Playing Card Finishes
All printed components should have a finish on them especially playing cards. Without a finish, the ink will smudge away, and the printed components will be very sticky. However, many creators do not know which is the best and most suitable playing card finishes for their game. On this page, we will cover lamination, oil varnish, and linen finish, and provide you a clear explanation of each.
Oil Varnish VS Lamination playing card finish
The first things to consider when choosing between oil varnish and lamination is the use of the pieces and the nature of players that play the game.
Lamination is a plastic base finish, and as such, it is very thick and durable. It is perfect for games played by kids who tend to sometimes be very rough on anything they hold in their hand. Lamination will ensure that the cards will not tare and that even when bent they will maintain their shape for a long time. In comparison, the oil finish is just there to protect the ink from coming off and doesn't add any extra durability to the card itself.
However, lamination also has a downside. Because it is a plastic layer it is A) not eco friendly, and B) it prevents an easy and fast shuffle. The static friction made by the lamination layer causes many times the cards to stick together and not shuffle too easily. While oil varnish actually smoothes the cards and lowers friction and enhances the shuffle.
The second thing to think about is the glossy or matte effect. While in lamination there is either matte or glossy, oil varnish is in the middle. Oil Varnish is sometimes called Semi-Glossy finish.
For board game boxes it is always recommended to use lamination, as the box needs as much protection as possible. Even the most delicate board game collectors can't stop a box from getting scratched when taking the box in and out of the shelf. In addition, the most annoying thing that can happen is a box corner splitting open, and lamination can make sure it doesn't happen.
Use Oil Varnish When:
Players are gentle with game pieces.
Shuffling is an essential part of the game.
you can't decide between matte or glossy.
The board game box is light, and semi-glossy is essential.
You want Eco-Friendly Production
Use Lamination When:
Target players are Children
Cards are meant to be played a lot and are always at hand.
Cards are not shuffled too much.
Board Game box is medium to heavy.
Playing Cards Linen Finish
Linen finish on cards is done by a press machine with steel plates that have a certain pattern. The paper goes through the machine and is pressed to get the same surface pattern.
Linen finish on cards is used when you either want your cards to shuffle more easily or alternatively have an attractive looking surface.
However, the Linen finish on any paper make the paper thinner, so, we recommend to first use at least a 350gsm card stock, and second to lower the press pressure of the linen finish so it doesn't damage your card.
Linen finish is a process that is done independently of the other surface materials so it can be used on any surface. Whether you have lamination, oil varnish, or aqua based finish to your cards, the linen finish can be done.
The price for linen finish is about 0.15USD per sheet of paper.