How to Print Your Own Card Game Decks

How to print your own card games at home

Recently, I picked up a new hobby: creating my own tabletop games! I have a bit of self-taught graphic design experience (as you readers of Science with Mrs. Lau know already) and recently I tried my hand at creating a new card game for my kids. My 9 year old son and I have been brainstorming and we created a “GoldFish” version of Go-Fish! We recently did a bit of fun reading and research into goldfish breeds and fancy types (did you know that the modern day goldfish has 100 chromosomes and is a allotetraploid??!) and that is where we got our inspiration.

Along this Goldfish card-making journey, I learned a few things about making cards at home. Here is my process I used to print and physically prepare them and I think a bunch of teachers could use that process to print out and prepare their own cards from home.

I include Amazon affiliate links to the tools I’m using in this post because I know you’ll want to know and ask me what I used. If you click the link and buy a tool, I will get a few cents, which I will undoubtedly save in my Amazon account to use to purchase board games for my kids.

How to print card games at home.

Print your own card games on card stock

1. I printed the front of my card game cards on white card stock. I have found that telling my printer (HP8720) to print more than one page at a time makes it “glitch” and pages stick to each other and they don’t print properly. So I recommend printing one page at a time.

How to create backs for your own card game decks

2. I do NOT print the back for my card game cards on the same yardstick. I have found that trying to line up a printed pattern or back of the card at home with my printer just isn’t worth it. It never prints correctly to line the back up exactly with the front, no matter what printer setting I try (and I tried it several different ways). Also, printing multiple card backs uses a TON of ink. So I decided to use colorful paper I already had on my shelf as the back instead. I glue (I used the glue I had on hand – glue stick glue) the colorful paper to the yardstick, creating a card with a goldfish front and a colorful back.

How to laminate your own card game decks

3. I could have stopped here and cut them out and left it at that. But I wanted to make sure the cards last a while with a 9 and 5 year old playing with them, so I decided to laminate them. I have this laminator (I see deals on Amazon pretty often for this one) and I put it in this laminator sleeve. I ran it through the laminator on the “5 mil” setting three times, to really make sure the plastic adhered to the card, front and back, because when I cut them out, I didn’t leave a plastic edge around it. The plastic is really to keep the front and back shiny and safe and not necessarily the edges encased.

How to cut your own card game decks with a paper cutter

4. Then I used my paper cutter to cut out the cards on the crop marks I created when I digitally created them on my computer. I really like this paper cutter because it has a guide wire to help you see exactly where it is going to cut before you slide the blade down the frame. It also is a lot safer to leave around the house than my other giant paper cutter…

How to round the corners on homemade card game decks

5. Then, to make it look even more fancy and like real card game cards, I used a corner rounder. This corner trimmer has three options you can use to round corners and for my goldfish cards, I used the largest corner rounder option. On my organelle cards below, I used the smallest corner rounder option.

And here they are! The finished cards themselves! I am kind of in love with them.

My very own card game deck

I like to organize card sets I create in these plastic photo boxes I had lying around from another project.

Storing homemade card decks

I got so excited with the result of our goldfish cards and I posted about it on Instagram to share my joy in our joint creation and a teacher asked if I could make an organelle set. I took that idea and ran with it this weekend. You can find the organelle card game here on TPT for $4.99.

The organelle card game comes with directions to play 4 different game variants: Memory Matching, Old Maid, Go-Fish, and Crazy-Eights. I include a printable page of instructions for each game that you could give to a pair or group of students playing this game.

So, if you had a card game for your classroom or for your own kids at home, what would you put on your very own card game deck?

(I know that during COVID times, you may not be able to yet play this game with pairs or student groups but you could have students do an individual memory match station for now!)

Are you interested in other science classroom games? I also have a chemistry bingo set that I love!

Ultimate Periodic Table Bingo