“Edgy” Business Cards

Penned on the 3rd of May in the year 2017. It was a Wednesday.

Aquamarine creates beautiful, functional website interfaces, so I wanted business cards that were equally creative. So, slapping together a quick design and printing it on your standard business card stock just wasn't gonna cut it.

I searched “cool business cards” on Pinterest and created an inspiration board. What I noticed was a lot of high-gloss, gold-edged cards. Gold is a bit garish and doesn’t fit the Aquamarine brand colors (well, color), and there were very few that used alternative high-gloss colors, though there were a few.

The Big Idea

Business card mockupSo I decided to try aquamarine-colored edging, and created a mockup to see what that might look like.

I saw some YouTube videos showing how to manually spray paint card edges, but even metallic paint I was afraid wouldn’t be very glossy. There were also high-gloss edging videos, but they all employed industrial machines to apply gold foil to the cards en masse. I decided to go that route on a smaller scale, and began collecting the materials I’d need to build my own industrial mini-machine.

All the Tools

Tools involved in creating the business cardsI decided to go with moo.com for the business cards themselves, springing for the high-end Luxe card stock for its thickness. I got some clamps and other random hardware from Home Depot so I could press the cards tightly together to avoid glue seeping between the cards when I applied it. I donned a disguise (lest I be seen and recognized by acquaintances) and ventured into Jo-Ann Fabric to grab the shiny foil and other crafting supplies.

Creating the Cards

Clamped business cards before application of edgingIt takes in all about an hour or so of work per batch, which I limited to 10-20 cards at a time just in case I messed up. Including drying the glue between applications, it takes a couple days to get a batch ready.

I first clamp the the cards, being careful everything is as aligned as possible. I sand the edges for a few minutes to get rid of any remaining alignment disparity.

Edging applied to the business cardsThen, the glue goes on, and I apply the foil to the card’s edge. In order to separate the cards later, I can only do one side at a time—besides, the clamps get in the way of all but one side, and I clamp towards that edge to keep things super tight.

Ironing the edge onto the business cardThe foil I purchased is heat activated, so I have to iron it on. In fact, it’s technically meant to go through a proprietary heat and pressure machine that pairs with the brand of foil I’m using, but I’ve found my basic iron works just fine. Besides, the proprietary machine is meant to handle flat paper, not lengthwise business cards.

I put a piece of paper over the foil and press onto that just so I’m not applying the heat directly to the foil. I’ve found rubbing the iron back and forth tends to make the foil bunch up and create ridges, so I just press for about thirty seconds a couple of times and then let it dry.

Separating the business cards with stretched glueAfter the four hour drying period is complete, I can unclamp the cards and separate them by carefully bending them apart.

I cut the glue with a razor once they’re separated enough for the glue to show up (like stretching mozzarella on a pizza), since the stretched glue causes the edges to come out quite rough if I pull them apart without cutting.

The Result

The resulting business cardsThe result is really close to what I envisioned. I’d like to find a way to make the edge a little less textured, although it’s not bad, and of course anything to cut down the time investment would be welcome. But for now, I believe the results are totally worth the effort.

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