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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2013 Word Prompt Journal Challenge

"Life Mantras"

This challenge is open to members and non-members of Paper Traders.

Hostess: Cathy C.
Kickoff Date: January 15, 2013
All skill levels...even if you are a newbie at journals, please think about entering this challenge and stretching yourself a bit. 

In 2011 ( wow, I can’t believe it was 2 years ago), we had our first Word Prompt Journal Challenge hosted by Connie H.  It was my first foray into art journaling and I loved it.  It really ignited a love for art journals and I have been doing it ever since. 

This year we are going to base our journal on 12 Life Mantras with a  corresponding technique or theme requirement: 

1.Live Simply : Must include some stamping.
2.Follow Your Heart: Easy-peasy, include some hearts. 
3. Live in the Moment : Include some symbols of time. 
4.Choose Love: Use patterned tissue or paper napkins in the design. 
5.Give More : Graffiti style lettering 
6.Do the Right Thing: Use a tag or tags in the design 
7. Be Thankful: Use only 3 colors of your choice 
8.Be Truthful: Make a pocket as part of your design. 
9.Forgive : Include flower images.
10.Be Kind Always : Use paint in your design. 
11.Be a Blessing: Incorporate an image from a magazine 
12.Laugh Everyday : include images of children 

Swap Description: 
First, before our kickoff date, each participant will need to make a 12-16 page journal (including covers) approximately 8x10 inches. We will be decorating only 12 pages using our prompts. You may decorate your covers and extra pages as desired. Please use sturdy paper (water color, Bristol Board) for your pages so they can support the work you will do on them. I used canvas sheets for my last Word Prompt Journal and they worked beautifully. You can buy a ready made journal as well [but bear in mind that you are going to want to paint, glue, and attach things to it so it needs to have paper that is sturdy enough to hold up to all that]. No hard and fast rules here as this is for you and you will not be swapping with anyone. 

You may make your journal however you like but Teesha Moore has an easy to make journal that is done with one large sheet of watercolor paper. She suggests Fabriano Artistico [but any heavy weight watercolor paper will work just fine]. 

Her easy to follow instructions are found on YouTube.
 It is in two parts so be sure to watch both.

For inspiration you may want to watch some more of Teesha's amazing collage journal instructions. She has some good suggestions for penwork there also.
There is a listing of the videos here: 

And some basic journaling tips here:

Another YouTube video on making a journal out of manila folders: 

Another good source for journaling techniques and supplies is Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s site: 

Every month, on the 15th, I will post the new word prompt Life Mantra  and design requirement and you will  have one month to complete your page for it.  If you are not a PT member please post your image link in the post for each corresponding month. If you are a PT member please post your images within the appropriate PT Challenge album. 

Each month, we will select our Trader Treasure from the entries and your page will be displayed in the sidebar of our blog for the month.

If you complete a journal page for any or all of the challenges you will be entered in a prize drawing for a $15.00 digital gift card from Stampers Best at the end of the year. You will receive one entry/chance for each monthly challenge that you participate in. Your journal page must be uploaded to the PT  group album ( if you are a member) or linked to the appropriate post at this PT blog by the 14th of each month to be considered. The first challenge will open 1/15 and close 2/14. So, if you do all twelve you will get twelve chances to win the gift certificate!!

Please contact us at Paper Traders if you have any questions. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gallery: Monday's Child Deco Book

book covers by Beckie H

Monday's Child by Heather R

Tuesday's Child by Sue B

Wednesday's Child by Cathy C

Thursday's Child by Nancy S

Friday's Child by PUFF

Saturday's Child by Kim S

Sunday's Child by Mel D

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Using the Inkadinkadoo Stamping Gear

A tutorial presented by Cathy C. of Paper Traders

This is one of those stamping accessories
that I wondered if I would ever use,
but I had a 50% off Michael's coupon
and I thought, "What the heck, let's try this!."

Seriously, I'm glad I did buy it because
it is SUPER fun and I love the results I got..

Here is a little tutorial on how I made this card:

Tim Holtz Distress Inks: Fired Brick and Forest Moss
Cosmos and Fern stamps from Rogue Redhead Designs
White cardstock

 This is how the system works with their stamps.
Move along the circle gear, stamping in each space.

One of the problems that I see
with this system is that the design you end up
with is very large. Too big for cards but
good for scrapbooking or journaling.
I think that could be remedied by
using smaller stamps or making the gear smaller.

So I thought, what about using my own stamps?

1. I placed the gear in the center of my  folded cardstock.
I placed the fern stamp in the position I wanted it
and then place the acrylic block over that and 
pressed down to seal.

2. Lift up carefully and apply ink from the distress ink pad.

3. Move around the gear, stamping in
every other slot and only re-inking 
every other impression. 
This way you get the lighter/darker shading.

4. Re-position the stamp at a slightly different angle
and then go around the gear again in the
same fashion as previous step.

5. Get the Cosmos stamp and as in first step, 
position it on the paper first and then press
acrylic block to attach it. Lift up and apply
Fired Brick distress ink.

6. Then I did a third round of the fern stamp
to plump out the wreath using the same
technique as step 4.

7. Finished the stamp by adding a sentiment and
the cardinal stamp from the Ornate Christmas set by
 Inkadinkadoo and the Fired Brick Distress Ink.
Tip: When you use distress inks on acrylic stamps, 
the ink separates and so the stamped image
is not a solid uniform color. 
I like the effect, though.

Thanks for stopping by and Paper Traders
hopes you enjoy this tutorial.

Cathy C.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Snowflake Tag Swap

A Snowflake Tag Swap

To participate in this project, you need to to be a member of our art group.
We would love to have you join our community and participate in this and
other swaps and challenges. Please click here to be taken to our group home page: where you will find information
on how to become a member.

Everyone will make 5 tags decorated with the theme 'SNOWFLAKE'S. Think frosty blue's / silver / snowy sparkling whites; let your imagination run wild with this one. You can decorate both sides if you wish. Sign the back with your email or blog address somewhere. Tag size to be Manila size#5-(4-3/4" x 2-3/8") or reasonable facsimile. I will be binding through the hole in the top of the tags. Orientation should be vertical or left to right. All tags to be sent to me- I will the create the cover pages and mail all back to the participants assembled. Postage is $5.00 to mail back to the participants in Canada and US. I will cover overseas participants with an exchange of ephemera, and an extra tag for my book in lieu of postage. Please include a return address label. I would also suggest participants make an extra that they keep to put in their own book once you get it back.

If you are already a member, sign up here before December 20th, 2012:

Mail to me postmarked by January 25th, 2013. I will package and mail back as soon as I have all the tags.

Hosted by:
Pam C.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our Tip-In is getting ready to start!

A Tip-In page by Marion B.

Our 2013 Tip-In is a reality!!

To participate in this project, you need to to be a member of our art group.
We would love to have you join our community and participate in this and
other swaps and challenges. Please click here to be taken to our group home page: where you will find information
on how to become a member.

The 2013 Tip-In will begin soon and will run for up to one year, depending on the number of participants. If you have never participated in one of these projects you are in for a real treat. However, please do consider whether you can commit to this for several months before signing up. It is not fair to the other participants if someone drops out mid-way.

Here is how the Tip-In works:
Each month you will make a two-page spread and mail it to another person in the project. In return you will receive pages from another participant. You will send to a different person on a rotating basis until all the participants have received pages from everyone else. We expect this project to go forward without any delays because you will not have to wait each month for the Journals to arrive in the mail. Also the cost of postage will be much less because you will only be mailing two pages each time, not the whole book.

Tip-In Project Guidelines

For this project we will be swapping pages only (not mailing the whole journal). This is going to be ONE spread (two pages) ONCE a month - original work, no copies - just like the recent RR project but, instead of receiving the book and passing it along, you just make the spread and send it directly to the owner.

Each participant will create their own journal to which they will add the Tip-Ins as they come. When choosing/making your journal, please keep the size under 6 inches by 8 inches inches (15.24cm x 20.32 cm) so the pages can be mailed in a standard 6.5 x 9 inch mailer. For mailing you will want to place your pages in a cellophane envelope or plastic baggie along with a piece of cardboard to protect them from moisture and from bending in transit.

If you are already a member:
Sign-ups have begun and will close December 15th. Please sign up in the Tip-In Sign Up database on the Challenge Site . When you sign-up please post your mailing information as well as the theme of your book and a description of your page - including size and if there needs to be any space left in the binding area.

These tip-ins will be two facing pages that are blank on the back so that they can be tipped into the book and glued down by the owner. Rather than punching holes you will just leave SPACE and let the book owner put them exactly where they need to be.

Shortly after the sign-ups close, I will send each participant a personal flight list showing their rotation for mailing pages along with the description and theme for each month's recipient. The Tip-In will then officially start. Your first pages will need to be mailed by January 15th and subsequent pages will be mailed by the 15th of each month thereafter. Because there will be no waiting for journals to arrive in the mail, you will have plenty of time to do your spread and get it mailed on time so we expect no delays with this project.

This is a mixed media project – original work, no copies; you may use digital images in your work, but it should not be primarily digital. Also, because of the Yahoo guidelines on posting pictures, I am going to add that there is to be NO NUDITY. We want you to post photos of your pages in the appropriate albums each month, so please observe this rule.
Albums will be set up in the Challenges Gallery for each participant before the first mailing date. This is where you will upload scans of the pages you do each month. Journal owners might want to add a sample or two of what they have in mind there also.

Hope you will join us!
Connie H.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Inspiration Tag Swap

New Year Inspiration Tags
3-for-3 Manila Tags
Skill Level: 1 - Sprouting
Postmarked by: December 31st

To participate in this project, you need to to be a member of our art group.
We would love to have you join our community and participate in this and
other swaps and challenges. Please click here to be taken to our group home page: where you will find information
on how to become a member.

With a brand new year on the horizon, I thought it might be nice to do a
project geared toward starting the year off right! For this project, we will be
making "inspiration tags". Please decorate the front of each tag in a pretty
fashion (any theme is fine) and include a quote to inspire the recipient in
their life's journey. Your three cards can be similar or different.

For this swap, we'll be using #5-sized manila tags (4-3/4" x 2-3/8"). If you
already have similar-sized tags (#4 or #6) on hand, that is fine... no need to
go out and buy something different. Or you can make your own tags from manila
folders or other sturdy cardstock. Please just try to keep the tags in this
size range so that each participant will receive something comparable in their
swap. I have uploaded a size chart to the project album here:
Don't forget to add photos of your completed tags to this album also. Each
tag should also include a string or ribbon through the hole so it can be hung

Please mail your tags to me postmarked by December 31st and include a return
address label and $1 for postage. International participants may send ephemera
in lieu of postage.

If you are already a Paper Traders member, sign up in the database here:

Wishing you artful inspiration!
Beckie H.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our 7th Anniversary Gallery

We always do a special swap for 
our group's 7th anniversary.
This year we decided on altered paintbrushes

Here are a few of our fun Paintbrushes.
Cathee S.

Cathy C.

Amanda E.

Beckie H.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Freebie

This month's Freebie is another item courtesy of Connie Holso, one of our moderators.  Connie is sharing these great photos for you to use in your work.  Please click on the link BELOW the image to download the full size file.  Have fun!
Download HERE