Main image courtesy of Stocksy.
If you’re working with the tarot, you know how some decks just seem to speak to you more than others. Typically it’s because of the artwork, or the style in which the artist designed the cards really allows you to intuitively interpret them. When you’ve worked with a deck for a good amount of time, you may even start to feel more in sync with it—more so than you would with a brand new deck. This is because over time, the energy you put forth in readings synergizes with the cards in that deck, giving you readings with deeper, more personal answers.
But what if you could actually design a tarot deck yourself, pouring all that creative and inspirational energy into your divination tool? Can you imagine how in step you would be with that kind of deck? Well good news, you can! Keep reading because in this post we’re going to talk about:
The first step in creating your own, personalized tarot card deck is to start brainstorming what you want your deck to look like. This includes choosing a medium for your cards—do you want to use card stock, index cards, or something else? Are you going to design your deck digitally, or want to scan it in when you’re done? You could use construction paper or even images from magazines or that you printed out to paste into a tarot collage. It’s really up to you.
The second part of step one is to then determine how you want your deck to look. Do you want to follow the traditional RWS images or is there something else that speaks to you? Keep in mind that you’re only limited by your own imagination. There are decks out there for everything now, including cat tarot, tree tarot, and even abstract tarot card decks. This is going to be your personalized tarot project, where you’re really going to pour your heart and soul into it, so make it something you love!
Keep in mind that traditionally there are 78 cards in a tarot deck, so you’ll want to decide on what pattern you want for your deck, or follow the RWS style that includes the minor and major arcana cards. If you’re getting stuck on how exactly you want to hone your tarot deck vision, why not turn to the cards of another tarot deck? If you find yourself being indecisive or that you can’t just seem to settle into a style or medium that speaks to you, consider pulling a card and meditating on it. You could also do a three card spread and see what speaks to you. Try moving the cards around a little and see if it sparks some inspiration or points you in the right direction.
Now is the fun part, you actually get to put together your deck! If you’re going to hand draw all the cards, it’s time to get started. The best part about doing this step is that you can always alter your vision as you go, because hey, sometimes our brains get even better ideas when we’ve started a project! Whether you’ve chosen to paint or sketch on your cards, this where you’ll channel all those creative and personal vibes into your tarot deck. Not a fan of drawing everything out onto paper? No worries, if you’re more of a graphic artist, take to your favorite digital art platform and create your tarot cards that way. Just remember to follow the design system that you decided on earlier, and you can’t go wrong.
This step will probably take you the longest, so don’t worry if you feel like it will never be finished. Always remember why you’re doing this and what intention you’re putting into your cards, to have a personalized tarot deck that reflects your personality and that speaks to you.
If you’re keeping your tarot deck low tech, as soon as you’ve completed all the artwork, there you go, you have your deck! Tarot doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive, and that includes decks. Depending on what you made your deck out of, you might need to rely on another way of mixing up the cards, as a traditional shuffle might cause damage to card stock, index cards, or construction paper. Our favorite alternative way to shuffle the cards is to place them chaotically all down, and then slide the cards around that way. Still shuffles the deck, but protects your personal tarot cards!
If you are looking to have your deck printed professionally, you’ll need to digitize it by scanning it into your computer and work with it in Photoshop or another creative app like Procreate. Here you can finalize borders, ensure the dimensions are all the same, and create any text you’d like such as “Ace of Cups,” or label the numeric values of the minor arcana. When you do this digitally, it looks neater and more uniform.
If you created your deck digitally, you’re already all set and will just need to make any final tweaks and adjustments.
Once you’re satisfied by how your deck looks, try printing out a set. Once you actually get to see all the tarot cards together, you’ll know what looks good and what doesn’t. This will allow you to revise and make any necessary edits before you pay to have the deck printed out on good cardstock with gloss. Take your newly printed deck and do readings with it in order to see how not only the cards feel in your hands, but how they speak to you. If there’s part of an image for a card that’s just not working anymore, revise it. Or if you’d rather make the images bigger and the words smaller, now is the time to change it!
Go back and make any adjustments after you’ve tested out your new deck for a while. Then, find a printer that’s able to make the size and color requirements for a tarot deck. Then have them print it out!
Whether you decide to go low tech, or want to print out a professional-looking tarot deck, both are valid and fun ways to create your own tarot deck. If this is something you really enjoyed, perhaps consider printing out a few copies of your new deck and test out the waters selling it? You never know, you might make our list of must-have indie tarot decks!