15 Jan Playing Card Printing Process
Are you considering printing your playing cards professionally? If so, it is important to choose a printer that offers the kind customization you need.
CHOOSE A PRINTER
- The good news is that many websites offer the option of producing custom playing cards in a variety of colors, sizes and quantities. Just make sure the printer is within the price range and turnaround time you want. Some playing card sites have preset formats and only let you choose from a set of options (such as the color, text, or graphics) on the backs of the cards or in the middle area of the face card(s).
- Find out what file formats the printer accepts or requires. Some printers can receive completed files via email, while others already have playing card templates they prefer customers to use. It will save you a lot of time if you design with the appropriate template or format in mind.
- Set up a new file, or open the template in your Adobe software. Most custom playing card printers can accept files from programs such InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator and many prefer final PDF files.
SET UP YOUR FILE
- Set the margins or gridlines to the appropriate size for the playing card. Standard poker cards measure 5.715 cm by 8.89 cm. Cards usually have rounded corners with .6375 cm radius.
- If your are planning on printing at school or at home, you might decide to put 9 to 12 cards on one A3 or A4 sheet to save time/money. Lining them up front to back will be challenging, but centering all items on the page (from top to bottom and left to right) will be the trick. Run a few test runs before printing on nice paper.
- Casino quality poker cards (and some board game cards) use a special playing card stock comprised of 2 or more layers of paper glued together with a blue or black glue, often containing graphite. For this reason it is sometimes called “black liner board” that is opaque (print on one side of the card cannot be seen from the other side).
- For printing at home or school, card stock from an office supply store usually comes in medium (65 lb) and heavy (110 lb) weights, and works reasonably well if you adjust your printer settings properly. Select “heavy” or “card stock” paper settings to get good quality output. Cards made with card stock alone can usually be seen through when held up to a bright light (even 110 lb) and feel less sturdy and less springy than real playing cards. However, they are easy and cheap to make, and work great for prototyping.
- Normal weight paper (plain or photo) can be used as well. In this case, the print is either glued to some more sturdy card stock (or a real playing card), or inserted into a card sleeve along with a real playing card for backing. An alternative to gluing is to print the card faces on sticky label paper and stick the labels onto cards or card stock. Either way it goes, you should make sure your CRAFT is impeccable and you pay attention to the smallest of details
ROUNDING YOUR CORNERS
- Cutting out cards by hand is the least expensive (though most laborious) option. Possible tools include a rotary cutter, an xacto and straight edge ruler, a swing arm “guillotine” paper cutter, or plain old scissors. It is important for shuffling purposes that all cards be exactly the same size and a jig can help with this. Rounded corners tend to extend the life of the cards and can be accomplished with a corner rounder (made for crafters) or with small nail clippers.
- In a professional setting, cards are usually cut into strips (all cuts in parallel) and the strips cut again into individual cards with a big cutting machine, which also rounds (cuts) the corners of each card in a uniform manner. Similar results with square corners might be achieved through the use of a business card slitter machine. Alternatively, cards are sometimes cut out of the sheet all at once with a die press. Small scale die cutters (usually only big enough to cut 2 cards at a time) are available for crafters.
ONE-OFF COPYING/PRINTING STORES:
• Office Depot (Mirdiff City Center on the ground floor) has good color
• Flying Color at Media City
• Spectrum at DIFC will print on card stock
• Print Out (near Mall of Emirates across from McDonalds) will print on card stock
• Desco (Zayed Road near Safest Way)
• Color Power (in Karma)