You'll need to prepare the surface of your cards. Gesso will always do the trick but you can brush on a coat of white acrylic paint. It works for me as far as taming the gloss that decks of cards usually have. This will give your surface some "tooth" for the next coat of paint you brush on. Make sure to do this on the front and back of your cards.
Once your cards are dry begin gathering the materials you'll need to assemble your ATCs. I've been making faces for future projects so I had an idea what I wanted to do. I also had a particular color palette in mind so I gathered those paints. Text paper always makes cool skirts. I wanted to add a stamped image somewhere on the card so I chose something swirly.
You can see how I painted these cards in the following steps. Turquoise was the base color. I then patted down bits of Avocado. I added a little bit of Cranberry on each side of the card. And finally I stamped a swirl design in red on one side of the card. I also edged the card in red. This may look a little muddy to some of you but I like this grungy look. Oh, and I made templates for a skirt and legs for the little art doll that will sit on this card.
In the end this is what I came up with. Notice how each face is slightly different? That's because I can't duplicate the same expression twice. Or do I really want that? The skirt is different too. As is the way I placed the gold leaves. I never know what my hands are gonna put together in the end but I know I'll probably like it!
When life gives you a deck of cards, make ATCs! Which is exactly what I did today. There's a Rubber Stamp Convention coming to town soon and an ATC trade is part of the fun. I want to be prepared so I began working on some today. Actually, one of these is for the ABC ATC swap I'm in. The featured letter is H. Can you guess which one it is? Hint, "H" can stand for heart. Notice the extra hearts floating around the swirls on one of the cards?
If you have a deck of cards sitting around that you know you won't be using for card games, make a deck of ATCs. They're very easy to put together, don't cost anything if you use what you have around the house and addicting AND you can trade with others. No one in your neighborhood to trade with? Search for some online ATC groups. They'd love to swap with you. I may want to swap with you too but after the convention. In the meantime, start making some!