Can I Make My Own Tarot Cards?

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You don't have to be a professional artist to create your own Tarot deck. Image by dotdotred/Collection Mix/Getty Images

Question: Can I Make My Own Tarot Cards?

Reader KT asks, "I live in a country where it's very hard to find Tarot cards for sale. I would like to know if it's okay to create my own cards from the images available on the internet and printed it on a photo paper and attach some colourful designs at the back."

Answer:

You know, one of the marks of being an effective practitioner of magic is the ability to make do with what's on hand.

If you don't have something, you find a way to obtain or create it -- so props to you for thinking outside the box.

An important thing to remember is that images on the Internet are often copyrighted, so if you want to use them for personal use, you *may* be allowed to do so, but you would not be able to sell them or reproduce them for commercial use. If you have any doubt about whether an image may be legally copied for personal use, you should check with the owner of the website. There are a number of websites on which people have made their own Tarot designs available for free to anyone who wishes to use them. Other than potential copyright infringement issues, I think it's a great idea.

Many people have made Tarot cards throughout the course of the centuries. You can purchase blank ones in a set, already cut and sized for you, and create your own artwork to go on them. Or you can -- as you mentioned -- print them out on photo paper or card stock and cut them yourself.

The very act of creation is a magical one, and can be used as a tool for spiritual growth and development. If there is a particular hobby you have, or a skill you enjoy, you could easily incorporate these into your artwork.

For instance, if you're a knitter, you might find a way to draw a deck using knitting needles for swords, balls of yarn for pentacles, and so forth.

Someone with an affinity for crystals could create a deck using different gemstone symbolism. A friend of mine is working on a set of cards involving her children's school drawings, and for years I've been mapping out a deck with photo stills from my favorite television series.

JeffRhee is a Pagan from the Pacific Northwest who loves his motorcycle, and collects vintage riding memorabilia. He says, "Every once in a while when the weather is bad and I can't get out on the bike, I work on my deck that I'm designing just for my personal use. The Coins are represented by Wheels, and the Swords are kickstands. For the Major Arcana, I'm sketching out people that are recognizable in the biking world. It's taken me years just to get halfway through the deck, but it's a labor of love, and it's something just for me, and not to share, because the artwork is stuff that matters to me but probably wouldn't to anyone else."

Ideally, what you'll want to use is images that resonate with you personally. If you just don't feel a connection with the traditional image of a wand, for instance, use something else to represent that suit -- and do it in a way that makes things meaningful to you. It's also important to remember that you don't have to be a professional artist to create a deck of Tarot cards -- use images and ideas that matter to you personally, and you'll find you like the end result .

Are you ready to learn more about the Tarot? Use our 6-step Intro to Tarot Study Guide to get yourself started!