Trading Card Ideas

Make Your Own Trading Cards

Trading cards aren't just for sports figures. Anyone or anything can be the subject of a trading card. They make great gifts, but you can use the trading card format for other purposes, too. Trading cards can take the place of greeting cards, and a collection of them creates a photo album or scrapbook of memories.

Check your desktop publishing software for trading card templates, find some online, or create your own. Specialty papers specifically for trading cards are available to make your printed cards look polished and professional.

Trading Card Size and Format

Fantasy Baseball and collecting baseball cards have shared several similar traits, including the ability to trade.

Standard size for a trading card is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. You can make them any size you prefer, but using a standard size allows you to purchase and use standard trading card pocket pages for your cards.

Trading cards can be portrait or landscape orientation. Typically, the front side of the trading card is a photo of the subject, but you also can use drawings or other artwork. The back of the trading card contains details about the subject. For non-sports cards, this might include the name, birthday, hobbies, interests, accomplishments, favorite quotes, etc. A photo card might include the time, location, and technical specifications of the photo. A card about an event might include a description, timetable, cost, and other details.

Trading Card Display and Storage

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Create your own trading card scrapbook or photo album using pocket pages. They come in many sizes and hold four to nine standard-size trading cards. It's a great alternative for those who don't feel crafty enough to create traditional scrapbooks. Put the pages in a binder or in boxes sized for trading cards to keep them safe. Acrylic holders are available to display your card like a photo but allow you to easily see the information on the back.

Family Trading Cards

As a holiday or special-occasion gift to family, create sets of trading cards—one card per family member. On the back of each card, include a personalized message. Make it an annual event, and be sure to keep a set of cards with which to create a family album. 

Birth and Milestone Trading Cards

From marriages and birth announcements to college graduations and vacations, trading cards can help you share significant events with family and friends. If the cards are about a child, keep the cards you send over the years and create an album to give to the child when she's grown.

Couples Trading Cards

Make up a batch of trading cards for your significant other. Include sentimental quotes, love poems, drawings, "coupons" for an activity (foot massage, breakfast in bed, midnight trip to the corner store, movie night), a favorite memory, or an inside joke. Create two boxed sets (one for you, one for your partner) for Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or any other special time. 

Family Pets Trading Cards

Create a special memory book for past, present, and future pets. On the back of each card, include the pet's name (including how the animal got its name), birthday, lineage, or other information about your pet, and perhaps a funny or favorite story.

Club or Organization Trading Cards

Do you belong to a book club, sewing circle, running club, or other group? Make trading cards for the members. Vital stats for the back of the trading card might list books read, favorite authors, awards won, or races run. The front might be individual portraits or group photos, a collage of portraits or event photos, completed projects, or other objects representative of the club or a specific member. Create a trading card album for the club, and create sets of cards to give to all members.

Valuables and Collections Trading Cards

Make trading cards of your valuables or pieces you collect, such as books, artwork, or toys. The cards could be for personal use, insurance purposes, or potential sales. On the back of each trading card, list the date and place acquired, cost, appraisal value, detailed description, storage location, and any special notes, including sentimental attachments. 

Artist Trading Cards

Artists' trading cards (ATC) are an art form designed specifically for trading. The trading cards you create as gifts could be your own photos or other artwork, which you embellish however you see fit. ATCs are often handmade using traditional art supplies, but they can also be done on the computer (or using a combination of the two). Some ATCs do not fit neatly into standard pocket pages because of their thickness and embellishments, but you can store them in decorative boxes, in shadow boxes, or on shelves.

Visual To-Do List Trading Cards

Snap pictures of dirty dishes or clothes, the mop, the screen door that needs repair, the lawnmower, the family car with "Wash Me" etched in the dust, or other reminders of things that need to be done. Put each on a trading card. On the back of each, include details such as washer settings for clothes, location of cleaning supplies, how much time a task should take, etc. Color-code the cards based on age; mowing the lawn might not be an age-appropriate task for a 5-year-old, but he can help with dusting the furniture or watering the plants. Make a game of creating the cards, trading them, and, of course, accomplishing the tasks on the cards. Once a job is complete, return the card to its pocket page or other storage place until next time. 

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