Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative 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:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

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:
Come play with us... Join today!

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.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

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.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

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, June 23, 2013

Word Collage Postcard Swap announced

This swap is for Paper Traders Members only but we would love for you to become a member and join us. Click the purple yahoo button in the sidebar for more information and how-tos.

Word Collage Postcards
6 x 4 inch Postcard Swap
Skill: 3 - Blossoming
Due:  Postmarked by 30th July
Hosted by: Jo Murray

In this collage the text must be crucial to the piece. Either cut and rearranged, or cut into shapes, or as the subject of the work. Other mediums can be used in conjunction with the text but the text must be the focus.

  1. Cecil Touchon
  2. Megan Coyle
  3. Jo Murray
Text can be cut to make silhouettes, still life, or images cut to make text. It can be a totally abstract piece, or not, or it can be various different texts to make a message. Your choice, use your imagination.

Swap partners will be randomly chosen from the list of participants on 20th July, so you might be required to send your cards overseas. Please stipulate if this is a problem for you.

Announcing the My Pet ATC Swap

This swap is for Paper Traders Members only but we would love for you to become a member and join us. Click the purple yahoo button in the sidebar for more information and how-tos.

My Pet ATC Swap
6-for-6 ATCs
Skill: All levels welcome
Postmarked by: 07/30/2013
Hosted by: Pattie McClimans

Our pets are our best friends. No matter how our day has gone they are always ready to give love and acceptance. This swap will be a 6-for-6 ATC swap. Using a photo or drawing a picture of your pet (or a pet you would like to have), create your ATCs. They can all be the same or different as you choose. Mail your 6 ATCs to Pattie by July 30th with $1.00 for postage and a return shipping label. International members may send ephemera in lieu of postage.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another Member Spotlight

Welcome to another Paper Traders Member Spotlight.
This month we are shining the light on:

How did you find Paper Traders?
I had met the three sisters who founded this group in another Yahoo group. We had traded ATCs there, and they liked mine, so they invited me when they founded this group.

How long have you been a member?
I joined in November 2005, so I'm here for almost 8 years.

Where do you live?
I live in Münster, Germany. It's a middle sized town (300.000 inhabitants) between Hamburg and Cologne in the North-West of Germany, near the Dutch border. I came to Münster to study at the university when I was 19, and now I'm stuck here for 30 years ;-) Well, it's a really nice place to live.

How have your surroundings affected your art? 
They probably give me the opportunity to create: I need inspirational input from museums, libraries, concerts, theatre, a zoo, cinemas and so on, and as a university town, Münster has all these, but is also a quiet place with more bikes than cars.

Please share a little about your own art experience.
I've always been creative. As a child, I drew and learned as many art techniques as I could find in books. As a teenager, I wrote stories and poems and knitted all my self-designed sweaters. While studying in Münster, I had a job in a shop for buttons, yarns, and beads for 1 1/2 years where I learned some beadworking techniques and could help our customers with their knitting problems. In 1999 I started stamping and never stopped doing it - I just combined it with more and more mixed-media techniques over the years. A few years ago I also started learning Photoshop and am still learning every day - digital collages have become a clean alternative to my usual messy artwork. I can do it on my desk in my living room while I have to sit at my kitchen table when it gets messy ...

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres? 
I love doing collages of any kind - including stamping, sewing, digital collages or assemblages. I just like to put stuff together that looks like it needs a new life.

What inspires you?
Music and books, and of course other artists' work. Most of my pieces start with a few words that are going around in my brain, others just come together because there are leftovers from finished projects on my table that build up their own story while I collage them, and in the end you'll probably find words on that piece again ...

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this? 
While I only admire some artists like Dürer, van Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden, but can't learn anything from these heroes, there are others whose art has been more similar to what I'm doing - just MUCH better. That's why I love Max Ernst's artwork though I'm not a big fan of surrealism. But he has started with DADA art which has been the beginning of mail art, then he invented some great art techniques like frottage and grattage, and he made the most fabulous collages from old book illustrations that I've ever seen. Of course he's been a great painter and sculptor, too, but I prefer his paper work and especially his cut and paste art.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room? 
I live in a very small one room flat, and as I have to sleep in my living room, I have to create at my kitchen table. As I also like to cook, my kitchen is always a mess, and the only good thing is that I don't have guests often ... when I have guests, it takes several hours to put away my messy stuff so that my guests dare to eat what comes out of my messy kitchen. I'd love to have more space, but I can't afford a bigger flat. I already spend one half of my income to pay the one I have.

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
Well, I wouldn't call it a trick: I just put my art stuff everywhere and don't have guests anymore ;-) And instead of cleaning, I often sit down and rather make a mess.

Please share a little about your family and pets...
Apart from the family I was born in, I don't have a family and no pets either. I've had several long-time partners but am a single now for many years.

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
I was born in Cologne, a much bigger city than Münster (1.000.000 inhabitants). I had two sisters and a brother, all much older than me. When I was 9 years old, we moved to Bremen (600.000 inhabitants) where I finished school before I moved to Münster at the age of 19. My father (who died when I was 21) liked drawing and was quite gifted, but it wasn't before he lost his night sleep because of lung cancer that he started painting with watercolours. During his last years, he sat there all night in our living room with a daylight lamp, painting to forget his pain. I've been the happy receiver of his watercolour box and still use it.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests?  
More often than doing art, you'll find me reading what is called "a good book". In fact I never leave my home without a book, and there isn't one day that I'm not reading. When I don't read novels or poetry, I choose books about art or history. I also like to knit but don't do it as intensely as when I was 17; nowadays I mostly knit socks which gives me the feeling that watching TV isn't that useless because I can knit while watching a film or series. I also like playing games of any kind, from computer or card or board games to having fun with my pub quiz team.
Marion Bockelmann

Gallery: Crackle Technique ATCs

Beckie H

Connie H

Ellen L

Melissa W

Pam P

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Our Next Life Mantras Word Prompt

We are on to our sixth Life Mantra
Word Prompt for our Art Journal Challenge.
I cannot believe we are half-way done.

If you just stumbled upon us,
stay and play with us.
You can join at any time.
For info. on the complete challenge guide lines go here.

This month's prompt is "Do the Right Thing"
and the requirement is to
use a tag or tags in your design.

Here are some inspirational quotes as
well as our DT contributions:

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can,
 in all the places you can, at all the times you can,
 to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. 
~John Wesley

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make
 yourself do right in spite of your feelings. 
~Pearl S. Buck 

In this world everything changes except good deeds and bad deeds;
 these follow you as the shadow follows the body. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Create your own Stencils!

Create your own Stencils
Manila folders
Plaid Simply Stencil blank sheets
Can get them from Amazon $12.00 for 6 (8’x10”) sheets
and at Michael's as well.

Magazine/book pages with interesting patterns
Mod Podge
Black Sharpie pen
X-acto knife- sharp new blade
Light desk or bright window-optional
Scanner –optional , if you want to change the size of your images

Stencils are all the rage now in mixed media canvas art as 
well as art journals. I love what they add to your layering 
process. But they can be expensive and sometimes
the craft supply companies just don’t have the design that
you need or want for your particular project. Pre-cut basic
stencils are about $3.00 and up from Plaid and 
about $5.00-$20.00 for Martha Stewart brand stencils.

How about making your own? It really is quite easy and if you 
dedicate a few hours you can end up with a nice stash of
new and unique stencils. I find inspiration for designs from
magazines, newspapers, books as well as just free-hand drawing of
simple shapes.

I use both manila folders and blank stencils sheets.
You can also use the plastic packaging that comes
with a lot of the supplies you buy. It’s a good way
to “green” up your supplies.

This was a design that I found in an old spanish language
text book. I scanned it into my computer and then manipulated
the size and printed it out on the manila folder 
(cut to size to fit the printer). I could have traced the original
image but it was a bit bigger than I needed. Having a scanner
gives you that flexibility to change the size of your image,
but it is not necessary.

Using an X-acto knife with a new blade, cut your shapes out.

When you are finished cutting the stencil out, coat it with 2 layers
of Mod Podge on each side and let dry. This will give your stencil
durability and you will be able to clean it with baby wipes.

I had received a really cool post card from Australia 
from one of our Paper Traders members (thanks Jo M.)
and it had a wonderful hexagram pattern on it. I used
my Plaid blank stencil sheet and copied the design 
with my Sharpie pen. You will not need to coat
this with Mod Podge as they are made of plastic.

Here, I just free hand drew some fat squiggles on a manila
folder section; cut it out and coated it with the Mod Podge.

This wonderful design was from a local specialty newspaper
we have here in the South. Because the design was rather light,
I traced over it with the black Sharpie. I then used my light desk
and traced the design onto the blank stencil sheet. Using a 
light desk is not necessary unless you are tracing onto 
manila folders where it can be hard to see the design.
You can also tape your design onto a sunny window 
and trace it from there. Nature’s light desk!! 

My husband made my light desk from a 4 bottle wine 
box and a Fluorescent light fixture.

Sometimes, you can find some really unique designs but
the backgrounds may be dark and so the lines are hard
to see. If you trace over it with a white sharpie, you will
have no trouble seeing it through the blank stencil sheet.

Some samples of the designs used on blank art journal pages.

I really like the ghost print you get when you
flip the stencil over and press all the extra ink off.
In some cases, I like it better.


Also, if you own a die cut machine, it is very easy to
create stencils with your waste paper. Another way
to keep your art “green”.

Now that you can see how easy it is to create your own
stencils, we hope you will give this a try. You will be
on your way to creating unique journal pages that will
be as individual as you are.

Cathy C.