So, over the past… oh hell, I don’t know. Few months? I’ve done a long list of deck modifications. Which, to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed.
I don’t modify every deck in my collection, but I’ve found that there are a variety of decks in my collection that I either don’t use for some production value reason (too big, awkward sizing, unfinished looking, distracting borders, titles that don’t “fit” with my reading style, etc). This year I’ve begun going through my collection and picking out the ones that I feel need a little TLC of the “deck mod” variety.
I do have a couple of previous posts [Post 1, Post 2] where I went through a couple of mods. This one will be… bigger. And a lot more comprehensive. But it will not contain the decks previously mentioned as this is more of an update on my progress of going through and altering those I feel need some adjusting.
These will be in alphabetical order (instead of chronological) simply for convenience. (I named the pics for this post with the deck names and so now, in the folder, they’re in alphabetical order.)
First up is the Angelarium: Oracle of Emanations deck. I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of angel decks, but I did end up ordering this one because the angels… well, don’t look like traditional angels. I like the artwork, and I’ve actually pre-ordered the sequel (Angelarium: Oracle of Watchers) which I plan on combining with this deck to make into a single larger deck.
The only thing I did with this deck is edge it in black. Interestingly, something about the card stock made the black turn a shade of dark, dark blue which I really like. I decided to only do one coat specifically to preserve this blue hue.
The Angels and Ancestors is another deck with angels in it, and yet they also are not the traditional iteration of the concept. They actually give me an impression more of spirit guides than angels, which along with the artwork and color scheme, made this deck easy for me to bond with.
For this deck, I got the idea for the edging from Boho Tarot. I liked what she did with her deck and modified it a bit for my own tastes. I first edged in yellow marker before using Distress Ink’s Tea Dye shade as a finger-rub along the edges for an uneven, aged look. I then used gold ink in the same finger-rub method to give a hint of sheen.
The Arcana deck by Dead On Paper. I looked and looked for this deck for quite a while after I stumbled upon a random image of one of its major arcana cards. I couldn’t find it and was so frustrated. Then I saw it on BoyDiviner’s YouTube and he was kind enough to provide me with the name of the deck and publisher. From there I immediately ended up purchasing the deck and I’m really glad I did. The card stock is SO nice, the size is standard playing card size (as opposed to standard tarot size). The deck is structured so that it can be used as either a tarot deck or a playing card deck. I love it.
The cards aren’t black but actually a really deep, dark brown with a hint of distressed texture. So, what I did was I edged them in black. I then used the finger-rub method to add bronze marker ink to the edges.
The Badger’s Forest Tarot was a bit of a debate for me when I first got it, to be honest. I have absolutely no fondness for the thick brown border on the backs of the cards. At all. But, the deck is borderless on the face of the cards, which means if I wanted to remove the brown border, I’d have had to cut into the artwork… and I just wasn’t willing to do that.
So… I decided to live with the brown borders on the backs. I don’t do a lot of face-down spreads, as I prefer to set my cards down face up and get my initial impressions as they are laid into place, so it’s not a huge sacrifice.
For modification, edged the card in brown, taking a good deal of care to ensure that I didn’t pollute the artwork on the front of the cards with the ink. I then did a finger-rub with bronze marker ink.
The Dreaming Way Tarot, I edged in a combination of greens. This included green Midliner marker overlayed with yellow PrismaColor marker, as well as three different shades of Distress Ink (Bundled Sage, Shabby Shutters, and Old Paper). Essentially, I shuffled the deck, and then split the deck into four equal sections and colored each section with a different shade.
The Faery Forest Oracle is the oracle that I pair my WildWood Tarot deck with when doing intricate spreads (such as the year in view spread). You can see the swaddle (cotton cloth) that I use to store the deck in within the background of the photos. That fabric is the same fabric that I use to swaddle the WildWood deck. For me, the two decks just… go together.
I edged this deck in PrismaColor green marker.
As you can see above, I also edged my WildWood Tarot in PrismaColor green marker. I did this with intention, because like the swaddling of the Faery Forest Oracle, I wanted the colors to match each other.
Before edging this deck, I trimmed it. The white borders on this specific deck of cards really bothered me. It felt like the artwork and message of the cards was “trapped” inside a cage. Freeing this deck from its borders makes it feel far more open and has made it far easier for me to read intuitively.
At the same time, I didn’t want to remove the titles, because I -do- use the guide book with this deck and sometimes need a little help identifying the cards due to their nontraditional depictions. By leaving on the titles, it made the design on the back a bit off-center. Although this niggles at my anal-retentive side, it was the most practical option, and I can live with it.
The Tarot Familiars just felt unfinished. Black backs, dark fronts… white edges. It just didn’t jive for me. I had initially wanted to edge the cards in colors to match the dark hues used in the borders on the fronts of the cards, but I found it impossible to find inks that were a good match, so I ended up edging the deck in black marker instead.
Godard’s Bird Spirit Tarot (sorry, I don’t have a link for this one) is a deck that I don’t really see passed around a lot in the tarot community. That said? I love the deck. I think the artwork has a sweet depth to it and the cards have vibrancy to them without being overpowering.
I simply edged this deck in black to finish it off, because like the Familiars Tarot, it felt unfinished with black borders on both the fronts and backs, but white edges that were raw and unfinished.
The Kuan Yin Oracle is one of the decks that I recently wrote about in Part 1 of my response to Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot. I really like the softness of this deck, but it felt unfinished in the way some of my other decks that I’ve edged did. The card faces have borders in a variety of different shades, and although I considered cutting them off, I ended up using them as a guide to color the edges in matching hues.
In the picture above, you can see the hues all in order, and then on the far left you can see what the deck looks like shuffled.
The Mystical Shaman Oracle was given to me by you just recently for our anniversary, and you’ve already seen a few pics of the finished work, because I was doing it while we were talking.
I edged each side of this deck in a different PrismaColor marker to match shades of color off the card backs (green, yellow, red, brown). Once edged in marker, I then applied bronze Sharpie ink with the finger-rub method before repeating the process with Distress Ink in black in a fade from the corners.
The Oracle of Echoes came into my collection recently and also felt unfinished with the plain white edges. This deck also comes with a PDF “little white book” rather than a printed one. I ended up printing out the PDF and making it into a book. I might make a post about that later at some point, as it was my first experience in making a book.
I debated between whether I wanted to edge this deck in black, or edge it in red and then antique it with black ink. I ended up going with edging it in black because I felt the deck’s artwork (back and front) was busy enough and that the red might end up distracting from the artwork.
This is turning out to be a monster post, yeah?
Next is the Pagan Otherwords Tarot. This one, you can barely tell the edging even in person. I edged the deck in the gold colored Brilliance DewDrop, but I kind of feel like it’s too light or… not opaque enough.
I might end up trying again with a gold Sharpie. I would really like to get to a shade and texture of colors that better matches the antiqued gold look on the inside of the box.
Maria Rikteryte’s Sacred Geometry Cards are a deck that I really debated on whether I wanted to trim or not. I originally bought these with the intention to do just that. I bought them to combine with the Cosmic Cards deck by Amaya Ajay, which would have involved trimming this deck to match the size of the Cosmic Cards.
The problem was… these cards are really huge. I mean REALLY huge. (I’ve included a picture of one of the cards set beside a standard tarot sized card so that you can see what I mean.) They’re bigger than I thought they would be, even though I looked at the size before buying them. Trimming them down to match the size of the Cosmic Cards wasn’t feasible. Trimmed vertically, you would end up with a few cards with the phrases truncated on either side. Trimmed horizontally, you have to sever the designs exactly in half.
So… I decided to keep them their original size. At least for now. And I edged them in orange Midliner marker followed by yellow PrismaColor marker in order to match the shade of orange in the designs on the cards.
For the Tarot of the Secret Forest, I did another edging in black. Sometimes? That’s all that’s needed to make a deck feel finished. In this case, that was especially true. Both the backs and the fronts of these cards contain artwork, and both the backs and fronts have black borders. The white on the edges just didn’t look good at all, whereas in my opinion the deck now looks really nice.
Another deck that I just edged in black was the Student Tarot (I believe this is v.5). I don’t have a link for this one either, unfortunately. This is another deck you don’t see very often in the tarot community. It was a gift from my sister and is… well, cute as fuck. It’s designed with little anime characters on the cards and always has a very “cheerful and fun” energy whenever I use it.
Third in a row! Another black edging. This is the Vintage Oracle Tarot. As you can see, like the Tarot of the Secret Forest, it has a nice thick black border. The white on the edge of the cards really bugs me on cards with black borders and edging the deck in black in those cases always seems to create a sense of relief… as if the white causes some sort of stress that edging them in black eases.
This is the White Sage Tarot, which as you can see, I edged in multiple colors. The reason for this was because this deck has a clear intention to it as to being used with Chakras energy. The information for Chakra associations is very clearly outlined in additional cards included in the deck as well as in the little white book, where the author specifies which Chakra each card is associated with. I divided the deck into the seven chakras as per their associations in the little white book, and then used Crayola permanent marker on the edges to correspond with the Chakra colors. I then used the Brilliance DewDrop in platinum to add a bit of a finger-rub of sheen to the cards and “cool off” the colors a bit.
The last picture on the right shows how this deck looks after being shuffled.
I initially wanted to add a little colored dot to each card instead, and leave the edges white, but the card stock is so glossy that I couldn’t get any of my markers to stick. The marks just rubbed right off, even after letting them dry for a bit.
This is my Mini WildWood Tarot, which I’m pretty sure is an unauthorized publication out of China? I’m not entirely sure where I got this deck, as I have had it for a really long time. If I’m not mistaken, it was a gift. I could be wrong on that.
Anyway. I edged this deck in yellow PrismaColor marker to match the yellow on the back of the cards. I considered doing it in green, as I had for my full sized WildWood mentioned above, but I didn’t want it to be a clone as the mini deck has it’s own energy and personality.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Wisdom Seeker’s Tarot. It’s funny, because I’ve noticed that people either seem to love the backs of these cards, or really dislike them. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground there.
I personally like them, which is a bit surprising, because I’m not really a big fan of “hot” colors (reds, oranges, yellows). But for this deck? The backs seem just right.
I trimmed this deck to remove the white borders that were present on both the fronts and the backs. They just felt so wrong. So…. I cut them off, although I ended up leaving the titles mostly because I’m a fan of precision. Reading from a deck without the titles is a very intuitive process for me. Sort of the difference between spilling ink over paper to create art, or instead using a pen nib to draw with. The titles are the nib. I may spill ink too, but I like having the pen handy.
After trimming, I edged this deck with orange PrismaColor marker on the horizontal edges, and yellow PrismaColor marker on the vertical edges. I then used the Brilliance DewDrop in gold to do a finger rub that was heavier on the corners and lighter along the planes, causing the orange and yellow to blend a bit rather than being so stark in transition.
I’ll probably let another handful of modifications build up again before I do another post like this. It just feels easier for me to post them in a group like this than to share them individually.