The elegrant and timeless look of letterpress can be easily created using Spellbinder’s BetterPress Letterpress System. This innovative system allows to you to create rich and stunning stationery and cards without a complicated set up or mess. However, to create the impressed look, a paper with high cotton content is recommended. This paper doesn’t work well for coloring with alcohol markers. Instead, I’ve created 5 cards using alternative coloring techniques. I also provide a few tips for layering colors. 

Note – this post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive compensation if you use the link to make a purchase. But this is at no additional cost to you. I also don’t link to products I haven’t tried, trust and enjoy. 

In order to easily compare the techniques, I started off by creating 3 card panels using the Pressed Bouquet BetterPress Press Plate and Porcelain 118lb Cotton Card Panels.

#1 – Colored Pencils

To create this look, I used the Lyra 12 Rembrandt Aquarell colored pencils. This is a basic set of 12 colored pencils that can be blended using a blender pen or water blending brush pen. The basic technique is to start with the darker colors first and then blend over it using a lighter color. I also started at the base of each leaf or petal and worked out from there, coloring one leaf or petal at a time.

I started with darker colors and colored over each of the black detail lines. Then I added orange and red to the center of the smaller flowers.

I finished the design by adding orange and yellow to the center of the large flower and coloring the large flower with light blue. I added light green to the leaves and added yellow or red to a few of the smaller flowers and left the remaining flowers white with orange centers.

#2 - Blended Colored Pencils

This one takes the colored pencil panel to the next level. I used a blender pen over each petal and leaf to blend the colors. This also gives them a pop of color. The ones I left white with orange centers turned light orange when I colored over them with the blender pen. Note, the colored pencils blend using either a blender pen or a water blending brush.

Here is the colored pencil and blended colored pencil panels next to each other. They both have unique looks. The colored pencil panel has a soft classic look while the blended colored pencil has more vibrant color.

To complete the cards, I trimmed the card panels to 4”x5 1/4” for the colored pencil card and 4 1/8”x5 3/8” for the blended colored pencil card. Foam tape was added to each card panel to pop it off of the base.

#3 – Ink Pads

I have to admit, this was my favorite. I used Catherine Pooler mini ink pads and dabbed them on a glass mat. Next, I took the water blending brush and dabbed it in the ink and then transferred the color to the design.

Again, I started with the darker colors and used the black detail lines as my guide.

For the reds, I started with red at the base, then blended over the full flower, one petal at a time. I went back and added more red at the base to add more pop.

To finish this card, I trimmed the card panel to 4” x 5 1/4”. I took the card base and used the Dress Blue ink pad (same as the blue for the flower) and water blending brush pen to color the edge of the card. Foam tape was added to the card panel so it pops off of the card base.

Here is one more look at the three coloring techniques used to color the Pressed Bouquet BetterPress Press Plate.

#4 – Ink Blended Background

I have to admit, I try not to color. The thought of staying in the lines makes me break out in a cold sweat. It gets easier the more I do it and focus on the process and not the lines. I did truly enjoy coloring these. But now I’m going to show 2 more techniques to add color which don’t require staying in the lines.

For the 4th technique, I created an ink blended background using the Catherine Pooler inks again. These inks have a reactive property that reacts to water creating a fun, mottled look. 

I started by selecting 4 inks and blending brushes. To stay organized, I placed them in the order I plan to ink the background.

I started with the first color, Flame, and blending brush. I rubbed the brush in the ink pad and then started on the glass mat before moving on to the paper. This helps prevent a dark spot on the paper.

Next, I added the second color, Glitz. Again, I would start on the glass mat to remove some ink from the brush and then move on to the paper. I also colored over some of the first color to get a better blend. You can also go back to the first color and do additional blending after adding the second color.

To complete the background, I spritzed it with water using Hero Arts Water Mist bottle and then dabbed it with a paper towel to get this fun effect. The Water Mist bottle comes empty and you fill it with regular tap water. 

Allow some time to dry before running it through the BetterPress. Also, because the paper will be slightly warped because of the water, I taped it down on each side using Spellbinders Best Ever Craft Tape. Note how I barely have the tape touching the paper. The tape will remove some of the color when you peel off the tape, so you’ll just want it touching the edge, but just enough and not too much.

To complete the card, trim the panel to 5 1/4”x4”. Add foam tape to the panel and adhere it to black cardstock trimmed to 5 1/2”x4 1/4”. Add to a card base.

#5 - Use Colored Ink in the BetterPress

Ok – this one may seem like cheating or a no-brainer, but there are other colors besides black that you can use in the BetterPress. I used the Mulberry BetterPress ink for this one. Mulberry is included in the Regal Tones BetterPress Ink Mini Set.

To complete this card, I inked the card base using the same Mulberry ink and using the direct to paper method. I dragged the ink pad along the edge of the card base making sure at least 1/2″ was covered on the top and sides. Because I knew I wanted to tear the bottom of the card panel, I  coverd about an inch of the bottom edge of the card base.

I took the Hello card panel, and brushed water using the water blending brush along the bottom edge. Next, I tore the edge. The water helped to achieve a more consistent tear. Again, I used foam tape on the card panel and popped if off of the card base.

Whether coloring is your thing or not, there are several ways you can add color to your BetterPress creations and make them pop!


What’s your favorite way to add color to your BetterPress creations? Leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy and Happy Creating!