Tim Holtz - Picking Colors For Your Layered Diecuts

The hardest thing that I do on most of my makes is pick colors. I am always looking for ways to pick colors for projects, recently I shared my Seasonal Color Palettes, and I thought that I would share my inspiration for some layered diecut cards featuring Tim Holtz Sizzix Colorize Dies.

Today's inspiration came from a traditional source, my color wheel and a non-traditional source, my daily calendar... More on both of these when we look at each card!

I love Tim Holtz layered dies, but sometimes I am not quite sure what colors I want to use to build up those fabulous layers. I have been staring at these two ever since I got them. I can always follow the recipe on the front, but sometimes I want to bring them to life in my own way or develop and overall color scheme for a card.

I remember studying the color-wheel in high school art class and making dozens of them! Though I find myself using that theory to come up with analogous or warm or cool color schemes, I haven't really started exploring its full potential until recently.

I am rarely pushy about any product, but I strongly encourage you to consider making or getting a color wheel if you don't have one. Click the link or the image below to shop for the one that I have.

Side A

Side B

Okay, enough lecturing from me, here are your key supplies and let's get this part started!

Key Supplies

A full supply list is available at the bottom of this post.

1. Listen to Your Heart Card

How did I end up with this? After getting stuck trying to pick the colors with no help, I reached under my desktop for the handy Color Wheel that I keep there, flipped to Side B (from the above Color Wheel Diagram) and immediately felt relieved.

The inspiration picture on the packaging has four colors, so I decided on a Tetrad Rectangle color scheme of Red Violet, Blue Violet, Yellow Orange and Yellow Green.

I wanted to color my own cardstock for both of these makes, so I went directly to my Distress Ink Swatches and started matching colors to the wheel and ended up with:

Red Violet - Seedless Preserves

Blue Violet - Chipped Sapphire

Yellow Orange - Wild Honey

Yellow Green - Twisted Citron

For me, this is 1/2 of the "work" done for this card!

These cards have a simple structure and layout but I took a few pics along the way and will focus on providing details on the coloring of the die-cuts and a couple of other pointers to help you give this a whirl.

Key Techniques


1. Diecut the textured side (up) of Distress Watercolor Cardstock. Tip: TBH, I had my die-cuts ready in these little ziplock bags from weeks ago when I first received the dies. I often have limited time to craft, so these little timesavers are a blessing for me.

2. Apply a low-tack tape to the back of the diecut panel to hold the "cuts" in place while watercoloring.

3. Ink the craft mat using ink pad or 1 (max 2 drops) or the Reinkers in the selected colors. Spritz the ink with water to dilute or use a dropper to add a drop (or two of water). This process may need to be repeated as the diecuts are watercolored and the ink needs replenishing.


1. After embossing with the Intertwine Texture Fades Embossing Folder, spray the A2 Distress Heavystock with mostly Scattered Straw Distress Spray and Pumice Stone Distress Spray (in the top left and bottom right corners) and set aside to dry.

2. The assembled diecut requires different shades of the same color or similar colors. So did two things:

  • I diluted each of the four colors to varying degrees to get different shades

  • I mixed new colors out of my 4 basic colors. I treated 3 like they were "primary" colors (Seedless Preserves for red, Chipped Sapphire for Blue and Wild Honey for Yellow) to mix additional shades for each of the layered elements.

3. When adding color to the diecut, try making some areas darker than others as this will add visual interest to the finished piece

4. Feel free to experiment with your color-mixing, I was not quite sure what I would end up with, but because I kept my original color palette consistent, I felt confident that however they turned out, they should work well together.

Other Key Notes:

  • The card is an A2 size (4.25" x 5.50")

  • The picture on the diecut package is invaluable in understanding how assemble the the layers

  • I also recommend doing a quick mock-up on the card front to get comfortable with how to place each piece

  • Stick the "Listen To Your Heart" sticker from the Tim Holtz Ida-ology Metallic Stickers Book to some wax paper so that it is easier to cut each word into a section

How pretty are these?

Now for the finished card!

2. Take Risks Card

You can see why I love the color wheel's very methodical approach to picking colors, but this next approach feels a lot more whimsical somehow to me.