Here’s the second half of the deck making process! For the first half, go back to Part 1.
Once the ink was dry a few days later, we were ready to cut them down into cards. Jenny did lots of careful measuring and cutting with test sheets. We did our best to avoid cutting off toes and suits (on the cards!).
First the sides were removed, and then the papers were cut into 2.25 inch wide strips. We wanted the image on each card to cover it as much as possible, but that meant that we had a lot of cuts just barely missing the side of the image. This was a particularly nerve-wracking part of the process. Once the paper is cut, we can’t uncut it! So we went slowly and carefully here, doing lots of single sheet test cuts to make sure the measurements worked for each sheet.
The extra at the top and bottom of the strips was removed, and the cards cut to a length of 4 inches. They finally look like cards!
It took a long while, but we got the cards collated into decks, 52 cards each. We started with enough paper for 130 decks, but we knew that through misprints, test cutting, or other mishaps, we would be happy if we got a 100 decks in the end.
While I assembled the decks, Jenny set lead type and printed the title cards. The front has all the who, what, where, and whens while the back had a little blurb explaining how the card order worked. It is based on the extremely common German style in the 16th century, where you have a Unter (under), Uber (over), and a King, instead of the common modern Jack, Queen, King.
The info card is small, so we had to condense information as much as possible!
I spent the next two weeks vigorously painting one of the decks. The project was still a secret at this point, so I had to put it away if we had friends over, and couldn’t work on it during our weekly craft nights. I think it might only take 10 days when I color the next one.
Enjoy all the finished product photos!
We did the big unveiling at the weekly craft night yesterday, and there were many squeals of delight! It was very fun to see people recognize themselves and others in the cards! Many new Facebook profile pictures were created that evening.
We had a couple people ask who did what for the deck, so here is the break down:
- We both brainstormed card ideas
- I did some 16th century card research
- I drew pictures on the computer using those ideas
- Jenny transferred the drawings to lino blocks and carved them
- Jenny printed and cut, I assisted her (and took pictures!)
- I painted the finished cards
- Jenny set the type and printed the info cards
- Jenny made the boxes (not finished yet)
- I made this post :D
Someone asked how much the project cost, and while we didn’t keep exact tally, the approximate cost of paper, lino, ink, and shop time was about $300 for 100 usable decks. Time is even harder to figure, but between the two of us, about 250 hours? Nearly 5 hours per card by my math, for drawing, carving, and printing. That’s not counting the painted deck, which was about 20-24 hours more. We have been busy bees this winter!
We still have a bit of finishing up to do, but within a few weeks, uncolored versions of the deck should be available on Jenny’s Etsy shop, Notta Pixie Press! I really look forward to seeing how people color their own decks!