Monday, December 14, 2009

ATCs and Santas

The theme for one of my ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap groups this month was "fuzzy."  I have had a few questions about ATCs so I will try to answer them here.  ATCs have only one hard and fast rule - they must be 3.5 inches x 2.5 inches. They are to be original, small editions that are self produced and traded with other people who create ATCs.  They must not be sold - only exchanged.  On the back of each ATC there should be the name and signature of the artist along with their contact information, the title or theme of the ATC and the number (1 of 8, 1 of 8, etc.).  They are meant to be sturdy enough to be handled and are usually sent in clear sleeves or custom envelopes.  Collectors keep them in boxes, in commercial trading cards pages (9 per page) or even make custom albums to display their ATCs.  You can find lots of information about ATCs online and many companies make supplies specifically for ATC creation, trading and storage.

So back to the "fuzzy" theme.  This one was tricky.  Usually I get an idea pretty quickly and initially I thought of fuzzy teddy bears or cute animals but I just wasn't getting a "cute" idea that I liked.  So I put off working on these for a while.  I then went the opposite way and came up with an simple and elegant card.

I bought some ribbon (a big spool of the great wired ribbon they sell at Costco very reasonably).  The ribbon was ivory with a flocked floral pattern.  I cut my base cards from ivory damask cardstock from the Luxury Stack by DCWV.  I have a Design Studio file to cut perfect bases on a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock that I have shared already.  It is easier than using a trimmer and more accurate.

I "fussy cut" the ribbon to make sure that the floral motif would be centered on each ATC.  The wires in the edges make the ribbon too stiff for this project so I simply pulled them out.  I used my ATG gun to apply adhesive to the ribbon, along each edge and right down the center.  Then I placed the ribbon about 1/4 inch from one edge of the ATC and wrapped the ends around to the back.

The ribbon is rather sheer so you can see some of the shiny cardstock through it.  This looked very elegant and rather bridal so I added a cluster of three tiny "diamonds" to emphasize the formality of the card.

For this large group (14 people) I usually create the back of the ATCs digitally.  I use my Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 software to do this.  I chose a digital paper to coordinate with the front of the ATCs and set up the file to print 9 on a piece of letter size matte photo paper.

After carefully choosing the coordinating paper, I was very surprised to see what came out of my printer - lavender card backs!  Fortunately, it wasn't my eyes - I just had to replace my color ink cartridge.   I wasted a piece of matte photo paper but I can use the white side for cards (I will emboss it with my Cuttlebug - it works beautifully).

Here are all of the ATCs before I put them in sleeves and sent them off for swapping.  I am very curious to see what others in the group made.   I think a few of us found this theme more challenging than we expected.

I didn't get as much decorating done today as I hoped.  I spent several hours outside chopping the ice off of our driveway - what a job!  My hands are very sore and my back muscles are achy, but I cleared the ice at last (it has been there since last week).  I did get the family room mantle set up with the Santas.

These Santas have been accumulating for years.  In fact, I have so many Santas that there is also a tall tree full of Santas that is always in our front hallway (I haven't carried that down from the attic yet...).

Here is another section of the Santas...

There is a little snowman section on the mantle too!


  1. Have made many cards using wire ribbon. The best ribbon came from Sam's Club last year after Christmas. The ribbon display had many samples stapled to cards, with the cards loaded on large rings. I ask a manager what they were going to do with them, trash them, so I ask if I could have them. This year almost all of my Christmas Cards have some of the different ribbons used from last years display. smg-gdp

  2. I really enjoy checking in with you each day. I have learned so much from you. Thanks. I would love to have the Cricut DVD giveaway.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love to hear from the people who read my blog. I moderate all comments to keep spam off the blog without making you decode the squiggly letters so your comment may not appear immediately.