I Gilded a Tarot Card Deck... Here's How it Went...
Originally published in 2011
I'd recommend that you read the whole piece before trying this.
There are a number of different things you can do to personalize the appearance of a tarot deck, among them is gilding. Recently to posting this blog I trimmed one of my decks. The trimming experience left my cards in need of sealing along the edges. I thought that gold paint would be a neat touch. When shopping on eBay I found a smashing deal on a gold Sharpie paint marker. With no idea of how much paint it would take, two were bought in medium, medium point was likely the best width to work with too - at least for me.
This is the deck that was gilded
|This image shows completed deck after both trimming and gilding|
Handling the paint marker was a cake-walk; that said, you need to exercise care.
Note: Be careful when using permanent paint marker. The paint dries exceptionally fast when spilt. Within two seconds it's dried hard enough that it cannot be removed.
The deck was handled soon after the first application. This caused the initially applied paint to work into the cardstock, it ended up looking flat, matte actually. So the paint was re-applied days later, the second time I didn't handle it for a few days to give it time to dry solidly and shiny. I'd recommend that you not touch the deck for approximately a week if you can avoid it, it stays mildly sticky that long. Anyway, I wish you luck if you try anything similar.
Tips: If you need to tap the felt of the marker on a surface to get the paint flowing, make sure that it isn't right near the cards, check the marker each time for drips. And along the same line of thought, the paint dries solid in areas on the felt of the marker, which makes the process of painting the cards more tedious and time consuming. As a result you must often lightly depress the felt on a solid surface. The more you repeat this process, the more likely it is that paint will run down the side of the marker as you do.
Comments and observations (what I thought as I finished the project): Sharpie gold paint marker was a good choice of tool (for handling). The color could have been more much more "gold" though, it dried to a dark antique brass color, I like it just the same. In the end only one marker was used; however, for somebody else's application technique, another might be required. Also, expect to get a small amount of paint where you don't want it to go - I can almost guarantee it will happen.
|This swatch provides an example of the paint color used|
Update long after the gilding - I wouldn't recommend that anyone do this unless they were willing to let a bit of oil staining seep into the edges of the deck. Also, after a while the paint gets gummy; it seems that's what happens as it breaks down with handling. In the end I filed the gilding off. What this did achieve though, is to thoroughly seal the deck. If you want to try something like this, perhaps experiment on an older or less favorite deck, and with various brands of paint marker.
Conclusion - I would only try this again with other brands of paint marker, and would test it on a less favorite deck before the fact.