Art Trading Cards or ATC’s


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Art Trading Cards are a fun project. The idea started in Switzerland in 1996. The only rule is that they must be 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches and must be traded and not sold.

Some artists sell art cards but they are called ACEO’s: Art cards, editions and originals.

Anything goes with these mini masterpieces. I usually set up stations-collage, stamps, markers, stickers, bits of ribbon, fabric, colored pencils, paint, bingo daubers, crayons, etc. and let the kids create. Some students will create a slew of them and others will focus on a few.

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When I do stations,. students start at one station but eventually move around the room. I have also had a supply table and students take supplies back to their desk to work. When they finish using the marker, stamp, dauber, etc. they return the item to the supply table.

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For the substrate, I have used cereal boxes, playing cards, and card stock. Usually, the kids must make at least two and trade one. They are free to make and trade more than that. The trading time is usually on another date so they focus on the art. I also trade with the students but limit them to one teacher trade-learned that lesson one year when I had made 90 cards, left them on my desk to go help a student and they were gone before I got back to my desk.


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I give them 2-3 cards to start and if they do a good job, thoughtful work that is planned out and creative, they can do more. One fourth grade class I had created nearly 300 cards in just over an hour.  You can purchase blank cards from many of the art supply places or you can cut them out yourself-time consuming but if you have a lot of donated scrap card stock as I did, it is a great way to use it up.


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