ATC Swap Info

The Fairy is embarking on a fun, new adventure!  I will be hosting ATC (Artist Trading Card) swaps!  

#dawnlewis #thefrolickingfairy #atcswap #international #atc #artisttradingcard #handmade #handmadecards

An ATC is an Artist Trading Card.  They each measure 2.5" x  3.5" and are the same size as collectors cards (ie. baseball cards).  They can be created either vertically or horizontally -- the composition and design is all up to you!  A new ATC style that is gaining popularity is the Artist Trading Coin.  As you may guess, the Coin is round instead of rectangular, measuring 2.5” in diameter.  They will still fit in collector card sleeves and make a fun break from tradition.  

ATCs can be flat, folded, shaker, whatever you want them to be.  Keep in mind, they need to be on the thinner side though, for ease of shipping and to enable them to be stored in a plastic card sleeve.  (See comment below on embellishments.)  For the purpose of our swap, ATCs should not be thicker than 0.25".  They are your own fun way of creating mini masterpieces to be traded and collected!

Please notate the following information on the back of your ATCs:

  • The artist's name (that's YOU)
  • Name of the swap
  • Date of swap, or date you completed
  • Edition number (each card should be individually numbered, ex. 1 of 9 or 1/9)
  • Optional: A title for your artwork
  • Optional: Social media links (ex. website, Instagram, email)
  • Optional: Name of stamp set(s) used
  • Optional: Any special techniques or notes you wish to include (ex. glow in the dark)

How does an ATC swap work?
1. You sign up by submitting the form linked in the most recent ATC blog post.  Search "ATC" in the search box in the upper left corner.
2. You create 9 identical ATCs—1 to keep, 8 to swap.
3. Watch this handy packing VIDEO and/or read this ARTICLE on how to properly ship your ATCs.
4. If you choose to ship in a card collector sleeve, place each ATC in the sleeve, and post them in an envelope with proper postage.  If you do not ship in a sleeve, that is ok!  Refer to the video and/or article on ways to ship them safely.  The host has sleeves available for return shipping.  
5. Remember to either include postage for return in a standard envelope (1 regular First Class stamp AND 1-2 additional ounce stamps - excess will be returned) OR $5 to cover host expense (ATC sleeve and return shipping).  
6. Mail the ATCs, allowing sufficient time for them to reach the host by the due date.

When all swaps are received on the due date, the ATCs will be swapped, packaged, and you receive happy mail with ATCs made by other artists!



How do I join?
Check my recent blog posts for the most current ATC swap post.  Sign up details and form will be found there.

What does it cost to participate?
The only costs involved are supplies and postage, unless noted for that particular swap.  You can elect to send a pre-paid return envelope, or $5 to cover the expense of return.

Can I participate if I live overseas?
Definitely!  Just plan ahead and ship your ATCs, allowing adequate time for them to arrive to the host by the due date.  Make sure to contact the host ahead of time to arrange for return postage costs.

What if mine aren't good enough?
This is a common worry that a lot of crafters have when entering a swap (especially for the first time). My best recommendation is a simple design executed well beats a complicated design executed poorly every single time.  Keep it simple, and make sure your workmanship is top notch.  There will be stampers at all different levels in this swap.

What happens if I have to drop out?
My first recommendation is to start your swap ASAP, that way if life throws you a curve ball, your swap will already be done!  However, life isn't always so accommodating around the fun stuff, so if you need to drop out, please notify the host ASAP via email to let them know that you are unable to meet the deadline.

What happens if all the swaps arrive early?
The host swaps out and returns everyone's envelopes early!  (Yay!)

Do I have to create an arty custom background?
Short answer, no.  Feel free to use pattern paper!  If you want to create a custom background though, go for it!

What if I don't have ATC plastic sleeves/pockets?
The host has a plastic sleeve protectors on hand and will return all swapped  ATCs in a sleeve.  You are welcome to mail your ATCs in a sleeve (to further protect them while shipping), but rest assured they will return to you in a sleeve whether you send one or not.

What happens if I don't like the pieces I receive in return?
Unfortunately, it's luck of the draw; that's what swaps are all about!  ATCs are art for trade.  You could trade it with a friend, use it on a card, or learn new techniques from it!

Will I get one of my own ATC's in return?
If there are more than 9 people signed up for this swap, then no.  If you specifically want one of your own pieces returned to you, pop in a note to let me know, and I'll make sure you get one of your own back.

Can I sign up twice?
Yes ... if you would like to sign up twice, you sure can!  That means you can make 2 different ATC designs, 9 of each, and send all in one envelope.  Be aware you may receive duplicates in your return envelope, especially if there are less than 18 people signed up for this swap.  The return shipping will also be higher, so account for that as well.

Is there a limit to the number of people who can join this swap?
No.  A minimum of 8 participants is needed to move ahead, but there's no limit to the number of people who can join.  You are welcome to share the swap details with fellow crafty friends!

How do I pack and post?
You can choose to mail your completed ATCs in a card collector sleeve, posted in a standard business envelope (with an added ounce or two in stamps), or following advice given in this video or this article

Good workmanship is important, and the ATC you create should be something that you would be delighted to receive in the mail. 

My top recommendations are:
* Keep your cutting lines straight and clean (unless you want a distressed edge)
* Clean up any oozing glue and hide your adhesive
* Stamp with care and precision
* Handwriting is usually not a great idea as part of the design (unless you have amazing brush-script skills).
* Do not use bulky embellishments, as they can be difficult to fit into collector sleeves.  (Sequins, enamel dots, smaller pearls, single layer foam adhesive are all perfectly fine.)  For the purpose of our swap, ATCs should not be thicker than 0.25" (for ease and cost of shipping).

If you have any questions before signing up, please email me at with 'Swap Question' in the title line.  I will get back to you ASAP with an answer ... and there are no silly questions!

I am very excited to see your ATCs!


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