How to Make a Card Castle

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Card castle
Card castle (Image: Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski)

A deck of playing cards are good for more than a game of Go Fish or War: Build a castle out of them. Card castles have amazed people for ages, mainly because they appear so fragile and precarious. With enough practice you, too, can create a card castle, and with enough practice your castle won't fall. Unless, of course, the family dog bangs into it.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat, stable surface
  • 38 playing cards

Practice the pinch. Pinch two cards at the top edge with your thumb and index finger. Stick your middle finger between the two cards while you continue to pinch the top to create a triangle. Place the base of the triangle on the table and slowly remove your hand. Practice propping up card triangles until you get them to stay stable. These are the building blocks for your castle. Once you are confident with your triangles, move on to building the castle.

Make the base. Place five cards side by side, with the long sides touching, for the base.

Start the first tier. Pinch two cards into a triangle and place them with the pointy side up onto the first base card. Make sure the tip of the outside card is right inside the edge of the first base card. Once your first card triangle is stable, move on to the next one.

Pinch two more cards into a triangle and place them with the pointy side up onto the second base card. Make sure the tip of the outside card is right inside the edge of the second base card. As you are about to release your triangle, place a card balanced on top of the triangle point that reaches back to the previous triangle's point so you end up with a little roof between the two triangles.

Finish off the first tier. Repeat step 4 three more times until you end up with five triangles making up the first tier.

Start the second tier. Repeat the process of steps 3 through 5 until you end up with four triangles making up your second tier.

Create the third tier. Use the same method to place three triangles with little roofs on top of the second tier. You should end up with a three-tiered castle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice, practice, practice. Card castles can be incredibly stable once you get the feel of how to balance the cards.
  • If you want your castle to look uniform, pinch all your triangles with the card faces facing inward and stack all roof pieces with the faces facing down.
  • Don't try to build a card castle in a room filled with racing dogs, pouncing cats or little children. All will be sure to bang into the table or castle and knock everything asunder.
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