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Topic: Printing on Cards
Message: Posted by: Simon Williams (Apr 22, 2002 06:29AM)
I'm sure this may have been mentioned before, but does anyone print on their own blank stock? How do you do it? A few frinds have come up with an idea for a routine that will need some cards printed up.

So, any ideas?
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Apr 24, 2002 10:25AM)
It really depends on how many you need. 3 or 4 sets is one thing, and 500 is something else altogether.

A. They can be silk screened - we did that for some commercial effects way "back in the day."

Upside? Pretty good quality if done right.
Downside? Unless you can do it, it can be costly for just a few.

B. Or they can be stamped with some of the Craft Stamps out today, and you can have stamps made to order from an illustration.

Upside? Cheap and easy
Downside? Not as "sharp" as others and probably not as durable as screened.

C. Or, you can find someone with an old small hand-fed Letter Press or business card Printer and figure out what you need to create the image; plate, or Die, etc.

Upside? Could be great quality
Downside? Probably pretty costly and hard to find a hand-fed letterpress in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, and won't want a fortune.

All in all, Some of the problems are that:
The ink, or process won't generally work real well on coated cards. It is hard to handle the card size material (real cards) in most printing devices. And you really don't want ordinary Paper stock, even card weight stuff just won't hold up like a playing card, and to do it right - you still would need to have them Die cut to round the corners.

I have done all three, and in my opinion - it would have to be a Killer commerical effect to warrant the effort. But I only say that because I know how much trouble it is to get the artwork ready, and actually get it all done.

But your mileage may vary!

Good Luck!

Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Apr 24, 2002 01:01PM)
I know that when I print on transparency sheets with my inkjet printer, the sheets are already treated with a "fixer" that causes the ink to dry fairly quickly upon what is normally a glossy surface.

I was wondering if one might be able to find some spray-on fixer at an artists' supply store that could be applied on coated cards and then run through your inkjet printer.

Getting decks of blank cards is fairly easy.
Message: Posted by: Simon Williams (Apr 24, 2002 01:16PM)
Thanks Bro David & Philemon (very biblical!).

In another place I saw a method using iron on t shirt transfer paper for ink jets. I did not have any success with this.
I've looked in local craft and hobby shops for silk screen kits but found none.

I have been trying to figure a way using my ink jet printer. I cut out a card sized shape in a piece of thickish card so it wouldn't foul up the heads. This had limited success.

Anyone else tried?
Message: Posted by: RangeCowboy (Apr 24, 2002 04:13PM)
Make jumbo cards with ink jet printed backs and fronts and then have them laminated locally. Jumbo size makes for good visuals and the details can be printed with less precision and still look good.
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Apr 26, 2002 10:42AM)
Another thought that came to me in reflection on my previous, was the question;

Do you really need to print on the cards?

Would stickers of some sort work for your effect? I make a Packet trick that I will shortly be offering for sale that uses stickers on otherwise Blank cards.

The stickers nicely represent the visual intent very well (you can get colored stickers or Gold sticker, or even print on something - ala Philemon's comment, and stick it on the cards.)

This is especially good for low volume, and there is an additional benefit to using the stickers;) (I will share in a PM - but it is too much of a reveal to say here). But it is really simple and effective.

Anyway, unless you are committed to Printing on the card, think about professional stickers that you can get in book stores, and craft shops, or print your own and give it a go.

Message: Posted by: Ray Haddad (Jun 2, 2002 04:34PM)
I wrote an article for GeMiNi that is now archived at Chazpro using the iron on tee shirt method. It does work well if you follow the directions carefully.


A couple of key points in the article are that you must rough the surface or remove the plastic coating on the playing cards. You must also use a relatively thick coat of spray coating to remove the dullness of the backing on the iron on material.

You can use this for text, line art or photographic art. The quality is up to your selection of software to print the images.

Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (Jun 5, 2002 12:31PM)
What kind of a routine is it?
Message: Posted by: Ray Haddad (Jun 16, 2002 03:58AM)
If you're asking me, both were for company functions. The frog was for Frog Brand Sunscreen and the helicopters were for the 3rd Marine's Amphibious division during a military trade show. I was working the booths both times.

Message: Posted by: magicmanr (Jun 23, 2002 05:01PM)
If you are looking for printing your own cards, there is rub on transfers with pips, numbers, etc available from many magic shops...I've used these to make 3 1/2 of spades, etc...
Message: Posted by: Ray Haddad (Jun 24, 2002 01:15AM)
Those rub on sheets would be the Fako Sheets. Be sure to put a coating over the rub on pips, etc., because they do wear off fast.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Jun 28, 2002 08:05AM)
You can use wet transfer decals to make custom playing cards. I have been doing this for a few years now and have turned out some real beauties.

You must use a dry transfer color process to print on to the decal papaer (Like a color copier). An ink jet will just run.

You can get the paper and read Tom's article on making custom decals here http://www.tangopapadecals.com/. The same principles apply to playing cards.

if you decide to do it this way and need more info feel free to shoot me an email.

Also, you will ruin a few cards before you get the "knack" required to get them right. But once you do, these cards really look perfect.


Message: Posted by: RiffClown (Jul 26, 2002 05:33AM)
I tried running a blank Bicycle(TM), an Aviator(TM) Joker and a few no brand cards through a color laser printer. The "coated" brands did not do well at all as the printed matter looks good but flakes off very easily. :cry:

The no brand cheapies got mixed but slightly better results. I even got a few I could use. :hmm:

IMHO This is not the best solution. I just wanted you to know it has been tried with mixed results. :idea:
Message: Posted by: Ray Haddad (Jul 26, 2002 06:34AM)

If you use a laser printer to do the work, try acetone to wipe off the plastic coating to make the dye stick better. In fact, if you use acetone to clear off the plastic you'll find that it allows you to use any spot card since the acetone wipes off the pips at the same time.

A note of caution here is in order to remind you that any leakage of acetone to the back of the card will cause the backs to run or even wipe off, too.

Message: Posted by: CardConjurer (Jul 29, 2002 10:45AM)
I get a regular card and use steel wool to rub of the ink then I tape the card onto a piece of paper and print w/e I want on ot... Ive made so much stuff..... I use this alot :bikes: :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: Victor Brisbin (Jul 29, 2002 01:15PM)
Allow me to offer another suggestion, which turns out perfect-looking printing on regular blank card stock: a silicone pad printer can transfer your image from a photo-etched plate, quickly and easily, with a crisp image. I happen to do this kind of work, however this post is not an advertisement.

You can get adequate results from cutting your artwork and using an adhesive spray. The wet-transfer and rub-on transfer ideas are good. If you get blank playing cards professionally done for your business card imprint, it can be quite expensive. It doesn't have to be. PM me for details if you have specific needs or questions.

Vic :bikes:
Message: Posted by: Ray Haddad (Jul 29, 2002 09:26PM)

That sounds very interesting.

Can you recommend any books or instructional web sites that detail the process?

I've gone so far as to make miniature screens for some larger lots of cards. This sounds very promising.

Message: Posted by: DanMacTucson (Jun 9, 2021 09:18AM)
Did anyone ever find out if there is a source for the rub on transfers for card pips? I had some in a box from years ago but can't find the box
Message: Posted by: imgic (Jun 16, 2021 01:19PM)
Google "Fako Sheets" and you'll find listings. But many (including Penguin) are out of stock.

I don't think they're used that much these days.

Chris at Lybrary has a book that shows you how to make your own cards: no idea how easy/tough it is:

Message: Posted by: Frank Yuen (Jun 16, 2021 03:56PM)
Vanishing Inc. has a short ebook on this topic in their free downloads section.

Message: Posted by: danfreed (Aug 14, 2021 06:37PM)
Check this out, I may try this for something I'm working on. https://www.boardgamesmaker.com/print/fi-8977.html