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Tarot Cloths?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 27 Mar 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Kellinator  27 Mar 2002 
Hi everyone,

I would like to find a nice cloth of some sort to lay my cards out on and was wondering what you all use. Where are the best places to get a good, inexpensive one? I'd make my own but I'm not much of a seamstress.


Liliana  27 Mar 2002 
Well you could just get a nice piece offabric and use it as is. Another possibility is to look for a scarf. The same item i swear you can find for 5 bucks if you call it a scarf, butcall it a Tarot cloth and suddenly its 25 bucks lol. has some nice simple Tarot silks cheap if you dont mind plain white,or if you dont mind dying it yourself. Also search ebay, ebay is our friend/enemy of our wallet :) 

truthsayer  27 Mar 2002 
you might want to try tarottotes. i've bought bags and tarot cloths from her before and she does good work. i learned about her on ebay and ewitch but she has a website. her work is cheaper on her site. i've bought bags from other ppl on ebay but i really do like this lady best. she's also very creative. she does matching spreads and bags and uses themes if you want to match a deck theme. 

fairyhedgehog  28 Mar 2002 
I have three silk scarves I use for layout cloths - they cost around £2 each. My best buy was from an antiques fair, cos it's much heavier quality silk than the others. I definitely agree with Liliana (note one 'l' :) ) that silk scarves are much cheaper than silk Tarot cloths.

I like the look of those tarot bags at tarot totes, truthsayer. Oh dear, another way to spend money on tarot ;) 

Kiama  28 Mar 2002 
I find that gift shops with an esoteric theme (Y'know the ones I mean? The ones that sell candles, incense, music, and crystals?) sell silk scarves in very pretty colours and diffrent lengths good. My silks from there cost me £2.50each. However, I find that when using it as a spread cloth, it moves around too much, as it does't 'stick' to the floor like other material would... It slips and slides, and when you pick up the cards or move them, the silk goes with them! Maybe you could try normal cotton material for a spread cloth, dye in special colours, or you could use that wax technique to actually draw a spread on there, like the Celtic Cross.

Just take some hot wax, and use it to daw the spread on the cloth. Leave that wax to dry. Now, put the cloth in some dye. The cloth will be dyed all except the bits under the wax, and hey presto, you have a spread cloth, that is practical.....

Kiama *Who actually used something from techonolgy for the first time in her life!* 

Pollux  28 Mar 2002 
I have a black velvet cloth I got made form an auntie of mine.
It is cut out of the same piece of fabric as the Tarot-bag.
And I gave them both to a friend of mama's to get some decorations: she's going to sew a Moon, a Sun and Stars I designed them :D) and a Protective Rune on the bag.
Jealous? (I just love this adjective! ;))

I think the nicest thing is to get it one, or do it on your own.
Personalize!!! :) 

suzyspellbound  28 Mar 2002 
I made my own little draw string bag the other day from a piece of purple crushed velvet that used to be a skirt of my mum's. It only took a couple of minutes to make and I used a handmade bead for the draw string (which i also made myself). I suggest popping down to a charity shop or raiding your friends wardrobes and riding them of old garments that they no longer wear, its recycling and adding a personal touch. As no one will have one like it in the world if you make it!

Love Suzy x 

Silence Dogood  28 Mar 2002 
If you go to a sewing store, they make fusible strips by the roll that use can use a hot iron to 'fuse' the hem up in the edges of fabric, in case you don't sew. This is nice for cottons and things, ( and hemming your pants in a pinch) , but don't use it on velvets, pollux! 

fairyhedgehog  28 Mar 2002 
Originally posted by truthsayer
you might want to try tarottotes. i've bought bags and tarot cloths from her before and she does good work.

I've just spent half the day on tarot totes and now I've ordered two beautiful bags, only one of which I need. (Need? A tarot bag?)

Can't wait for them to come :) 

Kellinator  28 Mar 2002 
Thanks for the great advice, all of you! Tarot Totes rocks! I think I may get a cloth from there, or a nice scarf I saw on eBay. 

Logiatrix  28 Mar 2002 
i like un-earthing treasures at thrift shops. i found a "bob mackie" silk scarf with butterflies, another silk japanese number, two silk pouches (these are usually cosmetic or evening bags), and all this on just one journey a coupla weeks ago!
linen shops and general home accessory venues are good for cloth napkins and placemats--REALLY! the imports, such as from india or guatemala offer very beautiful designs. as was mentioned, silk is often not substantial enough to stay put as a spread cloth. a table napkin or placemat is usually of heavier material, and works very nicely.
craft and sewing stores usually sell cotton bandanas in basic colors that you can decorate yourself. the larger stores also offer them in prints--flowers, smiley-face, animals. however, a more decorated and busy cloth is distracting.
i usually like black cloths for most decks, but my main deck is already black-bordered, so that doesn't work so well. instead, i found a very beautiful, almost irridescent, scarlet silk cloth that brings out out all the red and gold in the cards; it's also large enough to double, so it "stays put".
your number one deck definitely needs it's own special accoutrements... 

MeeWah  28 Mar 2002 
I use my "old" square scarves & bandanas. They are of different colors & a variety of patterns. Some of them are of slippery materials, but when used over a non-slippery surface, they work well. Materials such as cotton or flannel tend to stay put.
My favorite reading cloth for throws is an old scarf with an intricate mandala-like pattern. I also use a plain, midnight blue hand towel on which I fan a deck for daily cards. 

MeeWah  28 Mar 2002 also gets my vote for offering beautifully made Tarot bags, reading & altar cloths! The customer service is top-notch, & the merchandise is packaged with care.
I recently ordered a dragon-themed bag in gray & green for a son born in a Dragon year, for his RPG dice. 

Talisman  29 Mar 2002 
'Lo all,

Like MeeWah, I have found bandanas make wonderful spread cloths, but the patterns on them are as varied as clouds in the sky so it takes a bit of serendepity to find just the right one.

Once upon a time, a bandana created the perfect spread for me. The story is too long to bother telling, but I lost the bandana and the spread. Now, I'm doing it backwards. I have created the spread, and just need a bandana to fit it.

Works nicely, 'cause my favorite thing to put my cards in are silk whatevers easy to find in Chinatown. These are envelope-type bags about 4 1/2 inches x 6 inches, give or take. They are lined with white silk. The outside of mine is black, but when you turn it so the light catches it, it is embroidered with a pagoda, a camel caravan, a donkey cart and varieties of flowering trees and bushes, in blue, green, pink, red and silver. There is a zipper across the top. There is room for a tarot deck and a folded bandana.

Have no idea what these bags are supposed to be, but they are very common. Maybe they are just bags, 'cause beautiful bags and boxes appeal to our acquisitive natures.

The thought always in the back of my mind is, I want the whole thing compact and ready to travel.


Geenius at Wrok  29 Mar 2002 
Tal, what kind of stores do you find these bags in? I pop down to Chicago's Chinatown from time to time (it's nothing compared to San Francisco's, but it's got the basics), but I don't think I've ever noticed them—then again, I haven't gone with them in mind, so it's entirely likely that I've just overlooked them. 

Talisman  29 Mar 2002 

I'm sure these bags are there if you look. I've found them in both the touristy stores and those off the beaten path. I dunno, sort of everything stores, with silk scarves and clothes and carvings, etc.

Let me know if you find them. Or, if you can't. And, oh yes, they are inexpensive! (Wish I knew what to call them.)


suzyspellbound  30 Mar 2002 
I am very lucky to live in an area with alot of people from different cultures. Near where I there is a whole street of sari shops, with fantastic and beautiful sari's from india. Also u can usually find them in charity shops in the area. But anyway, i use a small piece of one for a spread cloth, also I have a small sarong which is similar to a sari, made of a silky fabric but they are versatie and quite cheap and come in wonderful colours and patterns! i am studying textile design at uni, so i love all this stuff and i am really interested in all the ideas u all have.

thanks from me as well.
love suzy x 

Jimilyn  30 Mar 2002 
TarotTotes is my hands down favorite place for cloths and bags (though I haven't acquired a spread cloth yet)! I can spend hours there just looking. Between TarotTotes and Aeclectic, I could while away the days in bliss.

Talisman...I can actually see your bag in my mind. And I wish I had one, too. It sounds so stunningly beautiful! I like the idea of a zipper, too.

suzy, those are some good ideas! :) Now you've really got me thinking.


Kamrusepas  01 Apr 2002 
Many thanks to all of you who posted such nice comments and kudos about Tarot Totes. Hearing such positive feedback really made my week special. Now I know why I've been having such a busy order-filled weekend.

Hugs to MeeWah, Jimilyn, truthsayer, fairyhedgehog, and Kellinator. You made me blush.

If anyone is attempting to make her/his first tarot bag and needs advice, feel free to write me an email. My head is filled with little tips that just might help.

Here's a tip for those who find that their silk layout/spread cloths move about too much: Anchor the corners with quartz chunks or gemstones. Some readers anchor them with seashells or votives instead. Even small goddess statues work well. All these items add wonderful energy while still fulfilling a very practical purpose.

Love and Light,

MeeWah  03 Apr 2002 
Betty: Welcome! It is a pleasure to see you here. & thank you for your kind offer. Best regards to you & to your other half. 

fairyhedgehog  05 Apr 2002 
I got back from holiday to find my two bags from tarot totes waiting for me and they are every bit as good as I'd hoped :) (And beautifully packed too, as MeeWah said.)

Meanwhile, my husband bought me a tarot deck/book set, so I /did/ need the extra bag :D I have two very happy decks now :cool:

All the best to all of you,


The Tarot Cloths? thread was originally posted on 27 Mar 2002 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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