Minion Games recently asked me to create professional-quality cards for the three games they would be taking to the GAMA tradeshow. They needed demo versions of their games, but because the final print run from China would arrive too late, they asked a few people from the BGG community to help them out. I accepted the offer. Since I have a few card-making methods up my sleeve that turn out great cards, I wasnít worried about being unable to fulfill the order.
However, I had been toying with an idea for about a week that I believed would create absolutely stunning cards. This new method, which this tutorial will illustrate, turned out to work so well that I will never use any other method of making cards again.
What you will need:
Linen cover stock (67lb)
Linen paper (24lb) *not pictured
Craft knife (or rotary cutter)
Light table (optional)
Purchase some linen cover stock and some linen paper. No other paper will do.
I bought the box shown above for $14.99 at Staples. It contains 100 sheets of linen cover stock, which works out to about 15 cents a sheet. The linen paper is about the same price. Linen cover stock has a thickness of 67lbs. Regular cardstock (or index) is 110lbs. Your average copy paper is around 20lbs. One sheet of cardstock is too thin for playing cards, but one sheets of cover stock glued to one sheet of linen paper is perfect. And thatís what weíre going to do.
Since weíll be gluing two sheets together, youíll need separate pages for the card fronts and the card backs. Get all of your files in order and take them to the copy store along with your linen papers.
Have you images printed on a color laser printer (in my case, the very same Staples) using your linen paper. Youíll print the card fronts on one type of paper (either the linen cardstock or the linen paper), and the backs on the other type. This part is important: the paper has two distinctly different sides. One side is smooth like regular paper and the other is textured. Instruct the person making your prints to print your images on the textured side. If they mistakenly print on the wrong side, donít accept them. Have them print the cards again on the correct side.
The prints should look something like this:
Youíll notice that the laser printer coupled with the linen cover stock produce a coated surface that is virtually identical to standard playing cards. If youíre like me, youíll be so impressed with how awesome the prints came out that youíll be unable to stop looking at them, even while attempting to drive home. Please donít do this; itís difficult to explain to the paramedics.
Making the cards
Take one cardstock page of cards outside and spray it evenly with a good layer of adhesive. Wave it around a bit on your way back inside to improve the tackiness and strength of the glue. Only spray one sheet at a time. Otherwise, the adhesive will dry up on the other sheets before you can get to them.
Lay the sheet down on the light table (glue side up!). If you donít have a light table, a regular lamp under a glass table or sheet of hard plastic works just as well. Take the matching cards sheet printed on linen paper and, without letting it touch the adhesive surface of the first sheet, line up the two prints by matching two corners on one side.
Once youíre certain the two images are lined up, lay down the top page and smooth it out with your hand. Next, take it to the cutting mat and get your rolling pin handy.
Place a piece of waste paper on top of your card sheet to protect it from the rolling pin. If you have an unusually dirty cutting mat, put one down there, too. Use the rolling pin to
really flatten out the card sheet. Donít be afraid to put your weight on it, as the harder you press, the better the glue will work. If you donít have a rolling pin, you can get by with placing the cards under some really heavy books for an hour or so.
Once your card sheets are sufficiently pressed, take them to the cutting mat. Using your metal ruler and craft knife (or rotary cutter), cut out the cards. One bit of advice on this step: always cut your cards with the card backs face up. If you line up all your cuts along the card backs, any misalignment you might have made during step two will only show up on the front of the card. If you do it the other way around, you might end up with nice looking fronts, but some of your card backs will be marked!
Once youíve cut some cards, take them over to the corner punch. This step isnít necessary, but sharp edges on cards donít always look nice. Punch all of your cards using your corner rounder. Hopefully the game youíre building doesnít call for too many cards. Otherwise youíll be at this step for a while.
The finished product will be a set of very impressive cards.
Some other thoughts:
If you want to use your home inkjet printer instead of a laser printer, spray the prints with a couple coats of clear acrylic spray before gluing and cutting. This will add that smooth protective finish that all cards should have.
When I originally came up with this idea, I had planned on gluing the two sheets together with Mod Podge. I scrapped the idea however, because I felt it would have made the cards too soft, which would make shuffling them feel really weird.
A laser print on linen cover stock would also make a very professional-looking box wrap. I probably wouldnít use it for tokens or game boards, because those generally have a smooth texture.
And lastly, thanks to Minion Games for giving me the chance to build some amazing cards for their demo. If you happen to see them at GAMA, Iíd love to hear how you liked my cards. The cards in the images above come from Those Pesky Humans.
NOTE: Quality Print and Play games from Minion Games can be purchased from WargameVault.com