Printing custom playing cards
April 22, 2005 3:31 PM   Subscribe

I want to print some custom playing cards. I want them to be playable, and I want to not go broke.

The game concept, right now at least, calls for 180 cards total. Typical size cards, about 2.5 * 3.5 inches -- 9 to a standard letter page fits.

I'd like to print them inexpensively. Kinkos will do small-batch double-sided color (what I ultimately want) for 1.78 a sheet if I provide the paper, or 0.15 a sheet for B&W (which is what the test versions will no doubt be). I could then cut the cards themselves with a paper cutter and a little patience.

That leaves me wondering: what would be the best paper to buy for use as playing card stock? What if any sort of finish can or should I apply myself after printing to help coat/protect the cards? How do I cut the corners to nice rounded edges? And is there a wholly different route I could go to produce these things?
posted by cortex to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(FedEx)Kinko's has what they may still refer to as C2... I think. It comes in both scored and non-scored versions (the scored is for greeting cards).

It's glossy on one side and non-glossy on the other. I think they'll only run them through the color machines as the toner from the BW machines won't stick to the glossy side.

You could save yourself some cash and have them do one side in color and one in BW. They'll cut them for you for a couple extra bucks but makes sure you give very exact instructions for this part. If they muck 'em up make them redo 'em.

Lastly you might be able to find some place to laser cut the corners. I'm not sure about that. The best I've done by hand is using nail clippers intended for a child.

Oh, and I don't know about coating.


Here, here, or here.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:39 PM on April 22, 2005

Crafts stores have many types of corner cutters which are popular for making scrapbooks. Here is one corner cutter.
posted by Stoatfarm at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2005

If it doesn't break the game idea, you could try printing onto avery business card stock, may be ok for a beta version.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 8:55 PM on April 22, 2005

here or here
posted by sad_otter at 9:06 PM on April 22, 2005

And then maybe spray something like this on them. Also, most game stores sell plastic card sleeves. Should be enough to get you through some playtesting, until you can determine if it's worth a real print run.
posted by sad_otter at 9:25 PM on April 22, 2005

If you're prototyping a game idea, I've found what works best is to use cheap card stock and a bunch of plastic card sleeves (like Sad Otter mentioned) - that way you don't have to worry about scribbling out parts of the card if you need to make changes to part of it.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:57 PM on April 22, 2005

For games I've seen, it works okay to print onto normal paper (or just get some cheap colored paper), then cut them out, then slip them into penny sleeves along with a spare Magic or other card for backing. If you need a design on the other side, you print it out separately. If all you need on the back of the card is a color to distinguish the piles of cards, you can buy different colors of sleeves.

I've also heard of people printing onto stickers and putting them on normal playing cards.
posted by fleacircus at 9:43 AM on April 23, 2005

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