Category Archives: ATCs

ATCs for Valentine’s Day (Sort of)

These are a few of the ATCs I made for a swap. Unlike a lot of crafters who use all those wonderful embellishments found in shops and online, I usually try to work with what I already have.  Most of the materials I used were homemade or from gifts that I’d been given.

The photo of the little girl came from a page of prints that I was given a few years ago.  The frame was photocopied from a Dover book I checked out from the library.  The glaze is Ultra Thick and the letters are rub-ons.  I’ve never had much success with rub-ons but these turned out just fine.  I made this one for my friend Abby, so the A & B were her initials and I affixed the dictionary term “Abbey”.

The background paper was in a tablet I was given for Christmas.  The silhouettes were from a really wonderful tablet of cutouts made just for ATCs that my sister gave me.  The words “courage, laughter and love” were snipped from a sentence in a magazine . The definition of “courage” was torn from an old paperback dictionary and the red heart was one that I stenciled (with acrylic paint) onto the inside of a paper grocery sack, then cut out with decorative scissors.  The smaller heart was in a box of scrapbook paper and cutouts that Cathy and Abby gave me last year.  Through the punched hole I tied a piece of twine.

I’m not a big fan of the popular words like Inspire, Create, and Dream that adorn paper arts.   There seems to be a lot of creating and dreaming going on.  Courage is an admirable trait and has a little oomph.

Cathy is from Georgia, so what could be better for her than Scarlett O’Hara?  The image was from an advertisement for commemorative plates in a magazine.

My sister gave me this beautiful Audrey Hepburn rubber stamp, so I wanted to use it on one of her cards.  The hat band was chalked, then glazed with Ultra Thick.  The earrings are glittered, the dictionary scrap is “chi chi”, and the fiber is from a piece that Fran had given me.  The base is cardstock which had been sprayed with Glimmer Mist.

Here I used another piece of paper from the tablet.  The paper doll and clothes were clipped from an ad in a magazine.  I really like how chipboard pieces add texture and interest to a project, however I rarely buy any.  Instead I make my own with cereal boxes.  The “Toys”piece was glued onto the thin cardboard, the corners were rounded by scissors and the edges sanded.  I raided my grandsons’ crayon box for the Crayola wrapper.  My sister and I both like paper dolls and this one seemed like a good fit.

Perhaps I had the camera too close, because it looks fuzzier than it actually is.

Those dunce caps that are added to old photos seem a little cruel, but one seemed just right for this dancing lady.  It kind of looks like it’s a part of her costume.  Another dictionary page, a “dance” definition, and the dotted paper scrap were added to a Glimmer misted base.  The lady herself is another from a magazine ad.  Edges of the paper were watercolored in green and the pom-pom on her hat is embellished with silver Stickles.

Originally the swap was to be for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t have them finished before my surgery.  All my good intentions to complete a project ontime were foiled again by procrastination.  Maybe I should do some banners for myself with words that will Inspire! me.  For instance, Punctuality!  Perseverance! Dedication!

ATCs are a fun, quick paper project.  They’re a nice change of pace from card making because you can choose whatever theme you want and unlike greeting cards, they don’t have to fit into stricter categories like Birthday, Thank You, etc.

Have you heard about Inchies?  I started seeing them on the internet a few weeks ago and don’t know much about them but my goodness, an inch??  That’s going to require more thought.


Filed under ATCs, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Free, Using What You Have

Found Supplies for ATCs

Artist Trading Cards are a fun, quick and inexpensive way to work with paper and loosely based on the old idea of kids swapping baseball cards. You can swap in person or over the internet.

One video I watched on youtube recommended making your own chipboard base from cereal or cracker boxes instead of purchasing cardstock. Now there’s a cheap idea that I like!

Carrying the thrifty bit a little further, I decided to see what I could do with a magazine and some stray bits from my paper stash.

The lavender themed one I call “Paris Flowers”.

For it I used:
card cut from cereal box
lavender printed bedsheet from a magazine advertisement
pansies cut from a stationery box
clipping from a restaurant review
stamped image of a flower
alphabet rubber stamps
black ink pad
tacky glue
small sanding block – this is to take the shine off the magazine page

Perhaps because I have such a fondness for literature, I generally like something to read on my projects. The restaurant review seemed to fit.

Apparently there are just a couple of basic rules concerning ATCs:
1. They must be 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in size.

2. Sign, date and name your card on the back. I also add my address.

3. They are to be traded – not sold.

That’s about it. The rest is up to the individual artist/crafter.

Some are original paintings. Others are stamped or collaged. The background can be paint, fabric, paper, metal or woven Johnson grass.

Last week I had fun working with some sewing supplies that were passed along to me.

Here are a few links with more information:

This one tells a little history and a little how-to.


Go here if you’re interested in connecting with people to trade with.


Filed under ATCs, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Free, Fun, Internet links, Thrift, Using What You Have