Instructions for Printing and Constructing Cards

Materials

  • Color Printer that supports printing on 65lb card stock (most ink jets should support this).
  • 65lb card stock.
  • Paper cutter (recommended); roller cutter, ruler, and cutting mat; or scissors (not recommended).
  • PDF of the cards you want to print out.
  • Spray glue (highly recommended) or other adhesive of choice and a well-ventilated area to apply.

Optional

  • Light table.
  • Rolling pin and two stiff surfaces.
  • Appropriate sized card sleeves.

Process

  1. Print the PDF to your color printer, being sure not to shrink to fit or use any other sizing options but “actual size”. If your printer supports borderless printing, this is a good idea to turn on so that the cutting guides are as close to the edge as possible. Do not choose two-sided printing! Every printer I have used (including professional grade) cannot perform two-sided printing with the precision needed for nice looking cards.
  2. Using the paper cutter or roller cutter and ruler, cut along the outermost border so that you have a number slightly-smaller than letter sized pages.
  3. Locate the front and back side of each page. For each page:
    1. Take one side and apply spray glue to the non-art side.
    2. Attach the non-art side of the opposite page by lining up the corners. You may alternately use a light table here to line up card art if you have one available.
    3. Press the two sides together evenly – if you have a rolling pin and two stiff surfaces that it is okay to get a little bit of glue onto, I recommend placing glued sheets between the stiff surfaces and using the rolling pin to make sure you get even adhesion without any wrinkles.
  4. Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry. If you are doing multiple sheets of cards, you can usually do all the gluing at once, and the first sheet will be dry by the time you finish gluing the last sheet.
  5. Cut out the cards with the paper cutter or roller cutter and ruler.  I recommend cutting out the cards using the guide for the back side (the side that looks the same for all cards in the deck) – that way, you can ensure that all cards have nearly identical backs. If you want both sides to be trimmed, and the cards have enough of a border, you can flip the card over and trim any extra white caused by misalignment.
  6. (optional) I highly recommend sleeving homemade cards for a number of reasons. Most notably, homemade cards don’t quite bend the same as normal playing cards, and depending on the adhesive you choose, you may experience slight splitting of the layers after significant use. Sleeving can delay or prevent these issues altogether by eliminating the need for bending during shuffling and protecting the edges of the cards where they are most likely to start falling apart.
  7. Your cards are ready to use!

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