All About ATCs

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Article Courtesy by Patter Cross

ATCs!  What are they?  ATC stands for Artist Trading Card.  They are small pieces of art  measuring 2 ½" x 3 ½".  A Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann came up with the idea in 1996 and shared the first ATCs in 1997.  Most ATCs are created to swap; however, a lot of people are creating them for themselves with a specific theme.  They can be used with any medium-stamping, painting, digital creations, lumpy embellishments, etc.  Some people are intimidated by them because they are so small but you would be amazed at how much you really can fit on these cards.  The great part about them is that you can use up those paper scraps when creating ATCs.

Joining a Swap

There are many, many ATC swaps, and all of them have a theme of some sort. I suggest that you search the web for ATC swaps, and see what you find that interests you.  A lot of scrapbook and stamping boards also have ATC swaps you can join.

There are some people that have face-to-face swaps and actually get together to trade their creations.  Then there are the snail mail swaps which seem to be of great interest in the paper-crafting community.  If you are swapping your cards, you will definitely want to sign and date the back of your cards before swapping.  Some people also put a title on the back.

1_241Storing and Displaying ATCs

There are many ways to store your cards.  Some people use baseball card holders and some people choose to use other storage units that are on the market.  They include:

I used the 7gypsies ATC revolving card holder for my Scripture Challenge this year.  I love this holder.  I was able to put on 52 lumpy ATC cards and eight index cards for a total of 60 cards.  It looks beautiful on my desk, and I am very pleased with it.  Here is what it looks like complete with my cards.


Creating Your Cards

To create my cards, I cover them in patterned paper and then design them like a very small scrapbook page.  Here are some samples of my cards.  Each picture shows the front and the back of each card.




They are easy, fun, and quick to make!

ATC Themes

If you want to create ATCs to keep for yourself, here are some fun themes people have used:

  • perpetual birthday/anniversary calendar
  • family gratitude
  • Christmas
  • grandchildren
  • favorite scriptures
  • vacation
  • things the kids say

Of course, there are many more themes but this will definitely get you started.

Want More Information?

There are several books on the market that are all about ATCs.  Here are a few titles:

  • Shake, Rattle & Roll Artist Trading Cards & ATC by Design Originals
  • Trading Card Techniques & ATCs by Design Originals
  • Let's Play Cards by Leisure Arts
  • Let's Trade Artist Trading Cards by Leisure Arts
  • Rubber Stamping Artist Trading Cards by TweetyJill Publications

If you have not tried making an ATC, I hope you feel inspired now.  They really are fun and a great way to use up your scraps!  Give it a try, and fill up the gallery!  Enjoy!


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