This week I worked on a reproduction of a 1910 Rider-Waite, with a special twist.
I saw many “aged” RWS deck on the web, but most of the time, the cards are aged by computer and the stains are the same dirty pattern copy-pasted to the 78 cards, and it looks fake. So, the deal was to make my own. It’s a new series that I’m calling the “Tavern Edition”! Next, I will do a version of the Conver’s Tarot de Marseille. I plan to use this RWS Tarot deck in party or family celebrations, so I won’t be afraid to damage any deck that I want to keep clean!
DISCLAIMER: This deck is unique. I only made one copy of it and it’s not for sale. I’m well aware of the Copyrights, and I already own 6 versions of the Rider-Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games Systems. This handmade reproduction is only for my own enjoyment. Thanks for your understanding.
I took pictures of the making of, so that might gives you some ideas to do your own.
Step 1: Printing! The reason I’m printing my own deck instead of using a U.S. Games version is because of the coating. The coating on the manufactured tarot cards prevent them to get stained too much, and that’s exactly what I don’t want for this project. So first, I scanned my U.S. Games Smith-Waite Centennial Edition — Yes, it’s copyrighted, but the deck is not for sale, and it’s for my own use. Then, for the back, I recreated the 1910 backing of the RWS using a hi-res scan of the card and Photoshop. I printed the cards (both sides) on a 300 gsm (110 lb) cardstock, the same as U.S. Games.
Step 2: The cutting! I made a template to cut the card at the same dimension. Now, before cutting the cards, make sure your backs are covering all the front cards. I added some fun and decentered the cards, based on the “1909 Prototype” and the “1910 Pamela-A” decks. That’s 78 cards, and I think it took me 2 hours. That’s not a project that you can do quickly!
Step 3: Rounding the Edges! I used a “Sunstar Kadomaru Pro” Corner Cutter (S4765036) for the edges, using the “small” corner. For one of them, I got distracted and used the “Medium” size, but hey, it adds to the charm, and a seriously cannot spot it quickly!
The U.S. Games Centennial Edition cards vs my handmade card:
Step 4: Staining! Now the fun begin!! This steps is even longer than the cutting/rounding, and it probably took me a good 3 hours! Good tip: Shuffle your new deck before staining them. The reason is that during the aging/staining process, your technique will evolve or (at the end) will become impatiently quick!! So, that will prevent to see the evolution of the process in a chronological order if you ever decide to put them in order! I decided to use a container of water stained with tea and the distress ink from Jim Holtz. Now, if you choose to use Jim Holtz’s Distress Ink, remember that it’s a water based ink. You need to add water on it (before of after) to “activate” the ink, and make sure it will stays on the card. I discarded the coffee grains but that could have been used too. I works well for aging the pages of a book, but it can be time consuming. Anyway, here is the result:
I decided to sand some of the cards that have a very deep black.
Now, the final touch will be to pile the cards together and to stain the sides using a sponge. That looks old and dirty!!
In a later step, I plan to add some red wine stain, notably on the Three of Cups! I’ll do it this weekend!