12 Tags of Christmas, Stamping

12 Tags of Christmas 2020 – Day 4 with Lisa Spangler

Welcome to Day 4 of 12 Tags of Christmas 2020!

Christmas watercolors always include red and green, of course! But did you know that these two festive shades combine to make lovely shades of crimson, evergreen and even coal black that would make Frosty’s eyes sparkle or Santa’s boot’s dance? Lisa’s here to share the magic of these two seasonal colors.

Be sure to leave a little love for Lisa – by commenting on this post – for a chance to win $25 to spend at ellenhutson.com, then click over to this post to enter the 12 Tags Challenge!

Hello, hello! It’s Lisa here and we’re going on a sleigh ride together! I’ve got Ella Fitzgerald playin’ in the background…

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring, ting, tingling, too
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with YOU!

So let’s get this ride started and talk about Christmas watercolors! If you know me, you’ll know I love the Daniel Smith Essentials set and keep it on my desk at all times. But this time of year it’s nice to a premixed red and green right on your palette. Enter pyrrol red and jadeite geniune!

Pyrrol red is a beautiful warm red that fades to lovely soft pink. Jadeite geniune is made from the more strongly colored of the two minerals known as jade and it has an amazing granulation.

The best part? Red and green are complementary colors and can form the most gorgeous shades of crimson, evergreen, and even coal black. Here are some swatches so you can see for yourself.

The single color swatches were done by loading up my brush, painting a swatch, then giving it one swoosh in water and dragging the brush against the lip of my water jar to get rid of excess water and repeating until the color got too faint to see.

Then on the bottom you can see the two colors mixed together — so cool right?

Even better? That jadeite is a heavy lifter — just ask Mr. Bunny! By mixing jadeite into pyrrol red you get a granulating red! OH YES!

How To:

I did the “no-line” coloring technique on the background images and the sleigh by stamping them in antique linen — love the look this gives! Antique linen seems to be hard to find these days so I listed some Catherine Pooler alternatives below.

Mr. Bunny (from EBE Backyard Party): I stamped him with black ink and embossed in clear. I added a little blush color to his ears with pyrrol red neutralized with a bit of jadeite and then added some shading with a watered down mix of jadeite + pyrrol red to make a warm gray.

Red gift (from EBE Backyard Party): is also stamped in black ink and embossed in clear. This gift is allll pyrrol red you all! I just put some strong color along the left side of the gift and then used a damp brush to pull some out. Love how this color is self-shading like that!

Tree (from EBE Santa’s List): I started out by painting the tree with sap green, then while it was still wet I dropped in jadeite. Then I sat and watched the paint dry — it’s kinda mesmerizing!

Background gifts (from EBE Bear Ware 5): these were painted with light washes of pyrrol red, jadeite and yellow ochre.

Sleigh (from EBE Bear Ware 5): The trim and the runners were painted with yellow ochre to give them a golden glow. For the sleigh, I first painted it with pyrrol red, then gradually added more jadeite to the mix to get a dark crimson. Then when everything was dry I added touches of gold watercolor to the trim, runner and some hand-painted swirls for that magic shine!


  • To finish up the tag, I cut an extra sleigh and used it to sandwich all those pieces together. Then I grabbed my trusty crop-o-dile and punched a hole — that thing cuts like buttah!
  • Granulating colors like jadeite granulate even more with more water — use them in a juicy wash or drop them in to other colors.
  • Mix images that are “no-line” colored vs stamped in black for added interest.
  • Don’t limit yourself to Christmas images for your holiday projects! Look for presents in birthday sets, and cute critters work too!
  • I left Mr. Bunny’s ears unglued and then curled ’em forward a little for extra dimension.

And there you have it!

Thanks so much for joining me today and wishing everyone a cozy and safe holiday season!

Lisa isn’t the only one inspired by a sleigh ride! Check out what these designers have created …

And don’t forget we want to see your Santa tags too! Head here to learn more about entering the 12 Tags Challenge!


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  • Reply Beverly Sizemore December 6, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Beautiful shaped tag! I love how you colored it!

  • Reply Vikki H December 6, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    I love how Lisa gives us a lesson in colors and water coloring. Her tag is adorable.

  • Reply momsnoozy3 December 6, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    This is amazing!

  • Reply Yvonne W December 7, 2020 at 7:54 am

    So cute! Thank you for the tutorial! You made it look simple so I might give it a go. 🙂

  • Reply Sharon Gullikson December 7, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Oh my gosh, a bunny helper? Adorable. I love your idea of water coloring…

  • Reply richandmich71 December 7, 2020 at 9:22 am

    The bunny is just so sweet and eager to help Santa! cool to use different media! love how the presents in the back are just hinted at and pastel and don’t distract from the main focus of the bunny and sleigh.

  • Reply tina z December 7, 2020 at 10:30 am

    wow, amazing colours!

  • Reply runpaperscissors December 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Love the water color swatching tutorial! I have several different brands of water color paints, but they are my weakest medium to use for cards, and I can’t figure them out. This was truly helpful! Love this card and how you used the sweet bunny! Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa! <3

  • Reply Maxine M December 8, 2020 at 6:04 am

    How cute is that little bunny? Adorable tag.

  • Reply Welcome to 12 Tags of Christmas 2020 + Challenge! | Ellen Hutson December 8, 2020 at 6:13 am

    […] December 4 – Sleigh Ride with Lisa Spangler […]

  • Reply maria f. December 8, 2020 at 10:45 am

    I swear I already left a comment… I love your juxtaposition of line and no-line coloring, Lisa. Your sleigh is beautiful.

  • Reply Kelly G December 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    What a brilliant combination of stamp sets for the sleigh! And wonderful coloring :).

  • Reply Brenda Jennings December 9, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Adorable…and clever stamp combinations!

  • Reply Chandhini December 9, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Love all the beautiful shades you have made using these two colors.

  • Reply Lagene December 10, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Wonderful watercoloring! Cute helping hare!

  • Reply Sandi Pressley December 10, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Could this bunny be any cuter????

  • Reply denisegutshall December 12, 2020 at 4:51 am

    What a beautiful tag! I love the bunny and your wonderful water coloring.

  • Reply Kim December 12, 2020 at 11:40 am

    What an awesome little piece of art! I just love all the detail you added and that bunny and sleigh are just adorable. Super awesome little tag.

  • Reply Chark December 13, 2020 at 7:54 am

    This is so great—love the mix of regular and no-line stamping!

  • Reply jen shears December 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    So darling and great watercolor tips!! Thanks!

  • Reply On My Desk – It’s Tag Season – Sleigh Ride – On My Desk and In My Heart December 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    […] Tag was inspired by Day 4 of Ellen Hutson’s 12 Tags of Christmas 2020 Challenge and the song is “Sleigh Ride” chosen by Lisa Spangler. I loved how Lisa took the die […]

  • Reply karenladd December 13, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    This tag would be too cute to toss after Christmas, and that little bunny is adorable too!

  • Reply Barbara December 15, 2020 at 3:27 am

    This is really delightful! Now I need to get Bear Wear 5 stamps and dies!

  • Reply Cristina December 15, 2020 at 6:21 am

    I love the depth in the watercolors. And that bunny is the cutest!!

  • Reply Lauryne Cunningham December 15, 2020 at 10:34 am

    What a cute tag! I love the gold watercolor accents!

  • Reply dorothyayotte December 15, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Darling packed sleigh! Great tag with perfect water coloring.

  • Reply A Severns December 16, 2020 at 4:23 am

    So adorable! I learned something from the description of your technique with background stamped in neutrals and letting foreground stand out. Bunny is endearing in the scene.

  • Reply Sam M. December 16, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Your watercoloring is divine, love the embossing too!

  • Reply Sue D December 16, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    So cute. I like the watercoloring.

  • Reply Cindy Roadman December 17, 2020 at 6:11 am

    absolutely adorable!! Love your commentary with the cute cute pics!!! THanks so much!!! Cindy

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