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30 Days of Playing Card Art

Inspired by some playing card designs on Pinterest and a 100 day sketch challenge blog, I combined these ideas into this Playing Card Art Challenge.

  • Take an old deck of cards  ♣
  • Doodle, decoupage, do whatever to turn each of these cards into art  ♥
  • Share 1 per day for 30 days  ♠



Day 23/30 Triangular Prism

1card 3s

It has 3 sides and it’s made out of 3s. They all seem to point, leading the eye forward. These are replicas of 18th century playing cards that I got in the gift shop across the street from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, probably in 2010.

I was out of 3s. I don’t know what happened to them all. I did a 3♥ on day 3 and the 3♦ on day 13, but I don’t know what happened to the 3♣ and 3♠.  To be honest, I did say upfront I wasn’t playing with a full deck.  For example…

8 of Hearts Laura Ockel

This is one of the missing cards. I used it for an Eight Off solitaire article a couple of years ago. Maybe I used the 3s for a similar project. But the missing treys inspired me to do this nifty photo concept instead, so it all worked out :)

♦  ♠  ♥



Day 22/30 Spiral Galaxy

Playing Card Art

Today’s piece was made with caviar beads and glue. The purple beads are metallic while the pink are translucent pearl, which is why they pick up the light so beautifully. This is one of those rare occasions when I found a photo taken from my phone (above) looked better than the DSLR version (below).

Altered Playing Cards

I originally intended the hearts would each rain down vertically and meet in the middle, but then I imagined the rain from the hearts was caught in a breeze, like when you blow on a dandelion fluff. So the design morphed into a vortex pattern… which sounds pretty impressive, for an arts and crafts project ;)




Day 21/30 Leaves

Playing Card Art

I was working on this idea back when I did the Scissor Art made with Leaves post, but I really wanted to do a new spade cutout, and I wanted to photograph the card on a pile of autumn leaves.  This has been a ridiculously late autumn, but I finally got some nice leaves to work with today after a rainstorm.

I gathered them this afternoon and pressed them until I was ready to take the photo.  Each leaf was carefully placed.  It’s hard to tell if the leaf in the center of the card is a leaf or a hole in the card.




Day 20/30 King Poseidon

Playing Card ArtI thought this art paper had a nice color harmony with the colors of the King of Spades. It had an oceanic look, and I thought about adding other ocean elements, like tiny shells. In the end, I went in this direction. I added color accents with acrylic paint and incorporated this polka dot paper for an upside-down K and funky organic spade. Both were hand cut and carefully formed to work in with the curves of the card design and paper pattern.

This is an earlier version, before the painting and final elements were added.

Playing Card Art




Day 19/30 Laser Show

Playing Card Art 9ClubsThe gray-looking dots are actually made of fine brassy mesh screens.  Each is held to the card with its own color of metallic thread.

Playing Card Art mixed mediaThe metallic threads were woven through the circular screens, then placed across the card, carefully slicing and subdividing each of the nine clubs in the process.

The lines of the mesh are an interesting counterpart to the lines of the thread, and the varied metallic finishes have an interesting contrast.


Day 18/30 Eight O’Clock

Playing Card Art 8ClubsThis was the most detailed, challenging project I have done thus far.  The only one that comes close was Day 4.

Altered Playing CardsI started by laying out the entire design, planning as I went. I tried the 9♣ first, but the design required a bit more open space, so I reworked it on the eight. Then I took pictures, so I could remember what it looked like…

8C wip1b

Then I moved all the pieces off so I could start piercing holes and maneuvering gears through the card. You may notice the finished product doesn’t look like the initial concept piece, but the center is the same, for the most part.

Altered Playing Cards

Some of the gears had long center shafts that needed to be trimmed and sanded.  Most of the card holes were created with a pin.

Altered Playing Cards

Some of the gears are carefully stacked and balanced, giving the piece a detailed 3 dimensional look.

Playing Card Art 8C Gears

These are actual watch gears from vintage watches.  They are really tiny, and this is a macro photograph of the card to show the details.  The gears have different metals, finishes, teeth sizes.  I was surprised at how perfectly they fit with the circles of the clubs.

Playing Card 8 of Club Gears

Taking the photos turned out to be as big a project as making the card.  I tried to scan it, but the silver gears looked as dark as the clubs. I photographed it with the tripod and trigger remote, adjusting the studio lighting to make the silver gears reflective. Even after all that effort, the end result image looked odd because of the shadow direction.  I liked it and wanted to show it anyway, so I did this rotated view of the card (below).  Now the shadow looks nice, and you can see how different it looks when rotated 180°

Playing Card Art 8 of Club Gears


See day 17 through day 1 by clicking HERE








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