View Full Version : ATC 102: How to Join, Play and send in cards for a Swap

02-22-2009, 12:32 PM
AFA members host the best ATC Swaps on the web! You'll find lots of tempting swaps to join when you browse the Open Swaps in this forum. (Active swaps are already filled and closed to sign-ups; Archive houses completed swaps.)

When find a swap you wish to join, post your request to the thread. When you are signed up, begin to make your cards. It's always fun to view cards that have been posted to the swap thread, so post yours if you can.

When you are ready to mail, pm the host for his or her address. Read the swap guidelines carefully to be sure you have followed then in constructing your cards. Be sure to enclose the correct postage, too. Don't forget: SASEs (self-addressed stamped envelopes) are ONLY good within your own country. So, if you are mailing to another country, do NOT send a stamped envelope!

Most swappers send an extra card on the swap theme or yummy ATC goodies to the hostess as thank you. Such gifts are to thank her for hosting and swapping out the cards; they are not a substitute for postage. Read the sticky note about packaging and mailing cards for mailing for more helpful information!

When you receive your returns from the swap, it is good swap etiquette to leave iTrader for the host and rep for the artists whose cards you receive!

To leave iTrader, go the the opening post of the swap thread. Click on the blue iTrader rating and you will be taken to the host's iTrader page. Click to leave new iTrader. You are the player and will want to leave positive feedback.

To leave rep for artists, go to any post by that artist; you'll find nearly all of them in the swap thread. Any who are not there can be found in the Members List at the top of every page. To leave rep, click the You Rock button at the bottom of the member's post and add your comment.

That's all there is to it!

Joining swaps is a super way to build your atc collection and get acquainted with new artists at the same time. However...it's important to pace yourself.

Because there are so many swaps offered at a time, it's easy to fall prey to Swap Lust and sign up for so many swaps that you fall behind.

The problem is that you will be unable to complete your obligations to traders and swap hosts. Incomplete 1-1 trades received negative iTrader, and over-committing yourself can impact your ability to get personal trades completed on time. Your AFA reputation is important, so don't sign up for too many swaps at once. Popular themes are often repeated, so take heart: if you miss a swap, that theme (or a similar one) will probably be offered again after it is completed.

Have fun swapping at AFA!

02-22-2009, 12:37 PM
Jean..this is an awesome reminder to all of us...Thank you :):)

02-22-2009, 04:16 PM
Thanks, Jeannie!

Gypsy Spirit
09-25-2009, 07:09 PM
Thanks Jean!
So many of my newbie questons have been answerd!


01-10-2010, 10:40 PM
This might be a really silly question. when they say you make for example 3 x3 does this mean you make 4 cards but only send 3????

01-10-2010, 10:45 PM
3/3 means you send in 3 and receive 3.

07-02-2011, 12:17 PM
Thank you for all your pointers. This has helped me SO much! x

10-15-2011, 10:53 PM
thank you for all the advice.It is greatly appreciated.I mailed my first swap and relized that I need to write the swap title and host name in a book along with the important info.I had a hard time finding the swap after a few days .but figured it out.I am really enjoying it so far.I am not entering a swap until I have the last swap art work finished,great advice!!
thank you, Irva

03-02-2012, 08:08 AM
could we trade cards??? Please let me know and where to send them Thanks

03-12-2012, 06:58 PM
Thank you!
I'm excited to participate in swaps :)

04-25-2012, 06:43 PM
Just follow the host's directions, but many hosts accept US dollars that they can either exchange in their country or use for swaps they participate in with US hosts.

04-26-2012, 06:44 PM
Do the cards get traded one for one in a swap? Like if I receive one of Sally's cards does that mean she got one of mine? Or is it just a mix up? Just curious :)

04-27-2012, 12:15 AM
You will get a mix. You might get one from someone who has received one of your cards, and you might not. When doing the swapping, some hosts trade "like for like", meaning they try to match up styles or effort or themes, etc. But some hosts just trade randomly.

04-27-2012, 01:04 PM
Fun! Can't wait! :spinny:

11-22-2012, 05:52 PM
This might sound like a dumb question, but am I right in assuming:
the host gets the itrader points and the artist gets the "you rock" ???
So, only a host can earn itrader points?

11-22-2012, 07:32 PM
Yes. In a swap, the host earns one ITrader from each player. The players only exchange YouRocks with each other, not ITraders. [If a member is trying to accumulate ITraders, it is faster to do them via 1:1 trades, because that way each card you make and mail will result in an ITrader.]

01-21-2013, 12:45 AM
How can you check to see how many "you rocks" you have received?

01-26-2013, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the useful advice. I'm a beginner, and I now know not to overdo it on the swaps.

Globug Ideas
02-03-2013, 10:34 AM
Thanks, Jean, for the great intro to ATC swaps!

07-15-2013, 08:55 PM
I have a question - apologies if it's elsewhere, but I couldn't find it when I did a search. Do the plastic protective sleeves have to be completely clear, or is it acceptable if the back is colored? Is this something I should just ask the person I'm swapping with? I bought a pack where the backing is a solid blue by mistake. I plan to get some completely clear sleeves online, however I hate the idea of wasting perfectly good sleeves if I don't have to.

07-19-2013, 01:43 AM
A lot of people send it ones with a colored back. I don't think it matters much either way, as long as the cards are protected.

Art Adventurer
07-23-2013, 05:11 PM
Very useful information, thanks for posting this as I am a newbie here and want to know all the guidelines on this site.

12-11-2013, 03:57 PM
yes Craftycascio - you just go to the specific thread for the swap and let the host know that you would like to join

02-23-2014, 09:47 PM
You send in three cards, and get three back in return. :)

02-26-2014, 05:41 AM
Thank you for this! Just a quick question, what is a 3 for 3 swap?
And oftentimes you'll see in the instructions something similar to "a host card is appreciated but not required". That is because one of the benefits of volunteering as a host is that often the players will each send in an "extra card", that the host can keep as a thank-you for running the swap. So if you intend on sending along a host-thanks-card, you'll be sending in 4 cards [3 players + host] and getting back 3 cards [from 3 other players]. Of course, host-cards are NEVER required when joining in a swap. :)

Art Adventurer
03-01-2014, 05:07 PM
I sometimes send in host cards, but not always. It is a personal choice, and I;m sure the host/hostess will appreciate it!

03-02-2014, 02:11 AM
I sometimes send in host cards, but not always. It is a personal choice, and I;m sure the host/hostess will appreciate it!
When I host, I sometimes receive "extra" postage as a kindness instead of a host card, which helps cover the cost of return postage (some players being short on including enough stamps, or to help international players, etc) that sometimes comes with hosting. That works too! :)

03-23-2015, 03:45 AM
I have a question... english is not my first language and in many swaps is the word "withdrawn". I never find a accurate translation, so it never make a sense. So what is "withdrawn" in swaps?

03-23-2015, 04:48 AM
So what is "withdrawn" in swaps?
Some hosts post a list of all the players who have jointed their swap. If someone on the list drops out of the swap, the host will write "withdrawn" next to their name. (Or, some hosts just delete the person's name from the list.)

05-01-2015, 08:47 AM
Some hosts post a list of all the players who have jointed their swap. If someone on the list drops out of the swap, the host will write "withdrawn" next to their name. (Or, some hosts just delete the person's name from the list.)

Thank you! :D

05-01-2015, 09:22 AM
Thank you

09-02-2015, 06:41 PM
In a 3:3 swap, you send in three cards and you get in return 3 cards. It does not matter how many people are participating in the swap. Each person will send in three.

Jump in and have fun. :)

09-03-2015, 01:40 PM
Hi Foxglove, on the sleeves with the solid color backs, you could write on them with a white marker pen, or just do a set of Avery Stickers on your computer with your user name and date. Or just write on the white stickers with black ink and stick em on the backs of the sleeves.

11-18-2015, 11:56 PM
numbering the cards is completely up to you. Some do and some don't. It's definitely not a requirement. as far as labels go, they're not required either. you can use them if you like or just write what information you want to share on there by hand, such as username, state/country, date, real name, etc (you definitely want your username if nothing else! there's nothing more disappointing than getting a card with no idea who made it lol)

As for hostess cards, typically players will make one on the same theme as the swap, but if you wanted to do something different than that theme, other options would be to look at the hostess's profile and see what themes they like.

hope this helps :)

03-20-2017, 01:55 PM
I love seeing the cards people design for the swaps. Sometimes they are posted in the thread ...as an attachment or a thumbnail. Occasionally I happen upon them by chance as I look at the new posts in the gallery. If they are not, is
there an easy way to see all of the cards as people post them?

Colour across canvas
04-20-2017, 02:18 AM
Thanks so much, This note really helps, it answers so many of my beginner's questions.:notworthy:

08-28-2019, 12:58 AM
Thank you, this helped alot! :):):)

09-24-2020, 12:16 AM
Question for swapping....the majority require US dollars or stamps to be sent. Where do we get them if we are not in the US?

Miss M
09-24-2020, 09:42 AM
Bramble, I found the easiest thing is to go to the bank and buy some $1 USD.

If you want to go the stamp route, that is a little trickier. There may be Amazon.com sellers that will ship to you (at a markup) or you could find a US player to make a deal to send you some.

09-27-2020, 11:35 AM
Thanks. I will go the bank route.

John K
01-24-2021, 05:20 PM
I have a pack of blue backed sleeves too. Would also like the answer. Thanks.

01-24-2021, 06:19 PM
I have a pack of blue backed sleeves too. Would also like the answer. Thanks.

John, I think you skipped over people answering that question on page 2 of the thread, but yes, the sleeves with the colored backs are fine if you can't find the clear ones. The only problem they might pose is that the host won't be able to see your name on the backs of the cards when swapping out, but you could put your name on the sleeve in white ink or with a label, or just trust the host to peek in if necessary.