Artist Trading Cards

Artist trading cards (or ATCs for short) are small, baseball-card sized works of art that can be traded with other artists as a way to get creative, connect with other artists, make contacts, and collect great art! This has been an on-going by-mail exchange is hosted by Jennifer Hines that’s been running since 2008. The April 15, 2018 deadline will be THE LAST EXCHANGE that I will be running. However, it will not die! There will be a new address and instructions on submitting for future exchanges after April 2018, so stay tuned!

To participate:

1. Make 9 artist trading cards

  • Each card must be 2.5″x3.5″ (64 mm × 89 mm).
  • Cards should be original artwork made by you, please no 100% digital or photographic prints of works (some parts can be digital or photographic, but not the entire thing please)
  • Cards can be in any handmade medium, including painting, drawing, ink, cut paper, collage, mixed-media, textiles/cloth, printmaking, photography, etc. but must have some element of handmade on them.
  • Cards can be all the same or all different, or any combination of the two.
  • Cards must be two-dimensional enough to fit into a standard plastic sleeve used for baseball or collector’s cards.
  • PLEASE NO EXTREMELY THICK, LUMPY OR OVERLY RIGID CARDS if possible. These cause higher postage due to non-machineable fees. Ideally the cards will still be flexible with little extreme variation in thickness.

2. Include your name and email and/or website on the back of each card (print it or write legibly!). Please also include the place you call home on each of your cards so we all can see where each card originates!

3. Put the 9 cards in a plastic baseball card sleeve (it has one slot for each of the 9 cards, find them at hobby stores, on Amazon, or include $1 USD wrapped in a sheet of paper and I will provide one for you on return). DO NOT send them in separate plastic sleeves.

4. In one pocket, please also include a business card or 2.5”x 3.5” sheet of paper with your name and email address. This is for my own mailing list to keep you informed of exchanges and receipt of your cards–it will not be sent out to other participants.

5. Include a large-sized SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with at least 3 oz. ($~1.50) worth of postage to return your cards to you. Just one large envelope is needed.

  • Envelopes that are full paper sized (8.5″x11″) are best so that the cards don’t need to be folded up. Choose a regular paper envelope to avoid parcel package fees (if your envelope is rigid cardboard, more postage is required because it is considered a parcel)
  • At least 3 oz. worth of postage needs to be included–that’s around $1.40-$1.60 for a large paper envelope (and even more for a rigid envelope). One Forever stamp is not enough–keep in mind that some cards you receive may be heavy or three-dimensional so extra postage is a good idea.The cost to ship the cards to you may be more than it cost to ship your cards to me initially.
  • Put your address as the return address too so that if the amount of postage is incorrect, it will still arrive at your door (but perhaps with postage due).
  • If you cannot include an envelope (please include $1 for me to provide one) or want to try to reuse your original shipping envelope, please also include a pre-addressed label for me to use.
  • Canadian candidates: please provide US postage stamps or enclose $3 USD for return postage, or email me to pay for payment of return postage on PayPal at (to pay $4 for return postage and fees). Please make sure the SASE you provide is a paper envelope and IS NOT a bubble wrap mailer or a hard cardboard envelope, otherwise postage is about $10 and customs forms have to be filled out.
  • International candidates: please email me at for instructions. To pay for return shipping, you’ll go to to send money for return shipping (cost may vary by country, but will most likely be around $5-$8 USD due to the PayPal fee). Please do not use foreign stamps or enclose foreign currency or I will not be able to ship your cards back to you. Please make sure the SASE you provide is a paper envelope and IS NOT a bubble wrap mailer or a hard cardboard envelope, otherwise postage is at package parcel rates and customs forms have to be filled out.

Please follow the instructions and tips above. Mail your 9 cards, contact information, plus your SASE to:

Artist Trading Cards
c/o Jennifer Hines
2744 N Mozart St
Chicago, IL 60647

Deadline (received by): April 15, 2018 (This is the last exchange that will go to this address; future exchanges will have a new address and facilitator). A couple of weeks after the deadline, you will receive 9 new cards by other artists for your collection. For more information, contact Jennifer Hines at If you’d like to trade person-to-person with me in the future, please reach out. ;o)

Check out the flickr page to see images of the cards, updated after each exchange:


42 thoughts on “Artist Trading Cards

  1. Oh, yay! I’m so excited you’re doing this. My son has been wanting to trade ATC cards for awhile. We were in a yahoo group a couple years ago but then it went inactive. He’ll be getting his done soon and then we’ll get them popped in the mail!

    1. Thanks for sending the link to the Regina ATC exchange in Canada! I’ve participated in their exchange and it’s always a good one, so I recommend it! I hope you can participate in the exchange I am doing as well… I would like to do this a few times a year, so hope to do another exchange in maybe early summer, so stay tuned! ;o) Thanks!

  2. I just found this today and will never make the deadline. I hope you run this swap again! Please add me to your email list.

    1. Janice: If you need a little grace period to finish your cards, please take an extra week and still participate (FYI to everyone who fears the fast-approaching deadline)! I will most likely run another exchange in the summer as well if the timing is still too tight for you to complete a set for this exchange… And thanks for the link, great pictures and a great resource!

  3. HI there! Will you need to receive cards by 2/1, or can they be post marked by 2/1? Just now finding out about this, I suppose it’s a little late in the game.
    And one further question – Can I print the images of my traditional paintings on these cards, or am I supposed to hand make every individual card?

    1. I’m willing to give those late in the game some extra time, just try to get them in the mail by early next week at the latest and you’ll be good to go! As for the printing images of your paintings, I was trying to uphold the integrity of the cards by having handmade elements on them rather than digitally printed so people wouldn’t just print 100 of them with zero effort… you can digitally print part of it as long as you add something handmade to it as well… but feel free to paint on the cards, and include your web site or other information and we can look up your paintings!

    1. That’s great DiAnna! The current deadline will be in mid- to late-June, but I haven’t set a firm one yet. I’ll be announcing it soon! Feel free to get started and send them as they are finished, though. The new address is Artist Trading Cards, c/o Jennifer Hines, 2744 N Mozart St, Chicago IL 60647. Can’t wait to see your students’ cards! -j

    2. Hello again DiAnna! If your students are still interested in exchanging artist trading cards, I’m planning another exchange for the fall with a deadline of November 15. Love to have you and your students participate!

  4. Hello-I have started an ATC club for my 6th,7th and 8th grade students. I am trying to find someone to swap with them. I have about a dozen students. Most of them are fairly talented for their age.
    Are you planning a new swap soon?
    -Lora B (Art Teacher)

    1. Hello Lori! I am planning another exchange for this fall with a deadline of November 15, so you and your class are welcome to participate! In previous exchanges, I haven’t had many kids groups, but who knows what I will get for this exchange! You can send them all in one envelope with one SASE as long as it is big enough and has enough postage for them all. Can’t wait to see the cards!

  5. Can you send in more than one set to receive more than one set of other cards back? Love this idea!

  6. I’m excited about this, never done atc before, but when I cut an index card down to 3.5 x 2.5 to see the space I’d be workining on, I became intimidated by the small size. Lately I have been working in a 9.75 in x 7.5 in composition book, so I’m not used to small scale stuff. Any advice or suggested posts to read on creating small art? The smallness is really freaking me out.

    1. Oh no! Well, I think small things don’t need to be so intimidating. You’re already working quite small so perhaps you can do something similar but just slightly simplified for the smaller size. Usually simpler is better for smaller things. Or some people have done one piece at the full size and cut it into the 9 smaller cards. That’s another option. I hope that helps!!

      1. Thank you for the advice. You actually spurred one of those “ah ha” moments for me and I now have a great idea of how to start my cards. I look forward to working on them and sending them off once they’re complete. Also super excited to see what sort of art I will receive in the mail.

  7. Super exchange. Thanks for the assortment of Summer ATC’s that I received. Already starting my ATC’s for the Fall Exchange.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s