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A store-bought card may offer convenience, but a homemade one conveys real care. Decorating your own using watercolors is a great way to enhance any personal sentiment with an even more individual touch. The results are striking and unique, but they’re still lightweight enough to mail off with a single stamp or stick to a fridge. To show off your best work, you’ll need some good watercolor-compatible paper. We’ve found five solid options of various sizes, with textures appropriate for the medium.
1. Strathmore Watercolor Cards
Our top pick for custom cards offers a clean and durable surface that handles wet-in-wet painting incredibly well. These 100 percent cotton cards from Strathmore have a cold press surface that’s rough and thick so you don’t have to be overly cautious when using watercolors. Pigments appear vivid, and you can layer freely without worrying about bleed-through. Plus, each comes pre-creased so you can create perfectly folded cards.
2. Fabriano Watercolor Postcard Pad
Another cold press option, these sheets from Fabriano are small enough that you can send them off as you would a postcard. Made of 50 percent cotton, they don’t perform as well as our top pick in terms of absorption, but they still showcase the textures and colors of watercolor beautifully. The sheets are also forgiving, holding up well to scrubbing, lifting, and blotting—and they’re tough enough to survive the postal service.
3. Canson Watercolor Postcards
Canson’s watercolor cards aren’t as hard wearing as the competition, but they’re a great option if you want to spend a little less on your mini canvas. Each card costs around 60 cents and is sized at 5 by 7 inches. The 140-pound paper may start to buckle or pill after repeated washes, but it’ll serve you well for gentle layers and highlights.
4. Strathmore Mixed Media Cards
If you like to mix watercolors with other media such as pastels, graphite, or colored pencils, consider this option. Each set features 10 cards with a vellum surface that is smoother than the other picks on our list. Made from 140-pound paper, The cards are heavy enough to tolerate fluids like inks and glue but still have a slight toothy surface to grab dry media so you can create more layers and deeper tones.
5. Arteza Watercolor Postcards
Here’s another excellent, mail-ready option. These cards from Arteza are pre-printed with an address field and space for a stamp so you can paint one side and put an address and a message on the other. Watercolor looks vivid on these 100 percent cotton cards, which are thick enough to resist bleed-through. The surface has a consistent yet organic-looking texture, and rounded corners add a sophisticated finish. We also like that the set of 30 comes in a tin so the sheets stay pristine until you’re ready to use them. However, note that each card is branded with Arteza’s logo, which some artists might find distracting.