Many people feel that they cannot create anything artistic. They also think they need a room full of expensive materials to make quality crafts. Neither of these is true. Quality crafts can be made for very little or no money at all. One of the easiest, cheapest, quickest and most fun ways to make crafts is to make artist trading cards.
Free craft materials can be found all around the home. These include old magazines, cloth scraps, buttons, packaging, wrapping paper, any odds and ends that look interesting, old costume jewellery or old commercial greeting cards.
Free materials can also be found outside the home. These may include paper sample books or leftover envelopes from stationery stores, and samples from wallpaper stores.
Inexpensive materials can be found at thrift and dollar stores.
Artist trading cards, or ATCs, are small pieces of art that are all original and handmade. An ATC, simply put, is a miniature craft that takes no specialised skill.
They are the product of a worldwide project with the purpose of bringing people together to talk about, give away and receive original art. They are exchanged one for one at local trading sessions that are held all over the world. Cards can also be traded through the mail.
According to Zurich artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann, who started the project, art should be owned by everyone, made by everyone and obtained without cost. Art is to be brought down from the walls of the museum and put into the hands of everyone.
ATCs must be 3 ½-by-2 ½ inches and can be created in almost any medium. They can be illustrative, abstract, collage, fibre crafts, graphic design or anything the imagination can conceive. Vertical format is preferred but not essential. One side must contain original art, while the other must contain a signature, date and title. Material must be mounted on a stiff backing or stiffened so that it is rigid.
Artist trading cards are great for beginning crafters. They are small enough to be made at a small table and are quite easy to do. They can be done very quickly and if a few are not pleasing, there is minimum of loss if they are discarded.