Problems with an altered deck


Hello all!

I had my large Thoth deck for about 10 years, but I just picked up the small size and thought I would finally trim my large one. I didn't have a paper cutter so I cut out all the images by hand, then used a corner punch to round the corners. Then I used the candy apple red Distress Ink on the edges because I thought that would look neat.

The end result is gorgeous, and I absolutely love it, but...I'm finding them totally unusable now!

Its been weeks but every time I touch the thing, the red comes off on my fingers, and with the edges all being relatively uneven, shuffling never seems to separate all the cards from eachother enough to get a really good shuffle. When I overhand shuffle, I find that the areas where I had to use a dampened paper towel to remove the excess red ink is causing friction so the cards don't slide away from eachother easily. I can never seem to feel confident that they are properly mixed, and that I'm getting the necessary cards, and not just some that clumped together.

I used fanning powder on another deck a long time ago that had gotten sticky just from natural use and finger oils, but I found the results less than satisfactory, and am hesitant to try again. Perhaps I didn't get the good stuff? It was pretty cheap stuff, actually. Has anyone tried more than one type/brand and found that there is a significant quality difference?

I'm really disappointed, what is the point of having a beautiful deck if it isn't functional.

Has anyone used a bright/dark color on their edges and had issues? If so, does that go away eventually? I didn't realize until after I bought the distress ink that it was water based, and I thought that might be an issue, but all the threads and videos I've seen about deck edging, people gleefully use the distress inks like they are the best on the market. I guess they never tried red?

How do you others who use altered decks get along with them? How have you compensated for how you handle the cards to get around these issues? I can always buy a new large deck if I need, I'm not sentimental about things like that, but...these are just so much more beautiful and I don't want to give up on them yet.



For the uneven size of cards that lead to difficult shuffling, that has happened to me once when I trimmed my Albano Waite tarot. I had not realized at first (but now I know) that the cards on the Albano waite (and all RWS versions, apparently), have uneven margins, that is, not all the cards are the same size to begin with. It is made even by adding margins (and some margins are larger that others to compensate) so the finished deck looks even. But, if you take away the margins, like I did, you end up with a deck were some cards are larger than others by several milimeters. It is true that it makes shuffling more difficult.

I suppose that the only solution is to take your scissors again, and even up the cards so they are all the same size.
I am planning to do that soon with my Albano Waite at some point, but have not done it so far because it is a long tedious affair. I will have to measure each card, find out the smallest on, make a template of it, and then use the template to even out all the other cards.
But I cannot see any other solution, and I will do it eventually ; I suggest you do the same with your deck to even it out.

For decks that had even borders to begin with, I never had a problem because I was super careful and precise when I cut out the borders (my trimmed Druidcraft and my trimmed Japaridze look really even in the end)
I always used good scissors to trimm cards ; I find it is easier to be precise with long bladed scissors.

About the bleeding ink : it would be interesting if someone who has used the same ink you did, could come and speak about their experience.
I have used Distress Ink to edge a deck in the past, but never in red, and I never had a problem.
The only deck I edged in red, I did it with a permanent marker. I wonder if using a red permanent marker (alcool based) on top of your red edges, could maybe "seal in" the red ink ? In any case you have nothing to loose by trying I guess.

Good luck and keep us informed if you dont mind !


Before you cut again, maybe sand paper will help? Sanding down the edges might help the irregular size and remove some of the edge colour.

My large Thoth is trimmed and edged with a simple black sharpie - no problems at all. But for one my decks, I used a stamp colour that makes them sticky. Over time, the stickiness fades a bit, but I'm still sorry I did it. I'll sand them down as soon as I can find the sand paper :)


I've trimmed about 10 of my decks over the years, almost always to make them smaller for my hands.
As Nemia said, the printers 'float' can upset the best laid plans.
Always see if the minors are printed the same as the majors. Some majors are printed with different border size or title is in a different place. (Bohemian Cats comes to mind)

I have colored edges on a number of decks, using only 8 different Tsukineko
pigment ink.

When I've done mine I do each edge twice, then press each edge back and forth on a towel to remove excess ink. I leave them spread out on a table overnight to allow each edge time to cure.

all that said ;) to bump your thread, and to ask if you did the wipe on a towel thing?
If the deck is still shedding ink it seems like that might be something that would help.

And I know, the smaller the deck is trimmed the more like a brick it becomes.

good luck!


And this is what keeps me from ever trying to trim, or in any way physically alter any of my decks. I'm so afraid of ruining one!


can a paper smoother and secure the deck in one place then slowly smooth out the edges until it's even.


This is why I don't plan to alter my decks, tho the borderless Thoth I've seen in some members' photo sets are just plain breath-taking. I wasn't the best in Arts and Crafts class and it'd just break my heart if I accidentally mutilate one of my decks. :bugeyed::eek:


What a shame about your deck slithytoves.

There must be some way to fix it.
I'm no help though, I have only taken the borders from one Oracle deck and then I laminated the deck - with the laminated edges on, the deck was back to the same size as I didn't trim them, I kept them sealed.

I hope you get this sorted out.


Thank you all for the suggestions!

An interesting idea to go over the edges again with a sharpie to seal it, I may give that a shot. In the meantime I've just been handling it every time i think about it, hoping the pigment will die down a bit with use. It seems to be slowing? I wiped the excess onto paper towels asi went, I think it's just a strong pigment.

I'm also intrigued by the person who said they edged their thoth with a black marker. I thought about that but I was convinced it would leave a black halo around the images. Did you run into that issue? I will give the distress ink credit, I was able to wipe it off of the fronts and backs easily.

Sanding the edges works? The thought scares me, but perhaps with a small enough grit.

I'm going to also try the fanning powder again, but spring for the 10 buck stuff. The 2 dollars I spent last time perhaps was too thrifty.

Thank you all again for the replies


Yes. Sanding paper does work. Kinda have to get those little corners too.