Hello everyone! Today we are going to go over my process for making foil-y trading card tokens and emblems. I mostly play Magic: The Gathering, but you can use this for all types of games. NOTE: ANY IMAGES OR CONTENT NOT OF MY ORIGINAL DESIGN IS COPYRIGHT AND OWNED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE COMPANIES.
STEP 1: FIND YOUR BULK FOIL CARDS!
Believe it or not, bulk foil cards are hard to find. Most of your friendly local gaming stores don’t have extra stock they are willing to sell you at cost, so you will most likely have to collect a bunch for yourself or find them through an independent trader/vendor. But they are relatively cheap and once you have a bunch, you’ll be set for a while. Try posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to find reliable outside vendors (I do not suggest Craigslist).
STEP 2: REMOVING THE INK
Removing the ink and leaving the foil for a card is relatively easy, but there are a few things you need to know.
First off, you must be quick about it. If you take too long, there can be clouding or scraping on the edges of the card. Most of the times this will happen a little anyway, but the longer you take the more severe it will be.
Second, the older the card is, the harder it will be to de-ink. This is mainly because the foiling process has changed over the years, and sometime the ink just will not remove itself. It also happens a lot with red and black cards.
Lastly, you need to let the cards dry after you clean them for a few minutes. It will let the alcohol dissipate and your ink to settle better.
So, here’s what you’ll need to remove the ink: A bottle of pure 100% acetone (main ingredient in nail polish remover), paper towels (not a cloth!), and a surface to put under the cards as you are stripping them. For the acetone, clear, dye-free, 100% acetone nail polisher remover will work. You don’t want the dye in the others to alter the foil of the card. You also need to use paper towels instead of cloths because you don’t want to have to constantly rinse the cloth, nor do you want to damage the card with water. Lastly, the surface underneath is to protect your counter, desk, or table from unwanted ink or alcohol damage.
Take the paper towel, get a good amount of acetone on it, and start in the center of card, wiping in a circular motion going outward. Do this until the ink is completely stripped, and then set off to the side for drying. Once you have the amount you want to draw on, make a few extra. Sometimes once they dry, the cards can look worse depending on the amount of clouding, so this way you can toss the bad ones if you want.
Once you are done with that, you can move on to the design process!
STEP 3: ARTWORK
At this point you are free to do whatever you want on the cards. If you are making them for your own use, you can put whatever you want on them. If you plan on making money off them, I would suggest reviewing trademark and copyright laws and then going from there, LOL.
Most of the time you are going to use permanent marker for the main design, or you can go the more expensive and artsy way and use the paint used to make altered art cards. I like using markers because the shine from the foil will still show through the ink as opposed to the ink. You can use fine point markers for initial design and details, or use light pencil for outlines. I suggest using pencil or a very light pen for outlining, then coloring in with different colors before using a black or darker colored marker for outlines and definition, mainly because the light colors like to mix into the black if not dried enough. Use industrial strength if you can. It tends to last longer than the regular ink.
BE CREATIVE! Try original designs, use the foil effects in cool and unique ways.
FINAL STEP: SLEEVING
I fully recommend sleeving your tokens once they are fully dry. I suggest using perfect fit sleeves as they tend to not move or wiggle nearly as much as other card sleeves. Now, once you put them in a sleeve I DO NOT RECOMMEND taking them out as that can possibly remove some of the ink, especially if not dried properly. So put it in a perfect fit, then in a regular sleeve if you want some added color.
That’s all I have for you today, so go out and let your creative wings out and fly! Until next time, Peace!