The Nifty Nine

February 21, 2016

By Judi Kauffman

There was only one step in this project that was challenging: Naming it! I sent a photo of the nine Artist Trading Cards to my friend Susan and called her on the phone so we could do some brainstorming. I knew I wanted the word ‘Nine’ in the title. It was late in the afternoon, both of us were tired, and all we could come up with were adjectives like ‘notorious’ and ‘nefarious’ (too ‘negative’), ‘nice’ (too sweet), ‘notable’ and ‘noteworthy’ (felt a little pompous). We hung up. Ten seconds later she called back. “Nifty!” she exclaimed. Bingo. It’s official – they’re the Nifty Nine.

It all started with two sheets of peel-offs in gold and black and a piece of alcohol ink-altered Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz. Each of the sticker sheets has eight large flowers, four small flowers, and ten half-inch leaves, enough to make lots more than nine ATCs, depending upon whether you use one or two flowers per card (or more!). Or you could try to stop at just one or two…I dare you! ATCs are like jelly beans – a bunch is more fun than just a couple.

As always, my projects are meant as a starting point because no two people will have the same collection of papers and embellishments. I used some ‘retired’ collage papers that I’ve had on hand for ages, but included recently-acquired bunny stickers. I mixed in a notary seal, a tiny flower-shaped gem, some ribbon, snippets of border peel-offs (some altered with alcohol inks), and words created with a label maker – things that might not be among your tools and supplies. If you do want to create the same look but can’t find papers with vintage photos, use old family photos or yard sale finds, pages from castoff books, sheet music, and such.

Before scrolling down to the instructions and supply list, here’s a peek at all of the Nifty Nine:

Nifty Nine 1

Nifty Nine 2

Nifty Nine 3

Nifty Nine 4

Nifty Nine 5

Nifty Nine 6

Nifty Nine 7

Nifty Nine 8

Nifty Nine 9


  1. Alter Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz with two or more alcohol inks and metallic gold. Arrange #1125 Flowers Peel-offs in Gold and Black on the Shimmer Sheetz and cut them out (large flowers, small flowers and leaves). Set aside the negative pieces on the peel-off sheet for other projects. Embellish each of the flowers with Glitter Dots Peel-offs. As shown, Gold/Silver. (Note: this is the same method and sheet of peel-offs that I used for my blog post called ‘Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other’ on February 12).
  1. Choose papers and embellishments in colors that coordinate with the Shimmer Sheetz flowers. I used a muted palette.
  1. Cut a 2.5” x 3.5” rectangle for each ATC. (I recommend making a bunch of rectangles so you have lots of options.) Use dark brown ink and a sponge dauber to distress the edges. Allow the ink to dry.
  1. Cut, tear, layer, arrange and rearrange components till you like the results, then glue things in place. Use foam tape beneath the flowers and leaves wherever you want added dimension. Here are some close-ups:

Nifty Nine 11

Nifty Nine 12

Nifty Nine 13

  1. Options: Instead of flower and leaf peel-offs use dies (graphic flowers by Els van de Burgt, realistic ones by Susan Tierney-Cockburn). Substitute ‘Through the Lens’ papers for the vintage collection I picked. Stencil or stamp your own backgrounds. Make cards instead of ATCs. You get the idea. Take the Nifty Nine and run in whatever direction you choose.



Elizabeth Craft Designs —

Flowers peel-offs in Gold and Black

Shimmer Sheetz in Amethyst Gemstone or color(s) of choice

Glitter Dots peel-offs in Gold/Silver or color(s) of choice

Short snippets and leftovers from any lacy border peel-offs (used for flower stems on ATCs #1, #5, and #9; bands on ATCs #2 and #6)


Other —

Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks in 2 or more colors of choice (Ranger)

Tim Holtz Metallic Mixatives in Gold (Ranger)

Ink applicator tool

Brown ink

Sponge dauber

DMD Collage Papers (this collection now retired)

Solid color cardstock

Notary seals

Label maker

1/4” flower-shaped gem

3/8” wire-edged ribbon

Foam tape

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  • Judi Kauffman February 22, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Susan Would that be YOU hinting?
    Kimberly O. – You picked my husband’s favorite (I waffle, but at present I like the one with the bunnies best).
    Paulaj – My pleasure – I’m glad you enjoyed the ideas and hope they are useful to you!

  • paulaj February 21, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    So elegant! thanks for some more wonderful ideas!

  • Kimberly O. February 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Beautiful! I love them all but I particularly like the one smack dab in the middle with the three sets of leaves down the stem. The flower peel-offs in black really look nice. 🙂

  • Susan Tierney-Cockburn February 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Love, love these! I can see giving one to a friend to add to a bigger project…say, some 3-D flowers☺️

  • judi kauffman February 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Brooke, I used Stream, Raisin, and Gold Metallic Mixatives, and I might have iincluded a tad of purple in a couple of places – I can’t remember. Thanks, everybody who left comments! Rosemary, you made my day telling me I’ve inspired you (the teacher in me couldn’t get a better compliment).

  • Joset van de Burgt February 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Very nice! Very elegant! Beautiful.

  • Rosemary February 21, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Really pretty. I find naming my cards to be the hardest thing todo! Well, that and taking photographs of the cards!
    Your designs have inspired me to try and make a few ATC sized cards today!

  • Brooke February 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I love this and would like to show my ladies how to do this. What colors of alcohol ink did you use?

  • Raquel Mason February 21, 2016 at 8:16 am

    So cool! Love how you used the negative pieces of the Glitter Dots sheets!

  • Els van de Burgt February 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Beautiful Judi!

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