How to Make Printable Trading Cards

Updated April 17, 2017

Collecting trading cards can be an enjoyable hobby, especially for children and teens. Most people think first of sports when it comes to collectable cards. However, there are other types of trading cards that have become popular, from artistic to Barbie or Anime trading cards. If you want to create you own trading cards, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Decide what images you'll be using, such as whether you'll be taking an image from an online source or a book. Perhaps you'll be designing your own original designs for your cards. If you're creating your own designs, you can start getting an idea of what type of design you want to create by sketching them out first in a sketchbook.

Consider using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop to help you perfect the design of your trading cards. You can use Photoshop to work on and size photographs or other artwork you'll be using for your trading cards, or you can complete the entire design process using just the program. If you'll be copying a design, and then making artistic changes to it, you can bring the image in as a layer and use it as a template. You can then reduce the opacity to 40 or 50 per cent, and then work on another layer or layers, adding your changes. You can delete the template layer later or make it invisible, or you can merge the template with the above layers. Make sure to set the size of your document image before you begin designing your cards. For printing, save your images in a format that will give you the best quality image when printed. A TIFF format is usually a good choice.

Print your cards yourself or have them printed at a print shop. You'll need to buy a good quality card-stock paper if you intend to print your own cards. Another option is to have your cards printed professionally at a print shop. Both Staples and Kinko's do quality printing and usually offer discounts for bulk orders.


Although some images you'll find are in the public domain, many others are not. Keep in mind that some images you might intend to copy and save for use as trading cards could have copyright or trademark restrictions attached to them. Prior to copying images to use for trading cards, be sure to check an image's usage terms with the artist or company that owns it.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop or other graphics program
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About the Author

Daniel Ketchum holds a Bachelor of Arts from East Carolina University where he also attended graduate school. Later, he taught history and humanities. Ketchum is experienced in 2D and 3D graphic programs, including Photoshop, Poser and Hexagon and primarily writes on these topics. He is a contributor to sites like Renderosity and Animotions.