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ATC Background Techniques – Part 5

18 Nov

Time for another cool ATC background technique!  By the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to create cool patterns like such:


So you’ll need:



  • Surface protector
  • Paints (I prefer metallics and pearls but any acrylics will do)
  • Tubs for paint
  • Paintbrush
  • ATC Blanks
  • Candle

First up you will need to decide which of the colours will be your background colours.  This is personal choice but remember that this is the colour that will be showing through the top coat.  Paint your ATC blanks in the colours you choose.  You can either colour them fully or if you want a grungy look, apply a little paint and try and spread it as much as possible.


Next up, light the candle and  *carefully* drip wax across the cards.  You may find it easier to do this with them arranged in a tiled position; this way you’ll make less mess.  You can either drip the wax in small spatters or you can drip large amounts of wax on and tip the card to make it drip down in strands.


Allow to dry and paint over with the top coat in a different colour.


Allow this to dry and then carefully peel off the wax.

And finally admire your work!

Experiment with different techniques.  One I’d like to try is stamping an image after the first coat of paint before you cover it with wax.  Then peeling off the wax to reveal the partial stamped image below.  If you try this it would have to be done with substantial ink.

I’d love to see your creations using these or any of my techniques, please feel free to mail a photo to me or provide a link in a comment and we’ll get them published here!


ATC Background Techniques – Part 4

4 Jun

This is a round up, of sorts, of all the other techniques that don’t take too much time to achieve.

Coffee Fun!

Ok so we know that dyeing paper in a bath of strong coffee gives an aged look but if you soak a sheet of paper with water, sprinkle coffee granules onto the paper and place folded paper towels around the edge to draw up the excess water like so:

 Coffee process

Then this is the fun effect that is achieved:


Bright and Cheerful Food Colouring Dyeing:

This fab effect is achieved by soaking a sheet of paper with water, placing it on top of a few sheets of kitchen roll (paper towel) and dropping food colouring onto the paper using either an eye dropper or a straw.

The dye soaks through the paper and travels along the paper towel leaving a mark wherever it touches.


Paper Towel Printing:

Choose your colours well and you can end up with a worn look using this technique.


Take a sheep of kitchen roll (paper towel), brush on paint (slow drying, I used kids waterbased), turn over onto paper and press down firmly.

I hope to add to this ATC background techniques series again soon.  I’m also hoping to start a ‘Fun with ATC’s’ Series too so keep an eye out!

ATC Background Techniques – part 3

4 Jun

This time we’re looking at bubble wrap printing.

Thank you Rachel (aka tiaragoth) for bringing this one to my attention!

 You will need:


  • Paint (I used tempera but I’m sure any will do)
  • A paintbrush
  • Bubble wrap
  • Ordinary printer paper

Mess: Not too much but applying paint to bubble wrap can cause splatter so be sure to protect clothes and surrounding area.

Difficulty: Low, good for kids.


Brush your chosen colour of paint onto the bubble side of the bubble wrap.  Make sure the paint isn’t too watery as the water can soak into the popped bubbles causing a mess when printing.

Painted wrap

Carefully trun over the bubble wrap and align the edge with the edge of the paper.  Lay the bubble wrap on the paper bubble side down.  Lightly lay your hands all over the back of the bubble wrap to assist the print.  Do not rub as this will smudge your print.

Carefully remove your bubble wrap and the print is left behind. 


Allow to dry and your background is ready to go!

You can experiment with different colours or even print one colour then another over the top.

Here are some finished ATC’s using this background technique:

Bubble wrap ATC's

ATC Background Techniques – Part 2

1 Jun

This time up it’s Bubble Prints.

You will need:


  • A small bowl
  • A straw
  • Some washing up liquid
  • Some food colouring (I’ve heard tempera paint works too)
  •  Ordinary printer paper

Mess: Moderate, protect clothes

Difficulty: Can be difficult to gauge ratios but great for kids!


Place a small amount of water in the bowl and mix in a small amount of washing up liquid.  Using the straw, gauge the consistency by blowing bubbles into the solution.  You are looking to be able to blow bubbles that protrude above the rim of the bowl. 

First bubbles 

When this is achieved add a few drops of food colouring.  You may need to experiment with the correct amount for the effect you require.

Making sure your clothes and the surrounding areas are protected, blow enough bubbles to protrude over the rim of the bowl.

Coloured bubbles

Remove the straw, take a sheet of paper and touch it on top of the bubbles.  The bubbles will pop, leaving the dye on the paper in lovely bubble prints.

Red bubbles!

Dry the paper and if it wrinkles, press under a heavy book.

You can mix food colourings to get different colours.  Also you can experiment with two different colours over the top of each other to achieve a different effect.

Other bubbles

Stay tuned for more techniques!

ATC Background Techniques – Part 1

31 May

Thanks to a recent swap in one of my groups, I have been forced to research  the different ways you can produce interesting and pleasing ATC backgrounds.

Previously I have been using scrapbooking paper or using the printed or coloured cards I have as background.  Since I have tried the following techniques I can honestly say I will not be going back.  Using the following techniques you can tailor the colours and effect to compliment the final ATC.

Let’s get started shall we.

First up is Shaving Foam Marbling.

You will need:



  • Cheap Shaving foam (not a good idea to pinch your other half’s as you go through a bit)
  • Water based paints or tempera paints or food colouring.
  • Ordinary printer paper

  • A shallow dish or tray

  • An old pencil or paintbrush

  • A bit of flexible plastic (you can use card but I found it got soggy)

em>Mess: A little, make sure you protect clothes

Difficulty: Easy peasy, good for kids



Take your bowl (I used a baking sheet as I found that it was shallow enough to mean less wasted foam, but it also gave a larger surface are for the final print.  If you do use a baking sheet, make sure you cover in foil as the foam may leave a residue.) and fill with foam.

Use the end of a pencil or the reverse end of a paintbrush to make the surface of the form flat.

Drop small blobs of paint in lines on the foam surface.  I used pearlised water-based paint from my local supermarket kids craft section but you could try other paints and dyes.


Paint alignment

Using the pencil/paintbrush, swirl patterns in the surface of the foam.  The key here is to start in one of the paint blobs and not to go too deep into the foam.  I found figure of 8 motions the best.



Place a sheet of paper onto the surface of the paint and lightly smooth your hand over the back of the paper, ensuring that the whole of the paper has come into contact with the foam.  You will know when it has because you will see the paint as it dampens the paper where as the shaving foam doesn’t.



Carefully lift off the paper and transfer it to a sheet of newspaper.  This is the point where it is too easy to rip the paper if you are not careful.  At this point you will probably be thinking ‘Oh my what a mess!’.  But don’t be tempted just to throw it away. 


Take your bit of plastic/card and ‘scrape’ off the foam.  The lovely marble pattern is left on the paper.



The paper dries quickly enough and if it goes crinkly, it can be pressed under a heavy book. 

You may like to experiment with more than one colour paint.  I found pink and purple to be a good combination.


Pink and Purple

Upon clearing away you find it hard to disperse the foam, a bit of hot water and washing up liquid should do the trick!

Here is the technique in action on ATC’s:



Stay tuned for further techniques in future posts.