How to Turn a Photo Into a Watercolor Print

Learn how to turn any photograph into a beautiful watercolor print using Photoshop Elements.

photograph turned into watercolor print

Do you like this beautiful watercolor painting I made of my parents house? LOL! Just kidding! I have no idea how to watercolor!

I actually took a photograph of their home and used Photoshop Elements to make a watercolor style print to give them as a gift. It turned out so pretty that I’m excited to show you exactly how I did it so that you can make one too. It’s a perfect sentimental gift idea. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a watercolor print of every home you’ve lived in? Or the childhood home that you grew up in? Or the home that’s been in the family for generations? I just love this idea and can’t wait to make more prints this way.

How to Turn a Photo Into A Watercolor Print

Step 1: Choose a photograph to use. You can see what my photograph looked like. It’s a nice picture, but not anything too fancy or professional. You can use photos of animals or landscapes or even people, but people tend to be tricky because facial details get lost in translation. Still possible with some artistic vision. Upload the photo to your computer and open it in Photoshop Elements 2019. 

photo to watercolor

Step 2: Click on the GUIDED tab in the top center of the window. Then click on the SPECIAL EDITS tab below that. Then choose the WATERCOLOR EFFECT option near the bottom of the menu.

guided edits in photoshop

Step 3: Use the menu on the right hand side to begin transforming your photograph. I selected Effect 1 and the first watercolor paper option t about 30% opacity. The good news is that none of these changes are permanent, so feel free to click on everything to give it a try. Play around with all of these buttons until you like the look of your art. 

guided watercolor effect edit in Photoshop

Step 4: Print out your artwork. I used a heavy weight paper with a bit of subtle woven texture to make it look as much like an actual art print as possible. Michaels or Hobby Lobby both have lots of great paper options. The type of paper you use will have a drastic effect on how the finished piece looks! I printed my art at home because I have a pretty decent printer, but if you don’t have one, it’s inexpensive to send it somewhere like Office Depot or Staples.

Frame the art, wrap it up, and you’ve got the most perfect sentimental gift ever!

diy watercolor print of your house

Like this idea? Pin it so you can find it later!

how to turn a photo into a watercolor painting


  1. Do they still sell Photoshop? I used to have Adobe Photoshop (not Elements) but I thought Adobe discontinued due to many continuous updates. I had it on my old computer which ran Windows XP but now have Windows 10. I also have a Ceiva frame I used to be able to edit photos – it ran Flashplayer… Ceiva discontinued using Flashplayer for editing photos. They gave me several photo editing software they recommended but I really got used to using Photoshop. Do they still sell Photoshop Elements anywhere? And, does Photoshop update? Do you have anything you would recommend if Photoshop isn’t available? I love your idea of watercolor homestead.
    Thank you.

    • The full version of Photoshop is only available as a monthly subscription, but you can buy Photoshop Elements outright. I purchased my copy on Amazon.


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