Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mermaid Artist Trading Cards

I decided to try a few different things to make the Artist Trading Card for my swap group last month.  The theme was "Alliteration" and I didn't have any brilliant ideas to suit the theme.  I fell back on an old tongue twister, "She sells sea shells, down by the seashore."  (Yes, I know that it isn't fully alliterative...)

I found this lovely mermaid image in one of the free weekly Dover Publishing sampler collections.  (I highly recommend signing up for their emails).  I added a border and the phrase with a pink glow using the StoryBook Creator 4.0 software.  I sized the image at 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches so it could be placed on top of the standard 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 ATC card with a small border.  I printed out a sheet of images on matte photo paper using my home printer.

I wanted to create a shimmery effect over the entire card so I first tried some kaleidoscope embossing powder.  I didn't care for the result (I must have really disliked it since I didn't take a photo of it!).  To cover the entire front of the card, I applied Versamark embossing ink and sprinkled the powder all over the surface.  To make the card easier to handle, I adhered the card to a scrap piece of watercolor paper (you can see it to the right of the card in the photo).  This helps to keep my fingers away from the heat.

Since the kaleidoscope powder looked odd, I changed my mind and tried to make the card look slick like water.  I had some UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) on hand so I started over with that.  You can see in this photo how the grains are larger than those in regular embossing powder.

I took several tries to practice the technique and get smooth, shiny tops on all of the images.  You need to do at least two coats to get rid of any bumps.  The paper did curl up a bit when the cards cooled.

For the base cards, I used watercolor paper.  I sprayed it lightly with glimmer mist and then inked the edges with distress ink.  I did enough pieces to make the cards a double thickness to try to keep the enameled top image flat.

I adhered the enameled image to one layer of the inked watercolor paper.  You can see that there was still a slight curl.  When I added the back piece the cards flattened out even more.  To "train" them to stay flat, I put them under a heavy stack of magazines overnight.  This seemed to do the trick (I hope they don't curl up again before my trading partners receive them!).

It was a small group this time so I only made five cards.  The three layers and the overnight "pressing" seemed to work to create a nice thick and flat card.

I wanted to do something a bit different for the signature information on the backs.  I cut out some shells (from the Dreams Come True Cricut cartridge) and sprayed and inked them.  Then I wrote all of the details with a gold pen.

The final step was to adhere all of the shells to the backs of the cards.  I couldn't really capture the shine of the mist but they do look very pretty when they shimmer in the light.

We've tackled and completed two of the projects my sister had on her list.  I've got one more day to finish another project to send along for my soon-to-be-born great-niece!  When I get home, I'll try to get the simple scrapbook page challenge set up - I may even be able to find a few prizes to keep everyone motivated!

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  1. Beautiful!!! Is the image still available to print?

  2. These are wonderful. I wish I was in your swap group.

  3. That looks vintage. UTEE looks great with this particular image.

  4. Those look great. I have never tried ATC's before but it looks like a great way to collect new ideas!

  5. Diane, this are stunning. Fabulous enamel embossing and the seashell on the back is just perfect. TFS.
    Have a great day!


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