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 Holly Field December 4, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Great watercoloring. So cute.

  • Reply Lori Lehnen December 4, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Your little bunny is adorable!
    He really dresses up the package.
    Thanks for the step by step instructions and the inspiration!

  • Reply maureen k morton December 4, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Lisa – there is so much great info in this post! You are a true artist and I love all that you share. Needless to say the result is simply terrific with so much depth of color and a super-cute critter that makes me smile! Thanks for all the inspiration – you are so darn special!

  • Reply Suellen Rowe December 4, 2020 at 6:48 am

    You are my watercoloring inspiration!! I love how you use a few paints and then blend the colors to expand the palette. This tag is a wonderful example of your painting. Thanks for the detailed explanation on how to recreate it.

  • Reply Ellen Hutson 12 Tags of Christmas Mondo Post! – sideoats & scribbles December 4, 2020 at 6:49 am

    […] Day 4: Sleigh Ride with ME over on the Ellen Hutson blog! […]

  • Reply cmayne December 4, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Such a beautiful sleigh, stacked high with gifts! Good thing that’s a strong bunny! Festive delight in every way!

  • Reply Andre M. December 4, 2020 at 7:17 am

    Fab interpretation of the carol, love the cute bunny!

  • Reply dianne vescovo December 4, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Thank you for sharing the Daniel Smith Watercolor info. Your tag is adorable!

  • Reply Cheryl December 4, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Oh my gosh. This is so cute! I love the watercolor technique.

  • Reply donna mikasa December 4, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Adorable tag, Lisa! You’ve put that bunny to work on your beautifully colored sleigh!

  • Reply Greta H December 4, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Incredible coloring & darling tag!

  • Reply gioperu December 4, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Oh my world, this is adorable!

  • Reply Ritu Kedia December 4, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Love love love the watercolor sleigh Lisa!!!!

  • Reply b December 4, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Fantastic tag, Lisa. Fantastic tags and “brown paper packages tied up with string” make for beautiful Christmas presents, I think! Maybe Santa will bring me the Pyrrol Red and the Jadeite Genuine for Christmas. He was asking! LOL

  • Reply Mary-Anne V December 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Beautiful sleigh tag. Love the swatches of colour.

  • Reply Leanne S December 4, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Adorable tag!

  • Reply Tami B December 4, 2020 at 10:24 am

    The little bunny is so sweet.

  • Reply Denise Bryant December 4, 2020 at 11:56 am

    What an adorable tag! Love the sleigh and the cute bunny! Fabulous coloring and details!

  • Reply Debbie Anderson December 4, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    I love your color choices! I am a big fan of DS watercolors and I love using them on my cards.

  • Reply Daria Z. December 4, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Mr. Bunny is too adorable! Such a beautiful tag, Lisa!!

  • Reply Wendi J December 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Adorable tag. Thanks for sharing the information about watercolors. I’m not much into water coloring but it was very interesting to learn.

  • Reply Marianne December 4, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    So cute, and I love all the shades you’ve created with just two colours of paint.

  • Reply Meghan Kennihan December 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    Incredible coloring! I love the little bunny!!!

  • Reply Barbara-Jean Kubik December 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Wonderful tag! So cheery!

  • Reply Julie S December 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    I’ve only dabbled a teeny bit in watercolors and really know next to nothing about using them. A whole mini class in one post! Thank you! (Great tag, too!)

  • Reply Jeanne Beam December 4, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Adorable tag! Thanks for the inspiration…

    • Reply Midori R December 4, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      This is adorable!! I love the bunny!

  • Reply Ashley Cortez December 4, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    That bunny in the sleigh with the presents and Christmas tree is just too adorable you did amazing on this tag

  • Reply lee December 4, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    This is the cutest tag!!

  • Reply renee milner December 4, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    This is so sweet! The little bunny is adorable and the gold touches on the sleigh are perfect. Thanks for sharing how to use the watercolors too—I finally got some of those and am looking forward to using them.

  • Reply SmilynStef December 4, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    I love seeing your watercolor touches … and the metallic shimmer is perfect.

  • Reply Marisela Delgado December 4, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Such a sweet tag. Super cute bunny! 💜

  • Reply Carlos C. December 4, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    I like the no line coloring technique that you did and the way you colored the images on this pretty tag

  • Reply Lucy E. December 4, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    That sleigh is gorgeous-such a fun tag!

  • Reply Karen Walker December 5, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Great tag–so many wonderful details! Thanks for all the watercolor information; so helpful!

  • Reply Bri Kay December 5, 2020 at 5:01 am

    This tag is adorable.

  • Reply CY Lee December 5, 2020 at 5:01 am

    I love how cute this tag is.

  • Reply Judith December 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

    I love Lisa’s adorable tag!

  • Reply Andrea La Vigne December 5, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Such a cute tag, Lisa, & I love how it’s composed of all images. No tag die required. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing the tips about watercoloring. Take care, & have a wonderful day! 🙂 ~ Andrea

  • Reply Pai December 5, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    what a sweet tag and that sleigh is stunning!

  • Reply Connie Sue Pruitt December 5, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Really cute idea.

  • Reply Kathy K December 5, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Lovely tag!!

  • Reply Darlene Renshaw December 5, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    I love the use of watercolors. Great tag🥰

  • Reply Miriam Prantner December 6, 2020 at 4:41 am

    Just the cutest tag! Love the watercolors and the lurked scene you created.

  • Reply Donna Wakefield December 6, 2020 at 7:47 am

    Adorable sleigh full of fun images. Love the coloring.

  • Reply Leanne S December 6, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Such a cute tag!!

  • Reply maria f. December 6, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Love the juxtaposition of line and no-line coloring for your image. Such a classy sleigh. Love the granulation too.

  • Reply Vicki Kroll December 6, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Love this sweet little scene with the bunny giving a present. Light color with just the right touch!

  • Reply On My Desk or In My Heart December 6, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Lisa – I just love those two DS colors! I had promised myself to use up what I have before buying new colors….There went that New Years resolution! I love the tags, thank you for sharing your process

  • Reply Joyce December 6, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Such a wonderful and festive tag.

  • Reply Subhashini S December 6, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    I love this adorable shaped tag

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