My approach to ATCs is to pull out ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ and use what I have on hand. I encourage you to do the same. I’ll be using items listed below in my All About Artist Trading Cards & Artist Trading Coins (ATCs) online workshop, but I’ll also be using lots of things you probably already have lying around the house, like chipboard, cardboard, old book pages and maps, paper punches, metal brads, charms, tissue paper, magazine clippings, patterned papers, collage materials, etc. Since we are working on small surfaces, think small! A bottle cap, a mini safety pin, and other small bits and bobs will be wonderful embellishments.
Note that an eBook full of printable embellishments awaits you in the classroom, along with a printable PDF of this list. I’ve packed the pages of the book with fun accents you can print as is (or resize, larger or smaller) to embellish your ATCs. Images include shapes, tags, accents, words, banners, and card backings should you wish to identify your work and swap ATCs with others through the mail. Use it over and over as desired.
My personal wish list for you of what I consider “musts”
Jet Black Archival Ink – You need a permanent dye ink – any brand is fine.
Distress Inks – If you know me you know these are my #1 favorite inks. Distress Inks are different than other inks so please try to have this particular (Ranger Distress Ink) brand. You only need a few colors but be sure to include a yellow in your choices… Mustard Seed is a secret weapon!
Matte Medium – any brand is fine.
Rubber Stamps – any brand is fine. For these projects, smaller-sized stamps are ideal.
Stencils – any brand/style.
Clear Embossing Powder – I know this is old school, but I love plain old clear powder. Any brand.
Workable Fixatif – this seals the water-reactive inks so we can work on them in layers that won’t smudge or become muddy.
Other products I will be using:
Ranger Mixed Media Heavy Stock – My favorite coated card stock. Bristol Vellum would be nice, too.
Strathmore Pre-Cut Artist Trading Cards – these are killer time savers. You can certainly cut your own but if you want a fast start, a few packs of these (20 in a pack) are a treat.
Distress Spray Stains – If you’re looking to mix up your spray colorants, this is my second favorite of all! Again include a yellow such as Mustard Seed in your repertoire.
Dylusions Ink Sprays– These sprays are my all-time favorite of all the spray colorants on the market. Go with colors that play nicely together (warm or cool palette).
Distress Oxide Inks – These are a combo of both pigment ink and dye ink, and they react marvelously with water. This is a brand-specific purchase. (Ranger)
Distress Oxide Sprays – Fantastic sprayable version of the DO Inks. Super fun!
Distress Collage Medium – acts as a sealant and has a lot of other tricks to it. Brand-specific. (Ranger)
Tools I like that will make using the above products much easier:
Nonstick Craft Mat – This is superior for blending inks and paints, and can be used as a palette as well as a heat-resistant embossing surface.
Heat-It Tool – My go-to tool for setting Distress Inks + speeding up the drying process for paint + ink.
Ink Blending Tools – These are a must if you are using Distress Inks or Distress Oxide Inks. Many people use cosmetic sponges as an alternative. You can get by with one tool and several replacement foam pads (they tear on/off with Velcro so you can substitute a pad each time you switch colors, and then reuse them.)
2.5″ Paper Punch – This is the official size of Artist Trading Coins. Sometimes I unofficially create on 3″ circles, too. Any brand.
Stampers Anonymous Splat Box – this is one of those things you don’t think you need until you have it. Then, BINGO! minimizes mess and reduces consumption of wet inks.
Tools that are awesome time savers and just helpful on a gazillion levels:
Sizzix Vagabond Diecutting Machine – The ease and simplicity of this machine makes me smile. I keep mine out on my work table year round. It’s fast, quiet, and efficient.
Tim Holtz Stamping Platform – I didn’t think I needed this until I saw Tim Holtz demo it and then BAM! I was sold. Sometimes when we stamp an image we don’t get a clear impression. This handy platform allows you to stamp the same image over and over again without ever missing the mark, meaning you end up with a crisp clean image no matter what.
Tonic Scissors – I have these in all three sizes and use them constantly. Strong enough for chipboard.
Paper Trimmer – If you want straight lines, this will speed up your process.
Reminder – these are just indicators of what you will see me use in class. I encourage you to use what you have on hand. If possible get some of the “musts” I’ve indicated, but don’t stress if you can’t.