Monday, November 10, 2008



The altered playing cards is a field in itself and it ties in with the artist trading cards. So it happens that wide size (poker) playing cards are precisely 3.5 x 2.5 inches in size. The advantage in using the regular poker playing cards is obvious: You will have a ready supply of professional looking cards at a reasonable cost. Wide size or poker playing cards are available anywhere. There are also special cards. There are cards with blank faces or backs or both. There are even special magician's cards. A magic store or magician's supply catalog are the best places to look for specialized cards. Also, U.S. Playing Card Co. may have special cards available. But beware, bridge cards are smaller! You need the poker size!

There are several techniques available to you for the alteration. The easiest seems to be collage, marker and painting. There are groups out there dedicated to altered cards. One of the groups is at There is a group called Altered Decks on Yahoo Groups. The URL is given below. It is quite educational for those interested in this specialized branch of ATC's to go and look at their files and individual websites of the members of this group.

You can totally obliterate the face or the back of the card and create a design totally unrelated to the original card underneath. Or you can use the original card as part of your new altered card. The choice is yours. Once again, you are only limited by your imagination.

When altering playing cards, it is recommended that you sand the face of the card or the area to be altered with a fine emery cloth or sandpaper to remove the slickness caused by the size and varnish used in the manufacture of the cards. Some cards are plastic and need to be roughened for paint or glue to adhere properly.

Do not forget to add your information on the back once you are done with your design. If you are using playing cards with regular back you can use your business card sticker or a specially designed and printed ATC sticker. You can always use black permanent marker if you don't have a computer and printer.

Here are few links for you to explore:


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