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This year, surprise your Valentine with a “lotto” love and give them this one of a kind gift. I just figured out how to make custom scratch off cards and I couldn’t wait to teach you how to do it too.
Watch the Process
- Speedball hinge frame or screen printing press
- Speedball acrylic silver ink
- Graphic squeegee
- Oracal 651 vinyl
- Transfer tape
- Painter’s tape
- Heat Gun
- Cricut or Silhouette vinyl cutter
- 8.5×11″ Cardstock
- Paper Trimmer
- Printer – I used a Canon Pixma
- Contact Paper
- Coins for scratch off
Step 1: Print Your Cards on Card Stock
Setup your design with the “prize” or hidden secret printed in a grey font. I sized my cards to 4×6 but you could make these scratch offs as large or small as you would like.
Step 2: Cover Cards with Contact Paper
Contact paper is a clear, adhesive paper that will protect your printed design when you add the ink. To add the contact paper properly, you want to cover your entire card stock with it – not just the printed area. This will give your cards a shiny surface. It will also allow your screen printing ink to scratch off easily. If you don’t add the contact paper, the ink will stain the paper and you won’t reveal the prize text as well.
Step 3: Trim Cards to Size
Use a Paper Trimmer to trim your cards to the specific size you want. Trimming the cards after applying the contact paper over your printed design will leave clean, crisp edges.
Step 4: Cut Heart Shape out of Oracal 651
For this step, you want the heart to be slightly larger than the size of your prize text. My heart was sized 1.625″ by 1.5″ and it was large enough to cover all of my prize phrases.
Step 5: Transfer Oracal 651 to Screen Printing Frame
Just as we do when screen printing t-shirts, transfer the vinyl to your screen printing frame. The placement is not crucial here, I eyeballed mine in the middle of the screen.
Step 6: Align Card Under Screen Printing Frame
A Speedball hinge frame or press comes in really handy for this project. If you have one of these, you can easily align the card under your frame and mark the placement. This mark will make it easier to align the next cards accurately.
Step 7: Squeegee Silver Opaque Ink Over Screen
After I aligned my card where I wanted it, I taped the corner of it to the board to keep it in place during this step. For my design, I used Speedball acrylic screen printing ink in Speedball acrylic silver ink. You can use Speedball fabric ink for this step if you want to. Just know it does feel a little stickier when it dries. The acrylic ink dries a little smoother in my opinion.
After one coat of ink, you’ll probably notice the prize text is still visible. Use your heat gun to dry the ink and add another layer. It took me 3 layers to get enough coverage so that the prize wasn’t visible through the ink.
Step 8: Allow Ink to Dry
Just like with a shirt, you need to let the ink dry but you don’t have to cure the ink for this project. I allowed my cards to air dry overnight. After the ink is dry, they’re ready to give to your Valentine for their scratch off surprise.
Scratch Off to Reveal Your Prize
Your valentine can use a penny, quarter, or their fingernail to scratch off the ink and reveal the prize.
Now that you’ve mastered the process, just think of all the creative ways you can use this process to make birthday cards or other gifts.