self-publishing... hmmm.


I am indigent (I kid you not) & I am very much wondering how in the world one goes about self-publishing. For me, that would mean buying card-stock & running off copies myself...! :D


Home printers mostly use ink that will fade over time, so running a permanent set off on your own computer would basically need some kind of backup file so you could reprint the deck when the cards faded. You're also very limited with the thickness of the card stock the rollers can handle (unless you do a 'sandwich' of two pieces & glue them together.)

It can be done, but you have to consider a lot of things. Expect your reds & yellows to fade out first, for one, if you're doing color. You'll also go through your ink cartridges very fast, for another, since you'd need to use the 'best' mode for printing to get sharp images.

Printing houses & the Xerox printers at office supply stores can do small jobs, so do ask around & check prices if you're looking to do up decks to sell. If the deck is just for you, then doing it at home would work, but keep the original files, just in case you need a reprint.


Home printing fading

This is not necessarily true. I self-publish the Portals in my Studio using archival quality ink and paper that are guarenteed NOT to fade. The ink and paper are rather expensive, one reason the Portals are higher in cost than several self-published decks.

However, they will not least not for more than a hundred years.

I caution against mis-informing people about what can and can not be done from a home-based system, until you have thouroughly researched the different options for printing from home.

For any artist or Tarot deck creator interesting in producing their decks from home or a home-based studio...David and I use Epson printers, Epson archival quality ink, and Epson Archival qualtiy Enhance Matte paper.



How do you get the paper onto the card?

Are they mounted? I figured on printing right onto card-stock.



what about laminating?


card stock

No, they aren't. The archival matte paper is thicker than average paper, with a grainy texture similar to watercolor paper. This paper absorbs the ink and the printed images are luminous...

then I laminate, again at home, using a 3mil laminate that I purchase from I would suggest experimenting with different laminates for your images...because the mainstream brand didn't work for the didn't adhere tightly to the paper and left a degree of fuzziness...but several other self-published decks have used it, with great results. For the Portals, I use GBC HeatSeal Crystal clear. I have to run the cards through the laminator three sometimes four times to get a tight adherence, but when the runs are done...In my opinion...the results are excellent.

I will say, there are no shortcuts in producing the deck out of your home or home-studio. It's a time consuming process and that needs to be taken into consideration both while deciding what types of inks/papers to use and in determining price. But it is very worthwhile to pursue.

Hope this information helps!!





Well, I did say 'mostly'. The printers we'd looked at at the office supply stores that were in our budget range didn't have a lot of the capability of the higher end models. The printers most people have at home are likely not to be able to do a good job unless the person has bought one of the better machines & can get the inks that won't fade. All the printers we've bought for home use have had reds fade out in under 2 years even when the images weren't exposed to sun. We admittedly bought in the cheap to moderate range.

And the higher end ones we checked all had different results when we ran a test image through that had lots of reds. None of the machines matched the particular shade exactly. So you do have to test in advance for color match that you're willing to live with & for what the final image is going to look like from each particular machine.

Always check around, it's the only way to be sure.


The thing to keep in three printers are considered moderate in price ($150-200) but all three come with print profilers...which allowed me to almost match David's high end printer ($800). The biggest difference? David's printer uses a minimum of 7 inks...mine blends from black and three primary it took weeks to match the originals from David's printer. I test-printed and printed until I had prints that almost match his...

Since so many people are making their own decks...the printers that I use are the Epson C-80 and C84. The C84 is new and I still haven't matched up its print profile yet...the software that comes with these printers allows you to create a custom print profile and save it...

The biggest expense (besides the start-up of purchasing the printers, laminator, etc) is the paper and inks. The inks, because of their quality, are very expensive. A black cartridge alone is $32...the color cartridges cost $12 each. With images as dense in saturation as the Portals, I go thru these quickly. And of course, the printers have to be constantly maintained...or you get blotches, uneven printing, etc., etc. David goes through agony with his high end printers...because of both the volume of printing that he does and because those are extremely complex and just a speck of paper remnant can ruin an entire print.

I can't recommend the Epson C-80 series printers enough (and NO, they don't give me a dime <G> unfortunately)!! I use one for basic stuff - LWB's, my general paperwork, office work, and the other two for both the deck and my other work.

The only limitation? Paper size - you are limited to a standard and letter size sheet. But on the plus side? Tons of different papers, card stock, etc can be used with them and the ink is always available somewhere. AND the print software what comes with them allows you an incredible amount of freedom in designing how the color plays out...from something like the Portals to printing your own photography.

I think you'd be pleased with the results and find that the costs of running them are worth it in the long run.

Again, I hope this information helps...I just have been seeing so many talented people with decks they want to produce...and we have had outstanding success and I must say...freedom and control of our product, with the Epson printers...I hope that my experience can allow someone else the same degree of freedom and pride. :)


If only I had the money!

I really am into the publishing-outright business because I am so poor, I simply *must* make money on the decks I produce, I cannot possibly finance them. Not that I'm looking for pity-parties, but I am disabled & live (barely!) on $592 a month. So much for self-publishing. I'm hoping to get Bear & Company interested, hey, you never know! My current idea seems to be much their thing (Celtic artifacts as deck). We'll see.