How to Make Your Own Playing Cards

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When you want to play traditional casino card games with a personal twist, creating your own custom playing cards is worth doing. They work well as gifts for your favourite gambler, promo material for a corporate business venture such as a product launch or marketing campaign, or just as a treat for yourself.

There are several ways of tackling the project, with varying degrees of price and difficulty. Here’s a quick guide to some of the methods you might consider using to make your own playing cards for Poker, Blackjack or Baccarat.

Hire A Card Company

Custom made playing cards

Online companies like Shuffled Ink, The Playing Card Factory and Make Playing Cards specialise in manufacturing unique custom professional playing cards. Standard print shops that offer a wide range of printed products, such as the Printer Studio, may also have a section devoted to playing cards. This option will make things easier on you, but it does mean that you'll be paying someone else for doing the work.

Many of these companies have streamlined the card design process to make it simple and easy for their customers. The first step is deciding what type of design you want. Do you want a traditional set of playing cards with a personalised picture as the back, or do you want the card faces to be unique as well? Many of the companies mentioned have a team to consult with on the design.

Once the design has been taken care of, you need to pick what type of paper stock you want for your cards. If you want the traditional smooth linen feel of most playing cards, opt for a card stock of 300gsm or 310gsm. GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter, and the higher the number, the heavier the stock. These cards will be just like the ones you find in a casino, so you can use them for games.

If the cards are a memento you want to preserve, you could opt for a PVC or plastic finish. Both options offer a silky smooth matte finish that means the cards can withstand spills. The plastic cards will be slightly thicker, which will make them a little harder to shuffle.

Do It Yourself

Design your own playing cards

If you have the time and patience, there's nothing stopping you designing and crafting your very own set of custom cards at home. You can find software online that will help in the design of the cards straight, offering templates that you can fit your images inside. Print out the images and then use scissors to cut them out, or use a guillotine for a more uniform cut. For a perfect finish, buy a corner round tool from a scrap book store or art store for cutting the corners of each card.

The quickest way to create the deck of cards is to stick these images to an existing set of cards. This can be done by combining them both using a plastic card protector. However, this method means the overall card will be very thick and not usable to play a game.

The best way is to use a printer that can handle thick card and print on card stock, even better if it can print to both sides. Laser printers will offer a stylish finish that won’t smear compared to inkjet printers, although inkjets are often cheaper, especially for full-coloured projects.

Label Cards

Canada playing card

Another DIY method that's less time-consuming than creating the cards yourself is printing your design onto card-shaped stickers, or card labels. Invest in a set of standard playing cards and then peel off your labels and apply to each one. This can done on almost any printer. The sticky labels might start to peel with use, so this method is best for a fun gift or keepsake.

These methods can be mixed together until you find one that suits your budget or time scale. If it is an urgent gift, then a professional printer might be the way to go, but if you have time to play with and would prefer to design and create everything yourself, try one or several of the DIY methods.

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