I want to create a set of playing cards and I know acrylic will be fine to paint on them but my question (which I have not been able to find on the internet for some reason) is how do you set them afterwards? Both so the paint doesn’t wear or rub off and so you can get that kind of playing card feel back to them instead of a paint feel. Thanks!
Most playing cards are coated in plastic. If you could coat your cards this may create a unifying surface. Make a test card. You can also lightly sand (with a really fine grit) the painted surface once it is completely dry this way you won’t feel the paint through a coating. A spray-on coating will apply more evenly. Test sprays, some have a bit of a tacky finish, you don’t want that. I have used clear wood sealer that you can find with spray paint because it is meant for more handling than a sealer you could get that is specific for 2D art. Good luck!
My husband made some once and we laminated them. It worked, but made the deck very thick and hard to shuffle. Also not 100% uniform; my son could tell some of them apart just by looking at the back.
There are companies that will take your design and make a custom deck for you. This is one of them: https://www.makeplayingcards.com/
We didn’t find out about them until after my husband made his deck, so I can’t vouch for the company in any way. There are others that do the same thing.
I like this idea! I think it would be so cool to make more than one set, like for gifts. It is a LOT of work, so many cards and so small. It would be great to do the art work bigger and then translate it to a smaller copied card set. You could get a lot of detail into the images that way without having to make it teensy weensy.
I’m about halfway through a deck I’ve been painting for YEARS! I don’t trust any sealers to not get tacky or discolored over time (and they will make the deck as a whole noticeably thicker), so if I ever do finish, my plan is to just figure out a way to duplicate/print them if I want to actually use them. (like what @endymion said)