Tag Archive: ATCs

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! ;)

For this technique you will need lots of glossy magazine papers!

I don’t know about you guys but I’m a real hoarder and I’ve got magazines in my collection going back YEARS! I don’t like to throw them out at all. I usually use them for scrap paper and protecting my work surface with. Infact I was doing just that when I discovered how cool these papers are for stamping on!

It all started out with a sheet of magazine paper I was resting on when I was applying alcohol inks to some glossy card. I noticed the inks had overlapped my card and gone onto the magazine paper itself and I liked how it looked.

A little while later I used the same sheet of paper to protect my surface while spraying some more card with a mica powder glitz spray I had. Next I used it to protect my surface as I stamped on some more cards, by this time the magazine paper had taken on a life of its own.

Infact I liked the look of the magazine paper so much at this point it was no longer considered ‘scrap paper’ and I HAD to use it in something!

And that is how I came up with this background technique idea….

Try it yourself and see!

Materials Used:

Glossy Magazine Papers – if you don’t have magazine papers you can use glossy travel agent brochures or free glossy catalogues.
* Calligraphy Drawing Inks –or- Posh Impressions Rainbow Inks –or- Adirondak Alcohol Inks –or- Dye Re-inkers –or- Daler Rowney Pearlescent Inks
* Cheap Bathroom Sponge Pieces
* Black Memories Ink Pad

Rubber Stamps Used:
* ART Word (Stampers Anonymous)
* * All Others By: Paper Artsy, Tuscan Rose and Oxford Impressions

How To Create:

1. Look through your glossy and non glossy magazines – doesn’t matter what the subject matter of your magazines is (but PLEASE don’t ruin your stamping mags!)….flick through the pages of your magazines and look for interesting looking pages – adverts are fantastic for this! Look for interesting backgrounds, photos, textures, fashion pages are brilliant – all the patterned fabrics on clothes are interesting backgrounds! Even hair in shampoo adverts makes an interesting background and water and bubbles! Look for anything that catches your eye…and tear the pages out and get yourself a stack of pages…

2. Take a magazine page, and using small pieces of bathroom sponges, dab and smoosh ink all over the surface to create an interesting background. I used artists inks – you can use any types of inks – posh impressions, dye re-inkers or even your alcohol inks. I opted for inks because they are transparent and I wanted some of the printed background to be visible through the colour. The only non transparent inks I used where my Daler Rowney Pearlescent inks – I added them to the final layers to add highlights and a shimmering sheen to the page.

There’s nothing to stop you using other mediums – experiment and play and see what you can do. You could use acrylic paints – either neat or water them down with water to create a kind of glaze.

I didn’t ‘think’ about how I was going to put the inks on – I just splotted them over the magazine pages in any old fashion using sponge pieces and continued until I got an effect I liked the look of. Once I was happy I set the background aside to let it dry.

Here’s some examples of backgrounds I created prior to stamping:

3. Once the inks have dried on your backgrounds you can STAMP on them! You can stamp using an permanent inkpad – I used black memories but you can also use Stazon or Ancient Page or Brilliance (remember to heat set first)

Here’s a backgrounds I stamped below – I’ve shown the before and after stamping background so you can compare:



One word of caution, do not stack the stamped magazine papers on top of one another while they are still wet as they will stick to one another! I found out the hard way – make sure they are fully dry first!

Once my stamped backgrounds where dry I made them into Artist Trading Cards – you can see my creations on this page!

More Ideas For Magazine Papers:

Instead of adding colour to the magazine papers use them neat! Look for interesting textures and patterns and stamp directly on the patterns or use the patterns for layering onto cards – these are fantastic background papers!

Experiment adding less and more colours to change the original background off the magazine paper itself. You can add dark colours to completely cover up the original page and leave only parts of it showing. Brayer, spray, sponge or paint colour on using different mediums and inks.

Sand the magazine papers to distress it, or even apply gesso!

You could use the magazine papers to make tape transfers! Take clear parcel tape and place over a picture on your magazine paper, burnish with a bone folder, then soak in water and gently rub off the background paper to reveal a printed transfer which can be used in your art!

Remember magazines are nice and glossy photo quality paper! I’ve discovered they are perfect for photo art style stamps!! They take the ink and images perfectly! You have to be careful cos the paper is slick (like glossy card and acetate) but once you’ve got the hang of it you are ready to go!

I’ve also discovered a neat little trick which came about after an accident – when you stamp on the magazine paper (I used black memories) – wait a couple of seconds then using a clean new baby wipe quickly wipe off the wet ink from the magazine paper. It leaves behind a kind of watermark impression on the paper which looks like a cool shadow – great with more bold stamps! I discovered this by accident when one of the images I stamped didn’t stamp perfectly so I wiped it off the glossy paper to start again. I also discovered the darker the magazine print the more defined the ghost water mark!

I’ve been stamping on pictures of fabrics from the fashion pages in the magazines – the patterns make great backdrops for your images I’ve found! And also the actual text on the magazine pages are brilliant for stamping on too – I have a simple vertical stamp which says ART and that looks good stamped on plain printed magazine paper text…

Darker magazine papers are perfect for stamping on using metallic inks – I’ve used Brilliance Cosmic Copper and I love the shine of it on the paper.

Remember you can make your magazine papers into collages too!

Another idea is to use the magazine papers with your craft punches! I had lots of left over pieces when I trimmed around my stamped papers, it seemed a shame to throw them away as they looked really interesting so I got my circle punch and punched out anything that looked interesting to use as accents on cards. You can use any shape at all but I decided on circles cos it was the nearest punch to hand and also I figured what I didnt use on the cards I would probably use in bottle caps..

More Sources For Magazine Papers:

Here’s some fab links I found:

Using a cropping tool for find background on magazines:

Using Magazine Papers To Make Collage Backgrounds:

Faux Cloisonne Using Magazine Papers:

ATCs created using Magazine Backgrounds

Artist Trading Cards I Created Using Magazine Paper Backgrounds: