Wrapped Backgrounds for ATCs & 4x4 Art Squares

Add backgrounds to your ATCs and 4x4 Art Squares that has a professional finished look and guaranteed to cure that pesky edge lifting problem.

4x4 art square background

Image of a 4x4 matt board art square with a wrapped background of scrapbook paper.

Wrapped background 4x4s and ATCs give your art piece a mini canvas look and are easy to do.


Matte board or heavy card stock 4x4s and ATCs

Rubber Cement

Masonite Art Boards

Tacky Glue

Paper for background - handmade paper, old text sheets, printed scrapbook papers, origami paper, bookcloth...


Pick out a background paper you would like to cover your ATC or 4x4, cut out a piece at least 1.2 inch larger than your ATC or 4x4 canvas.

    altered Bingo Card

For this piece I choose a piece of old sheet music. Once you have the background cut position it over the top of the ATC or 4x4, once you have the position you want press with your fingers to create a fold as a guide. As you can see on this one I wanted the music at an angle with the "Billy Boy" at the top. I have enhanced the fold lines with a pencil to make them more vi sable in the scan.

Next cover the smooth side of your matt board (the back) or heavy card stock with rubber cement as well as the back area of your background paper inside the fold marks you made. Be sure to get an even coat of glue all the way to the edges on the matt board or card stock and go a bit beyond the fold line on the background paper to ensure the entire piece is covered. Press firmly into place and allow the glue to dry for a few minutes. A Brayer works well for making sure that all areas of the background paper and ATC or 4x4 have a firm contact.

altered Bingo Card

Once the rubber cement has dried clip the corners as shown above.

altered Bingo Card

Now using Tacky Glue spread evenly over the entire flap and edge of the ATC or 4x4 glue the flap down on the back. You will need to press them firmly and hold for 30 seconds or so to get a good adhesion. As you can see its a bit tricky to get that cut angle perfect - good news - as you will see later it doesn't matter. Because we are going to cover the back as well.

altered Bingo Card

NOTE: You may want to wait to do this step until you have finished the front of your piece. If you are like me you really don't know what other backgrounds, fibers, etc. you may decide to use and adding the back cover as a last step covers all the bits that you have wrapped around to the back and gives your art a nice professional finished look.

Once you have found the paper you want to use to cover the back, take a 4x4 or ATC blank and trace around it on the back of the paper. As shown above-cut about 1/16 inch inside this line so that it doesn't go beyond the edge and show from the front of the piece. The picture below shows a 4x4 with a back paper glued in place.

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The piece below is an example of a 4x4 Asian collage I did on matt board that I covered with handmade paper and origami paper in 2 pieces. I then mounted the piece on a 5x5 Masonite Art Board that I had covered with Japanese Book Cloth. The Asian Goddess face fragment is polymer clay dusted with mica powder. The mold for this is available from Backyard Cards and Gifts.

altered Bingo Card

Hope this adds to your techniques for making great art...remember they are always easier to do than describe. :)

Products used in this technique that are carried on this website are linked to the pages where they are sold.

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