Painting sunflowers with One Stroke

sunflower on orange background

Simple sunflower painting anyone can do using One Stroke Painting

The glorious sunflower, beautiful to look at and so easy to paint! One Stroke Painting allows you to blend, shade and highlight all at the same time, making it not only easy but the fastest way to paint.

With just a few minutes of practice, anyone will be able to create a simple sunflower painting following my step by step instructions.

I also include tips for embellishing your sunflower painting with dimensional paint and glitter, and the different looks you can get just by changing paint colors.

This tutorial shows how to paint sunflowers on greeting cards. But you can also paint this simple design on canvas, glass, fabric, wood, furniture, serving trays, items from the thrift store, or any object you may have that needs a new look.

For painting on metal or glass, please refer to my glass painting tutorial. These surfaces require different preparation, brushes and enamel paint.

The sunflower painting

sunflower on orange background

The finished sunflower painting coated with satin varnish and decorated with dimensional paint and glitter.

Supplies used for this sunflower painting tutorial

one stroke sunflower painting supplies

A closer look at the brushes used for the sunflower painting

one stroke paint brushes

Most of One Stroke Painting is done with a flat chiseled brush, like the two brushes on the left side of the photo. The chiseled edge makes clean points on leaves and flower petals.

But for the sunflower painting, we also use a scruffy brush, third from the left. This is used for pouncing the center of the sunflower. It can also be used to paint clouds and fluffy animals like sheep, teddy bears and dogs.

The brush on the right is what happens to flat brushes after they’ve been used to death. They’re no good for precision painting any more, but still useful for painting backgrounds. That’s what I used to paint the orange wash on the greeting card.

Watch these One Stroke painting videos

I recommend you watch these two short videos before you start practicing doing the strokes on your own following the worksheets I’ve provided.

Donna Dewberry paints a sunflower

See how Donna Dewberry, the Queen of One Stroke Painting, paints a sunflower. She demonstrates how to load the scruffy brush with paint, how to create the sunflower center, how to double load a flat brush, and how to paint the sunflower petals.

Italian artist Luca Sansone paints sunflowers and pansies

Here’s an excellent demo of One Stroke Painting. There isn’t any speaking, just some background music which is a bit overwhelming, so I suggest turning the volume down or off. Instructions and the paint colors used are provided throughout the video in Italian.

Now it’s time to practice the brush strokes used in the sunflower painting

Get out some scratch paper and begin. Practice each individual element as illustrated in the sections beow.

But remember one very important thing, One Stroke Painting is not about perfection. It’s about expressing yourself, letting go and having fun.

Just spend a short amount of time getting the feel of it and then dive right in!

Practice the sunflower center

Load a scruffy brush with brown and black paint

scruffy brush for sunflower centerAlways paint the sunflower from the center out. The center makes up about half of the sunflower.

To paint the sunflower center, I used a 1/2″ scruffy brush, Maple Syrup and Licorice paint. Load the brush by pouncing one half in Maple Syrup, and the other half in Licorice.

Sunflower center worksheet

sunflower center worksheet

Looking at the top left of the sunflower center worksheet, the center is pounced in a C shape going from right to left starting at the (X). Hold the brush so that Maple Syrup is on top, and that will create a little highlight. When you’re finished pouncing, the sunflower center should look like the one on the top right of the worksheet.

To make a bud, pounce in a semicircle as shown on the middle of the worksheet (starting at A and ending at B). The petals would be added just to the bottom half of the bud, as shown on the lower right.

Practice the sunflower petals

Load a smaller brush with lemon and ochre paint

painting sunflower petals

To make the sunflower petals, I used a #8 flat brush, Lemon Custard and Yellow Ochre paint. Double load the brush and use a tiny dab of floating medium.

Remember to keep the sunflower petals in proportion to the center. They’re roughly half the length of the center.

Petal painting worksheet

sunflower petal painting worksheet

The petal worksheet shows how to make some different brush strokes. On the left side is a regular stroke, just like Donna demonstrated in the video. Begin at Start with the brush on the chiseled edge, press and pull, lifting up to finish the stroke back on the chiseled edge (marked End). You’ll see some of the petals going at different angles, like an S shape.

You can also paint petals that look like they’re folding over the center of the sunflower. On the top middle and right of the petal worksheet I tried to show the two parts of a curved petal. It’s basically a C or U shape.

The petal starts the same way but toward the middle you lift the brush and pull the other way. It’s a little difficult to explain; you’ll just have to try it. When you put the two sections together, the petals should look like the ones on the bottom middle and right of the worksheet.

Practice the sunflower leaves

Load the brush with green and blue paint

painting sunflower leaves using green and white paintFor the leaves I used a #12 flat brush, Grass Green and Jamaican Sea paints. You can use different colors if you like. Most of the time Donna uses Thicket with Wicker White or School Bus Yellow.

Load the brush as demonstrated in Donna’s video. You’ll also need a little bit of floating medium to dip your brush into as you paint. This will keep the paint flowing and prevent dry edges in your strokes.

Leaf painting worksheet

sunflower leaf painting worksheet

Looking at the leaf worksheet above, the top left shows the two parts that make up an open leaf.

Begin at point A with the brush on the chiseled edge, then press and wiggle the brush “like you’re scrubbing the floor” as Donna says. When you get to point B, you release pressure and stand the brush up on the chiseled edge. Flip your brush over and repeat for the other side. When you paint the strokes together, you’ll have a leaf like the one on the right side of the worksheet.

The bottom left of the leaf worksheet shows the two parts that make up a curled leaf. It’s done the same way except that you don’t flip the brush over to do the second half. It’s the same stroke done twice, one just below the other.

Painting a sunflower from a different angle

painting sunflowers from side

While it’s not in the sunflower painting we’re doing today, I wanted to show you how to paint a sunflower viewed from the side.

The difference here is that the center is pounced in an oval shape, as shown on the right side of the picture. The finished sunflower is on the left. Curved petals and a stem complete the illusion of a sunflower viewed from the side.

The sunflower painting step by step, including optional embellishments

You’ve done enough practice, now it’s time to get started!

Other sunflower paintings by Lynda Makara

Sunflower greeting card

The same sunflower painting has a different look when you change the paint colors.

sunflower on brown background

Sunflower greeting card by Lynda Makara

Here’s the sunflower painting with a brown background. The center and petals are the same color, just outlined in white dimensional paint with clear glitter. The leaves were painted with Grass Green and School Bus Yellow, then outlined in black dimensional paint.

Sunflower painting in purple frame

sunflower painting in purple frame

Here’s a yellow sunflower painting with a lime green center. I went beyond basic One Stroke Painting and added shading.

A couple of tips for painting greeting cards

Impress your loved ones by giving them hand painted greeting cards. When you buy a pack of cards, you’re going to have at least ten. So here are a couple of tips to streamline the process of painting multiple cards.

Tip 1: You can paint the backgrounds (and the insides) in advance. If you have any leftover paint from a project, make a wash with it and use it on the blank greeting cards. You can paint the envelope flaps too.

Tip 2: If you have a design that you’re going to be repeating, line up all the cards and do each step at the same time, assembly line fashion.

 

Painting hydrangeas with One Stroke

pink hydrangea painting

Simple hydrangea painting anyone can do with One Stroke Painting

Hydrangeas are easy flowers to paint using the One Stroke Painting technique. The strokes are so simple that any beginner can master them in a very short time. I’ll show you in this step by step tutorial how I made this easy hydrangea flower painting so that you can make one for yourself.

I’ll also show you how to embellish the hydrangea painting with dimensional paint and glitter.

The One Stroke Painting technique can be used on any surface like wood, canvas, paper, metal or glass. You can even use it to beautify thrift shop treasures like old picture frames, boxes, mason jars, lamps and furniture.

Metal and glass require different surface preparation, brushes and enamel paint which you can read about in my glass painting tutorial.

The hydrangea painting

pink hydrangea painting before glitter

Painting coated with satin varnish, before glitter and dimensional paint were added.

Supplies used for the One Stroke hydrangea painting

supplies for pink hydrangea painting

A brief explanation of One Stroke Painting

one stroke paint brushes

One Stroke Painting is done by using two or more colors on a paintbrush to blend and shade with each stroke. This eliminates a lot of steps that are used in traditional painting.

The brushes are very important in creating the shapes. Most of the painting is done with flat brushes that have a chiseled edge. This allows you to paint shapes that start and end with a tapered line.

The amount of pressure applied during the stroke is also very important. The more pressure, the wider the stroke. A typical stroke would start with the brush standing on the chiseled edge, then pressing down while moving the brush, and finishing up on the chiseled edge.

Cleaning brushes

brush cleanerDuring painting, brushes will need to be cleaned periodically by wiping them off on a rag or cleaning them with water.

Don’t ever let brushes dry with paint on them. When you’re finished painting, wash them with soap and water or use a brush cleaner like the one pictured.

If you’re using a brush cleaner, work it into the bristles with your fingers or swirl the brush around in it. Drag brushes through a plastic scrubber to remove paint from the base. Rinse with water.

Then squeeze out the excess water on a clean rag and flatten the bristles so that the edge is chiseled. Brushes will last a very long time if they’re cleaned properly.

Brushes should be stored in a way that keeps the bristles from bending, either lying flat or standing in a container with the bristles facing up.

One Stroke Painting demo by Donna Dewberry

Painting leaves and flowers with One Stroke Painting

This short video shows how to paint leaves and the same flower petals that are used for the hydrangea painting. The only difference is that the hydrangea petals are smaller. Also, the artist Ramesh Krish has an unusual way of loading the paint on the brush, but other than that, this is an excellent demonstration.

Practice the brush strokes for the hydrangea painting on scrap paper first

Now that you’ve watched the videos, it’s time for you to start practicing the brush strokes used in this tutorial. So get out some scratch paper and begin by following the worksheet instructions below.

This is the point where you may tense up and worry that you might not be able to do it right. But don’t stress! The strokes don’t have to be perfect.

The two most common mistakes people make is not using enough paint and not using enough pressure. So make sure your brush is really loaded up with paint and reload frequently.

As you practice you’ll get the feel for how much pressure you need to produce the strokes. See what effect you get when you angle the brush different ways.

Just get the feel for it and then begin the hydrangea painting.

Practice the hydrangea leaves

Load the brush with green and white paint

paint hydrangeas20

The 3/4″ flat brush double loaded with Grass Green and White acrylic paint for the leaves. Whatever color you lead with while making the stroke is the color that will be on the outside of the leaf. In my painting, the leaves are green on the outside and white in the middle.

Leaf painting worksheet

painting leaves with one stroke

Two strokes are used to paint the leaves. The bottom left shows the two strokes individually, and the top right shows how they look painted together. To paint the leaves, begin the stroke at (A), move in the direction of the arrow while pressing down on the brush. Use less pressure when you get to the end (B), then stand the brush up on the bristles to finish. Repeat for the other side of the leaf.

Practice the hydrangea petals

Load a smaller brush with red and white paint

red and white paint on brush

The #8 flat brush double loaded with Engine Red and White acrylic paint for the hydrangea petals. The strokes are made with the white on the outside edge.

Petal painting worksheet

hydrangea flower petal worksheet

Each flower petal is painted in one stroke. Begin and end at (X). Move the brush in the direction of the arrows. On the right you can see the flower petals connected. When making the painting, you can paint incomplete flowers as the flowers are going to be overlapping.

When you’re finished practicing, take out your canvas and begin the painting by following the step by step instructions below.

The hydrangea painting from start to finish, with optional embellishments

Pink hydrangea painting in polka dot frame

Framing adds impact to this simple hydrangea painting

framed pink hydrangea painting

Here’s my hydrangea painting after it’s been framed. I recycled an old thrift shop frame that I picked up for $1.50 and painted it to coordinate with my painting. I just love the way it looks in that polka dot frame!

Blue hydrangea painting on greeting card by Lynda Makara

blue hydrangeas on black background

You get a really different look by changing the colors.

Gallery of One Stroke painting photos

Check out these links and video for more inspiration

One stroke painting – Decorating Ideas – HGTV Share My Craft

The World’s Best Photos of One Stroke Painting

Certified instructor Donna Harcourt demonstrates an easy flower painting in this video:

Simple glass painting ideas for recycled jars

simple glass painting ideas

Decorating glass jars is easy with sponge painting and polka dots

Want to save your empty glass jars from the recycling bin? You can upcycle them into decorative containers by painting them with simple designs.

This tutorial shows easy techniques anybody can do using sponges, glass enamel paint and some office supplies.

Painting on glass and other nonporous surfaces is not difficult. Although it seems a bit intimidating, all you need is the right paint and a little care in preparing the glass.

Handpainted glass jars make impressive gifts for any occasion. They can be used as vases, candleholders, canisters, drinking glasses and more. After mastering these simple techniques, you might want to take glass painting to the next level, and I’ll give you some suggestions for that.

Round up some empty glass bottles and jars to use for glass painting

a collection of recycled glass jars

Your cupboards and refrigerator are filled with treasures! Glass bottles and jars will look different to you when you start thinking of them as canvas for your artwork. Each one is kind of interesting. Some are smooth. Some have texture. Some have embossed details or indentations. Often these features will influence your design.

I’ve got quite the assortment of jars and bottles to work with here.

Supplies for painting recycled glass jars

You’ll also need a couple of small paintbrushes, disposable plate, rags, rubbing alcohol, cooking spray, an Xacto knife or other small knife and a Sharpie marker.

Why I recommend Plaid Enamel Glass Paint

glass paint assortment set

Plaid Enamel Glass Paint set to get you started

Painting on glass requires the use of enamel paint. Acrylic paint will easily scrape off of glass, ruining all your work.

I’ve used Plaid Enamel Glass Paint on many projects. No primer is needed. The paint is thick and creamy. It glides smoothly over glass. Many times you can get by with just one coat. Brushes are easily cleaned with just soap and water.

After the paint has dried, it has a nice shine, which means you don’t have to go over it with a gloss sealer. Plaid Enamel Glass Paint cures in 21 days. If you’re in a hurry, you can put glass into a cold oven, then turn it up to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

When the paint is dried and cured, it can even be washed on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Prepare glass jars for paint

cleaning glass jars prior to painting

Before painting, jars must be clean and free from oil so that the paint will stick.

Jars must be washed with soap and warm water, then dried thoroughly. Make sure to remove the labels and any sticky residue that might be left behind. I’ve found the best way to get rid of it is with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Put some oil on the sticky bits and scrape it off with a knife. Then wipe off the oil and clean the outside of the jar with rubbing alcohol.

When you’re cleaning the glass with alcohol, make sure to keep your skin from touching the glass so that the oils won’t transfer onto it. You can either wear gloves or hold the glass with a paper towel.

Make simple designs with polka dots, sponges and paint

Polka dots are hot in fashion and also make cute designs on recycled glass jars. One easy way to do this is with round labels. All you do is stick the labels on the glass in any pattern you want. Paint the glass, remove the labels and you have instant polka dots. I’ve done the same thing with star stickers too.

Before painting, dip the spouncer in water and squeeze out. Then pour some paint onto a disposable plate. Dip the spouncer into the paint and pounce a couple of times on the plate to remove some of the excess. Then sponge paint the glass.

Sponge painting makes an interesting texture on the glass. Most of the time you’ll only need one coat of paint with this method.

For the best result, remove the stickers while the paint is still wet. If you wait until the paint dries, when you remove the sticker some of the paint will peel off and ruin your design. I paint a small section of the jar and then remove the labels immediately with an X-acto knife. Don’t worry if you get a little paint smudging. That can easily be scraped off after all the paint has dried.

Note: Paint should not come in contact with food. The jars in this tutorial are painted on the outside so that they can be used to store food. If you were going to use a jar as a drinking glass, make sure the paint starts about an inch below the top.

Instructions for curing the paint and washing the jars

As mentioned before, Plaid enamel paint is very durable once the paint has cured. There’s a difference between dried paint and cured paint. Plaid enamel paint dries fairly quickly but it won’t be cured until it has air dried for 21 days. You can speed up that process by putting your finished jars in a cold oven, so that they don’t shatter, then turning the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake the jars for 30 minutes, turn off the oven and let the jars stay in the oven until it has completely cooled off. At that point, the jars are ready to use and should be scratch-resistant.

The jars can then be cleaned by hand washing them or putting them on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Glass painting design using round labels: Pink and black polka dot wine bottle

Glass painting design using star stickers: Small blue jar with stars

More simple glass painting ideas using spouncers, polka dots or round labels

Glass painting design using spouncers and combining dots of different sizes: Yellow jar with pink flower

Glass painting design using spouncers, dots and squiggles: Cute ladybug jar

Another glass painting idea using spouncers: Polka dots gone wild

polka dot flower garden jar

This glass jar design has layers upon layers of polka dots.The jar was painted turquoise. Flowers were painted with a large spouncer. A small spouncer was used for the center. The squiggly stems were added with a paintbrush. Then there are polka dots sprinkled everywhere. The lid is yellow with turquoise polka dots.

Glass painting design with sponge painting and polka dots: Peace sign flower jar

Adding embellishments to painted glass jars. Turn your painted glass jars into special gifts.

simple glass painting ideas

adding embellishments to painted jars

Painted glass jars make nice gifts for any occasion. Fill them up with candy, cookies, tea or recipe mixes and add some simple embellishments. The purple jar is tied with a pink ribbon and a yo yo flower (see my tutorial for making yo yo flowers with a kick). The clear jar with the orange and pink dots is decorated with tulle. And the yellow jar is decorated with fabric.

Taking glass painting to the next level

Making flowers with One Stroke Painting techniques

After you’ve tried these simple glass painting techniques for recycled jars, you might want to try something a little more challenging (like this easy hydrangea painting). You can do that with One Stroke Painting techniques. Pictured below are some nice glass jars that originally held cashews. I painted flower designs on each one, filled them with assorted teas or hot chocolate, and gave them as Christmas gifts.

Tea canisters made from recycled glass jars with One Stroke Painting techniques

glass canisters with flowers

These are the glass jars I painted and made into tea canisters using One Stroke Painting techniques.

One Stroke Painting books, worksheets and brushes

Donna Dewberry’s All New Book of One Stroke Painting

donna dewberry all new book of one stroke paintingOne Stroke Painting worksheets

donna dewberry one stroke worksheet

Brushes for glass and enamel paint (softer than typical craft paint brushes)

one stroke glass painting brushes

More brushes that can be used for glass painting

Sometimes Donna Dewberry’s enamel brushes are hard to find. This Royal Gold set of seven brushes looks like a good alternative because they can hold a chiseled edge, yet they are soft.

soft craft paint brushes

Donna Dewberry shows how to paint on glass

This is an old video of Donna Dewberry on HSN demonstrating One Stroke Painting on glass. The kit in the video is no longer available, but the demonstration is still worth watching.

Going beyond One Stroke Glass Painting

Don’t be afraid to do your own thing

Experiment by creating your own designs on recycled glass jars. You can’t really make a mistake because you can wipe off the paint and start all over. Just have fun and see what you can come up with.

I painted several empty glass soup jars in various designs. The one with the moon was turned into a mason jar lamp. If you want to see how I did it, please read my mason jar lamp tutorial.

Handpainted glass jars, designed and painted by Lynda Makara

glass jars with one stroke painting

More glass painting designs. Easy ideas for everyone in these great videos.

Simple chalkboard paint jars

Painted Easter jars with homemade stencils

Cute baby food gift jars

Handpainted Christmas wine glasses

Colorful beer bottle vases

Donna Dewberry’s flower designs on wine glasses

“Stained glass” jars

Shabby chic mason jar vases

Painted glass tutorials

40+ simple glass paint craft ideas

How to paint glass and ceramic

Frost stenciled martini glasses