All about Artist Trading Cards

 People ask what is so great about "Artist Trading Cards" all the time.

I just have to say that they are fun to make and create! I consider them Miniature works of Art!
Artist Trading cards are also known as ATC's.

They must be 2.5"x3.5" or 64x89mm. And are meant for trading ONLY. Usually through the mail via various yahoo groups or in person at a gathering. (The art card above was created for a annual Fiskateer event where everyone made 50+ cards with our photo on the front and our personal info on the back.)

ATC's usually are made of a sturdy chipboard backing to ensure safe mailing. I like to recycle cereal and cracker boxes for ATC bases. In the past I used to score and cut each card on my paper trimmer. I went through quite a bit of blades this way! 
I have also made my ATC's with painted vinyl, soda cans, fabric, .....
Craft stores carry a line of Trading card sleeves, envelopes and baggies meant to keep them safe till swapped.

There are usually themes for a swap you might participate in. Here the theme was Nesting dolls. And as long as I kept my shape under 2.5"x3.5", I could use any shape. So I created a hand sewn doll that folds out to show to smaller nesting dolls. Go here to see more nesting dolls.

For the Alice in Wonderland swap, instead of making all my ATC's to be the same, I used a few brochures for the new movie and cut out images for each card. Then I accented them with glitter glue and shrink plastic key charms. I accented the edges with a gold leaf pen. See more Alice in Wonderland here!Sometimes the swap host will provide a template of the shape to use. In this case it was a house I printed out and made a template from card board. I hand cut each ATC and covered it with paper, added a vintage packaging tape transfer image, added some wings from a butterfly punch (cut in two) and finished it off with a few rub-ons.

This Bingo card was created with a rubber stamp made just for art cards. Now days you can also find scores of images or back ground stamps in the exact sizing for your art cards.
The butterfly is one of my favorites and I created it using a variety of alcohol inks. 
The theme was Mardi Gras masks. The top piece of the mask was made from the clear packaging some of your craft products come in. You can see the rest of the Mardi Gras masks here.
Here I hand cut women images from fabric and mod podged them to the paper on the card.
I colored one side of clear vinyl with alcohol inks and them stamped the reverse side with a music sheet stamp and staz- on/ The theme was Easter- hence the eggs.

For a fairy tales theme. I stamped a piece of card stock with a Snow white stamp, colored in the parts needed and covered the image with crackle glaze. The rest of the card is covered in vintage inspired wrapping paper, stamped tissue paper and the edges finished with a gold leafing pen.
For the next two Halloween cards, I just accented already great images with glitter glue and buttons. Then I used my FAVORITE pens, Sakura SoufflĂ© pens that turn opaque on dark paper just like magic!

See more Halloween cards here!

For the Witch card, I brushed the raw side of the ATC blank with white gesso, them ran over it with lime green acrylic. Before that had started to set I added one more layer of crackle glaze. The image is just a basic run of the mill photo copy to which I adhered to the card. I rubbed a little of the gesso around the image edges, added some glitter glue and finished with the soufflĂ© pen.
When you are ready to send out your cards, it's important to add the following:
  • Your name
  • Your city/sate or country
  • Name of the swap
  • Date 
  • ATC number- 1 of 6, 2 of 6, and so on. 
You can all this to the back of each ATC hand or by using
one my of ATC rubber stamps from Blank Page Muse*.
*Save 15% off your order with discount code BPMMichelle

There are many ways to store your art cards. I displayed the Halloween ones on a vacant wall one year for the month of October. I also store them by year in a 3 ring binder using Trading card pockets. These can be found in any store that sells trading cards.

It's nice to browse the book and be re inspired every now and then. :)

If you are interested in participating in some Artist Trading Card swaps, please consider joining our group.- Mixed Media Art Charms and Faerie Garden Swaps. 

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