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Color Burst Backgrounds

Color Burst

Hi All!

Today I’m playing with my new Ken Oliver Color Burst Powders. Wow, this is some seriously concentrated color! They can be messy and unpredictable, but they are also beautiful and fun to play with. I started with the basic set of rainbow colors, and I’m really happy with the shades of each color – they are very bright and cheerful.

I created 4 backgrounds with one “session” of powder – it’s like they don’t want to dilute, lol! I created the card above with the first use of the powder. Here is a close-up:

Color Burst

I also created a card (adhoc on video, which I never do!) with the second use of the powder:

Color Burst

Most of the video is about experimenting with the powders. You can purchase individual bottles and sets in many popular online stores, such as Scrapbook.com, Ellen Hutson, and Blitsy. You can also get them at Amazon.

If you have some of these powders, let me know your thought in the comments! Enjoy the video. 🙂


Card Measurements:

Element Imperial Metric
Watercolor panel 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches 8.3 x 10.8 cm
Exposed washi tape 3/16 inch .5 cm
Card base 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches 10.8 x 14 cm

Supplies for Lucky To Know You Card:

To purchase at Ellen Hutson, click the EH link. To purchase at Simon Says Stamp, click the SSS link.

Color Burst Powders
Color Burst Powders
Lucky to Know You Die
Lucky to Know You Die
Finished Frames
Finished Frames
Neenah Solar White Cardstock
Neenah Cardstock
Strathmore 140lb Paper
Strathmore 140lb Paper
Size 12 Round Brush
Size 12 Round Brush
T-Square Rules
T-Square Ruler
Masking Tape Roll
Eclipse Masking Tape Rolls
Pick Me Up Stick
Pick Me Up Stick
Scotch Foam Tape
Scotch Foam Tape
Zig Two-Way Glue Pen
Glue Pen
Ranger Multi Medium, Matte
Ranger Multi Medium, Matte

Additional Supplies for Thinking of You:

Remarkable You
Remarkable You
Sheltering Tree
Sheltering Tree
Versamark Ink Pad
Versamark Ink
Hero Arts White Embossing Powder
Hero Arts White Embossing Powder
Black Soot Distress Ink
Black Soot
Finetec Pearl Watercolor
Finetec Pearl Watercolor
Stampin' Up! Linen Thread
Linen Thread
Copic Multiliner Pens, 4 pack
Copic Multiliner Pen
Micro Glue Dots
Micro Glue Dots
ATG Tape Runner
ATG Tape Runner


  1. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 7:00 am


    I’m so glad you decided to come out of your comfort zone and get messy with Ken Oliver’s Color Burst Powders. Ha! Ha! You didn’t get as messy as I do though. In fact, I always wear a plastic apron and thin rubber gloves when I do this kind of work. I have the KO set you used as well as quite a few other individual Brusho Watercolor Crystals that are exactly the same powder as KO but I’ve found are a little less expensive. I love using these powders when I am in a carefree mood and have a little time to play around. As you discovered, you can get a lot of cards from a small amount of powder. So it’s a good way to cover a lot of territory very quickly. If you haven’t already done this, I suggest you also experiment using these powders with some of your stencils. The Tim Holtz geometric stencils seem to work best for me. I tape a stencil to some watercolour paper so it doesn’t move around, sprinkle on the colours (usually 2 or 3 only), spray the piece evenly with water but not excessively or you will drown your design. Then I remove the tape carefully and pick the stencil straight up. You can’t fuss with it though. You just have to accept whatever has happened. Then you can turn over the coloured side of the stencil and press it into another piece of watercolour paper before picking it straight up. This gives you an entirely different effect. I can get two backgrounds for the price of one that way!! I’d love to hear if you and anyone else like the stencil effect too.

    • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Hi Connie. Actually, I tried the stencil thing and I wasn’t very happy with it. But, you know I’m more of a clean/tidy kind of card maker. I’ve seen cards by other people with the stencil and I thought they were pretty good, but I know it could take multiple tries to get right. As a result, I didn’t promote it for this post. But thanks for mentioning the technique so others can try it if they wish. 🙂

      • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 7:17 pm


        Hi Darlene, I agree that a lot of stencils don’t work well. In fact, a good many of them. That’s why I mentioned Tim Holtz ones. I too am a clean and simple carmaker, so can appreciate your reluctance to use stencils in general with Color Bursts or Brushos. For you or anyone else who is interested, there is one stencil that works EVERY time and gives a fantastic effect each and every time. It is Tim Holtz Stripes THS004. You will not be disappointed!

    • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Carol Mac

      I have done it, Connie and depending on the stencil, the second press of the stencil onto clean paper usually looks better (in my opinion) but I love these powders! I have made many backgrounds and cut dies from them too (Tim Holtz Bird Crazy are great stamped on these and die cut).

      They can be messy so I usually clear my work surface a bit before putting down my craft mat to minimize the mess. I make many backgrounds at once so I only have one clean up. Try using a sparkle spray or perfect pearls type spray instead of water…that is REALLY cool! BTW…I don’t wear gloves cuz when I do the dishes…it comes right off! Haha! ?

  2. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 1:15 pm


    I haven’t tried these because I keep telling myself I really don’t need another coloring medium (I have some I rarely use!) But they do look fun.

    I love how that impromptu second card came out — it’s much softer, which I love.

    Thanks for playing!

  3. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 1:56 pm


    These work well with Distress Inks, also. Rubbernecker Stamps does some informative videos on YouTube. I just got the set that you used in your video. I am anxious to start playing with them. I’ve been doing my “research” first. Thank you so much for experimenting with us. I learned so much…as always!

  4. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 2:25 pm


    I have the Brusho set and I LOVE LOVE using these crystals for watercolor. I’m still learning new ways to use the crystals – a little really goes a long way, but I can make lots of backgrounds with one application. My plans are to get a palette to make and mix colors to paint directly for more control of color.
    I enjoy the intensity of the colors and the breakout of color when you add mist to the dry powder – so much fun!

  5. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 2:48 pm


    Those backgrounds show such depth and are beautiful, Darlene! I had not heard of Color Burst Powders until your video, so thanks for sharing. I have to say, too, how much I love, love, love the Lucky to Know You die! That will be in my next supply order, for sure.

    I wanted to add, Darlene, that one of the things I enjoy about your videos is how honest you are. I truly appreciate when you explain when something went wrong and how you fixed it because, as card makers and creative people as a whole, we all make mistakes and have things happen when we’re working on a project. So it’s refreshing to see someone as talented as you are show us that sometimes the process doesn’t go as smoothly as we’d like (and that we can fix it if it doesn’t)! 😉

    Thanks so much!

    • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Darlene DeVries

      Thanks for letting me know you appreciate seeing those things in the video – I continue to keep them in because of the feedback. 🙂

      • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        Carol Mac

        Absolutely! I have usually done the same mistakes, but didn’t always know how to fix it, so I would stick a butterfly over it! Haha…you have given lots of “fix it” ideas that have helped me a lot too! So thanks! ?

  6. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 2:50 pm


    Wow, I was just looking into getting some of these paints. I need to confess I’m a little “scared” about the mess I can accomplish playing with it. I will let you know if conquered my fears 🙂

  7. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 3:00 pm


    I have tried brushos and love the effect I got. I now have a number of background pieces which I love. The technique of lifting the color on the second card was very interesting and I truly like the effect. One more thing to try. Thank You.

  8. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Lesley S

    I have played a bit with the Color Bursts, and definitely learned that LESS IS MORE!
    These powders are highly pigmented and a teensy amount goes a long way. Really fun to play with, but also messy. I wear an apron, and thin surgical gloves, but you cannot see where even tiny wisps of powder may have landed, on your work surface and on you. I’ve tried them using water first on the paper, and powder first. To control the blending of colours, try drying between layers of colour applied. It’s really fun to tap a wee bit onto dry cardstock, then stamp with only a thin layer of water sprayed onto the stamp. I think there are endless possibilities with these, and there are many other videos out there to watch. Glad you had fun with them Darlene! I’ll look forward to seeing more of your experimentation.

  9. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 3:49 pm


    I was so happy to see the notice in my e-mail that you had another video up. I really needed this today! Awesome cards, Darlene! My favorite backgrounds are the first and last. That last one, where you pounced into the smaller droplets, looks like you’re looking up at the sky from deep in the ocean. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course, but it looks like how I imagine it would! 🙂 It’s kind of funny, because I was watching Sandy Allnock use Brusho in one of her videos recently. She mentioned that they seem to have more different colors in each powder than other such powders. I would tend to agree, after seeing you use the Color Bursts here. It’s not a bad thing either way, of course; just whatever your preference is. I’m not likely to get anything like Brusho or Color Bursts, but it is fun to watch others use it. I had to chuckle when you were maneuvering your watercolor paper with your tweezers. It reminded me of watching people develop photos from film, using special tweezers to dunk the photo paper into each tub of liquid to get the image to come up. Ah, the good ol’ days! LOL ~ Andrea

    • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Carol Mac

      I remember that…I did that! OMG I’m old…hahahaha!

  10. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 4:01 pm


    Hi Darlene- I got these from a local specialty stamping store. The owner said he used the powders by placing his paper inside a box top to contain the mess. I did it and ended up with muddy colors. Thank you for sharing this as I thought I was just not going to use these powders again! As usual your in depth and honest video helped immensely. I think all of your cards turned out very pretty. I will try again!
    Julie L

  11. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Brenda L.

    Both are stunning cards Darlene! I do love how colorburst and brusho’s work. They are so cool and neat to work with. I’ve only tried the brusho’s but the colorburst look very similar. Hugs, Brenda

  12. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 4:18 pm


    It was so good to see you use the KO Color Burst Powders as it has been quite a long time since I used mine. I also have Brushos and I actually prefer the Brushos but they are a lot of fun. I love both cards but my favourite is the second card.

    Has anybody had a go at the Gelli Plate using acrylic paints as backgrounds. Fantastic fun but very addictive. Just google Gelli Plate tutorials. Barbara Gray at Clarity has great tutorials.

    • wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 10:58 pm


      I have a gelli plate. Great fun. I’m usually a perfectionist so the mixed media route has taken me out of my comfort zone in a good way. One of my favourites cards was from a gelli plate background.

  13. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Sherry W.

    Pretty card. I don’t think I’ll go with powders, though. I already have multiple watercolor sets as welll other w/c media.

  14. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 10:10 pm


    I bought 4 of these a few months ago and haven’t used them except for one Scrapbook background page. I also found you only need to tap on the bottle gently and the minutest amount of powder will suffice. I will definitely try using them after watching your tutorial Darlene. Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  15. wrote on January 25th, 2017 at 11:12 pm


    Thank you for using the Color Burst powders. I have most of the colors, and I really needed the inspiration to start using them again! We just moved and my crafting area is almost finished…making some background papers will be first on my list of ‘Must Do’s’!

  16. wrote on January 26th, 2017 at 7:10 am


    I know I’ve written earlier but each time I look at those colours in these cards and the way they swirl, it just takes my breath away. You are such a clever little Vegemite as they’d say in Australia! Ha! Ha!

  17. wrote on January 26th, 2017 at 6:55 pm


    I have been on the fence about getting these, and I think you nudged me to the “go for it” side! Thanks for testing out various techniques to get these great backgrounds.

  18. wrote on January 26th, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Colorful Card Maker

    I saw these and wondered, are they just watercolors that are powdered instead of watercolors in a pot? I love the watercolors that I have and can’t afford to get something else. However your backgrounds are just beautiful! I love the colors! Those are 2 very pretty cards.

  19. wrote on February 1st, 2017 at 12:17 am


    Your color choice was superb! I would have to rate this one of your finest backgrounds, ever (Fine Art: ”creative art, especially visual art, whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content”). I have made similar and am drawn to winter colors. I am a winter myself (Color Me Beautiful). I do love Color Bursts.

  20. wrote on February 11th, 2017 at 9:17 am


    I saw your card and bought them right away – I did not even watch the video yet haha. But I am going to now b/c I want to do this for the background of my boyfriend’s valentines day card and then use the caprice hearts layering dies that I saw on Jennifer McGuire’s video recently. I am so excited to use these (although, also a bit nervous of the mess. I am SO not light-handed).

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