How do fake IDs get made?

Updated April 17, 2017

Making a fake ID is a good way to learn how the process of producing identification works. In most cases the ID people want to spoof is a state-issued driver's license, so that is what this article covers. A clever fake can make an interesting gag gift -- especially if you include an off-the-wall name or photo.

Creating the fake ID's image

Since almost all identification has a photo of the user on it, an image programme like Photoshop is an invaluable tool in the ID creation process. You can use the image program to upload a template of a driver's license from the Web as a .psd file, change the name, birth date and identifying information and attach any photo you would like to it. Most novices won't be able to make a realistic looking ID, so don't expect too much unless you're a card-carrying graphic designer. It can take hours of editing for a copy/paste job to appear seamless.

Printing the fake ID

Most driver's licenses are printed on PVC plastic. Since PVC can be hard to feed into traditional printers without it getting bent out of shape, Teslin -- a plastic/paper hybrid -- is a good substitute. Alternately, you can shell out thousands of pounds to buy an ID card printer. If you're going with the Teslin, a laser printer will work better than an inkjet, since the ink is less likely to smear or wipe off altogether. However, it's still important to let it dry completely before proceeding further with your ID.

Laminating the fake ID

Once the ID is printed it has to be laminated, both to protect the image and for added realism. Teslin is best laminated with butterfly pouches, which are simply sheets of plastic cut to fit a traditional credit card size. They get the moniker butterfly due to the fact that they have two "wings," one for the front of the card and one for the back. All you have to do is slip the PVC in between these wings and then feed the whole sandwich into a laminator. The laminator heats the plastic and melds it all into one piece. If you don't own a laminator, try an office supply shop or school. Unless you plan on making copious numbers of IDs, there's no need to buy one of your own.


Making fake IDs is fine if they're simply for your personal amusement and look nothing like legitimate identification. However, you're opening the door to a lot of potential trouble if you intend to sell or distribute fraudulent identification you have made or use it to circumvent age restrictions set by law. So, to make a long story short, do not try it.

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