A while back, I made Clear Playing Cards. I really liked making them so, since then, I've been trying to plan other alternative playing cards. In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how to wood burn playing card sticks! They are pretty fun to make and are easy to read and hold. I think these can be fun for the novelty of it and fun for kids to play with. As a bonus, you can always easily make new playing card sticks if some break.

Alternatively, if you don't want to wood burn, you can just use sharpie markers to draw on your designs.

This was my first time trying wood burning. I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out :)

Step 1: Supplies

Time to get started! I wanted to try doing this with regular popsicle sticks originally but decided to go with jumbo ones so I would have more space to work with (this is my first woodburning project ever). You can certainly adapt this for regular popsicle sticks if you want.


  • Jumbo Craft Sticks
  • Wood Burner - the bright red one you see in some pictures is the one I started with, but it kept getting too hot to use and I ended up buying a different one that Jessyratfink has (maroon one with black grip)
    • Tips: Dot Tip and Caligraphy Tip - I liked the dot for outlines and calligraphy for filling in letters and shapes, but you can use what works for you.
  • Pencil and Print off of the design you want to use - I've provided the PDF if you just want to use my design, and the Illustrator file if you want to use it as a starting point to do your own designs.
  • Clear Spray (optional)
  • Sharpie (if you don't want to use a wood burner) - if you use Sharpie markers, you can also use black and red to differentiate the suites.

You will also need a good area to work. I worked in my dining room (which is actually my "do crafts in" room) with the window open. I also wore a respirator and, sometimes, goggles because I kept getting close to my work and I didn't like breathing in fumes or getting them in my eyes.

Playing Cups:

  • Washed and dried soup cans (with the label taken off)
  • Cardstock
  • Duct Tape
  • Double Sided Tape (as you'll see later, I used sticky squares and they were a pain because they weren't strong enough to hold paper on a curved surface or the can, double sided tape will work much better)
<p>My version, hand-drawn with Sharpies. Thanks for the idea.</p>
<p>Those are fantastic! Wonderful pennminship too :)</p>
<p>nice thinking and nice job pen</p>
<p>Thank you :)</p>
<p>Such an interesting concept! I wonder how this would change gameplay for faster-paced games like Blackjack or Spoons.</p>
<p>Oh my gosh, Spoons would be crazy!</p>
Such a cool idea! im soo gunna make these, been looking for some new ideas to use with my wood burner! thanks this is so great!
<p>Thank you :) Have fun!</p>
<p>This is one of the grooviest things ever! I've always been fascinated by playing cards and this is the best twist on a custom playing card deck I've seen. </p>
<p>Thank you :) I've become fascinated in playing cards since making the clear ones. I have more ideas I want to try too!</p>
<p>My boys have never wanted to play card games because it was too hard for them to hold the cards. It took me a little over 30 minutes with black and red sharpies to make a full set of &quot;cards&quot;. My boys loved them.</p>
<p>That is awesome to hear! Do you have a picture of them? I'd love to see how they turned out :)</p>
<p>These look beautiful. I'm thinking that a crazy way to win a round of a game where you have to show your cards(such as poker), is to make a popsicle bomb of your cards, show it, and if you win, throw them on the table with a blast!</p>
<p>I'm loving this idea :D</p>
<p>This is a really cool idea, I like it a lot. Only thing im wondering about is how you would adequately shuffle these... Do you have any tricks for doing it? Do you just put them all face down and slide them around to scramble them up?</p>
<p>I do not have a tried and true method right now, but my method was to lay them on the table (whatever side up) and just try to mess them up, then stick them card side down in the cup. You will probably see some as they go in, but you can mess them up a bit in the cup as well just to make sure you don't know where any specific card is. </p><p>I think trying to keep them all face down on the table might drive you crazy (maybe it won't). I would suggest not worry about that and just concentrate on mixing :)</p>
This would reduce card counting.
<p>We can hope :)</p>
I love these stick-cards. They're cute and also look neat in the can where you can see which end is up. Great instructable too.
<p>Thanks! The cups are nice to keep them organized too :)</p>
<p>I LOVE what you do ! I am writing a book on Casino Gambling Crossword Puzzles and I am wondering if you could supply some original images, pictures for the book and I can give you contributor recognition in the book. Check out my current book on Lawn Care Demystified by Andrew Keith - on Amazon's Kindle Books - http://amzn.to/1S1kC22</p>
<p>I don't understand how you did the actual image transfer. You have one picture of pencil-shaded lines, and rulers and such, but at the same time, it looks like you're hand-drawing them as well.</p><p>In the past, I've done things like ironing a printed page onto a wood surface prior to burning, but I can't tell if that's what you're doing here or not.</p><p>Thanks!</p>
<p>I rubbed graphite on the back of the paper and then traced the other side to transfer the image (where the printed image was). I'm not good at hand drawing at all.</p>
Ah! Good. Thank you.
<p>Fun idea, thanks for sharing. </p><p> For wider sticks, you might look at a thing doctors used to use, they were called &quot;tongue depressors&quot;. I don't know if they still use them, I haven't seen one in years. Maybe they just use them on children.</p>
<p>Yep, that's actually what these are! I found that actual tongue depressors weren't very cheap because they have to be hygienically stored and all, but these jumbo craft sticks are the same size and a fraction of the price :)</p>
<p>I might do a variation of this with stamps and ink for older Girl Scouts.</p>
<p>Stamps sound like a good idea. I'd love to see how they turn out!</p>
<p>Great idea!</p>
<p>thats so cool ! </p>
<p>I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>Thank you :) It was really fun for my first time wood burning!</p>
<p>Slightly larger sticks would make it easier for disabled or severly arthritic people to play cards. They could manipulate them easier than regular cards and hold them in a cup instead of trying to grip a fan of cards. </p>
<p>Definitely! These jumbo craft sticks are better than normal popsicle sticks, but you could definitely go bigger!</p>
<p>these are cute. You could add an old maid stick.</p>
<p>For sure!</p>
<p>Clever idea. Love the simplicity, and the back design is perfect.:)</p>
<p>Thanks! That's my favorite part of the cards :)</p>
<p>They're really cool you have my vote :)</p>
<p>These are great! So clever and so much work - They turned out awesome!</p>
<p>Thanks! I'm really happy with them :)</p>
<p>Excellent. As always. </p>
<p>Thank you :)</p>
<p>Very good idea! A great way to get kids to play and hold cards without having to deal with the cards.</p>
<p>Thanks, I agree :)</p>
<p>I was thinking that these could be laser engraved.</p>
<p>Good Idea, that would also make it impossible to memorize the backside of the cards, so you can't cheat!</p>

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Bio: On Maternity leave, please direct any messages to service@instructables.com - I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. And I am powered by sugar ... More »
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