Prototyping tips - transparent plastic cards

March 3, 2021
tags:  prototypecardstipplastic

Hi all. Quick post about making transparent plastic cards for protoyping.

So, I'm playing around with a design idea that would benefit from transparent cards. Not a new idea, of course -- I was inspired by John D. Clair's Card Crafting System games.

After some trial and error, I found a method of making some pretty robust plastic cards for prototyping purposes.

What I used:

  • Swingline Laminator (mine is model "Inspire Plus" 9-inch)
  • 3mil lamination pouches
  • Ink-jet full-page labels, trimmed to size
  • 5mil wet-erase transparency film

The process is pretty simple, and pretty obvious -- place the stickers directly on the transparency film, then laminate it in the pouches (be sure to brush away any dust, or it will become a permanent part of your prototype). Cut apart into cards.

The result is something that feels basically the same as the plastic cards in AEG's games, minus the minor sticker bulges. They shuffle well and seem to put up with a lot of abuse. The clarity of the plastic seems to my eye slightly better than the professional cards.

Enjoy your prototyping!

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