I thought I’d show you how I “finish” my embroidered Artist Trading Cards. I’ve noticed that in textile art the last touch to the work is very important. An ugly edge or badly made backing can really take away from the beauty of the embroidery or quilt, so it’s important to at least have some kind of idea about what to do with it.
I am by no means an expert, but this backing method works fine with small ATC:s.
I trace the size of the ATC onto the fabric before I start my embroidery, using a pencil. It gives me the correct space to work on from the beginning, so that I know how close to the edges I can sew without having to cut away anything form the design later on.
So I start with a cutting out a backside in paper that then acts as a drawing template. I recycle the cardboard from cereal boxes, beer packing and other containers that are sturdy but not very thick. This cardboard piece is from a gift box.
The size is important, an ATC has an exact size and it is what defines it as such, so try to cut as exact as possible! It should measure 64 mm x 89 mm (2.5 x 3.5 inches) when finished. I think this is important especially when you’re trading. It’s kind of strange to receive an ATC that is slightly larger or smaller, because then it might not fit into the album you’re collecting them in for example. Just saying.
I use a regular paper crafty glue stick for almost all my gluing, including this project. I love my glue stick! Cover the whole cardboard with glue and then carefully lay your fabric down to make it fit. You can lift it, or pull at the edge here and there to make the drawn lines on the fabric snuggle up with the edge of the card. I’ve also done this with an extra layer of soft fabric backing, like a thin quilt backing, and that works too (and makes it more textile, and thicker and softer of course).
Then you cut away the excess fabric and each of the fabric corners, so that the corners doesn’t become to bulky once you fold the edge over. I put glue on the fabric edges and fold them down, poking the edge of each corner in place with my finger nail.
Fold one edge at the time and turn the ATC over to see how it look from the front. If it doesn’t line up you can still pull it up and redo it.
When all edges are folded I put mine flat under a pile of books to let it dry.
I always glue another thin paper to the back, with a printed label that has all my details. It should state the title of your work, in this case it says Guggla nr 5. You should also always add the date, your full name and signature, and some contact information like your email address and maybe the name of the one you’re giving it to, especially if you’re making it while thinking of that person. It’s kind of sweet.
I’ve designed special ATC backsides for myself, and one for mom in Indesign, that I print and glue to each back. I don’t have a photo of them right now, but I might write further about them another time.
There are nice stamps designed for ATC backside information and free templates online to print and use (examples here, here and here). Maybe you wanna pack it up in a cute ATC envelope before sending it of? Of course this tutorial can be used with fabric collages, drawings on fabric etc, and not just embroidered ones. You can view the whole flock of embroidered owls with backsides done this way in previous posts.
I hope this tutorial was helpful!