October 08, 2005

Cheap & Easy ATC Backs

About half the cards I receive from swaps are on cardstock, the other half are on cardboard, or chipboard. You can buy pre-cut cardboard or chipboard, but why do it when you can get it for free? Cardstock is fine to create your ATC, but if you like to use heavier embellishments like I do then you need a stronger back.

Instead of buying pre-cut ATC backs, I cut my own from cardboard food boxes I've saved from cereal, macaroni and cheese, crackers, cake mixes, etc. and then glue my cardstock to that. It's easy to cut 2.5x3.5 cards from the boxes if you have a straight edge trimmer. If you don't have a straight edge trimmer, I would highly recommend investing in one. This works great for trimming paper, photo's, etc., since I find it impossible to cut a straight line.

Some people like to use playing cards as ATC backing and they work just fine but you have to make sure the cards are ATC size. I've found most cards are either a little too big and have to be trimmed, or are too small. If you can find a pack that are the right size at a dollar store then that's great - you've gotten 52 ATC backs for a buck. Another thing I have used is a pack of recipe/index cards that I purchased for a buck at a dollar store - just cut 'em to size. Also, don't throw away the cardboard on the back of writing tablets - it makes great ATC backing.

I also like to go to the wallpaper section of stores and get the free samples. I glue them to ATC cardboard backs and use them as background paper. Or, if a wallpaper sample has a design, you can cut the designs out and glue them down as embellishments. Fabric and felt glued to cardboard ATC backs also make cool backgrounds. If you want to handpaint a background onto cardstock you might find it warps when it dries. If you glue it to a cardboard back it solves the problems.