How To Create Artist Trading Cards

In this Look Book tutorial post, I share with you the steps to creating a background for ATCs or Artist Trading Cards. I love making backgrounds to use in mixed media projects they are so fun and easy to create. Let’s start with the supplies I used to create the background.

picture of different paint and objects sued to make artist abstract backgrounds
©Kimberly McGuiness
picture of magenta paint rolled onto paper using a small brayer
©Kimberly McGuiness

I used a large piece of packing paper or newsprint paper then I squirted paint on the paper and rolled over it with a brayer.

a colorful piece of paper with orange, yellow and magenta paint on it
©Kimberly McGuiness

Keep repeating adding paint and rolling over it with the brayer turning your paper a quarter turn in any direction after each color. This adds interest and moves the paint in different directions. Keep adding color until you are happy with it.

picture of a colorful piece of paper to use for the artist trading cards
©Kimberly McGuiness

When the paint layers are dry you can use stamps you’ve made yourself or store-bought. Here I’ve used both. You can also add shapes of your liking using a variety of things you may already have on hand. Like tops from glue sticks, a round washi tape container, a glass, and an empty toilet paper roll. The pink-looking circles in the above photo are made from a used lamp part that was no longer needed.

a picture of playing cards turned upside down
©Kimberly McGuiness

Once the paper is dry turn it over and glue your cards face down onto the paper. I like to use playing cards because they are the right size and can be found at dollar stores

a picture of playing cards being glued down onto paper using a prayer
©Kimberly McGuiness

Use your brayer to go over the cards as you glue them down to secure a good bond. I used Liquitex Matte Gel. I would not recommend Mod Podge, it’s great for some things but in this application not so good. When you mail your cards they will get stuck once heated up from being in the mail. This can create a less than nice-looking card for the person receiving it and is possibly unusable.

colorful artist trading cards by kimberly mcguiness
©Kimberly McGuiness

Once your cards have dried overnight cut them out. Now you are ready to art up your stack of yumminess however you like!

Don’t forget to add info about your ATC to the back. Check out what I created and use for mine. I hope you’ve found this useful in some way.