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ATC Swap Info

ATC Swap Information and FAQs

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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) or clipart 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 announcement.  Sign up details and form will be found there.

What does it cost to participate?
$5, which includes untracked shipping of your returned swap

May I participate if I live overseas?
Definitely!  Just plan ahead and ship your ATCs early, 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: a simple design executed well beats a complicated design executed poorly every single time.  Keep it simple, and give it your best.  There will be creators of all different levels in this swap -- that's what makes these swaps so inspiring (and encouraging).

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.  You can find the host contact information in your sign up confirmation email and on the announcement blog post.

What happens if all the swaps arrive early?
The host swaps out and returns everyone's envelopes early!  (Yay!)  But I will warn you, that has never happened.  Never.  LOL

Do I have to create an arty custom background?
No way!  Feel free to use pattern paper, embossing folders, stencils, anything.  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 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.  If you do not wish to save your returned ATCs, you could trade them with a friend or use them on a card (for a couple ideas).

Will I get one of my own ATCs in return?
No.  That's why you make 9 but keep 1.  If you do not want to keep one of your own, just make 8 and send all 8.

May I sign up twice?
Yes!  If you would like to sign up twice, by all means. 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.  You will need to remit the sign up form twice (adding 2nd, #2, etc behind your name for subsequent sets).

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 mail my ATCs?
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

A Word on Workmanship
Good workmanship is important, and the ATC you create should be something that you would be delighted to receive in the mail.  Please don't rush through your ATCs -- give it the time that you hope the other participants will give as well.

A Few Recommendations:

  1. Keep your cutting lines straight and clean (unless you want a distressed edge)
  2. Clean up any oozing glue and hide your adhesive
  3. Stamp with care and precision
  4. Handwriting is usually not a great idea as part of the design (unless you have amazing brush-script skills).
  5. 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.  There are no silly questions!

I am very excited to see your ATCs!


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