A Simple Gift for Non-Crafty Family Historians

Creating a Personalized Deck of Cards

I'm not much of a crafty person.  I'm all thumbs when it comes to glue and glitter.  So I came up with a non-crafty project to do with my Flip Pal.  Scanning and photo editing are right up my alley so I decided to create a custom deck of cards.  I thought this would be a nice quick project but it turned out to be more work than expected.  However, in the end I think the time put in was worth it.

1. Gather together all the photos you want to use for your project

2. Scan the photos using the Flip Pal scanner and then transfer them to your computer

3. Scour the web for a custom playing cards vendor

I spent a lot of time searching the web to find a vendor.  I settled on Printer's Studio because they had cards for as low as US $7.99 for a single deck and because their drag and drop interface looked the easiest to use.  I saw other vendors selling decks for $20 and even $50! Printer's Studio has a bunch of different deck options but I chose the basic Image & Text Standard Index.

4. Choose how many photos you want to use 

You can customize the deck with 54 unique photos or you can choose 13 images (the same image for each number) or 4 images (the same for each suit) or just one image for all the cards.  It seemed to me that 54 cards turns it into a bit of a memory game where card counters have the advantage.  I thought 13 would be better but they don't offer the option to randomize the photos so all the Aces, regardless of suit, have the same photo.  Therefore making it even easier for the cards sharks.  Oh, well, it's all to preserve family history, right?!

5.  Upload the photos

Next I had to upload the photos. I chose (really before I thought about it) to add text directly to my photos.  Originally I was just going to add photos.  Then I thought of all the orphan photos out there and decided I shouldn't make my ancestors future orphans so I put their names on all the photos.  There is actually no need to put the text on the photos because Printer's Studio gives you that option in the next step but I guess I'm a control freak when it comes to images so I added the text right onto my images using Adobe Photoshop.

Note: if you want to stop and work on the project later or purchase the project at a later date, create an account save your project in "My Library."  Printer's Source doesn't ask you if you want to save the project when you are checking out.

6. Place your photos in the order of your choice

I only used photos from 6 or 7 different people so I gave some consideration to placement.  I didn't want to have three photos of the same person one after the other. After uploading all I had to do was drag and drop to get them into the right position.

7. Add Text 

After you upload all your photos and press continue you'll be given the chance to add text. Because I had added the text directly to my photos I skipped this step.

8. Review Your Cards

Next Printer's Studio will show you what your photos will look like when they are on the cards.  This is where I discovered that each number would have the same photo.  A better system would be to randomize the photos on the numbers but I couldn't see that being offered.

9) Check out and Pay

The cost was US $7.99 plus $5.99 for shipping.  I thought that was fairly reasonable.  I ordered one deck.  If I like the way they come out I will order more and give them to family members for Christmas.  There were two options for payment 1) credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or 2) Pay Pal where you could pay with Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

Project Time: This project took me a total of about 3 hours between scanning, adding text and uploading.  I admit I am a bit fussy with the photos so others might be able to do it quicker.

This was a fun family history project that involved no glitter.  I am really looking forward to getting the cards back to see how the turn out.  I'll give you an update when they arrive.


  1. What a great idea - I'm also all thumbs when it comes to crafts. Interestingly two of my adult kids are very very crafty! This looks very do-able, and I have many photos suitable on my computer for this project. Do let us know how they look when you get them back!

  2. I love this idea, however, all the same numbers on each photo? I was all over this until I read that part. My family would laugh me out of the room, they are card sharks. My grandmother was a big card player, taught all us grandchildren some French card games. I would love to do this in her honour. Hmm, need to think on this. Thanks for the idea.

  3. What a neat idea. I'm so glad you and the others are creating new ways to use the scanner. Finally, I ordered mine on Friday, so thanks for the post with detailed instructions.

  4. Thanks for the idea Marian. I love it. Like you and others would really like to be able to mix the pictures and the numbers but it would still be a fun gift!! You've got me thinking.

  5. Marian thanks for the new sources for making cards! Been looking at doing this for awhile, but haven't decided if I want to have cards that also have facts on it and play it like Authors card game or Go Fish. Nice job!

  6. This is so great! Did you get an estimated return time? I just love this series. Geneabloggers are planning my Christmas list! ;)

  7. Marian, I hope you'll tell us about the cards when they arrive. I'm not even thinking about using them for playing cards. I'm thinking about putting them in little frames to hang on the Christmas tree, or to turn into magnets for the refrigerator -- or my house or my siblings' homes.

    I suppose lots of us geneabloggers will be ordering cards from Printer's Studio. I think you should ask them if they'll give you a commission -- or at least give you several decks of cards for free -- because of all the business you're sending their way.

    Thanks for sharing this idea. I love it!

  8. Great idea Nancy, I think these will be a hot item at my next family reunion!

  9. Yes, I think the Printer's Studio definitely owes you a cut on all the new business you just drummed up!

  10. Thanks for this great idea. I was also thinking that you could create a generic deck of cards by using images or parts of images of research tools we use in genealogy, e.g., blank census forms, logs, pedigree charts, etc. Might be a great educational tool or gift.

  11. What a great idea!! I might look into this for a Family Reunion Gift prize!!!

  12. Thanks for the full details on ordering the cards. I just placed my order for the Flip Pal. The Flip Pal site has a Black Friday discount until 12/1. My birthday is next week so this is my present to myself.

  13. The non-crafty among us thank you! This looks so cool! I'm over there playing around right now - so many option.

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love this!!!! It's just the "extra little something" I need for the nieces and nephews for Christmas. Now while they are playing poker, they can be learning some family history.


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