In my last post, I mentioned that I have a new crafting obsession of sorts. Well I’m here to tell you that I have fallen in love with ATCs, artist trading cards. These are miniature works of art measuring 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches that are created to be traded among artists or given away. The “canvas” is usually some kind of paper/cardstock/cardboard base, but people have made them out of metal, wood, glass, stiffened fabric, etc. The only rule is that they measure 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch in size. Cards that are made with the intent to sell are called ACEOs – Art Cards, Editions, and Originals.
Most of the ATCs I’ve seen have been miniature paintings and illustrations or featured rubber stamped images, and given my lack of drawing skills and little interest in rubber stamping, I had never really paid a whole lot of attention to them. That is, until recently, when I found myself on YouTube looking at videos of ATC’s done by beginners. Most of the ATC’s that were featured were done collage-style and really inspired me to give this art form a try.
Aren’t they just beautiful?
Many people have used old playing cards or food cartons cut down as the base for their ATC’s. I happened to have a stash of pieces of stiff cardboard that my friend had given me about two years ago that she had gotten when she ordered some prints to sell in her shop. The prints came on white cardboard backing that was perfectly sized, so that when I cut one of these cardboards down, it gave me exactly four 2.5 x 3.5 inch cards.
I decided to color the sides of my card using a gold paint pen.
I discovered that the cardboard really soaked up the gold paint, so I had to go over the edges several times in order for the gold to really show.
For this ATC, I decided to go to my crafting standby – magazine pages. Because of the small size of ATC’s, I decided to find large images that had a lot of texture to serve as my background, that when cut down, would look give my card an interesting look without being obvious as to its origins. I found this image of a persimmon pie that I thought would work:
I trimmed down the image, and using white craft glue that I brushed over the surface of my card, I glued down the image. After the glue dried, I trimmed off the excess.
You have to look closely to realize this is an image of a pie :0)
Many artists leave the backs of their cards blank for their signature and info, but I wanted the back of mine to look pretty, or at least, interesting, so I found another interesting image of a root vegetable tart to use for the back. (Notice my food theme?)
I had a picture of a girl from an ad from a vintage magazine that I wanted to use as the featured image on my ATC. I trimmed down the image, but left the cloudlike outline that was in the original picture untrimmed.
I glued her to the front of my card, but didn’t really like how plain the result was.
After I trimmed off the excess, I decided to cover up the plain background behind the girl. I found a magazine ad that was covered in small, colorful flowers and started cutting them out individually and adhering them all around the girl.
I used my bottle of Art Glitter glue that had a pointed tip to add the glue to the small pieces of paper that I had meticulously cut out.
I wasn’t sure how the flowers would look against the girl, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well my “fix-it” solution ended up looking. It was a lot of work cutting out all those flowers and gluing them down, but well worth the effort.
I decided to add a phrase to my card, so I found an ad that had a fun looking font and cut out part of a phrase, that I thought would really enhance the image on my card.
I glued the phrase to some cardstock, trimmed it down, inked the edges with a black Sharpie, stuck some foam mounting tape to the back and added it to my card.
Somehow my card did not look finished, so I decided to ink the front and back edges with a red Sharpie marker.
I sealed the front and back of my ATC with a combination of Mod Podge and Perfect Paper Adhesive.
My finished ATC:
Given that this is my very first ATC, I’m really pleased with the result. The challenge for me was creating something on such a small scale. Even though I make cards, they are huge in size compared to ATCs. I was pleasantly surprised as to how little materials it required to make an art card. I also love the fact that I pretty much used recycled materials to make mine.
Stay tuned, because I have been on a roll with ATCs :0)
Have you tried your hand at making ATC’s? Please share in the comments.