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, August 31, 2014

Tutorial: Decayed Paper Technique

This month's tutorial is an oldie-but-goodie.  Several years ago, I tried this technique for an ATC background swap based on Jill Geraghty-Groves’ “Decaying Background” technique as described in the March/April 2011 issue of Somerset Studio magazine.

canvas or chipboard base
vintage text & images
sponge brushes
gel medium (I prefer matte)
baby wipes
sanding block
acrylic paint
crackle paint
alcohol inks
spray bottle filled with water

1) Use something sturdy such as canvas or chipboard for your base.  This is a very wet technique so regular paper or cardstock will not hold up to the process (I've done this with success on watercolor paper; this time I used a piece of tablet backing).  Prime with gesso.

2) Tear vintage text and images to desired shapes & sizes.  Apply with gel medium.

3) Once dry, I trim off the excess paper with scissors and then carefully smooth the edges with my sanding block.

4) Mix some gel medium with acrylic paint of your choice.  I usually use a neutral buff color.  You can use baby wipes to wipe the paint off of images that you want to show through.

5) Goop on crackle paint around the edges and let dry.  I used Ranger Distress Crackle Paint in “Picket Fence” and “Antique Linen”.  (Because I am using this piece to make into ATCs, I marked off the sizes for each card and put the crackle paint around those areas so that each ATC would have a crackled edge.)

6) Let your paint dry thoroughly.  It will crack as it dries.  The thicker the paint, the bigger the cracks.

7) After your paint has cracked, you can drip alcohol inks along the edge then spritz with water and it will run down the paper and into all the cracks.  I like to tip my background up on its edge with a paper towel underneath; then I run the bottle of ink along the top edge, spraying with lots of water, and tipping the piece to help the inks run and blend.  For this project, I used Adirondack’s “Eggplant” first, followed by “Latte”.  This step takes quite a bit of water and is very wet and messy.  Let your background dry thoroughly.

8) Now you can use your background as you want.


Cathy L. Calamas said...

This is such a pretty effect.

Jo Murray said...

THANK YOU...that is a technique that I can use often.