Do you have little bits leftover from projects? I always have a box of leftovers and am loathed to throw them away. So I make 3″ x 3″ card panels for notecards or 2.5″ x 3.5″ panels called Artist Trading Cards (ATC). These small panels can be used to make a quick card or tag when needed. Here is an ATC that I made using some of the new Stampin’ Up! Monster Bash Designer Series Paper. (Available in the Stampin’ Up! 2019 Holiday catalog beginning on September 4th – Are you excited?)

Stampin’ Up! Monster Bash DSP – ATC Front Side

Stampin’ Up! Monster Bash – ATC Back Side

Have you ever heard of an Artist Trading Card (or ATC for short)? Let me share a little background on when the ATC Movement became popular.


In 1997, M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, created 1200 cards by hand as part of an exhibit. On the last day, he invited others to create their own cards and trade with him during the closing reception. The ATC movement took off, and today, there are ATC swaps in almost every major city around the world. There are also many online swaps. Consider joining the Stampin’ Up! ATC Group on Facebook.


  1. Each ATC should be exactly 3.5 inches tall and 2.5 inches wide. This is the same size as a standard trading card such as a baseball card and many playing cards. Most are rectangular but some artists do experiment with arched tops
  2. The ATC is supposed to be a trading card and so should have a little thickness to it. I use a playing card as my base and glue everything to it.
  3. Some artists like to include things that fold or swing out of the card. These can include little flaps and doors, “waterfall card” effects, limbs on paper doll cards and fabric, ribbon, and thread “tails”.
  4. A general rule of thumb is that the finished card must be able to slip into a clear plastic card protector (exactly the same ones that are used by baseball and other trading card collectors).
  5. Obviously, if you make the cards to keep for yourself then you can break those rules as much as you wish.
  6. Generally, an ATC should never be sold, only traded or given away.

There are three types of ATC card: 

  1. One-off – an individual one-off card
  2. Series – a few cards that are on one theme, usually numbered – 1 of 3, 1/3 or similar
  3. Edition – two or more cards that were created to look the same


On the back of the ATC it is “traditional” to include some details. Most people like to have a reminder of when and from where the card came. An organized swap may require additional information to be included.

  • Name of artist – either the real name or the name they use for all their artwork
  • Date – when the ATC was created
  • Title – most people title the card like they would a bigger piece of artwork
  • Contact details – many artists include their email or website details
  • Series – if the card is part of a series
  • Notes – you can also include notes about construction or techniques used, some organized swaps require participants to note the name of the swap on the back too


Artist trading cards have become a very popular art format for many reasons. It is great fun to create art to swap with others. A HUGE timesaver when you need a quick card or tag. And great fun to collect the cards. Here are some of the other reasons that you may want to try making and swapping ATC creations:

  • they are a great way to help establish your name and reputation as an artist, as each card can have your website or contact details on the back (think networking)
  • you can experiment in new techniques or materials on an easy-to-manage small scale
  • they are very economical to make as they require such small amounts of materials
  • you can build up a large collection of cards in a very small space and for little cost
  • they are a useful way to use up tiny scraps of paper or fabric
  • making themed cards for organized swaps can help get past a creative block
  • you can easily carry a few cards, pens and other tools for creating on vacation or traveling
  • the finished cards can be used as toppers on greeting cards, framed singly or in groups, used as tags, included on scrapbook pages, given as gifts and used to create a portfolio of your skills
  • they are fun to make!


Grab a deck of playing cards and make some of your own Artist Trading Cards using Stampin’ Up! products. Start with a piece of Designer Series Paper and let your imagination roll! And above all, have FUN! You can be sure that you will see more of my Artist Trading Cards in the future.

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Stampin’ Up! is developing a new improved embossing machine. Until it is released I am using a Big Shot for embossing and die-cutting.