Introduction: Dropping the Sporty-O Card

About: JoeJoe is a PCB designer, artist, and make-hack-tinkerer who lives in San Francisco, CA. He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop, and also co-founded LumiGeek (…

Sporty-o. The international wingman. He be on the guestlist.

If you enjoy dancing to breaks or electro-house, it's almost impossible to catch a set without vocals by this Atlanta rapper. His smooth flow and punctuated delivery has made him a staple in the dance music scene on hit tracks by artists such as Deekline, Felguk, and DJ Icey. In fact, as a DJ sometimes a Sporty-O track is the solution to make the club go crazy or to save a lackluster set or get a mediocre crowd moving.

In our DJ crew, we have a running joke for this exact scenario about "dropping the Sporty-O card", so naturally we needed a Sporty-O card to drop. And here's how it was made.

Step 1: Design of the Card

This was pretty straightforward after finding a GPL'd vector-based playing card thanks to conjurenation. You can find it here:

I took the file into Corel and modified it to make Sporty-O the "King of Clubs", of course. Our DJ crew has a bit of a soft spot for Malibu rum, so I also added in a few malibu bottles on the back side design.

To spice up the front, I took various pieces of the King card and adorned Sporty-O with them, and then mirrored it diagonally.

Step 2: Print the Oversized Playing Card

Here's the fun part. We have a Roland SP-540i large-format vinyl printer/cutter which can make permanent waterproof stickers. I brought the images into the software, positioned them on the vinyl, and set it into action.

I actually had to do this twice because the Roland has a weird system of determining cut lines. Anything that is a hairline width vector will become a cut. Alternately there is a particular color you can use which will designate a line to be cut instead of printed.

Step 3: Laser Cut the Substrate

I really wanted to use polystyrene sheet for this step as it is flexible and won't snap easily, but although it is safe to cut on the Epilog it leaves a nasty smarm on the laser bed and smells horrible. Instead I settled for 1/16" acrylic and a promise from my friends to be careful with the final product.

The print was slightly oversized with a bleed area, so I cut the acrylic a bit smaller and planned on trimming down the edges of the vinyl with an exacto knife.

Step 4: Adhere the Vinyl

Here's the hard part.

You need your plastic (or whatever substrate you're using) to be *really* clean. Anything on it such as hair or dirt is going to become a bubble under the vinyl that you'll likely not be able to work out.

My wife and I started peeling the backing paper back a touch and aligning one side of the sticker, then slowly moving across the short length of the sticker while smoothing the vinyl from the center out. One person keeps the sticker under tension by pulling so it doesn't stick prematutely and peeling back the backing paper while the other does the smoothing.

Step 5: Pop Dem Bubbles

Inevitably you'll get some little bubbles in the vinyl that you can't smooth out which will need to be popped. With a safety pin point it's easy to come in on the side of these bubbles, give it a little prick, and then push down to smooth it out. If you make a small enough hole it is barely noticeable in the final card.

Step 6: Trim the Edges

This is easy with an exacto knife- just run along the edge using the side of the acrylic as your guide. I tend to stop after each side and ball up the sticky remnants so they don't get stuck to the front of the card or something else annoying like that.

Step 7: Party Time!

Boom goes the dynamite.

Now get out there, cue up Booty Jiggle, and drop that Sporty-O card in the club!

Special thanks to Galen and Marky Ray for unwittingly being my models.