Q&A with Joy: Is It Okay to Cut Up Tarot Cards for Crafts?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In today’s Q&A with Joy we ask, “Is It Okay to Cut Up Tarot Cards for Crafts?” It depends on the intention for the deck. But there are exceptions!

Is It Okay to Cut Up Tarot Cards for Crafts? Here are tarot cards with holes punched for ribbons to make bookmarks.
Tarot card bookmarks. Left, Judgment from the Visconti Tarots published by Llewellyn. Right, Six of Stones from the Chrysalis Tarot published by U. S. Game Systems, Inc. I didn’t make these, I was given them. The Chrysalis one was provided by the publisher.

The Question: Is It Okay to Cut Up Tarot Cards for Crafts?

This morning a reader contacted me asking about cutting up tarot cards:

Hi there Joy. I was wondering if you’d be able to answer a question for me. Is it okay to cut up cards, use them for craft, jewelry? I’ve seen lots of people doing this online and it rubs me the wrong way personally, but I’m not sure if it’s personal or actually wrong. Thank you.

Joy’s Answer: It Depends in the Intention for the Deck

I’ve seen that too. I have to admit I’m fairly horrified when I see someone cut up a perfectly good deck! 🙂 But I suppose it’s possible to buy decks for that specific purpose, and somehow that seems fine to me. Also, you can make color copies of cards to use for craft projects. But then again, wouldn’t it be better to buy an extra copy of the deck and support the deck creator than to make copies, even if only of a few cards?

Tarot Crafts

I didn't cut up any tarot decks to make this decoupaged wooden box, It uses personal symbolism to express the Fool card.

First of all, I love tarot crafts! Here’s a wooden box I decoupaged with personal imagery that expressed the Fool card to me. And I love making tarot bags and have written about my knit ones as well as all the bags I make to store tarot decks.

What Is the Intention of the Deck?

Ultimately, I think it comes down to the intention that you have for the deck. I discuss this in my article, Reading and Ceremony for Charging a Tarot Deck, under the heading “Charging.” You can, formally or informally, set a specific intention or assign a particular purpose for a deck. If a deck has been formally (ritually) charged with one purpose, then I don’t think I’d try to use it for a different purpose. On the other hand, if someone were to buy a deck specifically to use for crafts, then that’s the deck’s purpose.

What If the Deck is No Longer Usable?

One last thought, on a more mundane note, is that sometimes people lose cards from decks. There are workarounds that can solve this problem. Most decks come with two extra cards that usually have info from the publisher on them — those can be put to use to substitute for a lost card or two. (I would use a Sharpie or something similar to write what card it is substituting for.) But alas, if you end up with many cards missing, the deck is destroyed and you might as well do craft projects with it. Alternately, sometimes an old deck is ready to retire and might appreciate a new lease on life a an art project.

I even have a couple of tarot card bookmarks made by the publisher of the decks. They punched a hole in the corner and attached a ribbon with a lark’s head knot. Kind of a new deck sample with the bonus of having an everyday use.

Cut Out the Nonsense

I hope this gives you some different ways of looking at this! But personally, the only card cutting I do is to split the deck for a reading!

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Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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