How to make a tarot deck at home?
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Sooner or later, the personal collection of each tarologist begins to replenish with newer and newer decks. But what if the deck that is on your wish list is very expensive or you can't find it at all? Or do you want to create your own set of Arcana? There is a solution: you can print Tarot cards at home - and we’ll talk about how to do this today.
Why are homemade cards better than purchased?
In fact, in terms of quality - nothing. Decks printed in a printing house are nevertheless more accurate and durable. But if you can’t afford to buy the original, or if you didn’t manage to find the desired Tarot for sale at all, and you really want to have such a deck, home-made cards will be an excellent way out. This is if we are talking about an existing deck. If you want to draw or collate your own Arcana from separate images, then you generally have only two options: make an order in a printing house, or print at home yourself.
Personally, I did not immediately come up with the idea of making home-made cards. First, I ordered decks of interest to me through a friend in the printing house - besides, she was the designer herself, so I was even freed from layout layouts. For the price, the cost of one deck went around $ 20-30, which is quite acceptable when you consider that the price of the decks with which I wanted to replenish my collection ranged from $ 60 to $ 120, also with paid delivery. And then I bought an inexpensive printer with surprisingly decent print quality and a large supply of new cartridges, and decided to try and arrange a mini-printing house at home. And now about what you need, and what came of it.
What is needed for a homemade deck of cards?
In fact, quite a lot will be required:
1 Gallery of all deck images in high quality.
2 Ability to use a graphical editor (Photoshop, CorelDraw or others).
3 Color printer.
4 Thick paper or cardboard (250-300 g / m2).
5 Film for lamination (80 microns).
6 Laminator or, at worst, iron.
7 Sharp scissors or cutter.
8 Straight arms.
Personally, I had problems with points 4, 6 and 8. I spoiled the online store with paper. I ordered it with a density of 280 g / m2, but by mistake they sent me 230 g / m2, and since I bought it for the future, I noticed this miscalculation only three weeks after the order, when it was too late to return it. In addition, I immediately ordered two large packs and not very cheap, two-sided photo paper, so I did not want to spend money again at all. I decided to be content with what is. But you keep in mind that it is better not to take less than 250 g / m2. Be guided by the maximum paper density that your printer supports. I'll talk about lamination and crooked hands a little later. In the meantime, let's get down to business.
Stage 1. Preparation of layouts
First of all, you need to prepare map layouts for printing. Since I confidently use Photoshop, I did not have any problems with the layouts. The most important thing is to find a gallery of good quality maps: I was looking for images of at least 1000 pixels on the short side. And then I brought them to mind in two beautiful programs.
If you are going to create your own Arcana from scratch - try to immediately arrange them in the quality necessary for printing, so that you do not have to redo the same work several times later.
Next, the task was to place the cards correctly on a piece of paper. If you have the skills to work in any graphics editor, you will do it in two ways. For convenience, I made a template with black rectangles of the right size, on top of which I placed the images of the Arcana themselves. There were several templates, since the sizes of the cards in different decks were different for me. Six cards are placed on one sheet, so printing the entire deck takes 13 sheets.
The next important nuance is the creation of a shirt. It is important to focus on double-sided printing of your printer: in my case, I made the image of the shirt according to the same template as the front side, but at the same time I mirrored the sheet with vertical pictures in Photoshop. I don’t know if this method is suitable for your printing device - just in case, print a test sheet with a face and a shirt to see if the sides come together. However, the shirt can not be done at all, or fill the entire second side with a plain or gradient color.
Stage 2. Printing
I already said about the test sheets - they must be printed necessarily. In my case, the face with the shirt did not come together right away - I found that the printer, when it grabs the paper, shifts it a couple of millimeters to the side, because of which there is a small but critical bevel. I had to experiment with the paper holder and put it strictly on one sheet to get completely matching images.
As soon as we sorted out the probes, we set the highest print quality to get the most detailed images - and go! Personally, it took me about ten hours to print six decks taking into account one and a half dozen scrap sheets (when I forgot to replace the ending cartridge with a new one, mistakenly inserted a sheet or the printer moved the paper), considering that I put and turned each sheet manually, printed with two sides and replaced cartridges several times.
Speaking of ink consumption. They pour in huge quantities! My printer has small cartridges: color with three colors of 4 ml each (12 ml) and black pigment 16 ml. So, for six decks I needed 6 color and 4 black cartridges. Considering that I got them for free, plus they can be refilled, I didn’t lose a lot of money on ink. Do not worry about this only for those who have a continuous ink supply system or refill cartridges. In this case, the cost of the deck is reduced by more than five times.
Stage 3. Lamination
Here at this stage I had to tinker. Initially, I bought two types of film for lamination - the usual batch of A4 format and self-adhesive in a roll. I did not like the self-adhesive, although it was glued quickly enough - but with it the cards looked somehow “artisanal” and untidy, or the problem was again in my crooked hands. Plus, when using self-adhesive, you first need to cut out the cards, and then laminate them with film on both sides - imagine how much I would sit with these six decks!
Since I sold a good laminator at a time when I was not fond of cards, I decided to try to laminate with a packet film using an iron. I read on the Internet that the required temperature for normal lamination is average. I have an iron without special identification marks - instead of temperature or numbers, the type of fabric is indicated. I put it at random on average. But either my iron model is outdated, or my hands, again from the wrong place, I didn’t get anything good.
The first couple of sheets were ideally laminated on both sides, but then the “jambs” began. The iron then overheated, sometimes did not heat up enough - as a result, on the one hand the film did not have time to stick properly, and on the other, it went on bubbles from overheating. In general, I simply did not have the patience for laminating with an iron. I looked at the prices for lamination in the nearest digital press - the lamination of six decks would have come out a little expensive. However, if you want to make only one deck - it will not be so expensive. As a result, I spat on this venture and ordered an inexpensive laminator in an online store. For me it’s better to pay one and a half thousand rubles and do everything automatically, smoothly and quickly, than to stamp the marriage with iron every three sheets and retype them again. I'm not saying that the iron method has no right to exist, but it turned out to be not my option. If you still decide to try it, there are a lot of videos on this topic on the Internet.
And also about the density of the film: I took 80 microns, but you can use 125 microns if the paper is very thin. I was afraid that my 230 g / m2 paper sent by mistake with the minimum thickness of the lamination would be too thin, but no - it turned out to be quite tolerable. The card is quite dense, it bends with difficulty, unbending back. However, there would be paper 280 g / m2 - it would be generally perfect.
So, let's say the lamination was successful. What do we do next?
Stage 4. Cutting
Now that all of our sheets are neatly laminated, we stock up on patience and begin cutting. We take perfectly sharp scissors and just cut the cards along the edges of the frames. Many people think that a card cut off after lamination will shag and peel off at the edges. When using a laminator such a problem is excluded. But with an iron - yes, it is possible. At least on test sheets where the heating temperature turned out to be too low, the film really began to exfoliate at the site of the cut. In the same place where the temperature turned out to be normal, no stratification occurred, although for testing I crumpled, bent and subjected all kinds of strength tests to this card.
You can make your task easier by buying or borrowing a paper cutter for a while. Personally, I cut with scissors. After cutting, we round the corners of the cards at will with small scissors or a special device called a cutter, which significantly saves time and nerves due to uneven roundness.
Stage 5. Exhale calmly and say “Well, finally!”
Well, that’s it, the homemade Tarot deck is ready! You can start working with her. Personally, I made six decks for myself in this way: Tarot Shi, Elemental Tarot, Runic Tarot, Physicist Tarot, Light and Shadow Tarot and Madame Endora's predictive cards. It turned out quite worthy, but very time consuming. Therefore, I decided - if the deck you like is on sale and at an affordable price - it is better to buy it, and leave the home print only for rare or created from scratch copies. It's all a lot better than buying tarot online or buying tarot next to me.