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How to Make Personalized Playing Cards

Updated on October 10, 2011
A bit of creativity and a few supplies is all is takes to make playing cards.
A bit of creativity and a few supplies is all is takes to make playing cards.

Use your favorite portraits of family members, pets or snap new photos to create a custom deck of cards for your child to enjoy. If your child loves animals, print photos from the internet to be used in your card project and help them learn facts about new animals while they work on the project. They will love playing classic card games with the faces they treasure most.they love.

Crafting your own 36 card deck is easy and fun. The only difficult part is decidng which pictures to use! This simple project will be done quickly, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy playing Memory, Go Fish and Old Maid with your preschooler. Allow your child to set the pace for fun and watch their little faces glow when they master matching skills and expand their ability to concentrate while playing with a deck of cards made just for them.

What you will need for this project:

  • 18 different digital photographs of family members, friends and favorite pets.
  • Con-Tact Paper or other adhesive decorative paper for the back design of cards.
  • Cutting mat or safe cutting surface
  • X-Acto knife or scissors
  • Ruler (metal edged is easiest)
  • Laminating supplies (optional) to keep the cards in great shape for years to come.

Design Your Deck

  1. Shoot 18 digital portraits and download them onto your computer. You can use already exixsting photos if you like, or choose wildlife photos from the internet or even your child's favorite cartoon characters.
  2. Print 2 of each image on heavyweight photo paper (3 1/2 x 5 sized prints) with 4 photos per page.
  3. Roll out the Con-Tact paper on your work surface with the adhesive side up.
  4. Peel the backing off the Con-Tact paper.
  5. Carefully attach photo paper to the Con-Tact paper.
  6. Trim the edges to the size you want using an X-Acto knife and ruler.
  7. To keep your cards in great shape for years to come, laminate them.

Now you are ready to play! Share your favorite childhood card game with your kids or let them pick their own favorite to try. When you are finished, store the cards in a ziplock bag or a small box for safe keeping.


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    • Yogesh Pandey profile image

      Yogesh Mane 2 years ago from USA


      Really interesting that you can design or create your own custom cards. What I like most about these cards are that you can use your own creativity. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Jan, I think if you laminate the cards, they should be a little bit smoother to play with. Still, I think they will be a bit thicker and bulkier than traditional playing cards. Perhaps if you used a very thin paper and lightweight laminating paper - but then they might be flimsy! Best of luck and let me know if you find a better solution!

    • Jan Mosbacher profile image

      Jan Mosbacher 8 years ago from Devon


      Lovely idea. I've tried making cards, but they were hard to shuffle. Do you have any tips for making them easy to use?


    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks for reading and commenting, cgull8m. :)

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

      Neat games, not only they will have fun there is additional bonding too. Great Hub.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      You are very welcome, paper money. Thanks for reading! :)

    • Paper Money profile image

      Paper Money 9 years ago

      This is a great idea and could be used to achieve different goals for the children and some. Thanks for sharing. Its so simple and yet a great project.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Doghouse, I love your idea! Thank you for adding it. There are really so many fun options to consider with this project :)

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California


      This is such a great idea. I am a family history buff, so you could even use pictures of your own ancestors for older kids, to help them come to know their ancestors better. Great idea!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Gadzooks, thanks for reading. It does take a bit of time to cut them carefully, especially if you are a perfectionist and want the edges perfect. I aim for "good enough" with my own projects! :)

    • Gadzooks profile image

      Gadzooks 9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great idea I loved playing with cards as a kid, but it must take some time to do, and cutting them out neatly would require a bit of skill!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Zsuzsy, your granddaughters will love it - especially if it means they get to play many hours of card games with their grandmother! :) That was always one of my favorite things as a kid.

      Thanks Rainbow! I never print my photos without a specific reason either. :)

      Hi Rob, Lol, tanks and airplanes - we are all about cats and butterflies around here lately:) I hope they will stop long enough to help with the project - maybe they could make some cards out of their drawings too, or print some pictures off web of their favorite tanks to use in the deck. Thanks for reading!

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 9 years ago from Midwest USA

      My wife will be all over this idea. She's definitely the crafty one of the house. My two boys will have to stop drawing pictures if tanks and airplanes long enough to help her though. Thanks.

    • RainbowRecognizer profile image

      RainbowRecognizer 9 years ago from Midwest

      Lots of fun and good reason to finally print my photos!!! Thank you!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great idea Amy Jane! I will make some with my granddaughters .

      regards Zsuzsy

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      It is really easy - I no longer attempt difficult crafts! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      My kids would love this craft! Super idea - and looks really easy.