How to trim Tarot cards + a lesson in facing fears

how to trim tarot or cards

I came across a rather heated argument on a Tarot forum recently, and thought I’d weigh in with my 2 cents. The argument started when someone posted pictures of a Tarot deck that they had modified by cutting the white borders around the card. While a lot of people chimed in with pictures of their own modified decks, there were some who roundly criticized the lot of them for “disfiguring” and “ruining” their Tarot cards.

I share my take in this video, and show you how I trimmed the borders on one of my old Oracle decks. You can see the huge difference that trimming edges off your cards can make to the cards!

To trim or not to trim Tarot cards: that is the question!

Of the two main arguments put forth, the one I found rather amusing was the idea that Tarot cards are “sacred” and should not be “disfigured”. Even though the Tarot is a deeply spiritual tool for me, I believe that the magic, so to speak, is in me, not the cards. The cards are just a medium through which the “magic” {a.k.a. intuition} awakens. So to trim or not to trim is a rather moot point from that perspective.

The other argument was around cutting through the lamination on the cards, and the fear that it would somehow ruin the cards or the artwork. However, this was also roundly debunked by a number of people who had trimmed the borders off their cards and had been using them since years.

But isn’t trimming a Tarot deck just a waste of time?

I will admit that I have seen a lot of trimmed Tarot decks, and thought it was just a waste of time. I mean, why would anyone want to spend hours cutting the little white borders off a deck? It isn’t going to make that much of a difference in how they look, or so I thought.

Until, that is, I saw pictures of a trimmed Wisdom of the Oracle deck. This is one of my favorite card decks; I love the images and I thought that I was perfectly happy with the white border around it. But when I saw how the images popped once the borders had been trimmed off, I just knew that I HAD to trim the deck!

Of course, trimming your favorite card deck isn’t for the faint of heart! I experimented by trimming the borders of an unused and unloved card deck that has been languishing in my drawer since ages. Turns out, it’s really not all that hard. In fact, I found it to be quite a meditative process.

In the video above, I’ve shown you exactly how I cut and cornered the cards – so take a look if you haven’t already! And do hit like and subscribe to the channel- I am planning to post more art and Tarot videos there. Plus, you can see how much of a difference trimming the borders made to this deck. From absolutely hating it, I’m thinking I may be tempted to give it another try!

Not into Tarot and are never going to trim a card deck?

No problem! Some of the techniques I’ve demonstrated can help you with other art + craft projects too. I see a lot of uses for the corner trimmer, for example, apart from just trimming Tarot cards!

Plus, I found this entire exercise to be quite a lesson in working through fears. There are so many little things we are afraid of doing for fear that we may mess it up. But as I learnt, it always helps to start small, with something that isn’t that big a deal, to get over the fear and build up your courage + confidence!

Hope you enjoyed this video + post. Do let me know what videos you’d like to see me do next! 🙂

Materials needed:

A good pair of scissors – I like these ones, but any good, sharp pair will do.

Corner cutters – I used this one, but you can use any 5mm corner cutter.

Note: Corner cutters require a little pressure to work well. I recommend cornering some scrap card stock to get a hang of how they work before you use it on your final project.

Posted in Tarot and tagged , , , , .

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. This is an informative post for sure! Next one I hope you dedicate a video to cancerians 😉

    Not into tarot cards but I did get a session done ages ago!
    I can definitely use these scissors for projects of my kids!

  2. I have changed the layout of my own cards after I saw a deck someone cut and it looked SO spectacular! I think that cutting a deck is worth it, I am going to do it with my ceccoli tarot soon, as I love the cards so much and reading them is very easy. For other decks I still need the subtitles as the art isn’t as intuitive.

  3. I didn’t realize there was so much controversy over modifying cards! I’m just rekindling my love affair with Tarot as I stopped studying as a teenager many years ago. Within the last month or so I’ve cut and colored 5 or 6 decks and have zero regrets. The cards have come alive for me since bonding with them through the process and making them my very own. They are so beautiful and vibrant now! Scissors and cheap markers have worked perfectly well for me 😉

    • Yeah, I was surprised to see some of the controversy over modifying cards! I’ve since trimmed a couple of more decks and love them so much more without their borders! And I haven’t had any problem with the cardstock or the lamination on the cards coming off due to be being trimmed.

  4. About Trimming – You did awesome. I personally do not have a steady hand. I can’t do it with scissors. If you want to make it easier (or anyone else who reads this), I would recommend Fiskars 9 in paper trimmer. (Doesn’t have to be this big, I just got it incase I wanted to do other projects. Like BoS stuff…) This thing has nice guides, and a guide wire. To help get a nice, straight, cut.

    Corner rounder – I have that one. Love it. I actually was torn between it and the Sunstar Kadomaru Pro, Corner Cutter. Ended up getting both. I actually like the one you used better. But if someone can’t hold it and keep the pressure – the Sunstar is better. You can leave it sitting on your table and just have to press down. Plus you have 3 size options in one cutter. Personally though – I use the other one more.

    I would recommend another step though. Very simple that actually makes a lot of difference. When done, take a spoon, the flat side, and run it around the edge of your cards. This serves to smooth it out. Will help protect it a bit more from damage. Also – if you decide to ‘edge’ your deck, it helps with the edge process.

    About the people that complain I feel don’t understand a couple things–

    1 – Sometimes there’s actual reasons to do it. Like I did this with the Druidcraft Tarot deck. That thing is so big that the deck, to me, was unusable. IF I didn’t trim it, I would not have been able to enjoy that deck at all. It’s become one of my main ones! Also, sometimes a deck is ‘distracting’. If the border is too big, or sometimes there’s other languages written on the cards (Lo Scarabeo does this a lot. Good and bad thing.), or there’s pre-determined keywords written on the cards. A lot of people’s minds will focus on the writing out of habit – which tends to block the intuition and limits the reading. (For me at least.) Once I know the deck enough without needing the writing – I tend to trim them. To me, it would be like using a sheath for an athame at all times – because it came with the athame and you don’t want to take it off. Makes no sense if it limits you actually ‘using’ the item!

    2 – When modifying a deck, you actually bond with the deck more. You’re forced to look closely at every single card. You’re focusing intent into them as you go. You’re basically infusing the deck with you. Linking it more to you than if you just handled it. Going back to the athame thing – most practitioners of the craft originally spoke about not buying a pre-made one. Or if you did, at least removing the handle to make it more YOU. How is this different than modifying a tarot deck? Same with ‘engraving’/’etching’ the blade of the athame – people write more symbols and such on their cards. What’s the difference? You’re bonding with the deck and making a pre-made tool your own!

    • I’ve had my eye on the Fiskars cutter! I’m just concerned about needing replacement blades – those are difficult + expensive to come by in my country. And thank you for the recommendation on the other corner rounder you use. This one is pretty good so far – I’ve cut a lot of corners for different oracle decks that I’ve made, and it’s served me perfectly well.

      I love your tip about using a spoon to run around the edge of the cards. I haven’t yet tried edging my cards – I’m just too scared I’ll spoil my deck! But it’s a nice touch to smooth the cards and save them from damage.

      And I so agree with both the points you made on the reasons for trimming decks! I’ve heard a lot of people mention the size of the Druidcraft deck makes it difficult to handle. I think it’s so much better that you could trim the deck and use it instead of it just lying around in your drawer, unusable!

      The point about making the deck more you – YES, YES, YES! I can definitely feel the bond to the decks I’ve altered in some way.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to share your excellent insights!

      • I have done 4 or 5 decks with this Fiskars. (I can’t remember. My dogs got ahold of my first one… Thankfully not the blade, but the rest was too warped/damaged to be of any use as a ‘guide’.) It’s still sharp and cutting fine. It takes a lot before the blade actually goes dull. Truthfully, the blades really doesn’t need replaced unless you somehow managed to break the little thing. It’s a knife blade and can be sharpened like one. I believe there’s even youtube videos showing how to do it…

        Edging – oh this is addicting. Be warned. Like I said, I don’t have a steady hand. So I use an ink pad. (Tsukineko Brilliance Dew Drop is what I use.) If you work quickly and do all four edges. Then take a paper towel, or a rag, and go around and wipe the edges of the top and bottom of the card clean (hard to explain this without images, and typing!). I don’t mean the ‘edge’ you want to ink, I mean the laminated top and bottoms of the cards edges. The places you don’t want the ink. The lamination makes it where the ink takes a long time to dry. So you have plenty of time to wipe away the excess without damaging your cards.

        I know I went a little pricey with mine – but I really don’t have a steady hand. Plus I have carpel tunnel. My hand cramps up badly if I over do it… But, once I saw a fully altered deck, I had to try! I butchered my first deck royally with scissors. I even created a guide out of cardboard first – then used it to cut the cards. It was so awful. I now use that deck to experiment on with new pens or something. Because I can’t use it for anything else…

        You can use markers to edge too – need a broad tip. I’ve found the cheaper the better. Because you can wipe those away easier. However, you’ll have to do it several times before it fully coats it. The more expensive ones soak in better – but are harder (or impossible) to wipe away the extra when you go to far.

        You said: “The point about making the deck more you – YES, YES, YES! I can definitely feel the bond to the decks I’ve altered in some way.

        Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to share your excellent insights!”

        It really does make a difference in the connection! Those cards, even ones you don’t like, tend to read better after you’ve put that much energy into them!! I love how doing something so simple can really amp up your readings!

        Hope this helps. =) Have a wonderful day!

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