ATCs can be as easy or as hard as you care to make them. Many of mine have taken hours to complete, but others are deceiving because I made them in multiples (always quicker) and used printed backgrounds.
One of my favorite mediums is a napkin. There is no end to the variety of cocktail and dinner napkins, as well as pocket tissues; all covered with delightful art. I find them at Goodwill opened and half full for around 25 cents. The trick is in the preparation. Ordinarily these napkins are in layers of three and the layers need to be separated. Work only with the printed layer, though if you can’t get it completely apart, no worries. I lay the napkin out, then cover one side of the precut card with gel medium and press each down to cover as much of the napkin as possible. Once dry, I cut them free from the napkin and trim the edges. I like it if they are not perfectly smooth. I think a texture to them makes them more interesting. You can layer more napkin images that you’ve torn from other napkins on top of this, but be sure to let each layer dry completely or the new layer will pull up the old. I’ve made this mistake a million times. I’m always in such a hurry. You can use a brayer (best) or just your fingers (OK) to press them down. Another trick is to place them between two pieces of waxed paper (which can be used over and over) and press them between some heavy books to let them dry. Check them often to let more air in.
The Valentines here were done in non-traditional colors on excess watercolor paper (which I always save), one napkin, and a small heart stamp. Then I folded plastic tablecloth protector (recycled) and sewed it into a pocket right on the card. A rubber stamp #2. Glitter cardstock (small pieces left from Christmas), punched to a heart shape, fills the pocket. The back of the heart is open for personalization: As in “Happy Valentines Day 2” …and then you put the name on the back of the heart. Tricky, huh? The “Happy Valentines Day” was off the printer and glued on. The cards were not difficult, but completely original as each part of the napkin is different. I finished eight in less than two hours (while watching football, of course).
I hadn’t made an ATC in ages, but they are perfect for something to do that doesn’t require 100% of your attention (though perhaps they should) as well as keeping my fingers out of the ice-box. Another thing I like about them is that they require little planning. I enjoy making them on the fly, looking up and seeing the plastic sheet peeking from a box and then using it right then. The other great thing is making more than you need or plan to use, and when you mess up, which I invariably do, you simply toss the ruined ones away. Or not.
Meeting kindred spirits who are interested in crafts that I’ve neglected for some time is one of the wonderful things about blogging. I’m reading others’ blogs and getting motivated by people way more talented than me. I hope you find inspiration in my crafts as well. These are for trade if anyone is interested. Or not.