It is probably one of the strongest desires of every tarot reader or enthusiast to have their own deck of custom tarot cards. This is because you will unconsciously integrate the Tarot into your life and mind, and generate your own unique insights in learning the Tarot.
Then, you will want to make your own tarot cards that can display these subjective feelings, life experiences, and creativity of yours.
However, once you have the design all done, how to make the custom tarot deck into a realistically finished product is probably one of the most troubling issues. Here will introduce several better ways of making and printing custom tarot cards.
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you can choose the most suitable one according to your specific situation. So can you make your own tarot cards? Of course yes!
How to make your own tarot cards?
1. Handmade your own tarot cards
As a matter of fact, many tarot masters in history made their own tarot. The tarot is the amplifier of the user’s psychic sense, so the more familiar the owner is, the more contact the tarot has, the better the divination effect will be.
The tacit understanding and divination results of a handmade tarot card will be significantly better than a purchased tarot card.
If you are not familiar with drawing and design, you can choose to find the printable tarot cards you want on the Internet, books, newspapers, and magazines, and then use the cut-and-paste method to put together the card face you want, and finally use the printer to indent on the cardboard.
If you have reached a certain level of drawing and design, then you can try to make your own tarot cards by following these 3 steps.
1) Choose Paper
You need to choose 2 kinds of paper, one is thin and soft, preferably with some degree of clarity, to depict images and numbers. The other is a hard paper used as a card base. The degree of hardness should not be too thick, otherwise, it will not be convenient for shuffling.
Also, the texture of the paper must be good enough to withstand prolonged touching, shuffling, and stacking, and the color of the paper should be pure white or light yellow.
Then, you can start cutting the paper. There are no mandatory requirements for the specific paper, but it should be noted that the Tarot is a square card with rounded corners.
That is, after you cut the Tarot into suitable small and large squares, but also the four corners are trimmed into the curvature of the same rounded corners, and the corners can not be hairy.
2) Choose Brushes And Paints
Generally speaking, the steps of drawing tarot cards are to draw the base with a pencil first, then use a neutral pen to outline, and finally use gouache or watercolor to color.
Here, direct coloring tools such as crayons and colored pencils are not recommended, otherwise, the effect of the tarot will be affected.
3) Frame And Draw
The so-called tracing frame is to split out the numerical part of the tarot card and the picture part. Here is a small tip, the numbers usually occupy about 1/4 of the area in the tarot card, and a certain gap (border) needs to be left near the edge of the tarot card.
Thus it prevents the pattern from getting too close to the edge and causing color loss or damage when shuffling the cards. The width of each side of the border is usually 1/20 of the entire tarot deck.
The next step is drawing, which is the most crucial step in make your own tarot cards. It is recommended that you draw only one Major Arcana per day and complete one set of Minor Arcana per day (i.e. Sword, Chalice, Coin and Scepter must be completed in 4 days).
When drawing, you must meditate or recall the meanings of the cards drawn, keywords, representing gods and goddesses, representing astrological signs, etc. Otherwise, the final effect of the Tarot may be affected, too.
2. Professional Printing
Although hand-made custom tarot cards have very important value and significance, it is obvious that the process is very complicated and the efficiency is very slow.
At the same time, this method can generally only achieve ordinary coloring, die-cutting, laminating, etc., which is far from our requirements for a professional tarot deck.
Therefore, it is recommended to look for a tarot card maker who specializes in tarot card printing to help you create outstanding artwork smoothly. So, which custom tarot card maker should you choose?
You can indeed choose the largest printing companies in the world, such as USPCC, MPC, and so on. They have rich experience and strength in card printing and have their own special development paper. This way, you almost never have to worry about quality. The problem, though, is that they are generally more expensive, and many people can’t afford them.
In addition, they are more focused on playing cards, game cards, and other fields. If your budget is not too high, you can consider choosing some relatively less well-known suppliers, such as WJPC.
They are more cost-effective, and have a relatively deep technical foundation and experience in tarot card printing. Besides, it is also more flexible and cooperative to treat individual customers.
No matter which manufacturer you choose in the end, you need to examine their relevant strengths in advance:
- Tarot cards generally have high requirements for color. Whether there has a professional printing press and color management system, so that can strictly control the color.
- Tarot cards need to be touched, flipped, shuffled and other actions frequently, and they are not disposable consumables. Is there a variety of craftsmanship that can meet different production requirements, and ensure that the cards have excellent touch, smoothness, stiffness, retention, etc?
- Making tarot cards is by no means easy, whether there has professional graphic design, printing technology, quality inspection, pre-sales, after-sales service, etc., so that can help you get the finished product more easily.
After the supplier of cooperation has probably been determined, the process of negotiating the production can begin.
Some suppliers offer online design customization services, you just need to open their website, and follow the prompts to create your own design, card size, number of cards, instructions, brochures, or any accessories and packaging.
Then, you can appreciate your work step by step from a virtual picture to real artwork. Don’t worry if you encounter a problem, there will be professional and free graphic design consultants to help you all the way.
Once the finished product is out, you can collect it yourself, or choose to self-publish it on their online store and sell it to people all over the world. Detailed steps are as follows:
1) Select Parameters
Usually, designing a perfect tarot deck should start with detailed specifications of the cards, including Quantity, Card Stock, Print Type, Dimensions, Finish, and so on.
For example, among card stock, the best papers for making tarot cards are the German card stock with black core (Kohler playing cardboard) and the Italian card stock with black core.
They have higher paper stiffness, smoothness, and toughness, and can achieve strong opacity, but are also more expensive. The more common ones are two sides coated art paper with white core, high standard card stock with blue core (smooth finish), and 100% premium white plastic card stock.
They are relatively cost-effective and can meet the color, stiffness, and transparency required for general tarot cards.
If you want to sell your tarot cards, then you also need to customize card packaging, booklet, and so on in order to help your customers better understand the mysteries and save them. Again, there are very rich details to choose from on these two items.
2) Use The Template
- Upload your images:
First, you need to design your cards on your computer. Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator are both good design tools, but they require some skill to use. Once the design is complete, you can log in to the platform and upload your card images.
You can choose to use the same picture and number for each tarot card, or use a different picture and number for each tarot card. Please make sure that the pixels are clear and that everything in the image is within the borders. You can use the tool to keep adjusting and cropping until it meets the requirements.
- Add text:
You can put your text in the right place and set its size, color, alignment, etc. Carefully check that all spellings are correct before saving. You don’t want to receive a deck of tarot cards with lots of mistakes, do you?
- Confirm the preview images and generate:
Now you have finished the template design, the platform will automatically show the preview images of the product and prompt you if there is an error. After confirming that there are no errors, click “add to chart” and you can successfully send the order to the supplier.
After all these steps, the pre-production of your tarot deck is done! Next, just wait for the supplier’s professional staff to reach out to you.
Being able to create a deck of your own tarot cards is a great sense of accomplishment. Whether you want to do it all by yourself or with the help of a professional, it’s not a bad idea. The most important thing is that you must be careful to understand every detail and know what you are doing from start to finish.
Of course, there is no shame in temporary ignorance. Whatever questions you may have, such as design, production, shipping, or even Kickstarter‘s project, we will provide you with detailed answers and guidance.