Love Notes

Custom XOX cards.

In a recent interview with Jeanne Beker, the uber-stylish J. Crew  soul sister, Jenna Lyons, spoke about the importance of putting pen to paper and personal contact:

People often ask me what’s the best way to get a job or what’s the best advice and I’m like, “Take out a piece of paper, take out a pen and write something…like a thank you note. Or write me and ask for a job.” … The things that feel meaningful are those personal touches, like sending a physical note.


So as we warm up for Valentine’s Day (or any other occasion deserving of a human touch – which is always), check out how to make custom stationary to scribe your sentiment and up the personal wow factor. These stencil and spray-on watercolour cards are way easier to make than a Monet and can be customized to say whatever you want. A handful tied with a pretty bow make a great gift too.

  • heavy white card stock
  • liquid watercolour paints
  • paint brush/sponge/cotton pads
  • stencils (we used the Heidi Swapp because they are so adorable) – peelable stickers are great also
  • spray bottles
  • painter’s tape
  • iron
make it

In each spray bottle, mix about 1 teaspoon of liquid watercolour paint with about 1 ounce of warm water (adjust amount of watercolour paint depending on the desired shade). Do a few test sprays on a sheet of old paper to prime the spray bottle and practice technique.

When you’ve got it down, spray the first colour on your card stock (a little at a time). You can spray the next colour right away (or let it dry before adding the next colour for a less blurry effect). Experiment with the paint – you can’t go wrong. It’s art after all. We went for a soft, watery mood.

try this

Fold the paper together when the paint is still wet for a marble look.

When the paint is almost dry, but some big blobs are still wet, gently pat the blobs with a tissue to soak up the liquid – it will leave a crater.


Lay your card on a flat surface to dry completely. The paper will likely buckle from the moisture. Iron on low heat on both sides of the paper. When you iron the paint-side, it sets and smooths out beautifully.


Stencil away.

Use a brush/sponge/cotton pad to stipple with full-strength watercolour paint. Be sure to start with just a little bit of paint to avoid blobs. Dry in between adding layers of paint to get the colour intensity you want.


Dry. Iron. Fold. Iron the crease.

Write your sweet words.

Photos: Ben Loughton

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