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Artist Trading Cards – Inspiration from Jill aka The Quilt Rat

Are you ready for a new swap .. something different, unique and super creative!

ATC Swap

Our next swap will be ATCs – Artist Trading Cards. The swap info and registration will be available on Wednesday afternoon.

To help us get inspired, I asked three great friends to be guests this week sharing some ideas for making ATCs. First up is Jill, her post is below. Tomorrow, Kim and Lisa will be our guests. I’m sure your creative juices will be flowing!

ATCs featured in the button were created by upstatelisa.


About Jill

Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Jill, aka The Quilt Rat. Jill is a self taught artist who is constantly exploring ways to play with fabric and takes you along for the ride every step of the way.

I have been a follower of Jill’s for some time now, and have seen her use inks, paints, paper, stones, leaves and even aluminum cans in her quilted creations. With well over 250 posts you will find pages and pages of inspiration at www.thequiltrat.com.

Follow along with Jill, as she creates her first Artist Trading Cards and shares ideas on how you might wish to make some of your own.


Jill’s Inspiration

ATCs… just what are they? Artist Trading Cards are a wonderful way to trade, collect and share in the art we love most with other artists right across the globe. It is your chance to express yourself, using your favouite medium, technique and imagery and at just a mere 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size, they require a very small investment of time or resources.

When Michele first contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in doing this guest post, my initial response was that I had never made an ATC…..but then, I thought that perhaps this would be a terrific opportunity, we could learn together.

So let’s get started.

The ATCs you make should somehow reflect something of your style, something that has “you” written all over it. So are you someone who loves to paper piece, work with paints, do you explore various surface design techniques, how about thread embellishments, felting, beading? Well you get the idea…….so decide “what” you’d like to do and follow along with the posts this week to learn the “how”.

Artist Trading Cards are made in a similar fashion to fabric postcards, except that instead of making one little work of art at a time, with ATCs, you’ll be making one larger piece that is cut into several smaller ones.

For my ATCs, I decided to combine a few things many people recognize me for, my doodles, my play with fabric paints and my quilting.

I began by drawing a number of overlapping circles and simply drew (doodled) a wide variety of patterns in those shapes.

photo 1

Next I scanned this into my computer and printed the image onto a sheet of T-shirt transfer paper (I used the kind available at an office supply store).

photo 2

The image was then transferred to pieces of paper towel that I had painted some time ago. I wasn’t sure it would work on this, but it did. For more details about the transfer paper I used for this project, you can read this post about it on my blog.

photo 3

The next step was to place my printed image layer on top of a piece of heavy stabilizer. There are several types on the market, you will want something comparable to Timtex or Peltex. Now, it was time to go to my machine and do a little free motion stitching to bond all of the layers together.

photo 4

I should mention that I made mine about 8″ x 10″ simply because it was a good fit for printing an image from my computer, you could chose to begin with a larger or smaller piece but the idea is that you will be cutting multiple cards from the larger piece, and once my stitching was complete, I did use my rotary cutter to slice it all into small 2.5″ x 3.5″ sections.

photo 5

With the front of your cards complete, it is time to make the backs. Again I used my computer to create the look of my back and printed it out on to cardstock…you could, of course, just write directly on to the cardstock if you like. What info should you include? Well, your name, the URL of your blog or web site, perhaps some contact info, like your email address and possibly the technique used to create your masterpieces.

photo 6

The very last step is to attach the card backs, this is done simply by placing the front and back, wrong sides together and stitch them along the outer edge using your machine’s zig zag stitch. Remember that you are stitching through a lightweight cardboard type paper so you won’t want to have your stitches too close together, I found that a width setting of 3.0 and a length setting of 2.0 worked great.

So, how easy is that? Now you know how to get started on making your very own stack of ATCs.

photo 7

Looking for even more inspiration? A wide variety of ways to create postcards are shown here on my blog, the same techniques could be used when making ATCs. There are 4 full pages of posts regarding postcards so be sure and click “older posts” at the bottom of the page.

Remember, make your ATCs reflect “you” and don’t forget the most important part… have FUN while doing it :-)

Posted: April 16th, 2012

Topics: Free Projects, Tips and Tricks

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13 Responses to “Artist Trading Cards – Inspiration from Jill aka The Quilt Rat”

  1. Mary says:

    Jill is indeed a true artist! Her work always amazes me and she makes it look so darned simple!

  2. Debbie says:

    Absolutely fabulous, Jill. You know I love your doodles, and these ATCs are so you. thanks for sharing.

  3. Mary says:

    Beautiful! So original.

  4. Ariane says:

    These are beautiful!!! I love this idea. I’m going to have to try this!!!

  5. Cheryl says:

    Those are absolutely fabulous, something new to learn! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stella says:

    Very elegant! I love it when I see beautiful uses for iron on transfers, which can be a bit of a tricky medium to use in a way that doesn’t look clunky on a quilt. I’ve got a tutorial here
    for using iron-on transfers as masks for painting and stamping.
    ~~~the Art of Inclusion~~~

  7. Ann Marie says:

    Love, Love, Love it!

  8. [...] three great friends to be guests this week sharing some ideas for making ATCs. Yesterday I shared Jill’s inspiration and Lisa will be our guest later [...]

  9. [...] you’ve ever wanted to try ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards), here is a blog by Quilt Rat that takes you through the process. Her doodles are [...]

  10. Debbie b says:

    This talented gal never sleeps! These are awesome. So simple & so pretty. Thanks Jill.

  11. Marsha says:

    I love the designs, Jill. I also love the tutorial on how to transfer it on to fabric and then quilt! Lovely, lovely, lovely. I want to make some NOW. Bye.

  12. Renate says:

    Terrific ideas here! Need to give this a try sometime!

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