Picture of DIY Scratch Off Business Cards

Make your own scratch offs just like you find on lotto tickets. All it takes is a little planning, some clever screen printing, and a steady hand.

I love creating unique business cards . I've made them into flat pack vampire kits and used DIY embossing techniques . Not so long ago a friend of mine asked for some to promote his company Instinct Engineering . He'd just finished doing the engineering behind this massive awesome steampunk sculpture called the Raygun Gothic Rocket and wanted some cards showcasing it. I decided that it would be cool if you could scratch away the design plans to reveal the finished sculpture beneath.

At first I thought that it would be a pretty simple job, just assemble everything in Photoshop and hand it off to a printer. After getting quotes back from a few places (some over $1300) I was a bit flustered. I'd promised to make the project happen but couldn't believe how expensive it was to print. Then, I did a little research online. I found this project which gave me the idea: why not create my own scratch off ink and screenprint the cards myself? Then I could stamp them with the drawing on top and get them cut. By doing so much of the labor myself I could save my friend a mint in printing fees. Sufficed it was more work than I'd bargained for and ended up biting my teeth for a month waiting on printers, screenprinting, getting orders waylaid, and generally being tossed about on the choppy waters of fate but in the end I came up with some fantastic, beautiful, and pretty professional looking scratch cards.
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shortone3 years ago

Put you in my gift guide for guys! Just thought I'd let you know :)
bd54 years ago
Okay, you win. I do believe this is my all time favorite Instructable I've ever seen!
saronpaz4 years ago
just a short question, if i need to use a large quantity of scratch off paint. is it ok to use any water soluble paint or just the block printing ink ? i imagine that its quite expensive no ? is there a cheaper version you know of ? thanks a lot s
Dephect4 years ago
Nice! I camped at 7:30 and Adapt and I had front row seats to the rocket show.
circuitfish4 years ago
You just answered my question of what to do for the business cards I need for my upcoming thesis project.
AngeRosser5 years ago
Wow!  I love these.
QueenQuill5 years ago
 Oooh...was the picture on the business card taken at Burning Man?  Looks like Playa in the background...xD
Yeah, that rocket was from Burning Man '09, I was there.  I went into the thing and it was awesome!  The night before the burn it "took off" in a huge fireworks show.  I took a great picture of it with my near-infrared camera rig that came out cool.  I hope the artist brings it back this year as I will be going again.
If it was myself that your comment was for. . . I was in newyork somewhere between Little Italy & Soho.  I had the picture taken not only because it was good graffiti, but the sign she is holding "The End Is Not Near."  Pleased me to no end.
vitex5 years ago
 It's been said before, but well done. Outstanding 'ible.  <bows>  The scratchie idea adds an interesting psychological twist to the classic business card, and no-one is ever going to forget one of these.  I think I might just investigate this for my own bc......
msd85 years ago
 Great 'ibble man, the cards look awesome!

Just a thought for stamping them in step 4...

I noticed you used had multiple single stamps pictured, glued to small pieces of wood. 

If you're stamping entire sheets of the business cards, why not glue a grid of the stamps to a large piece of wood, and that way you can ink up like 12 stamps at once using a larger roller, and print an entire sheet at a time.... That way you only have to register the page to the plate, rather than each individual stamp... i imagine it would be considerably faster too...? 

Anyways just a thought...

Really great looking product man, wish I had the money and an excuse to give ya some work... lol.. 
quinn5 years ago
Absolutely brilliant! 

Question:  What kind of dish detergent?  Just a liquid dish soap like Palmolive or Dawn?
bofthem (author)  quinn5 years ago

Any one of the fluorescent colored clear ones will do. I think I used Palmolive for these.
bsantaana5 years ago
I'm usually a lazy butt but this one is worth getting up for. It is an inspiring 'Ible...
Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I'm sure your hard work and generosity will earn you many karma points.
bethehammer5 years ago
This is awesome.... just thinking that this technique could make some cool party invitations or greeting cards!
mdeblasi15 years ago
This is a fine and fabulous creation.  May I suggest a parts list at the beginning of the entry? 
luvit5 years ago
 with your business, everyone is a winner. kinda.
Lintballoon5 years ago

Awesome cool! And what a good friend you are for doing all that.

Ninzerbean5 years ago
 Wow, I gave you 5 stars by the time I got to step #2!
Whoa!  Incredible!  Fantastic!  Awesome work! (including the time lapse and high-quality instructable)

I suppose I haven't been constructive in a while (in terms of adding to instructables), this makes me want to make things!  (really awesome easily-distributed things like business cards and give-aways, but things in general)

How come you decided to stamp the rocket instead of screen print it over the scratch-off ink?
bofthem (author)  T3h_Muffinator5 years ago
Thanks so much. I hadn't published one in a while either. I'm glad I did.

Good question. The screen printing artist who helped me make the screens and print everything thought that the detail was just too small to get well on her equipment. I took her advice and went with the stamps which I knew could get the tiny lines.
Ward_Nox5 years ago
i thought the scratch off on lotto tickets was Silicon
A W E S O M E !
kcls5 years ago
Could this be implemented to make your own fake instant win lottery tickets, like, for a prank? That would be cool! Great 'ible!
canida5 years ago
Wow, those are sweet!  And I'm going to find an excuse to use that scratch-off ink recipe soon.  Not quite sure how yet...
bofthem (author)  canida5 years ago
Thanks! There are so many things I want to do with it. If I had a store I'd totally have a sweepstakes. There actually are clear stickers covered with scratch off ink to make simple scratchers from just about anything.
lukaj20035 years ago
Wow, what a hell of an effort you made!
Those business cards look awesome!