31 Days of Halloween–Project 7

Wow! This post will conclude my first week of ideas, crafts, and art all themed for Halloween! Of course, as I’ve said before, this is to celebrate not only Halloween, my favorite holiday, but to also celebrate my first Halloween book, “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here. It’s a very funny book, and features my cat, Soda Pop on every page.

So, this is part two of our ART TRADING CARD project. For those of you who missed it, ART TRADING CARDS, or ATCs, are tiny pieces of art, 3.5×2.5 inches, created specifically with the goal of swapping with other artists, just like sports trading cards. You are actually sharing something much more important though–a bit of your own creativity and imagination. Read the previous blog post here to learn more.

Today, I’m going to show you a display/trading area where I keep my family’s ATCs and encourage visitors to make their own. It’s simple-simple. Here’s a pic of the back of our piano, where I have it on display.

Now, the frame is simply a frame I had around the house. Use whatever size you have, the larger the better because you can show more cards. There are many tutorials for creating the ribbon “bulletin board” inside the frame, but I will go into mine briefly here. I didn’t go out and buy ANYTHING for this. I found a sheet of nice, heavy corrugated cardboard and cut it to size with a utility knife. This part is NOT for kids.

Then, I grabbed a scrap of fabric big enough to wrap around the cardboard on all sides and hot glued it down to the back of the board. THEN, I grabbed some ribbon and started wrapping lengths of it across the front of the board at various angles, wrapping it around to the back of the board and tacking it down with hot glue.

Now, if you measure, you can make a very ordered, pretty pattern with your ribbon. I did not measure, I eyeballed. And then I gave up the pattern idea and just put ribbon across it in interesting ways. After THAT, I tacked down the ribbon with plain silver tacks wherever it intersected with another ribbon, or wherever it felt loose.

I flipped the board over and tacked the ribbon and fabric down firmly on the back as well. Then, I popped it all in the frame, secured it, and I was done!

Displaying cards is very simple–just wedge them under the ribbons on the board. And put a sign on top explaining the rules, such as “You may take ANY card you like for your very own, but you must replace it with a card of your own creation!”

I also have a basket of supplies—blank ATCs, markers, pencils, crayons, glue stick, tiny collage pieces.


If you feel ATCs from scratch are too hard, also include fun sheets of stickers and tiny objects that can be glued on to the cards. Don’t forget, on the back the artist needs to put the title of the piece, the medium, their name, and the date.

Bring a LITTLE art into your life! Change the culture of your home one tiny card at a time!  take pictures of your own ATCs and post them on Bug Summer’s Facebook page here! Have a great day, and do something creative with a child! !

31 Days Of Halloween–Day 6

Good Morning!  I have set myself the challenge of coming up with a new art/craft/writing project for each day of the month of October, all of them celebrating the spooky vibe that permeates my favorite month. I’m also celebrating my favorite black cat, Soda Pop, who is the disgruntled main character in my new children’s book “I HATE HALLOWEEN”, which can be purchased here.

This is the first “weekend edition” of our Halloween creativity, and I think this one will be a 2 part-er. Today is a fun activity, very portable for kids and adults alike, and one that is extremely popular in art circles. Tomorrow will be how I “package” that activity in a pretty way that makes it accessible to all the dwellers in our home, as well as the folks who visit us. So, let’s get started with Art Trading Cards!

Little Art is AWESOME!

An Art Trading Card, or ATC, is a miniature piece of art, sized 2.5″x3.5″, (the size of traditional sports cards) done with any medium–paint, pencil, collage, pastel, ink, etc.–made specifically to trade with other artists. I know they are sellable, but the Zen of the idea is an exchange of creativity between two people. And, as it so happens, I have an ATC “station” in my home, where my kids and myself display our cards, and there are supplies for making MORE cards. That way, when a visitor comes in, if they want a card, they are welcome to take it for their own, as long as they then replace it with a card of their own creation. It’s a lot of fun to encourage people that maybe don’t consider themselves “arty” to see what they come up with. Today, the focus is on the cards, however. Tomorrow, we will talk about our ATC Station.

First off, I start by chopping up cardstock, tagboard, or heavy art paper into 2.5″x3.5″ rectangles. These are the ATCs.  You may also visit an art supply store–one of my favorite is Dickblick.com and  purchase ATCs ready made, but my way is infinitely cheaper, and I get my choice of papers. Then, I use whatever medium I like (right now, I seem to be favoring pencil and fine tip markers) to create whatever images I like, although currently, we are doing Halloween-themed art. The cool thing about ATCs is that they take very little time to complete, you don’t need a huge work area or lots of supplies, they are totally portable, and they are completely CHARMING finished pieces you share with others.

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of mass-produced items that have no purpose but to fill space in our lives and in our homes–these things we purchase without thinking off of store shelves that really mean nothing, and have absolutely no “soul”. Handmade is beautiful. It is precious. It is truly one of a kind. Perhaps, in today’s plasticized, factory made world, it is the ONLY thing that is truly valuable. Remember what it is like to receive a handmade drawing from a child? The light in that child’s eyes as you take it from them, this piece that they made with chubby fingers and crayons? ATCs make that accessible for EVERYONE.

So, here are some sample ATCs that we are doing in our home right now, all of them Halloween-themed. Most of them are done with fine tipped art markers, some of them collage. On the back, make sure you put the title of the piece, the name of the artist, the date, and any other fun information (like a positive message or even a Halloween haiku?) to make it a “real” trading card! This is such a simple thing, such an easy way to bring art into your life. It is ALSO extremely easy to put together an ATC kit that fits in a purse or backpack, giving children and adults something to do when they are out and about in the world with some downtime–like in a restaurant waiting for a meal, or on a long car trip.

Our medium for these cards...

Try this activity at home—this giving and receiving of tiny art pieces. EVERYONE can participate, and it can go a long way towards swaying the culture in your home towards the hands-on end of the spectrum and away from mass-market, electronic, television-watching, video game playing, mindless treadmill type of life that many of us find ourselves in (myself and my family INCLUDED!)

Tomorrow, I will show you how to set up your own ATC Station in your house–one that looks stylish and allows for the easy trade of art back and forth between family members and visitors alike!  And take pictures of your own ATCs and post them on Bug Summer’s Facebook page here! Have a great day, and do something creative with a child!