Tag Archive: Artist Trading Cards

Acetone Transfers ATCs

Acetone can be found in nail polish remover, I got mine from Tesco, just look at the ingredients and see if acetone is listed, if it is, this is the stuff you want, it isnt expensive.

To make this technique work you need fresh laser or photocopier printed artwork – it doesnt work so well on older copies so make sure its fresh! The prints I used were a day old and they worked.

To make a transfer you trim round the image, place it image faced down towards the surface you want to transfer the image onto, get a cotton wool ball and soak up the acetone, and rub and dab the back of the printed image to transfer it. Lift off a corner to make sure its all transfers and then remove it to reveal your image transfer.

I transfered my image directly onto an atc which Id already added colour onto using inks and it worked fine, if your worried about messing your background up- you can always add colour afterwards.

A is for Acetone Transfer ATC

A is for Acetone Transfer ATC

I found this video on youtube for Acetone Transfers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv4d2zRPbG4 In the video they transfer the image onto a block for carving but I decided to transfer it onto an already inked background just to see if it would work.

I first found out about Acetone Transfers in the following book below and decided to give it a whirl, I love how this technique turned out and must do some more:

altered imagery


Welcome to the world of wonderful weird and wacky figures!

The idea behind this project is to make a strange looking person or animal using your rubber stamps….

You dont want to use the whole rubber stamped image for this project, instead only use the HEAD! If you dont have a head you can cut the head from another stamped image you have or use a face stamp to make a head…..

Example: Cut off the head of a stamped person and stick it onto the body of something else! – this could be the body of an animal or another person – something that doesnt look right and normal – something nice and weird!!

You can stick your head onto ANYTHING – another stamped image: body, animal, object or you could draw the body yourself using pens, or you could even cut the body out from magazine or scrapbook papers – whatever floats your boat! Once you have your body stick it all together and make it into a strange disjointed figure!

You can add further interest by adding hats or wings, hands, feet, legs, arms even accessories if you wish! Add a splash of colour and make it into an atc!

See my scans below for disjointed examples to get an idea of what is required

Disjointed Clothes and Hats Cut From Magazine Papers:

I drew these rough images onto magazine paper and cut them out to make clothes – you dont have to be an artist to do this (Im not) – so long as you get the general shape of clothes – if you dont want to cut your own clothes out you can use punches or cut the clothes from another stamped image or even print some out from dress up dolls.

Disjointed ATCs:


Disjointed ATCs Directions:

To make these atcs first of all I cut a sheet of book paper to atc size and attached to the front of an atc card. I then stamped the moon face stamp and cut it it out, then I cut out a silly dress shape from magazine paper – I chose pages which had fashion prints on them as they have some nice patterns on them. I also cut out a crown shape from magazine paper too and assembled my strange looking person together onto the book paper background.

My figure looked odd without legs and arms so I drew on matchstick style arms and legs using a drawing pen. The atc looked a bit bare so I scribbled on a simply looking house in the background with a door, window and chimney, completed the scene with a sun and drew an horizon line in the background. Not quite right yet, I decided to outline the clothes, hat and head using my pen to give it more definition.

It looked a little bare so I decided to add a splash of colour, I used watercolour crayons to colour in the lips and eyes of the person, I also coloured in her legs and arms and added green grass, yellow sun and red roof and blue door to the house.

It started to look complete and I was happy to leave it at that!

Its a really fun challenge – dont get hung up on how perfect your figure looks – its not supposed to and if you dont want to draw you dont have to as you can use images cut out or printed out instead – improvise!!

You are free to interpretate this them anyway you wish to using any style at all and any figures & heads imaginable!Its a really fun project as long as you dont get hung up on how perfect your figure looks – its not supposed to!

I have this idea rattling round in my head, so Ive decided to have a little experiement, I dont even know if its going to work, but Im uploading it anyway to show the progress of this idea as it evolves…

Step 1:
First of all I repeat stamped a long strip of stamp designs using rainbow inks and applied colour over the top using dtp. Ive scanned small sections of these strips and uploaded them below – the actual sizes of the full strips is A3 in length (2 computer sheets of paper stuck together lengthways)




Step 2:

For this next step I seperated each stamped design sheet from the page and concertina folded them. I then drew a heart shape on the top of the concertina folds and cut around it to make a long garland of hearts – kinda like the paper dollies we used to make when we where kids…

See scan below for a scan of some my paper heart strings:


Step 3:
The hearts are quite small and approx 2-3 will fit across an artist trading card, so I cut up some printed scrapbook papers I had and used them as atc blanks. I then assembled the hearts across them horizontally to make the following atcs and added embellishments to finish:






Thats it! I was surprised that it worked – well not really as I knew you could make strings like this from making paper dollys this way as a child, but I wondered what it would look like if I made a smaller version for atcs!

Just think you could make ANY shape at all for any theme atcs – flowers, leaves, trees, stars, dolls….skys the limit!

Clean Thoughts ATCArtist Trading Cards or ATCs as they are also known as are fantastic mini 3.5″ x 2.5″ objects of art! They are similar to the football and movie trading cards you can collect only these babies are all hand made! ATCs are great for trading with your stamping friends because of their small convenient size and better still they are easy to store in plastic pocket pages in a ring binder folder.

I have to admit Im really addicted to making ATCs simply because they have forced me to re-think my art and composition and work on a much smaller canvas. Normally for me size is no object; I make the cards to fit my artwork so the bigger the artwork – the bigger the card! But I ant do that with ATCs as they all have to be 3.5 x 2.5″ in size exactly!

As a recent convert to ATCs I thought I’d write this artile and share with you some tips and stuff I’ve discovered while working with these little cards.
Being Perfect
First of all, the most important rule is that all ATCs should be exactly 3.5 x 2.5″ in size. This is the trickiest part – getting them sized exactly right, however there is an easier way as I have discovered…….


If you have problems cutting the atcs to exact 3.5 x 2.5 size you can download the freeware tag printing program from red castle:

Once you have downloaded and installed the software; start the program, then input the following settings to the following size to print a template sheet of ATCS:

  • Make the Tag size: 2.5 x 3.5
  • Select: SQUARE
  • Uncheck the print punch hole option
  • Click Print!
  • Viola! Instant ATCs Template Sheet!

WomanNow take your sheet of blank ATCs, place it on top of a sheet of card stock, and trim along the lines using your paper trimmer …EASY as well…AT3!

Once you have your blank atcs you are ready for stamping them! This is the fun part!

Decorating Your ATCs:

ATCs can be portrait or landscape in orientation – while most people do tend to make their atcs portrait theres no rules to say you have to make them that way! At the end of the day YOU are the artist so its entirely up to you!

The fun part about using ATCs for me is trying to adapt my rubber stamps to use on these small canvasses!

If you dont have any ATC size stamps; dont panic! Study your stamps and look for interesting sections on the image and use just a portion of a larger stamped image as your focal image on your atc. I have a lot of larger collage type images which I use for this purpose – scan your image and look for an interesting section to use on your atc.

Use printed background papers to accent your atcs; you stamp your own using large background stamps or you can rip up scrap book papers or even papers from magazines and books! Experiment and play to see what works best! You can add colour to paperback book pages or scrapbook pages using inkpads and a sponge to smoosh the ink onto the paper so that the backgrounds match the main theme of your cards.

If your struggling with decorating atcs it helps to think small….dont be afraid of ATCs; just think of them as small handmade greetings cards and you’ll be over your atc phobia in no time at all!

Remember the most important rule of them all….There Are No Rules !

Relax, stamp and enjoy! Experiment with your favourite images and techniques and get the feel of working in miniature; why not join in some swaps to inspire you in your quest for ATCs! Swaps are perfect as you get to see what other people are doing with ATCs and you pick up ideas for doing your own in the future!

Creating ATC Sets:
You can make one off original ATCs or you an create sets of identical atcs; creating identical atcs is easy once you get started! Once your used to creating several atcs as part of a set you can join in an atc swap and get swapping atcs with other atc addicts too! On our Creative Cards Group we often have ATC set swaps to a specific theme. For these swaps you send in 10 identical atcs to a given theme, and the swap hostess will send you back 9 different atcs created by your fellow swappers! These atcs can then be displayed in a plastic 9 pocket page and filed in a folder for easy storage of your atc collection.

ATC Series:
This is similar to creating a set, only in this case you are creating a set of atcs which are all DIFFERENT but still part of the same theme. For example you might want to create a series of 20 woman inspired atcs using woman images and stamps – each would be different from each other but they would all be part of the same series because they are all woman inspired art. The following below is a series set of atcs I made using Family Portraits as my inspiration; as you can see all the cards are different from each other but they compliment one another by belonging to the same series:

Family Portraits Series

ATC Tripychs:
These are fun to make! An ATC Triptych is a set of 3 atcs created to a specific theme. Heres an atc triptych I made earlier using a ‘colour study’ as my theme, the atcs where all stamped using the same identical stamp, but I added a different colour to each to create the set. A very simple idea but it conveys the atc triptych dynamics well:

Colour Triptych

For more samples of artist trading cards Ive made check out my gallery: http://atcsbytrishbee.fotopic.net/

Recommended Reading
If you are searching for more inspiration in getting started with atcs then I can thoroughly recommend the following book available from Somerset Studio:

Artist Trading Card Book
For ATCs inspiration check out the following site:

I hope this guide will help you in your quest to getting started with ATCs and who knows maybe in time YOU will be as addicted as I am! ;)

I thought I would work my way through Bernie Berlin’s ATC Workshop book and try out all the techniques and see what I can come up with. No doubt I’ll discover some twists by playing around.

Heres the first technique in the book which I have decided to try called ‘Intuitive Watercolour’.

The idea behind this technique is that your using the natural patterns which have been created by the inks to make a picture. You use the lines within the inks as a guide to draw around and make patterns and pictures. This part is certainly a challenge for me, and I didnt really like what I did all that much if Im honest. But I have to admit that I had a lotta fun trying it out and getting messy – my fingers are still hot pink and purple in colour!

I just love the vibrancy of the background and the colours in this technique!


Step 1:

Using watercolour crayons pr pastels (I used watercolour oil pastels) scribble to add colour aound the edges of your ATC as shown below:


Step 2: Using a wet paint brush, wet the paint and then drag it around the atc across the centre so that the whole card is covered in paint..

Step 3: While the paint is still wet, drop different colours of watercolour inks (I used posh impressions inks) onto the card. If the card isnt wet enough you can spray more water on top and move the card around to encourage the ink to move into interesting patterns. If you add too much ink you can use a baby wipe to mop it up. When you’ve finished use a heat gun to both dry the ink and move the ink around some more to make abstract patterns.

See below for my watercolour backgrounds:






For the next part of this technique you take a black marker pen and you use it to draw around the outlines which have formed between all the different colours. Look at the patterns in the paint where the colours have blended together and use the pen to highlight these areas and draw lines in.
So far I have done 3 atcs in this way, I found it hard at first, my first 2 attempts I have scrapped entirely as I hated them so much. But Im not too bothered about these 3 atcs shown below – I dont hate them, but I dont like them – I guess they will kinda grow on me, if at all. Ive decided for the other backgrounds I am going to overstamp using black ink with a really bold and prominent stamp design as I dont want to ruin them with my scribbles!

Heres the ones I did with the drawing as per the directions above:

intuitivewatercolouratc2.jpg intuitivewatercolouratc3.jpg


I have just finished stamping on the rest of the watercolour backgrounds, Im much happier with the stamped version! I cant believe how vibrant the colours areHere are the scans: