How To Make An Artist Trading Card [For Beginners]

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Learning how to make an artist trading card is a fun way to share your individual style with friends and family.  An Artist Trading Card (ATC) is a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ card that has been personalized with words, images, doodles, pictures, photos, etc.  They are fun to tuck into cards, letters, and packages.  There are groups for people who enjoy making them where they trade the ATC’s with other members.  Often, each month there is a theme and everyone in the group will make an ATC that involves that theme (spring, red, music, etc.) This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

How To Make An Artist Trading Card [For Beginners]

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How To Make an Artist Trading Card

I love to doodle and draw and scrapbook, but I don’t really like big projects. But, I want to be able to finish the project in less than an hour and move onto something different. I just don’t have the attention span for larger projects.

Supplies

  • Cardstock that has been cut to 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ in size.  You can buy ATC blanks on Amazon.
  • Something to draw with (markers, crayons, colored pencils, pens, water colors, etc.)
  • Bits and pieces of ribbon, stickers, magazine cuttings, glitter, glue, etc.

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Directions

  1. Decide what you want the ATC to look like by practicing on a sheet of plain paper first. Just doodle and get creative.  You can pick a theme or just let yourself do whatever comes to mind.   I used the book Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh to give me ideas of what type of lettering I should use.  
  2. Create the front of your ATC by drawing, gluing on images, doodling, writing, painting, etc.
  3. On the back of your ATC, add your signature.  Some creative artists also put a link to their website so when they trade the cards with others, people can come and visit their site.

How to make an Artist Trading CardPro Tips

One of the things that I struggled with the most when I first started making artist trading cards is cutting a straight line. Many people store their ATCs in small sleeve protectors.  If your ATC is not exactly the right size, it won’t fit.  I invested in a personal paper trimmer (this is the brand I have on Amazon) that made it much easier.

How to make an artist trading card

You can use an artist trading card for a variety of different things. It can serve as a business card. You can enclose it like a gift card with a gift.  If you have direct sales or Etsy business, you can use it as a thank you card when people place an order.  Or you can simply make them as a fun way to relax and get creative at the end of the day.  Now that you’ve learned how to make an artist trading card, will you be trying? Stuck for ideas? There are a lot of art trading card examples on Pinterest.


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Comments

  1. I used to make tons of ATCs, but generally fabric. I'd always run out of space, though, and it would get too cluttered, lol
  2. Linda Ursin says
    I haven't done this yet, but it's definitely on my todo list. Thanks for posting this guide :)
  3. I love this. Its so relaxing too. Just let your creative juices flow. 
  4. Emily Wilke says
    Very cute idea! I never thought of making them with simple stamps or doodles. I have always seen them like mini paintings. But, this makes it sound like something I could do.
  5. Great post!! :)
  6. Hi Ellen, popping in from the UBC - like your blog, will be back for a longer browse when DD asleep! I used to make ATC's a lot, haven't for years, but had just decided to start up again as I think they will fit well with my version of Project Life I'm doing :) Suzanne www.suzannes-tribe.blogspot.co.uk
  7. Hi Ellen, popping in from the UBC - like your blog, will be back for a longer browse when DD asleep! I used to make ATC's a lot, haven't for years, but had just decided to start up again as I think they will fit well with my version of Project Life I'm doing :) Suzanne www.suzannes-tribe.blogspot.co.uk 
  8. Rebecca E. Parsons says
    love this Ellen...and your calligraphy is amazing!!!
  9. Beautiful!! I sure wish I had that type of talent for letters!! Pinned & Tweeted!
  10. I brought my stash with me when I emigrated. ATCs have always been my favourite craft - you can be incredibly creative without having to produce a large piece of work. I'd love to start doing them again and get involved in swaps.
  11. Catherine L. says
    Love it! I can enclose these when I send crochet gifts for that extra special touch. I can't draw, but I can definitely use a stamp or doodle. Yours look great!
  12. Oh this is so cute.  I wish I was more crafty but it's just not my thing.
  13. That is beautiful. It really would make a nice business card!
  14. Mary/ Raising Dick and Jane says
    Very Cute. Nice idea. I like it better than store bought ones.
    • Ellen Christian says
      Thanks, Mary. I'm going to try to make a few more when I have a bit more time to play with them.
  15. So neat! I like a good, but qucik little craft and this would be great for my Sunday School high school girls!
  16. Laurel @Let's Go on a Picnic! says
    I wish I had a picture of the ones I made. They were fun!
  17. Those are attractive and easy to make!
  18. Mag@GirlyCreation says
    I have been wondering for a while what a ATC is and what is it used for. Thanks for the information. It won't be in my to do list.

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