From Gelli Pulls to ATCs


On Facebook there is a group called ATCs Trades and Jams. I joined it a couple months ago and have participated in a couple swaps. I just completed my third one. Let me show you.

The theme of this swap was the Letter C. My first thought was cookie and cat. And I figured everyone and their sister would be doing cats. I decided to stay away from cats at all costs. So.

I pulled out my smaller stamps and started looking. An ATC is a small piece of art – just 2.5″ x 3.5″ in size. So I needed small-in-size stamps. And I needed to make two different ATCs that will go to the same person. Seems a strange way to do things to me, but I am not in charge. Hahaha! In these two photos you can see the stamps I decided on. And, yes, this cuddly little cat just called my name.

I used the clear block you see two photos up, attached my stamps to the block and inked them with StazOn ink which you see in the first photo. This ink is recommended by the Copic people to use with their markers. Supposedly this ink doesn’t smear when using the Copics to color them. I never take the chance. Before I cut these stamped images apart, I set the ink with my heat tool. Just blow the hot air over the images and get the paper good and heated up. This also works great with images you print from your printer. Just heat set the black ink before you add color. I’ve never had a problem. If it scares you a little, try a test piece first.

The next thing I did was add color to my images with Copic markers. I didn’t worry about the places I went out of the lines. Heck! Color outside the lines and go for it! Hahahahahaha! Actually I knew I was going to cut these images out, so a little color outside the lines didn’t matter.

Fussy cutting. Have you ever heard of it? It is really just a fun name for cutting out an image. I have these curved bladed scissors – you can’t really tell it here unless you look at the shadow. The blades are curved which makes trimming around the corners and edges a whole lot easier! Walmart has them. I trimmed out both images. My little girl and my little awesome cat dude.

Let’s talk backgrounds. Never throw out color. Ever. It can always be used in some way, some day, and if you toss it – it is gone forever. I cut these two backgrounds out of two different papers I had used for gelli plate pulls. That may be a whole separate post one day. Just trust me for now.  I cut 2.5″ x 3.5″ pieces because that is the size of an ATC and that is what we are swapping. Then I played with the images, trying to decide which background to use for each of them. And I totally didn’t use what you see above. Hahahahahaha!

Then apparently I got really into what I was doing because I didn’t take any pictures until I was basically done. For this background I stamped some clock images. Had you already figured out this C ATC is for clock? My little girl from Santoro was holding a clock, and I love the Santoro stamps, so I went with it. The background clock stamp is from Timeless. If you look closely, you will see two clocks I punched out of an image sheet from Retro Cafe Art. I glued them in place first, then glued down my girl. That ink pad you see if relatively new on the market. It’s from ColorBox and I love the way they stack. I have six colors and that is all the room they take up in my drawer. The size of that one pad. Anyway, I used the blue ink and scrubbed it along the edges of the ATC.

For this ATC, I punched some cute little kitties from some collage sheets from Retro Cafe Art and mixed them with some wording from Tim Holtz’ Idea-ology book called Small Talk. I used a standard tape runner to put everything into place. I really love this gelli pull background. The circles you see on the right towards the top were made with bubble wrap. Those along the bottom on the right were done with a stencil. So much fun! One of the very first gelli plate pulls I ever made. And did you notice? Neither the clock girl nor the cuddly cat ended up on the backgrounds I originally had them placed on. Hahaha! I thought they looked better when I rearranged them.

I chose the Pansy ColorBox inks to go around the edges of this ATC. I can not tell you how much I love the ColorBox uh . . . colors. Hahaha! They are yummy and rich! And you totally can’t see that in this picture, can you? My bad.

But you can here <3 and I love it! I really like how the sunglasses turned out, too. I just colored the cat the same color under the glasses as I did everywhere else. Then I added Copic’s pale grayish blue for the lenses and it turned out super. In my opinion anyway. Hahahaha! I hope the lady I am sending these to loves my little cuddly Cat.

But this one is my absolute favorite! I can’t believe I had to package her up and ship her off to a new home. And I will never be able to duplicate this because gelli pulls are also called mono prints. A one time event. You can never exactly replicate them. And please remember ATCs are 2.5″ x 3.5″ so all that fussy cutting rough edges will not be as noticeable as they are here. >.<

This was a super fun project and I’ve already signed up to participate in the Letter S swap. Hmmmmm. Time to pull out my box of small stamps. Yay!!!! I hope you have a wonderful day!

You can purchase StazOn ink here.
Simple Elegance cuddly cat stamp is here.
Acrylic stamps blocks of all sizes are right here.
Need a heat tool? Here is one kind.
Interested in Copic Markers? You should know they are not lightfast. They will fade. I did not know that when I spent a small fortune on them. But if you are really interested, you can find them here.
Curved blade scissors can be found online here. Or at Walmart.
Santoro White Rabbit girl stamp is currently here.
Background clock stamp here.
Collage sheets from Retro Cafe Art can be found here. Be prepared to stay awhile.
ColorBox Dyestress ink pads are here.
Tim Holtz’ Idea-ology products are here.

22 thoughts on “From Gelli Pulls to ATCs

    • thanks, Jennifer, sometimes small pieces of art are the only ones I have time for

    • thanks, Susan, and thank you for being faithful. I know if I don’t see a comment from you that something went wrong overnight <3

  1. Working on my first ATC exchange with group you mention. Having fun. Your reticle is of help—I have few small stamps. Trying to send you a tangle for your Book five (or am I all wrong on this.). Have your book four and plan to introduce my Senior Center Zentangle group to your blog and steampunk. I volunteer. <: your blog.

    • I’m glad you got involved with the group. it is a little intimidating to me with the trades and jams, but I can handle these small swaps.
      and yes, please email me the tangle – I would be thrilled to have it and use it. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog <3

  2. Thank you for the great post! I will not be able to craft today (I know, right) and I lived it through this post! Thank you!


    • thanks, Joan! I just found you on instagram and started following you 🙂 thanks for reading my stuff <3


    • Lo siento, los productos no están disponibles en su país. Usted puede ser capaz de encontrar cosas que son similares. para tintas podrías usar jugos de bayas en su lugar. o te o café 🙂 He visto a gente hacer eso en su lugar. Me alegra que hayas leído mis mensajes de todos modos. gracias. ¡abrazos!

  5. Are the colorbox inks a new product? I don’t ever remember seeing them before. On the lid of the Pansy label you show, is that just how the color looks or is that a mixture of several colors? Is this ink waterproof, if you heat set it before using anything on top of it, will it keep it from smearing? The ATCs are really cute. Love your blog.

    • hi 🙂 some good questions! yes, they are relatively new. I bought mine at that’s the link in the post. the pansy label: the color inked straight onto your project is pretty much the same as the darker purple on the lid, if you used a water brush and made a wash after you inked the color – you get more of the pink-purple color you see on the opposite side of the label. pretty flexible and fun ink pads. they are dye based – to me that means they are not water fast. I doubt anything will keep them from smearing – or reactivating – if you add wet media over them. drawing with a permanent pen like I use for tangling, that won’t cause any problems and will work perfectly fine. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. I am working really hard to keep it up to date and interesting. <3

  6. These are beautiful images.! Love the way they turned out. I remember toying with ATC’s years ago but here in the UK, at that time, it wasn’t that popular. I have cards and lots of supplies but never seem to have the time for anything these days. Maybe one day… You do a great job, love seeing all the tangles. They are so peaceful to do. I need to set aside a couple of hours to be creative again!

    • I hope you do find time to be creative again. it is so relaxing. thank you for stopping in and leaving me a comment 🙂 I love to hear from readers!

  7. I always used Memento with Copics/alcohol markers &. I must admit it’s your clock girl that’s my favourite too & I still have a soft spot for ATCs since they were what I first did when I began to stamp & create on a regular basis. The Gorjuss girl (the Santoro girl image) was a favourite of mine too though she was made by a different stamp company at that time. Interesting to see those new inks.

    • I remember you’re stamping. you were doing that when we first met. I didn’t know the girl stamp was originally with another company. I do love those little Gorjuss girls. I have quite a few of them. I bought them for Bible journaling 🙂

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