JAN 2017


Have you ever found yourself stuck on trying to bring life to your artist trading cards?  I’ve always loved ATC’s with Butterflies but after a while, they started to have the same look to them.  I wanted to create something different and something with meaning.

Artist trading cards, also known as “ATC’s” are really miniature art pieces.

When I was learning all about artist trading cards, I tried to make my cards full of so much stuff so they would feel substantial.

Why?  I have no idea and it wasn’t until I had an ATC in my hands that I fully understood what it was.  It’s just art.. nothing out of the ordinary.

The purpose of an artist trading cards is a fixed size so they can be traded and a theme.  Once I fully realized that, then the adventure began and creating the ATC’s became so much more fun.  All I had to do was make miniature art that was 2.5″ x 3.5″ and incorporate a theme of there was one presented.


So the theme I’m presenting to you for this post is to use butterflies and some type of beads in your artist trading card.  ATC’s with butterflies can be done with chipboard, magazine cutouts, stickers or hand-painted.  If you would like to see some vintage butterflies that you can use in your art, checkout Graphics Fairy (will open in a new window) where you can print and use digital art for free.

What about beads?  if you don’t have any, do you have old jewelry that you don’t wear anymore?  you can also use tiny little stones that you find outside, vase filler or glitter.

And for the background, you can watch the video on how I made the original background or use whatever you have in your stash.  Old scrapbook paper, painted watercolours paper scraps or create it from scratch.  It’s up to you.  Remember… this is minature art so upcycling something you already have is totally fine.


ATC’s with Butterflies and Microbeads

Here are pictures of the background and the artist trading cards you’ll be making.

ATC's with Butterflies Background

ATC's with Butterflies Background

Background Uses for ATC’s with Butterflies.  You can watch the video to make this background by clicking here.

ATC's with Butterflies

ATC's with Butterflies #1

This artist trading card was created using DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze as the glue to hold the black metallic microbeads.  You can see the subtle cracks in the glaze and it adds a beautiful finish to it.

ATC's with Butterflies #2

For this artist trading card, DecoArt Matte Medium was used as the glue to adhere the black metallic microbeads.  It took much longer to dry and a most of the beads lost their shine as the medium has a matte finish.  This could be useful if you wanted to cut down on the shine of embellishments.

ATC’s with Butterflies and Microbeads Video

Here’s What You’ll Need


Paint Palette:

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics
    • Titanium White – DMFA39
    • Raw Umber – DMFA37
    • Phthalo Blue – DMFA27
  • DecoArt Metallic Lustre
    • Gold Rush – ML02C

Prep, Mediums and Finish

  • DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze – DMM17
  • DecoArt Media Matte Medium – DMM20
  • Americana Decou-Page Matte – DS106
  • Americana DuraClear Satin Varnish – DS21

Tools and Accessories

  • Application and Texture Tools – DAS221
  • Dual Sided Pouncers – DABK19

Stencils – Americana Mixed Media

  • Pixelated – ASMM46
  • Loopy – ASMM44


  • Royal Aqualon
    • 3/4″ Glaze – R2700
    • #8 & 12 Shader – R2150
    • #3 & 6 Round – R2250
  • Royal Soft-Grip
    • #8 Bristle Bright – SG1425
  • Clear Choice Stencil
    • 3/16″ White Bristle Dome – 1113
    • 3/16″ White Bristle Long Flat – 1111

Stamps and Pad

  • Grunge Clock (use any random stamp to make a pattern)
  • ATC Label Stamp
  • Staz-On Stamp Pad – Jet Black

Specialty Items

  • Cutouts of butterflies on thick paper or cardstock
  • Recollections Metallic Microbeads
  • Krylon 18kt Gold Leafing Pen (optional)
  • Rice Paper (for ATC label)
  • Printed quotes:
    • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
    • Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties. ~Gail Sheehy
  • Note:  feel free to substitute and use what you have

General Supplies:

  • Royal Brush Square Brush Basin – RD325
  • Unstick Reusable Arts and Crafts Sheet
  • Mister Bottle Filled with Water
  • Paper Towels
  • Baby, Kitchen Wipes or Kitchen cloths (for dry rub application)
  • Heat Gun
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers


Ready to Make This?

Ok, I've got to know....

I think butterflies add a happy, whimsical feel to artwork. Have you used butterflies in your artwork?  if so, do you cut them out of magazines, digital prints, diecuts or stickers?   If you’ve never used butterflies in your artwork, do you think you might try it now?  I’d love to hear what you think, so please share your comments below.

You may be interested in these other blog posts.

crackle over metallic paint

Crackle over Metallic Paint – Book of Backgrounds 2016 #32

using rubbing alcohol in art backgrounds

Using Rubbing Alcohol in Your Art – Book of Backgrounds 2016 #12

ATC's with metal embellishment

ATC’s created on the other side of the background.