Watercolour on Yupo

Wait – watercolour on Yupo? Isn’t watercolour supposed to be on watercolour paper? And alcohol ink on Yupo? Yes – that’s USUALLY how it goes! But – you can also use watercolour on Yupo! Of course the technique is a bit different, and the result is different. Can you guess why?


If you’ve used watercolour paper before, then you know how it’s made to be porous, to soak up the water and paints. On the other hand, Yupo is the exact opposite. It’s a non-porous substrate, made specifically to NOT absorb the paint or ink used on it. So the difference in technique is that you use very little water, and very ‘thick’ paint. I still use my Daniel Smith watercolour paints, but when I apply it to the Yupo, I want it to be a much thicker consistency than usual.  The difference in the result is a much brighter colour, without having to add as many layers.


This was my first time using watercolour paints on Yupo, and it is a bit of a learning curve! It’s also fun! The reference is from on online class from Sandy Sandy of Learn Love Create. Right now she’s doing a series of poppy classes. My project from the first class is shared in THIS POST. It’s done in watercolours as well, but on watercolour paper.  This image of a poppy bloom on Yupo is from the second class.

Watercolour on Yupo

Do you know how you can tell if I’m pretty happy with how a project turns out? I sign it! There it is – my ‘Deborah’ in the bottom left corner 🙂  Don’t let the photo fool you. I used 3 different brush sizes, at least 6 different colours of paint, plus white gouache, plus a dotting tool! And it took me about 3 hours to complete.


First I sketched the reference photo onto plain paper. Next, I traced my sketch onto the 5″ x 7″ Yupo. After that I traced over it with a fine point black Sharpie.  The first painting step is to do the background. For that, I used 2 different greens, a yellow and a blue. Next I worked on the poppy petals. After the petals, I then did the poppy centers in a mix of purple & black. While that dried, I did the stems. Finally, I went back with my dotting tool and white gouache paint, and added the dots to the centers. To lighten up the background, I added a few white dots randomly there, as well.

To touch up the background, I went back with a dark green paint, and added some quick strokes. Then with a slightly thicker black Sharpie, I went over the flower outlines again, to darken them & make them look a bit more ‘sketch like’.   At that point, I decided to leave well enough alone, and added my signature.

Watercolour on Yupo

I laid a black mat over the finished piece, to see how that would ‘dress it up’. I do like the black mat, as opposed to white or another colour.


Along with her paid classes, Sandy is also holding a challenge, partnered with Legion Paper! It’s open to anyone, not just class participants. You can READ THE DETAILS HERE. Basically the challenge is to create 10 paintings of poppies ON 2 1/2″ X 3 3/4″ pieces of YUPO. More details & the deadline are still to be announced, but don’t wait – get started now! Sandy also provides a quick FREE tutorial on painting on Yupo, if you need it. I always watch the videos; it’s good to have a refresher. You can be I’m participating in the challenge; I’ve already got my 10 sketches done!


I can’t provided the reference photo, as it’s part of the paid class. Links to the other supplies I’ve used to create my poppy art are below. I hope that you enjoyed seeing it – I’d love to read any comment you’d like to leave.  And I hope to see your poppies in the challenge, too!

Watercolour on Yupo

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I've always liked to create things, but I'm not a great artist, or sculptor, or any type of 'traditional' artist - but I love to create! I love the satisfaction of a completed project. Whether a card, painting or other project - as long as it can create a smile, evoke a feeling, or some type of reaction in the recipient. I hope you will enjoy sharing my creations, and occasional ramblings; I'd enjoy having you create with me! :)

5 thoughts on “Watercolour on Yupo

  1. I have seen this only once before – yours is better though, Really, the colours are fantastic. Fabulous card Deb

    1. Thanks, Kia! It’s definitely a different experience using watercolour on Yupo – but fun! I’m glad that you like my poppies 🙂

  2. Wait….It sounds like I’m asking if you are fabulous. I meant it like a statement. ANYWAY, I think you are fabulous! 😀

    1. Careful Mari – I might start believing you! 😉 Seriously though – thanks so much for your kind comments & support. You’re a good friend!

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