Artist trading cards: how to decorate them

So, now you’ve got your “blanks”. How are you going to decorate them? The sky’s the limit!

I’m going to back up here a little bit and talk about why I just did so many. First of all, after I did the first two, I thought, “hm, these are ok, but I clearly haven’t mastered this. I want to see if I can do better.”  Then, I thought it’d be fun to send them out with my holiday cards. Well, for select people anyway (I’m not making enough to send everyone who is getting a card one.)

So, I started to churn them out. I decided to limit myself to a few images and think of it as a series. Series work is good exercise for me because I like to switch things up, so I figured out a couple fun things during the process. One, not all the elements need to be contained on the card. (Probably this makes it technically no longer an ATC, but I don’t think the ATC police will notice.)  I did a bunch of different mushrooms. I found that changing out the fabrics lead to some interesting mushrooms! Also, I got the idea to do a bigger quilt with a bunch of teeny tiny elements (like a field of mushrooms).

I thought the work I was doing was pretty simple, but making ATC’s made me realize it wasn’t.  This was a good realization. It’s great to embellish and be doing complicated work, but it’s also good to get back to basics. I think of it like a palate cleanser 😀


In this picture, I have selected six ATC’s that I felt represented different techniques. I have a planet with a spiral orbit stitched around it, eyes that I used metallic paint for the pupils and then stitched a sort of figure eight around to give the impression of a mask, butterfly hanging off the edge (this doesn’t compete with the beautiful flower on the fabric and it looks cool, hanging off the edge there), jellyfish with stitched tentacles, mushroom that has stem and cap satin stitched, and finally, lightning which is only stitched. So, you can really do whatever you want. You can combine fused elements and stitching or just use stitching to decorate your ATC. I like to stitch over all fused elements. I wouldn’t want to fuse and not stitch it down. Finally, if you have decorative stitches, they can be fun to play with. You don’t necessarily have to do an outline of every element. Sometimes you can just stitch over something with a decorative stitch (see the last picture in the post). As always, please let me know if you have any questions. These posts are not meant to be viewed as instructions set in stone, but more as a road map. Do what makes sense to you!

By the way, you don’t have to stick to the 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch size. You can make postcards (bigger) or inchies or twinchies (smaller)!

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Tutorial for textile Artist Trading Cards

I have been incredibly remiss in talking about ATC’s here. I have posted most of what I’ve made so far on Twitter. I promise I’m going to do a mass ATC post here soon, but today, I have in mind to make a tutorial. It occurred to me that I had not seen a tutorial about making fabric post cards or ATCs in a format that appealed to me, so I thought I’d try my hand at a tutorial.

What you will need:

  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • microtex or denim needles
  • fabric
  • fusible web (I use Steam a Seam 2 lite — no affiliation)
  • Timtex
  • rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • scissors


(Note: this method will work for larger pieces, like postcards (and smaller, as you can see on the stack). It gives you a finished blank canvas on which to work. Anything goes!)

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