Monday, September 1, 2014

Altered Playing Card Challenge Day 1

Hello all and thank you for joining me in this adventure, I'm thrilled that so many have expressed an interest in doing this challenge. 

I have created a Facebook group for those that would like to join and share photos of the cards that they are creating. You can ask me any questions there along the way as well.
 Just Click the link and ask to join

For today we are going to "prepare" or "prep" all 52 of our playing cards so that we don't have to wait for drying time later and we can just get to decorating in the weeks to come. 
Believe me, this prep is well worth it in the end and will make our process so much more easy.

So for starters, you don't have to do your cards exactly like mine, you can prep yours however you'd like to but we need to give those card something for sprays, inks, paint and markers to hold onto. The surface is too slick "as-is" and nothing will stick to it.
My medium of choice is Gesso,
Gesso will give your card "tooth" so that we can glue things on, decorate and paint any way we want to.

You can also sand your cards if you want to, I prefer the gesso because it also makes the cards sturdy but let me show you both

I use a piece of paper behind my work area and because I'm doing all 52 cards at once, I work mostly on the floor for this

Supplies are basically, a deck of cards (I use basic bicycle cards from Walmart) gesso (if your using it, I used Liquitex), sander or sandpaper and pallet knife

If you are using the sanding technique, simply sand the back of all 52 of your cards, Boom! Your done until next week
(I work onto the backside of my cards because if I want to actually play with my cards afterwards, I can)
If you are doing the gesso you simply apply it to the back of each card like butter on bread, you can leave apply so that some parts of your backing shows through too

This is the fun part, you can create texture by simple dabbing and lifting your pallet knife into the wet gesso and letting it dry that way. You can also draw into your gesso if you want to

I would leave some of the cards without drawings or texture too

Set each cards aside to dry..  your cards may start to curl during the drying process, no worries they should flatten out

Here is a sanded card with three mediums on top
Acrylic Paint, Dyan Reaveley Sprays and Distress Stain

As you can see, the sanded card shows more of the actual card through the spray, stain and paint 

You also will not get texture with the sanded technique, most of your cards will be flat

Here is a gesso card with the same paint, stain and spray
You can see the texture I created with the gesso and the mediums seems more true to color on the gesso card

and here are both cards side by side
(left) Gesso Card
(Right) Sanded Card

I think this will help you decide which type of "Prep" you would like to do with your cards. 
Here are a few of the gesso cards I created for my 52 card project

You can also smoosh tissue paper into your gesso (before it dries) just to give it a little more texture if you want. Above middle, I added some drywall tape stuff from Lowes
I wouldn't add too much to your cards though because we are going to decorate them, you are just creating your backgrounds here
Weather you go with gesso or sanded or you use another medium to prep, make sure to do all 52 cards, if you use gesso, set them aside to dry for at least 24 hours, once dry I just bundled them up and put a rubber band around them to help keep them flat

So get those cards prepped and I will see you back here next week to begin your first two cards! YAY!!
Again, come join us on Facebook too

See ya soon!!!


  1. Ok, I am getting started.... I am going with gesso!!!

  2. thank you for such clear instructions! this is new to me.

  3. Crud. I forgot to get a pack of cards yesterday. May have to make a run to the store sometime today for a pack.

  4. Can't wait to get started on these. Going to get the Gesso on them today.

  5. I have cards, I have Gesso... Ready to start! Oh wait, I guess I'd better feed my family first, they're grumbling about the lack of food! x

  6. Getting my gesso out,join the FB group: ready to rock and roll!

  7. guess i know what i'll be doing this evening! very excited. xo

  8. Guess I'm going to be busy looking for a deck of cards to do this. I think I like the gesso idea better than sanding. I also like the use of drywall mesh tape but think I'll wait and paint the mesh tape with Extreme Glitter paint. LOL! Alas the floor is out for a work surface as there are two dogs who would be wearing gesso and dog hair adding to the texture so mine will have to be done in batches.

  9. I just added details and the button about your challenge on my blog when I posted tonight.

  10. I used the the texture on yours!! Fabby!! Thank you for getting me motivated :0)

  11. Thanks so much for showing the different finishes, makes a difference when you haven't done this type of thing before. Probably go with Gesso. Looking forward to getting the prep done :-) xxx

  12. I'm glad I have a week to find a full size deck of cards and get 'em gessoed.

    This'll be fun!

    Thanks so much for organizing this!

  13. Yay! All gessoed (if that's not a word it should be!) and ready to go!

    What fun!

  14. I just bought my cards. I'm doing two decks and both sides. I'm going to make "52 Reasons why I Love You" books with them for my hubby and son.

    I added your button to my blog but it wont help get any traffic to here since my blog is new and not too many people know I exist. But its the thought that counts, right? :-)

    Time to grab an iced coffee and get busy with these cards.

  15. Ooh, easing us in gently. This doesn't seem too difficult and as long as I have at least two ready for next week I might be able to keep up LOL. I don't do facebook so maybe I will be an invisible contributor. Hugs

  16. Just discovered your challenge. will definitely join in!

  17. I've always wanted to alter playing cards, so I've joined by putting a link on my right sidebar and blogging about it here:

    I don't belong to Facebook, but I'll be following along and showing cards on my blog. Thanks for hosting this.