One of the biggest trends in paper crafting is Artists Trading Cards. These 2.5 by 3.5 rectangular cards are the artist's equivalent of business cards. Scrapbooking conferences and similar expos often have trading sessions where attendees can swap and build a great collection of cards.
If you haven't tried your hand at making your own ATCs, I'll take you through the steps of how I built my own. Here is the first in a series of articles on creating ATCs.
The theme for an ATC can be anything you desire. I live in Tucson and creating artist trading cards with a local theme was a natural for me. First up, an Arizona sunset ATC. I used layers to create a floating three-dimensional look for the cards.
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Materials & Tools List
· Picture of Arizona sunset cut from a local brochure
· Plastic or Acetate
· Cardstock for your ATC "canvas"
· Dark Brown Paper with a Leather-like Texture
· Puffy 3D Star Stickers in Colors
· White Sticker Paper or Label Stock
· Green and Beige Inkpads, Different Shades
· Medium Point Black Marker
· Scissors and/or Paper Trimmer
· Scallop Corner Punch from Armada Art 6-Pack Corner Punch Art Set
· Double Stick Tape or Scrapbooking Adhesive Tape
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1. Cut color pictures from magazines or glossy brochures to suit your theme. Crop each image to 2.5 by 3.5 inches each. Cover up any writing on the image with matching color markers.
2. Cut clear plastic pieces to 2.5 by 3.5 inches each.
3. Cut card stock pieces to 2.5 by 3.5 inches each.
4. Freehand draw or trace the outline of a Saguaro cactus onto the back of white sticker paper.
5. Using a direct-to-paper technique, dab or rub green inkpads onto the front of the sticker paper. Use a blender pen or tissue to blend the colors to create a softer look for the cactus green.
6. Cut out the cactus shape from the sticker paper. Using a black marker, freehand draw scribbles and lines to create the shading in the cactus.
7. Peel the backing off the cactus and stick it to the plastic layer, slightly right of center.
8. Tear a 1/2-inch wide piece of brown paper. Adhere the brown piece to the front of the plastic layer at the bottom of the cactus. This becomes the "ground."
9. Assemble the ATC card layers in this order: plastic layer with cactus, Arizona sunset layer then card stock layer with any printed side hidden in the "sandwich."
10. You might not be able to fit the top left corner into the corner punch after you apply the puffy stars, so cut the top corners now. Hold, but don't glue, the three ATC layers together. Position the card sandwich into the punch, then carefully cut the top corners.
11. Apply three star stickers of different sizes to the front of the plastic layer, in the sky to the left of the cactus.
12. Apply adhesive directly behind the cactus, brown paper and stars on the back of the plastic layer. Adhesive should be hidden when you assemble the layers. Do not apply adhesive anywhere else on the plastic unless you want it to be visible from the other side. Place the plastic layer on top of the sunset layer, being careful to align the scalloped corners.
13. Apply adhesive to the back of the sunset layer and attach it to the card layer, again aligning the scalloped corners. If you didn't cut them the first time, you can now cut the bottom corners with the scallop punch.
14. Sign the back of your ATC to identify yourself. I include a sticker with my name and email address instead -- it's faster for me and easier to read at a glance. In addition, you may wish to number each ATC you create as part of a series. I number mine in batches of nine, since trading card sleeves hold nine cards. This Arizona sunset artists trading card is my first in a series of identical cards. I labeled it 1 of 9.
· When you go to a trade show, everyone wants to stick brochures in your hand. Take a quick glance at the images before you say "no." You might decide to take this free paper home and recycle it after you read it.
· Old plastic report covers are great for recycling into ATCs. I've used both clear and colored vinyl covers for my ATC creations. Whenever my daughter wants to throw away an old folder or report cover, I try to salvage a 2.5 by 3.5 inch piece before it hits the trash.
· Second choice for plastic: packages, packages, packages. Open something you bought at a store and you've probably got clear plastic you can recycle into an ATC.
· Discarded folders and old cardboard take-out menus are great for free, interesting card stock. I recycled a local pizza parlor menu for this ATC.
· If you use layers, decide if you want to cut your paper corners before or after the ATC is assembled. You may have to experiment to see what works best for your design.
Product Resource Guide
Find your choice of materials online. Shop for:
· Dotto Adhesive Applicator
· Scotch Double Stick Tape
· Jo-Ann Scrap Essentials 3pc Precision Scissors
· Fluid Chalk Inkpad-Dark Moss
· ColorBox Pigment Ink Pads
· Fujifilm Photo Sticker Paper
· Avery White Inkjet Labels, Shipping, 3 1/3in. x 4in
· EK Success Corner Adorner Punch - Corner Stone
· Victorian Frame
· Dual Sided Cardstock, 12x12" - Neutral Colors
· Brown Decorative Paper at Amazon.com
· Most project photos on this page were taken with a 5.0 MP resolution KODAK EASYSHARE DX4530 Zoom Digital Camera