I've been wondering for the last little while if it would be possible to make your own playing cards off of a inkjet printer, and if so, then how? What I would like to do, is to have photos on one side of the cards, with the card symbol (ie: 8 of hearts) and then have a rather simple, but coloured back.
I am assuming that you would need a doubled sided paper. I'd be guessing it doesn't need to be great quality, but it would need to be very thick, which I think goes hand in hand with price. Also, how would you cut the paper into the proper sizes, would you have to use a paper cutter? And would there be any way to get the good rounded edges?
Any suggestions would be appreciated,
Here are the things to be concerned with:
1. The paper/image should not be damaged by handling
2. The ink should not come off on people's fingers
3. The cards need to be exactly the same size for shuffling
4. The front and back need to be well aligned
5. The design should not extend to the edge
6. durability as playing cards
With regard to 1, I would recommend a matte paper.
for 2 and 4, you would have to test the paper & layout, but modern inkjets are repeatable enough for the purpose.
As far as 3 goes, you might be able to find a print shop that can bulk cut the paper stack.
Number 5 is because you won't notice a minor misalignment if there is no image at the edge of the cut.
Whatever you do, the durability will be relatively low - the durability of regular playing cards is from the plastic coating.
Depending on the quantity of card decks that you need, it might be easier and/or cheaper to go with a custom deck making service. The cards you make yourself will also not be as durable as those from a custom service.