In How to make a custom set of playing cards - Approach 1 I presented the approach I currently use to make playing cards for games I am prototyping. I think it is the best approach, but it is not the cheapest. This instructable shows a previous approach that is cheap, easy and surprisingly playable. The only real downside is that the area for customization is quite small.
Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies
For this instructable you will need:
1) Your card designs
2) Cheap pack of playing cards
3) Mailing labels
The playing cards can be picked up at the dollar store (2 packs for $1 at my local Dollar Tree) as can be the mailing labels. That means you can create 112 unique cards (these decks have 4 jokers) for $2 in supplies.
Step 2: Printing the Cards
For this step you have a few options.
The first is to use Excel or a similar spreadsheet as shown in the template below. This enabled me to print vertically on the labels (side ways) matching the orientation of the card.
The second is to use a word processor, but you may find it hard to do vertical labels.
The last choice is to simply write on the labels by hand. This gives you the greatest degree of flexibility but the most work as well.
NOTE: You could also use the nanDeck program mentioned in my other instructable which would make the vertical printing much easier.
Step 3: Finish the Cards
The final step of course is to add the labels. The finished results are below.
The good news is that the cards shuffle and handle well.
The good/bad news is that the labels can not be removed which means that the deck will last but you can't easily change the cards. Your only real option is to stick a new label on top.
Which brings us to the bad news. The labels had a little thickness. You don't notice this with a few cards, but when you have a lot of cards you will notice it. This get's worse of course with labels on top of labels.