March 8

Trimming a Tarot Deck


Captain Virgo comes in to give me hospital warnings about using the paper cutter as I’m jamming on the Hermit card.

He doesn’t quite understand why I’m laughing.

“It’s the Virgo card. It’s appropriate!”

“Well, if that means something to you, leave that card out and watching you while you’re doing this. No losing fingers! No hospital runs!”

I have been seeing other Tarot folks cut the borders off their cards. Such blasphemy! Such cheekiness! Such fun!

But more, such freedom! I’ve been itching to try it. Now I can buy a deck with ugly borders, or one that’s too big, or give new life to an old deck. So I gave it a go on my Radiant Rider Waite. After all, I don’t need the card names and numbers on such a traditional deck. I thought it would be cool to have smaller cards that were all images.

20130308_114241 (600x450)

Hints: I got an inexpensive corner rounder and already had a cheap paper cutter. These did NOT feel finished without the rounded corners and I would have regretted doing it otherwise. Crafting perfectionists may need fancier equipment (or better yet, just take ’em to Kinko’s and pay a few bucks to do the modifications by machine).

As you can see by my photos, I wasn’t overly anal-retentive about my methods. Does that surprise anybody?

I do think the deck was mildly traumatized. The first card I pulled for the operation was the Tower. The first cut was indeed scary, but once that initial slice was out of the way and I relaxed, the rest was easy. The whole process of cutting and trimming probably took less than an hour. I didn’t time it.

I was very pleased with the results, coming in about the size of a mini deck that’s full-color goodness! It’s much easier to get lost in the images without the distraction of the words and numbers. The sizes are not exactly uniform, but close enough to work and shuffle just fine.

I reassured the cards I’d love them even more now, and the last card that came up for the operation was the Hierophant. So I’m declaring it a success.

Next time, I’ll be chopping the frayed edges of my Legacy of the Divine deck to see if I can’t give it some more mileage. Woot!

Would you consider altering a Tarot deck?

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Captain Virgo, Radiant Rider Waite, Tarot Crafts, Tarot Decks

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    1. Yeah. If you click the picture, you can see it bigger. It’s just a little punch, you slide the card up against the edges to line it up and push down.

  1. Captain Virgo sounds like the Captain Capricorn I’m married to.

    A dear friend gave me the Housewive’s Tarot and I think the ladies would bitch-slap me if I altered the cards, plus they’re the perfect size.

    The RW cards I have a hard to shuffle so I’d consider cutting those down. I’ll have to really look at them and see what they say.

    Love the crafty tarot ninja vibe

  2. Ok well apparently I got my answer from my Rider Waite cards!!! I keep my cards in an open box on a small shelf under my desk and when I pulled out the RW box it flipped over and they scattered everywhere. It’s as if they were running away. The 3 cards which landed upright; Judgement, Empress & Queen of Swords. I think I’m being threatened with a severe paper cut if I use my guillotine paper cutter to them.

    BTW I’ve been using my paper cutter this morning trimming down pages to fit a book. I guess they heard all the chopping this morning.

    1. This completely cracks me up! I know my deck was less than pleased with my decision but seems to have made peace with it, as it’s still talking to me. I have apologized for the trauma.

  3. I have a deck that I never used because the cards were too big for my hands and, I dunno, the categories and names just didn’t speak to me… so I am right now taking the scissors to the cards, one by one… and tossing out altogether those cards that I don’t like… I may need to do a second cut cuz they’re still too wide… but I already like them better, and can now focus on the images, undistracted by any assigned meaning! Yay! Thanks for a splendid idea, Dixie! ::thumb up::

  4. I thought about it with a few of them, but was afraid I would screw it up.

    I’ve thought about buying the Radiant Rider Waite recently, so it’s nice to see the pictures here.

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