ATC Tutorial with Distress Inks

Distress Ink Tutorials - ATCS with Marjie KemperDistress Ink ATC Tutorial - Photo 5:5 - Marjie Kemper

For this ATC tutorial, I used stamps from Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous – Creative Collages CMS044) that are designed in a collage format to fit perfectly on ATCs.  Collage stamps do most of the work for you.

I used several Distress Inks (Fossilized Amber, Seedless Preserves, and Twisted Citron).

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Distress Ink ATC Tutorial (Marjie Kemper)

ATC Tutorial

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) measure 2.5″ X 3.5″ and are meant to be shared (traded, swapped, given away) but never sold.

One of the things I love most about Distress Inks is how easy they are to blend. I used my Ink Blending Tool and Non-Stick Craft Sheet for best results.  Students often ask if they really need the Craft Sheet.  My honest answer is a resounding YES. In fact, I use it so much that I purchased a 6′ long section of it years ago and covered a huge area in my work space with it.

Distress Ink ATC Tutorial - Photo 1:5 - Marjie Kemper

Getting the Ink onto the Paper

I started out applying ink to the Ink Blending tool and, working in a circular motion, I lightly applied the ink to the ATCs. Note that I touched the inked-up Blending tool to the Craft Sheet before getting ink onto the paper.

To say it another way, I first load the ink onto the foam pad and then I push the foam pad onto the craft sheet. After that, I gently move from the Craft Sheet to the paper. Most noteworthy, I don’t go straight from the ink pad to the paper.  I use a light hand and apply layers of color, one on top of the other, which makes for a smooth transfer of color.

Distress Ink ATC Tutorial - Photo 2:5 - Marjie Kemper

Here’s a photo once I added the second color. I just got that Twisted Citron ink pad last week and it’s an intense green!

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Focal Image Stamping

Below, I stamped the images in Jet Black Archival Ink. I use this for focal images because the Archival Ink  “pops” on top of the blended Distress Inks.


Distress Ink ATC Tutorial - Photo 3:5 - Marjie Kemper

I decided to bring in a bit more color with touches of Seedless Preserves here and there on each card. Finally, I ran the Jet Black Archival Ink all over the edges (again, using the Ink Blending Tool.)

Distress Ink ATC Tutorial - Photo 4:5 - Marjie Kemper


If you have any questions about this ATC tutorial, please leave them in the Comments below and I’ll be sure to respond.  Would you like to see more ATCs? Check out my Pinterest Board devoted to ATCs, ATBs, Altered Playing Cards and other small arts. There are nearly 1,000 samples pinned there.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about the techniques I use working with Distress Inks, Dylusions Ink Sprays, Distress Stains and more…. check out my online class with Craftsy.  It comes with lifetime access and a money-back guarantee!   It’s called Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects. Here’s a 2-minute preview video:



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Your comments are very much appreciated!


  1. Marjie, these are great!! Love the stamped images. Where can I find those stamps?

    • Marjie Kemper says:

      Hi, Mary Alice. Thanks. Those stamps are from a very early release by Tim Holtz and Stampers Anonymous, called Creative Collages CMS044.

  2. Thank you~ love it!!!! Great tips!!!

  3. SANDRA SOUTH says:

    Great tutorial, I quite often look at the Incentive Ink videos for a refresher! Looking forward to starting my Wanderlust project this weekend.

  4. Margie, I have SO wanted to get a large craft sheet for my workspace as well. Can you give me any clue as to where to find one for purchase or who to contact? I’m sure it will be a bit pricey but I’d really like to know where I could find a large sheet. TIA!

    • Marjie Kemper says:

      Hi, Jill. I bought mine directly from Ranger many years ago. I don’t know if they still sell it that way, but I would call Ranger Ink’s Customer Service Dept to inquire. Hope that helps!

  5. Glennis Watt says:

    Excellent tutorial

  6. Easy peasy. These are awesome. I LOVE Twisted Citron – such a departure from TH’s more rustic colors.

  7. Great tips. Thanks Marjie!

  8. When I swapped ATCs in the olden days, perhaps 2004 – we used to make art on both sides – sometimes working in contact info too. When I traded recently only one side was designed. Any thoughts?

  9. Kathy C Bradley says:

    Marjie – beautiful ATCs and lovely colors!!

  10. Love to see tutorials on ATC’s – they are such an easy size to work with.

  11. You are so good at these wonderful blending techniques. Thanks for the tute on pinterest descriptions too!