Have you ever participated in an ATC (Artist Trading Card) Swap?
An ATC is a mini work of art usually made on paper. Artists connect through groups online, make enough cards for everyone and in the end receive one card from each artist in the group.
Jessica Brogan is having an Inspiration Deck Swap, which I decided to be a part of. We are making 52 cards, the same size of playing cards. Some people use the playing cards – I wanted to upcycle some cereal boxes I’ve been saving, like Natasha White used to create hers. With my little twist, as you will see below. ;)
This was the first time I created so many ATC cards at one time and also the first time I used cereal boxes. So it was a learning experience for me and there might be a few things I did that you would do differently. I’d like to hear your ideas.
I first opened the boxes flat and applied some paint. I didn’t want to gesso them first, to see what would happen. I’m glad I didn’t, and you will soon see why.
I painted a couple of layers to cover the background.
Then, something cool happened: I was checking if the paint was dry and I scratched the paper. Can you guess what happened?
Yes, I started really scratching it like a boss… LOL…. because I saw that the cool colors and letters underneath started showing. From there, it was Doodletown all over the paint. I knew I had found my design for this project.
Here’s one I painted orange and then added very lose brush strokes of blue. It looks like patina, as if the blue had been underneath, but it was added on top.
It’s easier to do the doodling while the paint is somewhat wet. I used the back of my paintbrush for that. If you wait a little too long, it gets harder. The solution then is to use something sharper.
Next I trimmed the sides of the boxes.
I also added more color with pens in some areas.
Now for the background. I wanted to keep it simple, one of the reasons being that I’m going to add a label with my info on top. I had some golden tissue paper and I thought it would look cool, so I glued it on all sheets.
Jessica had asked us not to use Modge Podge as a sealant. Apparently she had a problem when artists sent her cards sealed that way in previous swaps. I used it to glue both the background and the quotes, because I knew I was coating all the cards with gloss gel medium, so it won’t be a problem for her. I suppose you could use regular glue for this.
Then it was time to cut the cards to size. I used a regular card from a deck so I’d get the size right. I didn’t fuss about being precise with measurements, but I wanted it to be as close as possible to the actual deck card.
I cut them by hand, with scissors. No, not the most practical way, but I used the tools I had. If you have a paper cuter and a corner cutter: 1) it will be SO much easier and 2) I love you. Let’s be friends ;)
For the quotes, here’s something I tried, but didn’t work. So don’t do it…. LOL
I have a rubber type printing kit and I thought I’d be oh so smart and stamp a nice short but powerful quote on my cards. I tested it and tested again. It smudged, even before the gel medium. So…. I didn’t use this. But I thought I’d show you a pic here so you know.
By the way, the quote I had put together here is one of my favorites. It’s SHORT but boy, the meaning is huge. ”Dream big. Act bigger.” Ya hear??
*Note: I ended up printing my quotes and used only 3 different ones, only to find out as I’m writing this post that I was supposed to use a different quote for each card. I checked with Jessica and I’m ok with my 3. I wanted to use short quotes so I wouldn’t cover the art on the card too much. Lesson here: read the instructions then read them again and again to make sure you follow them. Learned, thanks. :)
Here are the cards before I glued the quotes:
I typed the quotes on Word, cut them and glued them to each card.
I also added some super fine glitter paint… because I thought it would be fun look cool. And it did.
Last step: gloss medium on both sides of the cards.
Here is a pic showing the back of the cards, before I added a label with my info:
I love those lines and wrinkles! It makes each one unique and gives the back some texture.
So that’s 40 of the cards. I have to make 12 more and add a label with my info on the back of all of them. I’m going to use the same technique to be consistent.
I’ll update this post with the extra pictures when I’m done. Hope you enjoy this tutorial and let me know if you make your cards using this technique – I’d love to see your pictures!
Here are a few pictures of the last batch – the other 12 cards. I didn’t scratch these much – mostly painted.
And the cool thing about these is how they show the words and letters underneath, take a look: