Posted: April 2nd, 2022 by

How To Make ATCs | Tutorial

Hello and Happy Saturday to you! We hope you have a nice weekend planned with some crafty time? Jane is here on the blog today with some fabulous ATCs featuring our wonderful SKETCHED TULIPS stamps, along with a ‘how to make ATCs’ tutorial which is very helpful if you are new to this. We have a monthly ATC SWAP in our Facebook group, organised by Jane, which is lots of fun! Hope to see you joining in soon!

Hello, it’s time for my fortnightly blogged design team make for Visible Image. You may or may not be aware that I organize a monthly artist trading card swap over in the customer Facebook group which will be celebrating a whole year of swapping next month! Whether you are a new stamper, or a seasoned one, you are most welcome to join us. Over 80 people, Worldwide, have taken part since it started. It’s been such fun and it’s so lovely to receive a unique piece of art from your partner in the post.  

I get asked lots of questions about how to make ATCs;  what cardstock to use, how to design, what to put on the back etc so I thought today I would run through how I approach making my own ATCs. This might help anyone who is still thinking about joining in with the swaps and doesn’t know where to start or for anyone who is having a bit of a creative “block”. Hopefully this might kick start your creativity. This is obviously my own personal way of making them, there is no right or wrong way.

So let’s start at the very beginning. Artist trading cards (ATCs) were designed to be fun and swappable. They are tiny unique works of art to be traded never sold. An ATC must measure 3 1/2  by 2 1/2  inches. This is the “standard” for them. For our swap on the VI page, only VI stamps, stencils and dies can be used but all the inky products are up to you. Every month I set a theme, as personally I find this easier to create for rather than “anything goes”. 

For March the theme for our swap was “signs of spring”. So the first thing I did was to chose spring coloured inks and Visible Image products.

I went with the gorgeous 

Daisy Daisy stencil

and for me, the perfect spring stamp set; Sketched Tulips 

My go to inks are always distress inks, and I chose cracked pistachio, squeezed lemonade and twisted citron as my spring inspired colours. I used a piece of A5 white 300gsm smooth cardstock put the stencil in place then blended through the 3 colours using a foam blending tool. I moved the stencil round the edges of the card and added extra ink in any gaps.

The Visible Image Facebook group swap is for a single ATC but I always make 4 as I keep one, give one to my granddaughter (who is also called Daisy) and the 4th goes to a lovely crafting friend abroad who I swap with. So I cut four  3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch  ATC backgrounds from my piece of card. 

You can design ATCs in either landscape or portrait format and I often do 2 each way. I added a little background stamping to each ATC using the gorgeous script stamp in the tulips set and peeled paint distress archival ink. Just put the stamp in your hand, dab on the ink and stamp randomly. The more incomplete and random it is, the more it blends into the background. 

I stamped the small tulip and words onto white card using Versafine black onyx ink and clear embossed.  I coloured just the flower of the tulip with orange zig watercolour pens. I cut them all out.

Next I stamped the word “spring” on each ATC and lined up the small tulip and stamped it above. I also stamped the little blossom sprig in the set using fossilized amber distress archival ink.

Finally I adhered the cut out tulips and words in place. As a finishing touch I inked the edges with vintage photo distress ink.

Here they are finished. 

As you can see I like to make all four slightly different, so that they are all one of a kind.

Here they are as a group.

The ATCs need to be at least 300gsm thickness to make them sturdy. Even though my cardstock is quite thick I add a backing layer of kraft card cut from the inside of a Weetabix box. I cut it just a tiny bit smaller than my ATCs. It can be plain white or coloured card but I find Weetabix kraft card works really well and is free for me! People often write on the back of their swaps the details, date etc of the swap and Visible Image have a fabulous ATC set which I stamp on the backs of mine.

It’s called the Love of ATCs stamp set

Not only does it have a stamp to add all the info to the back of ATCs but it has some fun stamps for decorating your envelope if you would like to. 

So here is what the back of my ATCs look like

Lastly here is a photo of 6 my 12 ATCs I have swapped in the group since last May. Some have gone abroad, others have a home here in the UK. 

I hope I might have answered a lot of your questions, and perhaps even inspired you to join our next swap? The sign up for the next swap will open on 23 April, if you would like to join us. And a little heads up that there might be a little “something” up for grabs to celebrate our first year of swapping! 

You will also find me on instagram here: @jane.tyrrell where I share many more samples than I have the time to blog.

Back soon,

Bye for now. 
Jane x

This is a brilliant insight into making ATCs for beginners, and a re-cap for anyone who needed a refresher! All your ATCs are fabulous Jane! Thank you so much for this post, and for all your ATC swap organising in the group ♡

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Thanks for visiting our blog today! 

Stay creative!

Helen & Mark xx

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