To Trim, or Not To Trim

I’ve been watching a bunch of videos on trimming decks. There are so many decks to which publishers seem to insist on adding very wide borders, maybe to increase the overall size of the card. Do they think that makes it more desirable? I don’t know. Nobody needs or wants 1/2″ borders on cards. Two of the most egregious recent examples are the Star Tarot (and let me tell you we all wept when we saw this. Cathy McClelland, the deck creator, must have been beside herself). We waited YEARS to see this deck in physical form, and this is what the publisher did to Cathy’s beautiful art.

And the mass market edition of the Gaian Tarot, which has not only the white border, but the publisher saw fit to add an outer blue border as well. Why?

Inexplicable. Unwilling to settle for the art being swallowed whole by these dreadful borders, Tarot readers have been trimming them off. Katey Flowers shows her Star Tarot trimming session here, and it looks AMAZING without the borders.

I haven’t attempted this with any of my decks yet, but I’m giving serious consideration to trimming my Efflorescent Tarot. I copied and printed out a few of the cards to practice on, here they are side-by-side to show the difference:



By the last one I’d gotten the effect I wanted by not trimming too close initially so that when I rounded the corners it didn’t remove the black border on the corners. It increases the work as I’d have to go back and re-trim each side to get it right against the border. I think I like the black border left on, but I should try a couple without for comparison, I guess.

Ten of Cups minus black border, but with the number still.
Three of Cups completely borderless. I can write the suit number on the card if I want, gold or bronze or even black. Both artwork images are exactly the same size, just no borders on the trimmed image.

I put one of the cards in the window with the back facing to see how it might affect the back design. As you can see, the black line outlines the area that the back design occupies, so it shouldn’t affect the backs much, if at all (provided all the images are centered identically, which doesn’t always happen). But cutting off the black borders, or the bottom with the card number, would definitely screw up the symmetry of the backs.

So, what do you think? Should I trim or not? I kind of like the smaller image with no borders at all. Then I’d want to edge it with something. Gold? Silver? Bronze? Blue, red or green metallic? Hmm. I’ll have to give it some thought.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. karengadient says:

    I never thought to go through the trouble of trimming cards, but I admit they do look better without the borders!

    1. D. D. Syrdal says:

      I never did either, until I saw it on YouTube! I also like how it personalizes a deck. I’ve known others who added glitter or other embellishments to their decks, and always wanted to give it a try, but decks aren’t cheap and I was always afraid of ruining mine.

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