How to Create Trading Cards on a Mac


Trading cards have been a tradition for more than a century since the first set was compiled and sold anonymously in 1887, according to They originally featured sports figures, typically baseball players. Lou Gehrig and George Herman “Babe” Ruth graced their fronts. Since then, they have featured movie stars, rock stars and practically any other famous person.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple Macintosh computer
  • Digital images
  • Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Cardstock paper
  • Printer
  • Compile the digital images you intend to use on your cards. Open each one in your photo editing software—such as Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements—and resize them to the same dimensions. The size of many trading cards is 2.5-by-3.5 inches. Make the images a little bigger than you need by going, in Photoshop, to “Image” and then “Image Size.” Make each photo the same size as the final card, 2.5-by-3.5 inches, although you will shrink them to fit the layout. Set the “Resolution” to 300 dots per inch.

  • Create your card template in Photoshop. Go to “File” and “New” and type 2.5 inches in the “Width” box and 3.5 inches in the “Height” box. Also make this at least 300 pixels per inch resolution. Save it as “Card Template”.

  • Go to the “Gradient Tool” on the side Toolbar for background choices. You can see the choices by clicking on the “Gradient” button in the top Toolbar. You also can set a solid color background for your card by going to the “Paint Bucket” tool in the side Toolbar. Both of these tools are under the same button. To use the “Paint Bucket” tool, click the “Foreground Color” box at the bottom of the Toolbar and select your color from the popup dialog box. Save this file as “Card Back” and then save it again as “Card Front.”

  • Use the “Rectangle” tool from the side Toolbar to draw a space for the image on the “Card Front” file. Select the “Foreground Color” box at the bottom and choose white as your color. Draw the rectangle a quarter-inch in from the top and both sides, and 1.25 inches from the bottom. Then go to “Layer,” then “Layer Style” and select “Drop Shadow.” Set the “Opacity” to 50 percent and use the “Distance,” “Spread” and “Size” sliders to set your shadow. You also can add a little more depth by going to “Bevel and “Emboss.” Go to “Layer” and then “Flatten Image” and “Save” as a TIFF file.

  • Open your desktop program program and set up a standard 8.5-by-11-inch page. Use the picture box tool to draw one 2.5-by-3.5-inch box. Then duplicate the box and put as many on the page as will fit comfortably with at least an eighth of an inch between them. Then use the import tool in each picture box to bring in your trading card template. You also need to draw a picture box over the white box to import your pictures. You then can add text to the bottom area for the person’s name.

  • Duplicate all the items on your page and place them on another blank page in your desktop program. Delete the images from them, but keep the 2.5-by-3.5-inch picture boxes. Then import the “Card Back” template, add a text box and type your information for each card. Make sure the correct front and back of each card lines up with each other. Print the first page of your DTP file. Re-insert the cardstock printout upside down and print the back. They should line up so you can cut them out.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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