How to Produce and Fund Your First Deck of Custom Playing Cards - Part 1A
Before diving headfirst into Kickstarter, I want to circle back and talk about custom tucks, as well as other custom features. As I said in Part 1, the printer you choose is important- especially when it comes to the tuck. Most playing card manufacturers will offer custom embossed and foil tucks, as well as custom seals. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be more expensive than finding a tuck printer on your own. But if you're determined to go the custom route, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, if you're looking for a big name printer, they may not give you the time of day. This sucks and it's the ugly side of this hobby but it's part of being the new guy on the block. Second, you likely have a local print shop that's quite capable of printing custom tucks so you don't have to put up with hobby politics.
As mentioned, there are a lot of great printing companies out there, but my personal favorite is Clove St. Press. The quality of their work is amazing, they are a budget-friendly option. The downside is that there can be a bit of a wait, but in my opinion it's worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your project will be done right. Mama Sauce is definitely worth checking out also. I've heard great things about their work, and I'm sure you'll be happy with their results. Whichever company you choose, just be sure to give yourself enough time to get your project done - you don't want to end up rushing it and being unhappy with the results!
Obviously, a custom tuck is the way to go if you want to add a touch of luxury to your playing cards. However, they may also be a source of aggravation if you're not careful. If you choose to have your tucks printed outside of the card manufacturer and assemble them yourself, you'll need a cello machine and possibly a tape gun and double sided tape. Your printer will more than likely have a tape and glue option but if they don't, you'll have to assemble them yourself. The tape gun I use is the Scotch ATG 700 with 3M 969 Adhesive Transfer Tape - 1/2 or 3/4". We use a block of wood the side of a deck to assist in assembling the tucks squarely. Then we apply the seals if needed and cello using a Xopax cello machine. But even with all the right equipment, assembling custom tucks can be a real pain. So if you're considering custom tucks, ask yourself: is it really worth it? ( yeah, I hate it bad enough to mention it twice in the same paragraph.)
Next you may want to add a seal. If you're looking for deck seals that are truly out of this world, you'll want to consider Frontier Label or Maverick Label. Both companies offer an excellent array of options for customizing your seals, and they're sure to have a design that's just right for your needs. However, if you're looking for numbered seals, you'll want to go with Maverick. Frontier no longer offers variable data but their customer service is simply unbeatable. So if you're looking for the best of the best, You'll want to go with one of these two.
If you're looking to get your deck assembled and cello wrapped, there are several places that provide this service. For a fee, they'll do all the work for you. Gamblers Warehouse is one place that offers this service, they also offer tuck printing. It's a one stop shop for everything from printing to assembly and fulfillment. So if you're feeling lazy, or just don't have the time, you could let Gamblers take care of everything for you.
In part 2 we will dig into Kickstarter, Promotions and Prototypes.