Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ATC Tutorial and Give Away

Well September is here which means our Guild will be kicking into gear again for the 2009/2010 season. It also means time for my monthly Artist Trading Card (ATC) exchange with three of my Guild peeps. I thought I would not only give you a “look see” what I’ve done this month, but also share the steps on how I actually made it.
We always do ours in fabric, but ATCs can be made of pretty much anything as long as they follow some basic rules:
2 ½ x 3 ½ inches in size (just like a Baseball card)
Exchanged not Sold
Vital stats on the back
(You can GOOGLE ATC to find out more but WARNING - you will also pull up stuff on Air Traffic Control – who knew). After that, it’s pretty much up to you how you make it. I know the gals I exchange with all have their different styles and approaches so you are only seeing my take on how to make them.
First off – what’s your muse! Fortunately we have a theme already lined up for each month – but even then I either get overly ambitious or stuck for an idea. This month it is “underneath the sea” – I went back and forth on mermaids, treasure chests, fish…finally settled on a Seahorse.

I love scanning images or finding them on the web (but be sensitive to copyright) I usually copy into Microsoft PowerPoint (do I need a copyright sign here?) so I can ensure the size is right and adjust. I usually print a paper copy first (black and white) to check.
Then print on to fabric. You need an inkjet printer for this (though there are lots of creative ways to transfer images on to fabric). I get my trusty Michaels coupon to buy the fabric I use to print on – mind you there are many ways to prep fabric to go through your printer (some definitely more economical). I typically design my back label the same time and print those out as well...
Books have been written about it!
Once that is out of the way – my card usually consists of 1. Fabric Layer 2. Batting 3. Paper back (Heavy Stock). Have fun choosing your fabric layer (you can get really creative).
This fabric looks watery to me – a very pretty batik (which Carol will like ;->) – it is actually more purple then it looks in this shot.
First step is to adhere the fabric to the batting – I use either Wonder Under or Steam a Seam(whatever is at hand). TIP – do NOT get carried away with the Iron! Too much heat results in a lumpy top! (been there, done that)
Then you get to “play” and see what kinds of embellishments will look best – looks sea weedy to me! TIP – you need to decide what order you are going to adhere/sew things into place – especially if you want to achieve a clean finish on the back – more on that.
I decided to sew my little fella into place first and then sew around the edge edge of the whole card – including through the paper backing (Don’t worry, I will show you how this gets covered – though some times you can just leave as is).
Then I fussed and got my “seaweed” in place – whatever glue works for you. Since the gals I exchange with like to use the plastic baseball sheets for storing their cards I normally try not to go over the edge (though I may buck a trend some time this year just to be different!)
I also like to set my cards under a stack of books overnight to “flatten” out (unless there is an embellishment I don’t want to do this to).
Finally, I adhere the labels on the back – which covers up that sewing you saw earlier!
So there you have it – by the way notice that I made SIX this month instead of four? If you want to own an original piece of Jewels art work let me know (but I don’t want to see you making millions on EBay with it LOL) and I will send your way (first two folks who ask will receive)! Meanwhile, hope you enjoyed some of the other cards from past exchanges – enjoy!


  1. Your ATCs are really fun- love the idea of the fringe as seaweed.

    I've made ATCs before, but never from fabric- you make it look not so hard.

  2. Love your tutorial and also learned from it! Your ATC's always are so absolutely perfectly made. Mine this month is lumpy and bumpy and not as good as I would like but I won't be able to redo it. Looking forward to getting my seahorse. Great job, Jewels! Carol

  3. The summer charms that Lori M. has challenged us with kind of reminds me of the ATC's but at a much smaller scale. I was so happy when you girls decided to continue trading these cards. I will be up north this weekend, are you going to Canada? Have fun if you are.