Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspiration Decks

You've probably heard of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards.) But have you heard of "Inspiration Decks?" They are like ATCs on steroids!

Like ATCs, Inspiration Deck Cards are yummy little works of art, but instead of being individual cards, they are grouped into decks of 52 Inspirational cards (one for each week of the year) which makes playing cards the perfect substrate on which to create them.

They can be made using any medium that can be attached to a playing card, but normally they are either painted or "paper-pieced."

Generally they are done within a group and traded so you end up with 52 different styles. I've participated in three of these group swaps, once as a hostess, and they are a lot of fun.

But, they are a lot of work to put together, and there isn't always time or enough people to participate to do them in a group setting. I found out (kind of by accident) you can do your own and like them just as much! In fact, maybe more so, because you can do them in a single style that is more your taste, and say all the things you want to say.

How did I find out by accident? Well, playing cards are not ALL the same size, and I didn't know that! I completed a full deck for a group swap before I realized that the cards I used were smaller than the called for 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" size. So, I started over and just saved the original deck for myself!

I won't say it is a quick little project, but there are ways of speeding up the process if you're thinking you might like to put together a deck or a few decks for Christmas gifts. With over a week left before Christmas, it is conceivable you could get three decks done with time left over!

When you're doing a group swap, the back side of the card will usually have your promotional info on it, so that the people getting your card will be able to get in touch with you if they want to. If you're making your own deck, you won't need to add that info 52 times, so you can pick cards with pretty backs and leave them as is, OR, you can use just 26 cards and do your sayings on both sides, then use a joker as a "cover card" and put your info on the opposite side.

I start by coating both sides of the cards with a very light coat of gesso. It doesn't need to be really expensive gesso - the Folk Art stuff is fine.

Using a production method, doing each stage 52 times rather than making each card individually, will speed up the process a lot.

Once it is dry, the fun begins! You can make the cards as simple or as fancy as you want. I tend to be an over-achiever on this front, so I do lots of layers - paint, chalk, stamping, pen work... But, the important part is the inspirational sayings you'll choose. You may have 52 right on the tip of your tongue, but if not, just Google "inspirational sayings" and you'll be able to come up with tons to choose from!

I type them up in a bunch of different fonts so that even though the design and color scheme is the same, they look a little different.

Another thing you'll want to decide is how you want to present the cards. I usually see them punched in the upper left hand corner and secured with a large ring. If you do that, you want to make sure your words don't get put in that corner. If you're going to either make a little box for them, or tie them together with a lovely ribbon, you won't need to worry about that!

So. What do you think? Do you know anyone who could use a little weekly inspiration?

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