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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

September Freebie - Forgiveness

It's time for another freebie courtesy of your Paper Traders Moderators.  A great big THANK YOU to Connie Holso for preparing this lovely collage sheet for your personal use.  Please use the link BELOW the photo to download the high-res version of this file.  Enjoy!
Download HERE:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Upcycled Stencils

Stencils and masks seem to be the hottest new thing in art journaling and mixed-media these days.  Recently, Cathy shared her techniques for making her own stencils at home.

I read a tutorial from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer in a recent post at Cloth Paper Scissors that I just had to try – creating your own stencils from magazine images.  This sounded super easy and fun so I gave it a go.  Here are the basic steps plus a few additional tips I learned from my own experience…

Supplies needed:
  • Fashion magazines, catalogs, junk mail flyers, etc. with silhouette-style figures on them
  • Clear packing tape or Con-Tact® paper
  • Burnishing tool (such as a bone folder, rub-on tool, old credit card, etc.)
  • Sharp pair of scissors and/or an X-ACTO® knife

1. Find some images of figures that you think would make a good silhouette.  For stencils, be sure to choose an image without little pieces in the center that are essential to the design because you won’t be able to keep those floating pieces in your stencil (although you can use them if you’re only making a mask).

Carefully look over your image to make sure there is a contiguous line for cutting and that no elements are missing.  Half way through my first stencil, I realized that some of the people’s feet were cut off and I had to draw them back in before I could continue. 

2. Cover the front of the page with clear packing tape (you may need more than one piece) or a sheet of clear Con-Tact paper.  Burnish well to adhere the tape smoothly to the paper and remove all air bubbles.

3. Turn the page over and cover the back the same way, making sure you include the entire silhouette that’s on the front. By covering both sides, you will make the stencil/mask sturdier and will be able to re-use it many times.

4. Cut out the image with a sharp pair of scissors. Take the time to cut it out accurately so you will have a smoother, more recognizable image. Tip: To achieve a cleaner cut, Julie says to feed the paper into your scissors rather than moving the scissors around the page. (She’s right!  Once the tape is on both sides of the paper, it has a tendency to grab the scissors.  For the same reason, make sure your X-ACTO blade is super sharp or the tape will grab the knife and might tear the paper underneath.)
Note: If you want to have both a stencil and a mask when you’re done, then you will have to cut very carefully and cleanly along all of your image lines.

Voila! Now you have a stencil and/or mask you can use over and over again for practically free.  After use, it will clean up easily with a baby wipe.

I found my finished stencil had a slight curl to it that prevented me from getting a super crisp image when I sprayed through it.  Next time I use the stencil, I’m going to put some repositionable adhesive on the back to hold it firmly to the art surface.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's Member Spotlight Time.....

....and this time it is shining on
Nydia Dominguez.

How did you find Paper Traders? I was invited by Pam Prosser to check you guys out since I was enjoying expanding my artwork to outer limits.

How long have you been a member? I have only been with the group for a few months. I was welcomed into Paper_Traders in March 2013

Where do you live? I live in Meriden, Connecticut in the USA.

How have your surroundings affected your art? I tend to look around me to see what I can use to include in any of my projects. The seasons also affect my artwork as I love to use botanical, birds and seasonal themes. I adore Spring! It gives me life. I am reborn along with the buds and blossoms after all the snow melts away.

Please share a little about your own art experience. I was always drawn to art as a child. Drawing at the kitchen table. I went on in studies in Art. I have a BS in Studio Art.

What are some of your favorite techniques or genres? My favorite medium are soft pastels but I have been turned on to collage and mixed medium and get get enough of it!

What inspires you? Beauty around me, Springtime, and bright colors.

Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you about this? Leonardo DaVinci especially for his drawings and studies, Frida Kalo for the colors and thought process in her paintings and Georgia O'Keeffe for her botanical work.

Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room? My studio is pretty messy and cluttered(I think I need to save so many things). I am in the process of re-doing it to have it organized.

What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art? Bins so far...I've researched, measured my studio room and will have my sister and brother-in-law build me my work area, counters and to empty out my studio into large bins! hahaha...

Please share a little about your family and pets... I am married to a big rig trucker, and have two sons(16 and 26). I have a granddaughter and a grandson (expected any day now) and a Skye Terrier.

If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began. I am the first born of 3 siblings and I tended to be shy. I used to aways draw on scraps and napkins and doodled all over in my notebooks. My favorite class was art.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests? I collect anything that has ladybugs on it!... my youngest son has Aspergers Syndrome(On the Autism Spectrum). I am focused on sharing Autism Awareness in our community. I teach Art to teens and young adults on the Spectrum at Autism Services and Resource Center

The work I have included is recent for the Puerto Rican Festival we just had this past Sunday. I sold The Magi 14x17 collage.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gallery: Map Mania ATCs

Beckie H

Carolyn A

Ellen L

Jo M

Joy M

Mel D

Melissa W

Nydia D

Pam P

Roselyn P
Judy H

Life Mantra Art Journal Prompt #8

We are on to our 8th Life Mantra
Word Prompt for our Art Journal Challenge.
I can hardly believe we are this far along
in our journal challenge year.
We are seeing some fabulous art journaling.

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 "Be Truthful"
and the requirement is to
include a pocket in your design.

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

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is, 
-- ‘Let there be truth between us two forever more.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
Henry David Thoreau

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Make a Manila Envelope Art Journal

Manila Envelope Journal Tutorial

I received a journal similar to this as a blog prize during
our Paper Traders Blog Hop (from Donna Miller) this past Spring.
I just loved the idea of it as well as the creative possibilities of where
I could take it, so I thought I would make my own.


12”x9”(30.4mm x 22.6mm) Manila Envelope
Designer scrapbook paper - stiff
Water color or Bristol board paper
Hole punch reinforcements
Large needle or book binding awl
Quilting or waxed thread
Paints, stencils, stamps, ephemera

1. Fold envelope in half and crease well. Cut two pieces of matching 
or coordinating scrapbook paper into 11.75”x8.75”pieces (29.7mm x 22.1mm).
Slip inside of envelope. These will line the envelope to make it stronger
and provide a pretty pocket inside at the flap end. Glue the scrapbook
paper at the ends to seal it to the envelope. Fold envie in half and crease well.

2. Reinforce the hole with paper reinforcements or you
may use a metal hole reinforcement that you can find
at the fabric store. You can leave the metal brad on or take it
off depending on if you want your pocket to seal or not.
I took mine off and used the flap to thread a ribbon through
to close my journal.

3. Coat your manila envie with a light coat of gesso.

4. Paint, embellish, stamp, and stencil to your hearts content.
Don’t forget the insides of the covers, front and back. 
I used a ribbon to close my journal but you could place a 
large button there that you could wrap
twine around to close it as well. 

5. Cut 5 sheets of watercolor or Bristol board into 11” x 8.25”
(27.8mm x 20.9mm) sheets. Fold in half and stack them together. 
Sew the signature of pages into the crease of the
journal with strong quilters thread, waxed thread
 or if you have book binding thread, all the better.

Here are a few Youtube videos on book binding techniques
in case you are looking for a different binding look for your journal:

6. Optional: you can lightly decorate that first and last back sheet 
if you want, like I did. I wanted my journal to open up 
and look like book end papers. 

We’d love to see what you come up with if you try making one
of these manila envie journals. Leave us a link to your  blog post , 
if you create one for us to see, in the Linky tool below.

Better yet, join Paper Traders as we will be swapping these
in an upcoming swap. Click the purple yahoo button in the
right sidebar for more information.

Happy Creating!!
Cathy Calamas

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wings & Things ATC Swap announced

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

Wings and Things
6-for-6 ATCs
Skill Level: Any
Postmarked by: September 10, 2013
Hosted by: Carolyn Albro

Carolyn says, "I've really been into butterflies lately and as a kid I loved airplanes." Please make sure your ATCs have something with WINGS - it can be butterflies, airplanes, or anything in between. If you can dream it, you can make it. Your six ATCs can be the same or different as long as each one is handmade.

Postmark by September 10. Please send a return label (Carolyn will provide the homemade, hand painted return envelope). Also include $1 for return postage. International swappers may send ephemera in lieu of payment for shipping.

Good Witch / Bad Witch ATC Swap announced

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

Good Witch/Bad Witch
Make 6 ATCs in total - 3 of Good Witch, 3 of Bad Witch using vintage images of women or girls
Skill Level: Any
Due Date: Postmarked by September 30, 2013; and will be swapped mailed back out to you by October 31, 2013
Hosted by: Bevlea Ross

For this project, you will make 6 ATCs in total - 3 of Good Witch, 3 of Bad Witch using vintage images of women or girls. You will receive the same number back - 3 Good Witch, 3 Bad Witch.

Heads up to all... Bevlea is in Australia so airmail to her will take approx 10 to 14 days.  Please factor that in when you plan on posting. Local swappers (Australia) include a SASE with 2 postage stamps. Overseas players - please include a shipping label and ephemera in lieu of postage.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Freebie - Vintage Floral

It's time for another freebie courtesy of your Paper Traders Moderators.  A great big THANK YOU to Connie Holso for preparing this lovely collage sheet for your personal use.  Please use the link BELOW the photo to download the high-res version of this file.  Enjoy!

Download HERE:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Intuitive Watercolor Swap Gallery

We are showcasing our Intuitive Watercolor ATC Swap 
that Beckie H. recently hosted.

by Shelly R.

by Pam P.

by Cathy C.

by Ellen L.

by Connie H.

by Letha R.

by Melissa W.

by Beckie H.

This was such a great swap to stretch our imaginations
and comfort level. It was so interesting to see
what everyone saw in their random watercolors, too.