The Blue Swap

3 Jun

Do you just love creating ATCs? Those little tiny pieces of art that you create and trade or give away. There aren’t many rules around ATCs. The size is important – 2.5″ x 3.5″. And everything else is up for your own interpretation. Different mediums, techniques, colors, textures, styles, etc. A great way to practice new ideas. ATCs are perfect for using mixed media techniques.  There are a lot of groups out there that swap ATCs, including the monthly challenge here on this blog.

I am participating in an ATC swap on a Facebook group. The theme is “BLUE“, which is a loose enough theme that you can do  almost anything with it. ATC swaps often have a theme for the participants to follow, which allows for some continuity in a swap. A nice way to have a starting point for your little bitty piece of art. Once you get started, there is no limit to what you can do.

For this BLUE swap, I decided to work with some Gelli Plate prints. I love using my Gelli Plate and am always amazed at the variety of results I can get using it. I’ve used it on various fabrics and lots of papers.


For this print I started with some black paper that was already textured. Then I added various paints (mostly blues) to create some absolutely incredible layers. Starting with a black background was quite interesting and the textured paper allowed the paints to hug some of the crevices and create even more texture. LOVE IT!

Here are some close-ups of the paper.

P1020403 P1020405 P1020404

Do you use gel medium for gluing stuff down? There are a lot of different brands of gel medium out there, as well as different thicknesses. A medium for any purpose you might need it for.


I adhered the printed paper to some watercolor paper to give the ATCs some weight, as well as create a backing that I could write on. I used gel medium to glue the papers together. I knew that using a glue stick wouldn’t work due to the texture of the paper. The gel medium is thick enough to really get good coverage. Then I piled some magazines on top of the paper to weight it down and really adhere it well.


After it was really dry, I cut it up into the 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATC size. Wow. Don’t they look great? Each ATC is a mini work of art in itself. I love how cutting the piece apart completely changes the colors/textures.


Then I added some of the Splash of Color words stickers to each ATC. You can also use actual book pages words to create the same effect.  I like using words in my art and often add words or phrases. It just makes it more interesting to me. The words were a bit stark next to the blue/black paper, so I lightly brushed some blue InkaGold over some of the words. I also added a bit of the blue InkaGold to some of the areas that had very little blue on them (after all it is a Blue swap!).

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Now it is time to label the back and get them ready to go into the mail. Another swap done and finished. Woo hoo!


Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play

Blue Twig Studio – 5965 Whiskey River Dr – Colorado Springs, CO 80923 – USA


4 Responses to “The Blue Swap”

  1. Sonja Milojevic June 4, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    Deb your ATCs are beautiful! I love the texture and the colors you used. Well, blue is my favorite color, so no wonder I like them. 🙂 But even if they were a different color I know they would be gorgeous, as your work always is.



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