Transparent business cards are eye-catching but so can its price be if you use a commercial printing company. Traditional ways to achieve the transparent look would be to screen print onto a sheet of clear plastic, requiring the making of positives, exposing screen and printing sheet for sheet. This page will show you how to make your own transparent, translucent & frosted business cards in your own home on an inkjet printer.
How To Make Clear Business Cards
You will need:
- Computer with graphics software installed. DTP software will also work.
- Inkjet OHP Transparencies
- Inkjet Printer
- Laminator & Pouches (gloss pouches for clear and translucent cards and matte for frosted)
- Paper cutter or cutting mat, craft knife and steel ruler
Design and lay out your business cards in your favourite graphics program. While colours can be used I prefer to print black only when making clear business cards as I get an opaque image for maximum effect when I use a photo inkjet printer. For best quality it’s always better to design your artwork as vector graphics.
Insert the OHP transparency into the printer and select “transparencies” or “high resolution paper” under paper type, “glossy photo paper” may also work if you don’t have the previous settings under paper type, if you have neither play around with the settings you do have. Print the artwork onto the OHP transparency. Make sure you print onto the rough textured side of the transparency, which has been coated to allow the ink to adhere to it. The opposite side will be smooth.
I like to set my colour intensity to the darkest so I can to get a nice opaque print.
Wait for the printed transparency to dry, pull off the white handling strip if your brand of transparency has one, slip it onto a laminating pouch and feed it through the laminator to laminate it.
Success! You have made your first batch of transparent business cards.
Cut it down and…
How To Make Translucent Business Cards
Same steps as making a clear card, just add a color to your artwork, and a background color if you so wish.
Cut down and done…
How To Make Frosted Business Cards
Same steps as making the clear card just substitute the gloss lamination pouch with matte.
Matte lamination pouches has the added benefit of a silky feel to it, but is usually more expensive than gloss pouches.
• Store transparent business cards where there is as little friction as possible such as in a protective case or a business card holder. Too much friction in your wallet will cause card to scratch making it look old.
• Design for maximum impact, while full color artwork can be printed using this method, the opaque black from a photo printer gives a good effect.
But first make sure your artwork will work in black only. Here is the first black only transparent business card design I made myself, based on a stock photo from sxc.hu. My brother says it looks like someone being held up at gunpoint.
Here is the source artwork:
• Inkjet transparencies are not waterproof . Here is why you should laminate the transparency:
• The last time I saw a “Transparency” paper setting in a Canon software driver was on my iP4200 under Windows XP, that option disappeared for the Windows 7 driver for the same printer and I have never seen it again. I am now using an iP7240 under Windows XP and it’s still gone. Although I don’t know whether it has been present in the printer software after the IP4200 in the PIXMA range as I went from an IP4200 to IP7240 skipping several models.
Transparent business cards looks cool and the same method can be used to make transparent invites, greeting cards, swing tags and even to preserve a screen printing positive.
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