Ms. Ruin's Playthings

"The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates." -Oscar Wilde

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Artist Trading Cards

We currently have two swaps going on at ARTSY FARTSY.  Remember, anyone can join - just need to have a facebook account.  One of the swaps is for recipe cards and is being facilitated by Genie Smith.  The other is an Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap that is being facilitated by yours truly.  We are each making a total of 3 cards which means we have three themes. 

The themes are:
  1. Childhood Memories
  2. A Favorite Song
  3. Surprise Theme (you pick a theme)

So far I have completed Childhood Memories and A Favorite Song.  Details below.  For those of you that are not familiar with ATCs – they are a tiny original piece of art created with the intention of swapping or trading it with another artist, not selling it. The one rule an artist trading card must adhere to is the size. An ATC should be 2.5 x 3.5 inches. ATCs can be made in any medium and using any technique, whether it's painting, drawing, or collage. You are really limited only by your imagination and materials."

This is what a card looks like when you purchase it – and heck, you don’t have to purchase these, you can simply use cardstock.  I buy the ones with the punches on the side so that I can put them on my Artist Trading Card carousel by 7gypsies.

Now…on with the magic.

ATC No. 1 of 3:  Childhood Memories

Who didn’t watch The Wizard of Oz as a kid?  Every time it comes on television I am mesmerized by the magic of oz.  It reminds me of the unique beauty in the Land of Oz and the journey of Dorothy and company along the yellow brick road.  I was able to capture the enchantment of Oz in this ATC with the help of Graphic 45 and their new line “The Magic of Oz”.  Scroll past the pictures to read steps/products.


Steps and Products for ATC No. 1:
  • Using a VersaMark Watermark Stamp Pad I juiced up the gorgeous vintage frame stamp by Glitz Design.  The stamp is from the “Fancy Frames” clear stamp collection.
  • Stamped image onto a large tag.
  • Covered with black embossing powder.
  • Embossed with heat gun.
  • “Generously” distressed with “Stormy Sky” distress ink by Tim Holtz.  When I say generously I mean I distressed the entire image – the embossing will serve as a “resist”, trust me, you don’t have to worry about getting ink on the embossed portion of the tag.
  • Cut image out with scissors.
  • Distressed a cream colored ATC with black archival ink (they also sell black ATCs).
  • Adhered frame to ATC with scrappy glue.
  • Using a glue gun, I adhered two layers of off-white colored lace to the center of the frame.
  • Adhered Dorothy image from “The Magic of Oz” paper by Graphic 45 to the lace (I did use hot glue on this as well)
  • “The Magic of Oz” title came from the cover of the paper pack (crafters don’t waste –hahaha!).  I cut it out and distressed the edges with a distressing tool and then inked it with "Vintage Photo" distress ink by Tim Holtz.
  • I don’t care for stickles but I did use red stickles on the hair bow and shoes because it’s the Wizard of Oz and hello – YOU NEED BLING!

ATC No. 2 of 3:  A Favorite Song

I am a music fanatic and listen to all sorts of music.  Some you would like, some would terrify you.  HAHAHA.  One of my favorite songs is “Perfectly Flawed” by OTEP.  This ATC is about empowering yourself when faced with adversity.  Scroll past pictures below to read steps/products.

Steps and Products:
  • Distressed ATC with “Fired Brick” distress ink by Tim Holtz.
  • Applied “Mod Podge” to the entire card and then placed an ATC transparency by 7gypsies over it.  Let it dry.
  • Applied “Zipper Trim” by Maya Road to the edge
  • Printed a picture of myself that I graphically distressed and added the words “Perfectly Flawed” to it.
  • Took a scrap piece of patterned paper and used it as a border for the picture.  Around the frame I hand wrote the following lyrics from the song:  “You’re perfectly flawed.  You’re perfectly incomplete.  A work in progress.  Imperfection makes you unique.”
  • Adhered the mat with the writing to the ATC using pop dots (I love dimension!)
  • Adhered picture of self to mat also using pop dots (more dimension – yay!!)
  • Using hot glue I adhered a red rose by Prima to the picture.

ATC No. 3 of 3 is yet to come…stay tuned.  And don’t forget to join us at Artsy Fartsy!


  1. Awesome, thank you so much for taking the time to walk through this. Saved me some research time. Both of these look AMAZING Sonia!

  2. Pretty cards... Im still gaga over that first one! :)

    Thanks for the tutorial! :)