How to make an ACEO


ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. These cards are 2.5″ x 3.5″ miniature works of art (not photos). They can be originals or editions. Print editions should be marked as such and signed and dated on the back. The reason behind the size is, that that is the standard size of a trading card. It fits neatly into the sleeves made for them. ACEOs are for sale art work only and not to be mistaken for ATCs, Artist Trading Cards of the same size.

ACEO of a dog. 2.5″ x 3.5″ large.

A few years back I was obsessed with ACEOs. I would only make ACEOs and nothing else for a while. Now I am back to doing art in every size. But if I start with a new medium or want to try a composition I still use ACEOs as testing ground. And I end up with a beautiful card that doesn’t take up much space on top of it. I like them for their versatility and collect-ability. They are just plain fun.

What is an ATC?

Artist Trading Cards where invented by Swiss artist M.Vänçi Stirnemann in 1997. For him it was a Collaborative Cultural Performance. These cards where invented as conceptual art project. They are supposed to be traded, best in person and never sold. There still are trading events, mainly in Switzerland and in Canada for these cards. The official website can be found here: 

What is an ACEO?

ACEOs are the for-sale versions of ATCs. These where first sold on e-bay by Lisa Luree in 2004. Today you can find her website here:

Ebay also hosts groups that organize around ACEOs.

How to make an ACEO?

You start with the card size (2.5″ x 3.5″) in any medium that you would like to make your art card in. Oftentimes artists make them thin enough so they fit in regular trading card sleeves. I often start with cutting paper or card stock to size. But you can also use a piece of artwork you made and scale it down in the computer.

Then your creativity is the limit. You can be as detailed as you would like to be. Or make an abstract piece of art.

Sign and date and you have your first ACEO for sale.

A set of watercolor ACEOs.

So to recap: An ACEO is in essence an ATC for sale. They only differ from each other in that aspect.

Now it’s your turn: Make an ACEO or two or three. And share your results in the comments below.




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