Artist Trading Coins


Have you heard of them? Maybe you’ve even created some, or received one, yourself! I’m talking about ATC’s – Artist Trading Coins. They’re relatively new in the crafting world, and an alternative to the Artist Trading Cards that everyone knows and loves. I belong to the Understand Blue Community Group on Facebook, hosted by the amazing artist Lydia Fiedler, who is Understand Blue (her blog name). If you’re not familiar with Lydia and her amazing creations and funny, quirky, enlightening and always informative posts – go check her blog – NOW! Seriously; you cannot read one of her posts without learning something new!

Anyway – people in the group have started hosting ATC – Artist Trading Coins swaps! I signed up for one hosted by Michele K. Henderson, and the theme was ‘By The Sea Spring Break’. I’ve been dying to share my ATC with you, but didn’t want to spoil any surprise for the other participants. Well, we finally have all received our swaps – and now I can share!


Have I mention the how crazy talented this group of people are, and how giving they are of their knowledge and talents? I daily feel like a total fan-girl geek when I see the projects that are shared! You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the pictures below, of the ATC’s I received in this swap.

Artist Trading Coins

Look at the colour blending and detail! Did you notice tiny shiny seashells in the top left coin, or the cork ‘sand’ in the bottom left? I adore the tiny seed beads on the mermaid tail in the bottom right!

Artist Trading Coins

More glorious colouring in this group! (by the way – I just randomly grouped them to photograph; no special rhyme or reason). I’m just sad that you can’t feel the texture & layers on each coin.  Now below, one last group.

Artist Trading Coins

The googly eyes on the fish in the bottom left are a hoot! I love the glitter paste on the seashell shapes in the bottom right coin, and again, the colour blending on all of the is amazing. I didn’t take pictures of the back of each coin, but each has the designer’s name & contact info, the name of the swap, and date. These are true collectibles!


Now I get to share my creation! I used a combination of the Hero Arts Layering Waves stamp set, ink blending, Seth Apter Baked Texture Embossing Powder, and a die cut.

Artist Trading Coins

I took this ‘extreme close up’ so that you could see the texture created by the Baked Texture embossing powder, and the ‘sea foam’ where the water meets the shore.


ATC’s are basically a 2″ – 2 1/2″ diameter ‘coin’ created by layers of cardstock or chipboard,and decorated however you want. Of course, this swap had a theme, so all of our coins were designed with that in mind.

Start by die cutting a 2 1/2″ circle of white cardstock. For this design, the first thing I did was mask off the bottom 2/3rds of the coin, and blended inks to create the sunset sky. The colours I chose are Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade and Abandoned Coral Distress Inks.

Once finished blending the sky, I then masked it off, to stamp the water. I did all of this blending & stamping in an assembly line fashion, rather than finishing one complete coin before moving on to the next. I found this helped speed up the process considerably, because all the supplies I needed for each step were all ready in front of me.

Artist Trading Coins

The photo above shows that I’d finished blending the sky, and have now moved onto stamping the water. I used lengths of Post It Label & Masking tape to mask off the finished sky, as well as when I would be placing the sand. For the water, I chose  Broken China, and Blueprint Sketch Distress  & Distress Oxide inks.

Once the sky & water were finished, I masked off the water, and directly applied a Versamark ink pad to the bottom portion of the coin for the sand. Onto the Versamark, I sprinkled the Seth Apter Baked Embossing Powder in ‘Dirty Sand’ (appropriately named, right?!), and the set with the heat tool. I repeated this process 2 times on each coin, to build up the layer of embossing powder. It is amazingly textured, and the feel is just like sand! And yes, I pretty much destroyed a Versamark ink pad, because I got quite a bit of the powder in the  pad! But it was totally worth it, and I’ll save that ink pad for more Baked embossing.

The next step was to add the ‘sea foam’. You know, you see it on the beach where the waves have left it on the sand, when the waves or tide come in. For that, I used the Snow & Froth Technique Kit from Hero Arts. You apply the pen, then cover it with the embossing powder, and heat set it for a froth look.

Finally, I die cut the Adirondack chair from a SU! die set called Seasonal Layers, from wood look paper. I sponged the edges of the chairs with brown ink, and then glued them to the right side of the coin. The excess part of the chair is trimmed away by hand, with scissors.


This is what my pile of Artist Trading Coins looked like before I sent them out!

Artist Trading Coins

I was really happy with how my ATC’s turned out, and I hope everyone who received one liked it as well. (the overall response from everyone in the group was positive, of course – everyone loves all of the coins.)


If you have a group of friends who love to create and share, you should try hosting your own Artist Trading Coins swap! Choose a theme, or just have a random swap. It’s fun, and looking forward to receiving your swaps is a good thing.

I’ve included links where possible, for the supplies I used in creating my ATC’s.

Compensated affiliate links are provided where available, at no cost to you. Your purchase through these links provides me with a small percentage, which helps keep my blog going, and purchasing new supplies, to share with you! Thank you in advance!

Written by 

I've always liked to create things, but I'm not a great artist, or sculptor, or any type of 'traditional' artist - but I love to create! I love the satisfaction of a completed project. Whether a card, painting or other project - as long as it can create a smile, evoke a feeling, or some type of reaction in the recipient. I hope you will enjoy sharing my creations, and occasional ramblings; I'd enjoy having you create with me! :)

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