ATCs with Blended Backgrounds (Tutorial)

ATCs with Blended Backgrounds (Marjie Kemper)

Thanks for popping over for this artist trading card tutorial. I’ve been knee-deep in workshop prep for classes I’m teaching in Colorado, Connecticut, and California.  I enjoy making student kits but by the same token, I was looking for a break from the prep work…. I wanted to get my hands inky!  

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Click here to download my Distress Ink Blending Checklist

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are quick and easy, because they are so small. They are the same size as baseball cards.  Here’s how I made mine:

ATCs with Distress Inks layer 1 (Marjie Kemper)

Blending Color + Stamps & Stencils

Blend a variety of colors of Distress Ink onto your cards using an Ink Blending tool. Use you heat tool to set the ink now and then.

ATCs with Distress Inks layer 2 (Marjie Kemper)

Add stamping using background stamps. These are meant to add interest but remain in the background – they are not the image you should see first when you look at your final project.

Layer and Layer and Layer some more!

ATCs with Distress Inks layer 3 and 4 (Marjie Kemper)

Add more stamping and start stenciling.  I used a combination of Distress Inks and Archival Inks.  I always use Jet Black Archival Ink for the top layer (the focal image, or in this case, faces.)

Here’s a look at them individually:

Artist Trading Card Tutorial - ATCs with Blended Backgrounds - Girl 1 (Marjie Kemper)

ATCs with Blended Backgrounds - Girl 2 (Marjie Kemper)

ATCs with Blended Backgrounds - Girl 3 (Marjie Kemper)

Online Mixed Media Class

Would you like to learn more about Distress Inks?  Check out my online class with Craftsy, which includes lifetime access and a money-back guarantee.  It’s called Inventive Ink: Colorful  Mixed Media Effects.  Here’s a 2-minute preview:



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Your comments are very much appreciated!


  1. Amanda Pink says:

    A triple dose of Marjie magic ! Nothing better to make the heart happy . Goes without saying really these are stunning and thx for sharing how they developed . Have fun with the classes . I’m sure you will be much loved . Safe travel too x

  2. I’m slippin’ – dear me – thought I had already left you a comment Marjie. Well – I’m glad I discovered that I didn’t BECAUSE… I really enjoy these three pieces. My favorite it the one with the writing over one eye! Love the colors, the backgrounds – you always come up with the most unique blending and combinations. SUPER INSPIRATIONS! j.

  3. jackie p neal says:

    These are so gorgeous Marjie!! Your effortless blending always brings such gorgeous coloring! I love your atc’s! Thanks for sharing the tutorial ! xo

  4. Gorgeous!!!!! I love the depth and color.

  5. These are little treasure, simply marvellous!

  6. Victoria Sturdevant says:


  7. These are sooo beautiful Marjie!

  8. Backgrounds blended to perfection. I really should be calling you the Queen of Ink because you always manage to keep the colours so fresh, even when blending. Love the results, it is as though they glow.

  9. So glad you got to have a little fun. These are wonderful!

  10. I adore these Marjie! LOVE the colors and images!!!

  11. Margi,
    Gorgeous ATCs – the colors are wonderful!

  12. Wow! Gorgeous ATCs.

  13. Love their incredible depth. The layers add such great interest. Nicola x

  14. Your ATCs are so beautiful Marjie, love your use of color and the laying is perfect! Can’t wait to see ya in Colorado!! YAY!

  15. Glorious colours and layering – a fabulous trio. Hope all the classes go brilliantly – I’m sure they will.
    Alison xx

  16. These are GORGEOUS! LOVING the colors!!!!!!!!

  17. Marjie, I always so love the way you build up your inky layers (loved your online classes as you know). These are stunning, – a great trio!!