Use a Stencil Background to Create Artists Trading Cards

by Elina Stromberg

Use a Stencil Background to Create Artists Trading Cards

For me, crafting is my way to unwind and to relax. Sometimes I feel that I need to start crafting, but I don’t necessarily have a specific project in mind. The solution is to create background pages for later use. For making background pages, I take out a few white blank papers, my favorite inks or paints, stencils, and stamps, and I’m good to go. There are no strict rules to follow so I often start with the light colors, move towards the darker shades, and whenever I encounter issues I drop my original idea and jump over to plan B or C. If the result is a total catastrophe I throw away the page and start all over. For me, the end result is not as important as the pleasure the creative process gives me.

Skill: Beginner
Time: 1 hour


Step 1

On this background page, I started with inking the white paper with a light green color of Memento in New Sprout. I applied the ink directly from the ink pad on the paper, using the Dew Drop ink pad and a soft circular motion. If I had used a larger ink pad I would have used a brayer or a Jumbo Dauber for coloring the page.

Step 2

Then I used a darker green ink color of Memento in Bamboo Leaves and a Sponge Dauber to stencil a pattern on the page. Once finished, I splashed water on the page, letting the water-soluble ink react with the water before drying the page with my heat gun. Love those splash marks!

Step 3

Then I used another stencil and a bit darker green ink and added smaller patterns on the page. Just a hint here and there will do the trick!

Step 4

Adding a hint of both white and black is always a good idea. Those will refresh the page and make the other colors pop. I stamped some black text patterns on the page and added white color with a gel pen. I think it did the trick I was looking for!

Step 4

In the end, I had two almost identical decorated papers. I cut a few ATC card backgrounds and used a piece of the patterned paper for a background for a die-cut card.

I think that the stenciled backgrounds look good on my ATC’s!




  • Mixed Media Paper – White
  • Cardstock – Green, Yellow, Orange
  • Card base – White
  • Pronty – Leaf Stencils
  • Carabelle Studio – Dots
  • 13Arts – Triangles
  • Heat gun
  • Katzelkraft – Dog stamps
  • Wycinanka – Text pattern stamp
  • Sizzix – Bird stencil, Oval stencil
  • Alcohol markers
  • Glue
  • Double-sided tape
  • Gel pen – White

See How To Create Mixed Media ATC’s

by Nadine Carlier

ATC cards by Nadine Carlier ic

What is an ATC? “Artist trading cards (commonly referred to as ATCs) are 2 ½” x 3 ½” miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world with other artists. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized “swap” events, either in person or online.”

I enjoy trading ATC’s with other crafters, not only is it fun I also really like to be able to see what others create. Everyone has such different styles, and they all inspire me one way or another. ATC’s don’t have to be hard to make or super elaborate just as long as they reflect you and your style. All I needed to create these ATC’s was some Creative Medium, Walnut Ink, irRESISTible, VersaColor, and VersaMagic.

Watch my video tutorial below on how I created them. Enjoy!

Skill: Intermediate
Time: 30 min.



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Watch a Video on Heart Of Gold Valentine Trading Cards

by Nadine Carlier


When I was a kid, trading Valentine Day cards at school was one of my favorite things to do, besides eating the candy of course. The one thing I wish I would have done as a kid was made my own cards instead of buying them and hoping no one else bought the same ones. So each year my daughter and I make her cards. They are so easy and fun to create together.

In my video below I share exactly how I created these cute little cards.

Here is the diagram of how I cut sixteen 2½” x 3½” ATC sizes from a 12″ x 12″ piece of cardstock.


Skill: Beginner
Time: 30 min + drying time


  • Gesso – Clear
  • Fiskars Heart Punch
  • Cardstock – Cream
  • 3D Foam Squares

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