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We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
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Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

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Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

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Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Direct to Paper Technique

Direct To Paper Technique
By Connie Holso

This is a simple and easy way to turn plain cardstock into beautiful custom backgrounds. I usually do several sheets in different colors at one sitting.  You will get totally different looks just by what colors and stamps you choose.


  • Medium to dark-toned cardstock
  • Pigment inks (Colorbox or Cats Eyes) in light, medium, and dark – 4-6 colors is good
  • Assorted small to medium sized stamps
  • Optional: dye inks for over stamping
  • Scrap paper for covering work area


You will want to lay down some scrap paper to protect your table. I always get out more inks and stamps than I need as I usually decide as I go along unless I am doing it for a specific project.

For this technique you need pigment ink for covering the paper with ink because it stays wet letting you move it around and blend it.  Dye ink does not work as it is absorbed too fast. Also it is transparent and just stains the paper. Because pigment ink is opaque it will let you completely change the paper color. You can not achieve the glow that the pigments give with dye inks. 

I mostly just use whatever inks I have in the colors I want for over-stamping, except for stamping with light colors, for those you will need to use your pigments.  Otherwise both dye and pigment inks work fine. 

When choosing your inks you want to use the white or very light colors first as they are what make your paper “glow”.  They also make the other colors brighter and help make the stamped images pop. 

Smearing white ink over entire paper.
Begin by smearing your lightest color (white here) lightly over the surface of the cardstock. This works best if your ink pad is a bit on the dry side.  If it is new and quite wet, use a sponge instead of the pad.  This first light coat of ink just makes a base so it is easier to move the other colors around and blend the edges together.  It also helps give more luminosity to the page.  
NOTE: Use caution if you use your pads to add the ink to the paper as too firm of pressure can damage the foam ink pad. 

I use white for my first color
Next using either the pad itself or a sponge add more white in splotches making some go off the page. This is so it will not have an “edge” and will look evenly colored when cut into pieces.  It will look messy but that is how it should be.  

I used Dusty Plum for my second color.
Now add your second lightest color, again in splotches, with some going off the page, blending the edges just a tiny bit. You want it to be quite blotchy as each layer will blend it more. 

I added Peony next.
Continue adding colors from light to dark until you are satisfied.  You want good contrast but if you do get a spot too dark you can add more light ink (or ink in a lighter tint of your paper color over the dark spot to soften it.

Turquoise added last.
When you are satisfied with the background, you will stamp over it.  You can use either pigment or dye inks for stamping, or even some of each.  I just use whatever I have in the colors I want for the project.  

This sample shows some images in pigment (midnight) and some in dye (blueberry) and you really cannot tell the difference.  

Usually I stamp my largest images first, spacing them randomly over the paper.  You may want to stamp them in different directions so there is not an up or down to the sheet.  Fill in around the large images with smaller stamps in different colors until the sheet is full, being sure to stamp off the page to avoid an “edge”.

That’s it.  Wasn’t that easy?  And it is so beautiful!   

I cut this one into 10 ATCs and only had this tiny bit of waste.  Have fun! ~CKH