways to get gorgeous backgrounds. Some common options: painting with watercolors, blending ink and using gelatos.

Gelatos are creamy sticks of acid-free, odorless, water-soluble pigment color. They blend beautifully wet or dry, can be used with stamps or stencils, and can be mixed with just about any other medium (such as modeling paste or gesso). No matter which of the below techniques you use, gelatos are a go-to for any paper crafter — and are sure to help you churn out a beautiful design.

Ombré Card With Gelatos

Level: Easy

In this method, you apply the gelatos to your card before mixing them together with water.

What You Need

  • Gelatos (we used Faber Castell Guava, Metallic Melon and Red Cherry)
  • Cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Paper towel
  • Paint brush
  • Instructions

    1. Apply the Gelatos

    gelatos on a card

    Add the Guava, Metallic Melon and Red Cherry gelatos to a piece of cardstock in that order. Each color should slightly overlap its neighbor.

    2. Add Water

    brushing gelatos on a card

    Dip a brush into water and apply it over the Guava gelato. Continue to brush and add water as needed to break down the pigment and evenly spread the color.

    Pro Tip: Lighter-weight cardstock will begin to fall apart or “ball” if too much water is applied, so cautiously add water as needed.

    3. Blend

    blending gelatos on a card

    Add water to the center Metallic Melon color, just as you did with the Guava. Once the pigment is broken down and evenly spread, clean your brush on a paper towel. Dip the brush back into water and blend the Metallic Melon into the Guava seamlessly.

    4. Repeat

    pink ombre card

    Repeat step 3 with the Red Cherry gelato.

    5. Finish

    decorated butterfly card

    Allow the cardstock to dry completely, then embellish as desired.


    Color Wash With Gelatos

    Level: Easy

    color wash gelato card

    In this method, mix the gelato and water before adding it to the cardstock to create a smooth, painted effect.

    What You Need

  • Gelato (we used Faber Castell Cotton Candy)
  • Palette knife
  • Cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Paint brush
  • Craft sheet or paint palette
  • Stencil
  • Embossing paste
  • Removable tape
  • Instructions

    1. Mix

    mixing gelatos

    Scribble Cotton Candy gelato onto a craft sheet or palette. Using a brush, add water to the gelato and mix to break down the pigment.

    2. Brush

    Brush the color across the cardstock, leaving edges white for a watercolor-like appearance. Additional color can be added if desired. (Do so in the same manner described in step 1.)

    3. Tape a Stencil

    stenciling with gelatos

    Using removable tape, secure card stock to your work surface. Cover any extra open areas of the stencil and tape it into position over the card stock.

    4. Tint the Embossing Paste

    Use your palette knife to shave a few pieces of gelato onto your craft sheet. Scoop a small amount of embossing paste from the container and mix it into your gelato shavings. The pigment will dissolve with mixing, or you can leave the small particles undissolved as we did.

    Pro Tip: Recap the embossing paste as fast as possible. It dries out very quickly.

    5. Emboss

    Spread the tinted embossing paste over the open areas of the stencil. Carefully lift the stencil from the cardstock and let your paste dry.

    Pro Tip: Wipe the stencil and palette knife right away, or place them into a bowl of water for later cleaning. You don’t want the paste to dry on them.

    6. Finish

    color wash gelato card

    Once tinted butterfly is dry, additional paste images may be added. Embellish the card however you want.

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