How to: Make your own playing cards

layersI’ve searched high and low for the past 6 months for a Photoshop action script that will automate the process of placing playing card suites and numbers on top of a folder full of images. Having admitted defeat, I made my own template document, which goes half way towards completing the task.

This is a Photoshop template containing all the characters needed to insert a picture into a complete set of playing cards.

To download the 14MB Photoshop CS4 document, click the below link to download the PDS document from

Inside the file you’ll see that each of the layers containing the back card pattern, the suites, red and black numbers on opposite corners and the border mask are each in separate layer groups.

All you need do is print out each image, with alternating layer items hidden and revealed, with either your own design or photograph placed on the bottom blank layer, either on photo paper or card.

Click this link: Filefactory and download the template.

If anyone knows how to write a complete action script, which will automatically apply this template to a folder of images, alternating each suite and number card to make a complete set of playing cards, without having to do this manually, I’d like to give cards made in this way as a gift next Christmas—so you’ve got 12 months to get in touch!

Thanks in advance.


29 comments on “How to: Make your own playing cards

  1. This is a pretty good start for a deck of cards. Keep in mind to print these they should be multi up on a sheet so I would treat each suit individually or each number set. Four up with the Aces, 4 up with the 2’s etc all the way to 4 up with the Kings. If you deal with the suits then it would be hard to have so many up. The sheet size would be quite large with 13 or 14 up including Joker. This would make it easier to create a complete action script. If I give it some time I will send you the results.

  2. Pingback: Homo Sum » Blog Archive » Closing tabs from last year

  3. I’m currently designing cards for print – about 500 packs. You guys seem to have a fair bit of knowledge care to share with an ammeter?

  4. Kyle. This is as far as I got in “automating” the process. I would dearly love to find someone out there who can script Photoshop so that it’ll take a folder of images and automatically apply the suites and numbers red and black to them. I realise this would involve pre-processing the source images so they were portrait orientated, but apart from that I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be easily doable for someone who knows how to program sequences of events in Photoshop’s language, so to speak.

  5. Well I wish I could help! I’m purely a recreational photoshop user, I design Flyers for club nights and mock up fake products for work things. I’d love to get have more time to spend learning CS4 in its entirety.
    Do you have much print knowledge? Could you recommend the most cost efficient way to print 500 card packs? I thought grouping 6 cards together to make an A5 sheet. 9 sheets to make 54 cards, 4500 sheets to make 500 packs. All this is just guess work though. This morning I sent a few enquires to print firms but I haven’t had any feedback yet.
    I’m Sorry I can’t help you write an action script but would you mind If I used your file for work reasons? It would be very very helpful, cuts out so much labour! If you achieve what you want how much easier will the process be?

    I’ll probably design the box template in the next few days would anyone want this .psd uploaded?

  6. Box template would be cool, please!

    There’s no way I can stop anyone using the basic template for commercial purposes, but if you can somehow get a complementary pack of the finished product over to me it’d be appreciated.

  7. Hi Jim…

    I have downloaded your template to try, but the layer set folders won’t open…do i need to unlock them somehow…?

    looks great..did you ever get a script to work?

  8. How to: Make your own playing cards
    Posted by Jim Gardner on December 28, 2008

    The links do not work anymore. Is it possible I get it from you.

  9. Hi I’m a high school graphic design teacher and would love the file but it won’t let me download it. Can you email it to me?

  10. Hi, I am from England and I am interested in manufacturing themed playing cards in England. I like the idea of the software in this article, unfortunately the file factory link no longer works. Has anyone an up-to-date link or news on how to automate aying card production.

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