Ornament Letters XMAS Card

With Christmas quickly approaching, there's no sooner time to start creating your holiday cards! Join me, here on the blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from now until Christmas Eve, for fun, step by step holiday card tutorials created by some of my favorite artists! Each with different styles and techniques that you can follow to create cards with ease!

To kick things off, I'm sharing a quick tutorial for a Hanging Ornament Style Christmas card that you can create with brush pens.


  • Pencil & Eraser (for sketching)

  • Mixed Media or Watercolor Paper

  • Water-based markers (a light and a dark version of the colors you want to use for the ornaments) I’m using Karin brush markers in the following colors:

  • Light Green -Grass 253, Dark Green – Lush Green 288

  • Light Red - Fire Red 092, Dark Red -Burgundy 075

  • Gold 283 ( I'm using this for the cap of the ornament and the string)

  • Water brush pen or a Paint Brush and water

  • Optional: Grey Marker, White Gel/Paint Pen, Black Pen, Metallic Pen or Watercolor

Step 1: Sketching

Use a pencil to sketch out your letters in the position you want them in.

The word 'Xmas' will be the focus of the card so I used a large serif style and I made the letters angled and overlapping. Then I sketched in the top of the ornament and the attached string. You can of course use any style and arrange your letters however you’d like.

The word 'Wishes' will be less emphasized so I've written it in a simple sans serif style.

Step 2: Adding Color

Now it's time to add color! Use your marker to add your lighter color first (I'm using Grass 253).

My light source is in the upper left corner so I'm mainly adding the color to the bottom and right side of the letters and keeping the upper left side white.

Step 3: Blending

Use a water brush or a paint brush to blend the colors together. Be careful not to pull color into that highlight area.

Step 4: Adding Inner Shadow

Add a very small amount of the darker color (green) to the shadow areas (bottom right) of the letters. Then use your brush to blend that dark green into the letter.

If you’re using Karin Markers, you can do this step while the colors are still wet. With other brands, I would suggest that you wait until the colors have dried, then add and blend in the darker color.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 until you've colored all of your letters. Since my letters are overlapping and I'm using two different colors that I don't want them to bleed into each other, I painted alternating letters and allow each one to dry complete before I work on the letter next to it!

Step 5:

After you've finished adding colors to your main word, add the remaining color to piece.

Step 6 :Adding Details

To finish the design, you can add whatever details you like, I've listed what I added below but you can definitely experiment until you find what works for you!

Outline - I used a black ink to add an outline to help define the overlapping letters. (a black fine liner or small black brush pen can work as well)

Sparkle - I used some gold metallic watercolor to add shine to the gold of word and string.

Splatters - I added some red, green and gold splatters (because I love splatters!)

Shadow - I used a grey marker to add shadows to the bottom and right sides of the letters to add more dimension.

Highlights - I used a white paint pen to add highlights. These help the letters appear more glossy and dimensional.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you try this tutorial, you can share your artwork on Instagram and use #TutorialByShannonLayne and tag me @byshannonlayne, I'd love to see how yours turned out!

Don't forget to check out the other upcoming amazing card tutorials on the blog every Monday, Wednesday & Friday until Christmas Eve!

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