This is a list of common craft and swap terms used by members of They are in alphabetical order. Please add your suggestions for additional terms in the comments section. They will be added to the list promptly.


Addy – Address  


Altered Bottlecap – A new or used bottlecap (typically metal, not plastic) is altered by adding pictures, charms, a hole, seed beads, etc and the findings necessary to turn it into a magnet, necklace, earrings or any other item. The desired outcome is to alter or change the bottlecap into a miniature work of art. 


Altered Matchbox – A store-bought or handmade matchbox that is decorated by painting, stamping, adding ephemera, etc.  Most altered matchbox swaps will specify a matchbox size (32-ct or 250-ct) and a theme. (You can download Rachel’s printable matchbox template here.)


Amigurumi – Japanese art of knitting or crocheting stuffed animals, monsters, characters, etc. in the round.


Angel – Someone who volunteers to send item(s) to a person in a swap who did not receive anything from their assigned partner.


APC – Altered playing card, like an ATC except that you use a poker sized playing card(2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″), as the base. The only other rule in making APCs is that you must leave one of the corner numbers and suit visible.


ATC – Artist trading cards (ATCs) are miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized “swap” events or through the mail, in person or online. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5″ x 3.5″.  As a general rule, swaps are open to any media, materials or techniques as long as the card fits into a standard trading card sleeve. ATCs are traded, not sold. You may find that individual swaps on Swap Bot have rules as to how the ATC should be created for that particular swap.  Each one is different, so make sure you read the swap description carefully before signing up. There are some artists who choose to sell cards. Cards that are sold are called Art Card Editions and Originals (ACEO) and are often found directly on the artist’s site or on EBay. (Info Link: Strathmore Artist Trading Cards.)

BCC – Within email programs, Bcc stands for “Blind Carbon Copy” and it is an option within email programs for how email can be sent. As a coordinator, when writing an email to all your swap participants using the provided list of everyone’s emails, use the Bcc option. If you put the email addresses of the recipients in the Bcc field (instead of just the To or Cc fields), none of the recipients will be able to see the other participants’ email addresses when they receive the email. It is a way to preserve the swappers’ privacy. You may have to uncover the BCC field in your email program because sometimes it is hidden in a drop down if you don’t use it very often.


Bento – Bento is basically a Japanese lunch box. They can be various sizes, color and patterns. When you see Bento swaps (or wishes), they are usually for Bento Boxes, Supplies & recipies.


Biscornu – Eight-sided pincushions. The word biscornu (sometimes written biscournu) is derived from a French adjective, meaning skewed, quirky, or irregular. (link: Biscornu Basics)\

Brads – Brads are usually small, metal embellishments with two prongs that are inserted into you paper/project. Then the prongs are folded out to keep the brad permanently in place. They were once used as fasteners, but now are used mostly as decorative elements in crafting. They come in every color imaginable, and in many shapes.


Bump – The practice of adding a post to a thread in order to “bump” it to the top of the thread list. You BUMP a thread to move it back to the top of the topic list. Swap-Bot displays only the last 4 or 5 threads that have comments in each section. If you want a topic to come back to the top of the list instead of being buried, you just write BUMP in the comments. It is fine to Bump threads every once in a while, but continuously bumping rude or hurtful forum threads is against the forum rules.

Button Fairy – A hanging ornament usually made of a paper collage “head” with a tail made of buttons on wire. See a tutorial created by redwing480 here.

Charm Square – Usually a 4-inch, 5-inch, or 6-inch square of fabric.


Chunky Book – A handmade book, usually 4-1/2″ x 4″ ( the extra 1/2″ allows for binding), in which the pages are decorated with dimensional (“chunky”) materials, such as beads, charms, buttons, tiles, etc. If your book closes flat, then it’s not a chunky book. In most chunky book swaps you will have multiple partners for which you create the same or similar pages. Here on Swap-bot, you send your pages directly to each of your partners, participants then bind their own books together once they have received all the pages. In other chunky book swaps, you will create an entire chunky book for just one partner, creating all the pages and binding.


Crams – Crams are like friendship sheets or book, but crams are small, like the size of a postcard. The idea (as the name implies) is to “cram” as many names and addresses into the provided space.


DC – Delivery Confirmation. This is a service provided by the USPS to confirm the delivery of a package. It does not require a signature. 


Decos – A deco is similar to a friendship book and there are a wide variety of types.  It is a bound book of pages which are sent around the world.  The person that the book is “for” is usually listed on the cover and when the book becomes full it is sent back to them.  Each person that receives and signs the deco will decorate one page according to the theme of the booklet (if there is one) and put their postal/email address and sign their name. Typically, each entrant in the “deco” must use one full page to express themselves. Glitter, sequins, feathers and other scrapbooking supplies are frequently used in “decos.” Despite the artistic expressions used in these types of friendship books, the basic rules of passing the friendship book to person to person is the same.


DH – Dear Husband

DIY – Do it Yourself. In swaps, these are usually small kits with the supplies needed to try a new craft. A Dotee DIY kit may have enough fabric for one or two small dolls, embellishments and/or buttons, beads, yarn and the like. A bottlecap DIY kit may have one or two bottlecaps, glitter, beads, stickers or pictures and a magnet for the back.


Dotee Dolls –  Small fabric dolls created by Dorothy Christian.


Envie – Envelope


Ephemera – is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. Examples include: bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets,postcards, posters, prospectuses, stock certificates, tickets and zines. Some swappers are specifically looking for vintage ephemera.


Fat Eighth – Half of a fat quarter of fabric, measuring approximately 11? x 18?.

Fat Quarter -18″ x 22″ piece of fabric.   


Flaker – A swap participant who does not fulfill their end of an organized swap.


Friendship Book (FB) –  A booklet that is passed via the mail from person to person. It includes addresses of all the signers and is intended for the recipient to find new penpals and/or swap partners. It is generally made of a few pages of paper (any size, but usually made to fit in a standard size envelope) stapled together. The cover or front page includes who made the booklet (complete with name and address) and who the booklet was made for (complete with name and address). The rest of the booklet is reserved for the “signers.” The person who signs the last available space then sends the booklet back home to the person the booklet was made for.


Friendship Sheet – When a ‘friendship book’ is only one page (no staples), it’s called a ‘friendship sheet.’ 


Inchie – A work of art, similar to an ATC, that is created on a 1″ x 1″ square background. A variety of mediums may be used as a 1″ x 1″ base, e.g. cardstock, wood, glass, shrink plastic. Embellishments are made of paper, glass, wood, plastic, stickers, pictures, or any medium. 


Kawaii – Japanese for “cute.” It covers a wide variety of items including, but not limited to brands such as: Sanrio, Crux, Q-lia, Kamio, Pool Cool, Cram Cream, etc.


Markdown Syntax – Markdown is the type of code that is you can use on to format text and graphics. It is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers that allows you to format text, add links, and add images to Swap-bot. (Learn more here.)


Matchbox Shrine – A type of altered matchbox in which the matchbox is turned into a tiny diorama shrine.

Naked Postcards – A postcard which is sent directly in the mail with a stamp – NOT sent in an envelope. Handmade envelopes can also be described as being sent “naked,” which means they are NOT sent within another protective envelope.


Newbie – New swapper to swap-bot.


OOAK – One of a Kind


PIB – Pay It Back.


PM – Personal Message.


RAK – Random Act of Kindness.


Round Robin – A type of swap in which each participant works on part of an item.  For instance, in an altered book round robin, each swapper may work on one or two pages.  Each participant begins with an item (such as a blank art doll or altered book) and mails it to another swapper, who adds to that item and then mails it to another swapper.  This continues until the item has “made the rounds” (been to each participant).  A master list of names and addresses created by the host determines the order in which the items are to be mailed.  Eventually the person who owns the item will get it back with contributions from each participant.  While the format of Swap-Bot does not allow for this type of swap, round robins can be formed in groups or among members privately.


Shrine – A shrineis a holy or sacred place or item which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. On Swap-bot, users swap mini shrines created in small containers, like matchboxes.

Skinny – A skinny is like an ATC except that it’s bigger – it measures 3″ by 5″.


Slams – A slam is a booklet similar to a deco or friendship book except that each page will have a question on it, and each signer will answer the question.  A slam is made “for” somebody and their information is usually on the cover.  Once the booklet is full it will be sent back to this person. Slams can be themed or regular. Typically they are usually small like a standard friendship book. Often they have a “sign-in” page where you put your label or name, then each page will often contain a question which you answer (i.e. When was the last time you said “I love you”) and the signer would write the appropriate response. At the end there is often a sign-out page as well where it’s dated. Slams have many variations and can be “sign if” slams (you sign only if the statement or question applies to you). These are handled in a number of ways, but most of them become more clear when you have it in-hand.

Spoolies – Small dolls or figurines made out of an empty, wooden spool. Often hand-painted, with a wooden bead for a head.

Sticker Flake – A small, loose, die-cut sticker; not sold on sheets, but instead in little bags.

Sticky –  A (usually important) forum message thread that will be kept at the top of the thread list despite a lack of new replies. Swap-bot Admin are the only ones able to “sticky” public forums threads. Group founders and officers can “sticky” their group’s threads.


Stuffie – A soft toy made from fabric or yarn. These can take on any shape or size, be based on real animals or fantasy “monsters” and creatures. Fabrics often used are cotton, felt, yarn. Stuffies can be sewn, knitted or crocheted.


Tag – A tag is a forum game. One person posts a list of items they would like and a second person to post “tags” them to send one item from their list to the first person. The second person posts a list of items they want and a third person “tags” them. A tag game can go on and on. You can tag again, but usually only after you have sent your item to the person you tagged. It is your responsibility to contact the person you tagged and ask for their address. Mention the name of the tag game in your email and also somewhere on the thing you send so they will know which tag game it is for. You should try to get tags in the mail ASAP. Handmade or specialty items may take longer to create, however, you should let your partner know if it will take longer than 2 weeks or so. It is considered VERY rude to tag a small cost item and ask for items that cost a lot. Usually the OP in the tag game will give an idea of the cost. If you are playing the games, bumping more than once or twice a day is not allowed. If it takes a more than a couple of days and no one tags you, it is polite to add more items or change the ones you want, otherwise if you are holding up the game you might be skipped!


Twinchies – A work of art, similar to an ATC, that is created on a 2″ x 2″ square background. 

Types – Here are the descriptions of the three different swap types on Swap-bot:

  • Type 1 – Electronic – All electronic-only swaps fall under this type. Swaps of email letters or surveys, e-cards, blog links, Etsy favorites, Flickr favorites, digital photography, etc. Email swaps are any swaps that are done over the internet and do not require postage.
  • Type 2 – Flat Mail – Mail swaps that only require one or two postage stamps, like postcards, letters, and other postal mail swaps with little, to no, craft component.
  • Type 3 – Crafts and Packages – Any time-intensive craft swaps or swaps that must be mailed in a package. Most swaps will fall under this type. Anything sent in a box, bubble mailer, or large envelope is a Type 3.

Whimsey Jar – A small decorated jar filled with fun, random objects. Often decorated around a specific theme and filled with items that match that theme. Recycled baby food jars or other small food jars are often used to create whimsey jars. (after being cleaned!)


WTA – Winner Takes All

Zentangle – “Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing.” – from


Zine – A zine is most commonly a small circulation, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock.