It's happening, crafters! Another new and exciting trend has started to get you hopelessly addicted. We see artisans and crafty people all over the internet whispering these words.
What are Artist Trading Coins?
Artist Trading Coins are miniature pieces of art that are created on a 2.5-inch circle of heavy cardstock. They are created by and for artists to trade and collect. Artist Trading Coins were founded by Joanne from CraftyHodges in 2018.
I first found out about Artist Trading Coins by accident. I was researching some fun ways to use ACEO cards and saw a video from the founder of Artist Trading Coins, Joanne from CraftyHodges. One of Joanne's YouTube videos popped up on my feed and I was immediately drawn to her channel, binge-watched a bit and knew she must be interviewed so that we call all make these wonderful little treasures together! We were so thrilled that Joanne was able to take some time out of her schedule to speak with us.
How did the idea of Artist Trading Coins come to life?
I came up with the idea when I was in the shower one morning thinking about my YouTube subscribers and what I could come up with that would be different and fun for them to make.
I had recently been thinking about Bitcoins (cryptocurrency) and somehow the ideas melded together! My first thought was to call them Crafty Coins....but then I realized they were similar to Artist Trading Cards (ATC), just a different format. I thought they would be fun to trade and share in happy mail, pocket letters, etc. I made a couple of samples and I was hooked. I kept the 2.5” size to be consistent with ATCs.
If you've read Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Big Magic" you know about the concept of ideas that are free floating and move from one person to the next until someone acts upon them.....well, that's exactly what I did!!
What are the official rules when it comes to Artist Trading Coins?
Just like Artist Trading Cards, there are very few rules. They must be 2.5 inches in size and they are to be traded, never sold. The coins are generally made from heavyweight cardstock or watercolor paper. You want them to feel solid. Anything goes when it comes to creating the artwork.
Walk our readers through the process of making an Artist Trading Coin.
Make The Coin
Punch three circles out of 65# cardstock. Most punches are rated up to 65# cardstock, so using this weight of cardstock will ensure your punch is not damaged. Using a small amount of wet glue, adhere the circles together and let dry. The coins will become stronger as they dry.
Punch a 2.5” circle out of an index card. This will become your reference frame to help with the placement of images.
Prepare The Image
It’s much easier to work in a square format (vs a circle) as you’re building your coin’s image. Cut a 3” square of background paper. Determine the rough placement of your focal image using the reference frame. Add any background stenciling, washi, rub-ons or stamping to your coin background. Continue to use your reference frame as you add more detail.
Glue The Image
Once satisfied with your background, glue the focal image(s) down using a generous amount of glue stick. Burnish your images down to ensure good adhesion. Using a permanent pen or marker, add any doodling or marks you wish to apply. Enhance your images with a colored pencil if desired.
Finish Up The Coin
If desired, sand the surface lightly to help blend the various layers. Apply a light coat of matte medium and let dry. Frame your design in the 2.5” punch and move around until you’re happy with the placement – punch out the coin.
Apply a generous amount of glue stick to both the paper coin and the cardstock coin. Burnish well. Use an emery board to “harden” the edge of the coin to ensure good contact along the edit. Hold the emery board or sanding block at a 45-degree angle and pull gently downward all around the edge of the coin.
Using a clear/neutral wax shoe polish, apply a thin coat and allow it dry for about 5 minutes. For an aged look, use brown shoe polish. Then, buff, buff, buff. The wax gives a smooth, protected finish and adds some depth of color. Apply distress stain around the edge of the coin to finish it off. As the final step, sign and date your coin on the back.
Tell us about your YouTube Channel
I made my very first video 4 years ago to share a journal I had made for a friend, documenting his 7-day bike ride. The journal turned out great, the video – not so much! It took a while for me to find my rhythm making videos, which are really a craft all unto itself. Making innovative and fun videos is part of my passion, along with teaching others the fun of crafting, but especially magazine journaling and collage. I don’t monetize my YouTube channel, I do it strictly for the love of making and sharing projects and filming videos.
How many hours a week do you spend crafting?
I am a very early riser. I’m usually up every morning at 2:30 a.m. I am in my studio by 3:30 a.m. and play there for about two hours until I have to get ready for work.
What is on your crafting table right now?
A new idea I’m trying to work out (shhh, top secret) and my “This from That” magazine journal.
What is your favorite crafting tool?
I do a lot of cutting for my collage work, so my CutterBee scissors are probably one of my favorite things. Also, Prismacolor pencils are something I use EVERY SINGLE DAY to enhance my college work.
What are you most likely doing at 6 am?
LOL, drying my hair and getting ready to leave for work.
Where’s your favorite place to find materials to use?
Magazines, coloring books, junk mail, old books, children’s books, catalogs, paper napkins, Pinterest, and Google images. Keep your eyes open – there is inspiration everywhere!
Thank you so much, Joanne, for taking the time to speak to DIY Craft Club! I hope you all try to make some Artist Trading Coins! We have a ton of printable paper that you can use to help get you started and you can use the code CraftyHodges to save 20% off your order.
Connect with CraftyHodges
65# cardstock (recommended) for coin construction
Rub-ons, stamps, stencils, washi tape
Emery board and/or sanding block
Index card with 2.5” circle punched out – to be used as a reference frame while building the coin
*Wax shoe polish – or any wax you prefer for finishing such as beeswax