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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Magazine Collage Swap Announced

Announcing a New One for One Technique 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.

Hostess: Cathy Calamas
1-for-1 Magazine Collage Swap
5x7” size, canvas or chipboard base
Theme: Any theme but you must incorporate images from a magazine(s) in your piece.
Technique required: collage mixed with background foundation of paint, ink, stamping, etc.

I came across this fantastic journal artist through Julie Fei Fan Balzers Art Journal Everyday site. Her name is Sandra van der Geest, and she does fantastic collaged journal pages using magazine images and colorful backgrounds. Instead of a journal page, we will use her same techniques on canvas or chipboard.

Here is the link to her tutorial with several completed collages to look at for inspiration:

Sign-up deadline: February 10th
Partners announced: February 12th
Postmarked by: March 4th
Please sign up in the database by: February 10th

I will randomly pick partners and post a list on the group site as well as email participants. You must have your address in the member database to participate.

You will mail your finished art to your partner by the post date of March 4th.

Don't forget to upload an image of your art in the album in the swap gallery.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Challenge #1 for Life Mantras Word Prompt

If you are here to join us in our first ever
art journal challenge at the Paper Traders Blog,

If you just stumbled upon us,
Yay, too!
We hope you stay and join us.
(For info. on the complete challenge guide lines go here.)

Our first prompt is
"Live Simply"
and the technique required is 
include a stamped image(s)or sentiment.

What does that mean to you?
Does it mean:
Paring down your schedule?
Uncluttering your house and mind?
Eating organic?
Less hustle-bustle and more R and R.
Unplugging from the digital world occasionally?

Some inspirational quotes to get you kick-started.

As we live and as we are, Simplicity -- with a capital 'S' -- is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

We can travel a long way and do many things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. it is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home.
~Sharon Salzberg

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
Albert Einstein

Our pages from the PT Mods
Beckie Holso

If you are having trouble getting started and
are freaking out looking at that blank white page,
just work on some backgrounds.
It's okay to get several backgrounds layed out in
your journal and then come back to them
to fill in with your inspiration.

Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Please leave your link ( to your specific blog post)
 in the linky tool below.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Inspiration Tags Tutorial

I hosted a tag swap here at Paper Traders this month and the theme was to use an inspirational quote for the new year.  After reading my latest issue of Somerset Studio, I loved the technique used by Cat Kerr on her mini canvas necklace (page 52) so I decided to try applying this method to my paper tags and wanted to share my experience with you...
  1. I started with a plain manila tag to which I added a light coat of gesso.
  2. Then I used gel medium to adhere different textured items to my tags - some tulle, a piece of woven straw ribbon, some extra chunky mulberry paper, and a few paper flower cutouts.
  3. I covered everything with a layer of green acrylic paint and let it dry.
  4. At this point I was thinking the green was way too ugly and I didn't know if the textures were pronounced enough, but I added a coat of Mod Podge and braved on with the next step...
  5. I adhered my chipboard quotes and then, following Cat's instructions in the magazine, I watered down some dark acrylic paint (I used navy blue) and spread it over the top of everything.
  6. I crossed my fingers, waited a few minutes, and started wiping the dark paint off again.  Cat recommended using a baby wipe but I found this took too much of the paint off (probably because I was working on paper with very thin textures) so I just rubbed with my fingers, cleaning them often so I could pick up more paint as I went.
  7. Once everything was dry again, I used some colored buffing wax to highlight the textured areas.  Cat recommends Rub 'n Buff but I used my Metallic Rub-Ons by Craf-T in brass.
  8. I added some random bright blue accents using my oil pastels.
  9. Then I spattered everything with some off-white acrylic paint.
  10. Lastly, I added white accents with my Sharpie paint pen.
  11. As a final touch, I added the brass butterflies and some glitter accents on my drawn flowers.
  12. Finally, I used a little extra colored buffing wax (in golden white) to lighten the edges of my tags for more dimension.
  13. I sprayed everything with a coat of fixative when I was done.
  14. I also mounted printed cardstock to the back of my tags to reinforce them.
About half-way through this project, I thought I was going to have to scrap the whole thing because it looked u-g-l-y ("you ain't got no alibi!")... but I am so grateful I followed all the steps all the way through because I think the end results are phenomenal - there's so much color and texture and I really learned a lot about how to combine different mediums for a beautiful finale.  A gigantic THANK YOU to Cat Kerr for sharing her talent and technique.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dante Rossetti Collage Sheet Freebie

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

Download from 4Shared here.
Download from Mediafire here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

From the Heart ATC 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.

From the Heart ATCs in Pink/Brown/White
3-for-3 Color Challenge ATC Swap
Skill: 1-Sprouting / 2-Budding
Due: Postmarked by January 28th
Hosted by: Beckie Holso

In the loving spirit of Valentine's Day (... and chocolate!), I am hosting an ATC swap featuring the theme "From the Heart" and using the colors of only Pink / Brown / White. I think this is such a pretty color combination and I am looking forward to seeing what sweet loving tokens you can make. This is a 3-for-3 ATC swap. Be sure to mail your cards to me postmarked no later than January 28th. Please include a return address label and $1 to help cover the postage. International participants may include ephemera in lieu of postage.  I'm excited to swap these sweet valentines with all of you!

Please sign up in the database on the Paper Traders Yahoo site.  And don't forget to post images of your cards in the project album on the Paper Traders Yahoo Swaps Gallery.

Please include a return address label and $1 for postage. International participants may include ephemera in lieu of postage.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gallery: New Year Inspiration Tags

Amanda E

Beckie H

Cathy C

Melissa W

Pam C

Shelly R