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how to edge paint business cards

June 26, 2013

how to edge paint business cards

During my business card research I was always drawn to the simple cards with that little unexpected pop of color. I also wanted to add a DIY element to my cards since that’s a big part of this blog, so I got the best of both worlds by edge painting the business cards myself.

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous to DIY this project–I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good set of cards! When my cards arrived, they had not been cropped correctly which actually ended up being a blessing in disguise. First of all was super understanding and let me reupload a file, reprinted the cards at no cost, and sent them back as fast as they could. Secondly, this gave me a set of cards I could practice on and master edge painting before I actually took the plunge to edge paint the final cards.

mock ups edge painting business cards

Like most DIY projects, there was a lot of trial an error with this project. My first thought was to clamp a stack of cards together in the center and spray paint the edges. Spray paint can be awesome because it’s so fast and easy. Unfortunately, it’s also thin and runny, so it bled through any little crevice it could find and showed up on the flat face of every card.

I tried again with two clamps on the stack of cards and still had the same issue, although not as prominent.

how to edge paint business cards | stuff steph does

The way to go if you want to edge paint your cards is simply with acrylic paint and a foam brush. (I thought it was only appropriate to use Martha Stewart paint since these cards would be making their debut in the Mecca of Martha.) Stack up your cards in a neat pile and weigh them down with something. (I had bottles of spray paint handy from my previous trials, but a rock or paper weight will work fine) and then paint on the edges of the cards. Make sure to cover the top of the pile with a scrap of paper or you’ll be sacrificing the top card from each pile. Paint will inevitably get on that card. Don’t think it won’t happen. It will.

edge painted business cards | stuff steph does

I originally thought I would just paint the cards gold, but I liked the mix of colors from my spray paint trials that I went for pink and mint green, too.  Because, well, why not?

The only downfall to this method is that I ended up gluing all my cards together as the paint dried, and I had to manually pull each one apart. Fortunately this is a pretty mindless task and can be easily completed during an episode of Mad Men (or whatever show you’re watching these days).

how to edge paint business cards | stuff steph does

One final tip: The thicker the card, the better! Again I got the Luxe business cards from and absolutely love the quality and weight of them!

Super easy right? Now go out and get edge painting!

 p.s. We’re only on Season 4 of Mad Men, so no spoilers, please!


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  • Reply Stephanie October 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Love love love your cards 🙂 and the many colors are so eye-catching. Thanks for the Moo recommendation, and glad to hear that your problem got sorted out! Love hearing about good customer service!

    I was curious, how long did it take you to receive your cards? I’m in my 4th week of waiting, and still no cards 🙁

    • Reply steph October 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! I’m sorry to hear your cards are taking so long, that seems really strange. I would suggest calling them, I was able to get a real person on the line pretty quickly and they were always really helpful. Good luck!

  • Reply Christine January 14, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    I just ordered my cards from Moo and I’m so excited to start painting!

    How long do you suggest I dry the paint for? And is there a specific Martha Stewart paint? Also, I am planning to purchase the Classic Matte cards do you think the paint will hold fine? Thanks!


    • Reply steph January 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Christine, I hope you love your cards! I think I let them dry for a couple hours at least. I used the multi surface acrylic paint by Martha Stewart. I would think you could use any acrylic paint, but it might be safe to test it out on just a few cards first before doing a large stack. Good Luck!

  • Reply Nicole February 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    So genius! I loved the luxe Moo cards, but the interior colors left me wanting more. This is perfect!

  • Reply Mark March 7, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Hi I was just wondering what the finish was like? I’m trying to decide wether to use ink or acrylic and i’m just worried acrylic will have a dry “chalky” feel to the edges?

    • Reply steph March 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Mark- I was happy with the finish, but maybe you could consider it I a little chalky, but it didn’t bother me. How would you color them with ink? Individually?

      • Reply mark owens March 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        same process but just use print ink, i’ve heard the RISO stuff is good for it as it avoids the edges sticking and bleed between the cards from runnier inks, however you are a bit more limited for colour. Do you happen to know anywhere that sells vibrant print inks?

        • Reply steph March 14, 2014 at 8:37 am

          I can’t say I’m very familiar with print ink. I would love to see your cards when you’re done!

  • Reply Lee Cusano March 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    One thing that would look real nice for high-end business cards might be what is called “gilding”. You can buy a super thin and delicate product called ‘gold leaf’. I think you have to apply a primer to the edges first, then gently apply the gold leaf.

  • Reply Alan Smith March 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Steph,

    Looks like you have some great stuff here, and it’s great to find someone willing to share their experiments. We are about to run some tests ourselves for the edge painting as we want to try them for a client. If they go well then this will be an addition to our services.

    We will try to share our results equally.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Reply steph March 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks Alan! Hope your cards turn out great!

  • Reply lesley kim April 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    what an amazing idea!! i cant wait to try this! =)

  • Reply Adam Wilson May 9, 2014 at 4:33 am

    were your cards a single layer? I’m making my own cards that are 3 layers then plan to edge paint them using spray paint, do think that would work better because of more layers on the cards?

    • Reply steph May 9, 2014 at 7:24 am

      My cards were the luxe cards from which are three layers thick. In my experience spray painting never came out as clean as hand painting in a stack. Hand painting really didn’t take much more time and the results were great. Good luck!

  • Reply Michael Montgomery June 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Hi Steph. I work at a high end printing and finishing shop in the Atlanta area. We’ve been sending all of our edge painting out but recently have been thinking about doing it in house. The only problem is the place we use is inconsistent. We finally started mixing the paint ourselves but they use spray and sometimes it’s too light. I like your suggestion about brushing it on. Sounds a lot cleaner as there would be no overspray. How easy is it to clean out the brushes? Btw, if you’re ever in need of some really nice letterpress, finishing and binding check us out. FYI, we’re NOT cheap but we’re REALLY good! 🙂

    • Reply steph June 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Michael, I just used foam brushes so it was really easy to clean. The only downside to brushing it on is that you have to peel each card apart since paint kind of glues them together. It’s not hard, just takes some time.

      • Reply Michael Montgomery June 23, 2014 at 7:38 am

        Sure, I guess I can see that happening. I didn’t realize when I wrote you that we had an air brush gun and compressor here. Seems they were going to try it years ago but never got around to doing it. I’ll try both (eventually!) and let you know how it goes. Thanks for the info!


  • Reply Envoke Design September 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Awesome business card design, we will def be trying this technique when our new cards arrive. Thanks for the guide on how to do this!

  • Reply Ryan Duffy October 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Great post!

    If you guys would like to check out my video tutorial on how I edge painted my business cards, check out my video here:


  • Reply Bob Read October 7, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Steph just found your page great information. I am 80 year old letterpress printer and was wondering could you get same effect using vege dye.
    Have hot foil machine and hope to make a few dollors
    Bob Read

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