Playing Card Holder

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Project by RussInMichigan posted 10-01-2011 03:44 PM 2441 views 14 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My son really enjoys card playing and he often has a card deck on his person. For a while now I’ve wanted to make him a holder that was small enough to easily cart about, and, yet, still offered a bit of stylish protection for his cards. After seeing some of the flip-open business card holders I put some thought to how I might devise a similar design to suit a deck of cards, and, voila’, here is what I came up with…more or less, a portly business card holder. In fact, I discovered that a standard playing card and a regular every day business card are nearly identical in length, so I basically just fattened up two dimensions of a business card holder while only slightly enlarging the third to accommodate the cards still in the box.

I like boxes having this flip open character as they lend themselves to a variety of applications. I’m considering modifying it for recipe or note cards such as a student’s flash cards. I can imagine such a little box outfitted as a travel sewing kit. However, card playing is so common and popular that this little box with a new deck of cards will always make for a great gift. It would be worth keeping some on hand. And, of course, the lumberjock who wants it to be something a little extra special can add in inlay, pyrography, or other enhancements.

This one’s made from two woods, black walnut and cherry, some glue, and an itsy bitsy brass pin. Outside dimensions are 1” by 3 1/8” by 4 1/8” and the interior space is 3/4” by 2 5/8” by 3 5/8”. Everything in it was stuff on hand and all the wood came from the scrap box.

5 comments so far

View WoodSimplyMade's profile


188 posts in 3862 days

#1 posted 10-01-2011 04:55 PM

Russ, What a great design. I too really like the flip up kind of style boxes that way things such as cards and business cards can be displayed at a show or in the kitchen or on a desk. It makes it dual purpose.

If you don’t mind me asking what thicknesses of wood did you use to make this, and did you use the planer to achieve these thicknesses, if so how did you prevent the wood from getting eaten up by your planer at these thin levels.

Great Job!!

-- Mike, Florida,

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3322 days

#2 posted 10-01-2011 07:49 PM

The cherry stock was all 1/8” and the walnut was all 1/4”. Yes, I did use the planer. Getting to quarter inch is no problem on most planers, but going down to 1/8 inch can be a problem because the thin stock wants to bow between the drive rollers. I avoided the problem by using a carrier board and attaching the cherry with double-sided tape to keep the thin stock from the bowing and vibrating that makes it susceptible to the gouging and tearing. Also, once I got down to 3/16 inch, I reduced the thickness by only 1/64 th or 1/128 th of an inch per pass. I didn’t have full coverage with the tape so I still had some surfacing problems, but I worked my cuts around them and I did orient one piece so a small irregularity was inside near a corner. Overall though I’d say that about 98 % of the cherry I planed this way was usable.

I like this design so much I’m designing some jigs for cutting the pieces. I’d like to have a bunch of these on hand for gift giving, especially the unforeseen kind.

Thanks for checking it out.

View ChadR's profile


80 posts in 3019 days

#3 posted 10-03-2011 07:54 PM

I love this! If you have any plans writen out I would love to see them. I am a magician and use cards every day. I would love to make one of these for myself. Thanks for sharing.

-- Some people have a way with words... some people... not... have way.

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3322 days

#4 posted 10-04-2011 05:43 AM

Here’s a sketch showing what I built.

The two assemblies are intentionally sized to fit together quite tightly. I refine the fit to my liking by fitting the two parts together and sanding or filing or chiseling until the I get what I want. I use a brass pin, 1/16” diameter, and long enough to be repeatedly put in and pulled out. If I need to work an edge or corner more than would be allowed having the two parts together, I can just yank out the pins and go at it. Personally, I like the box to “click” when it shuts so I make one or two of the corners have a fit tight enough to catch slightly and then snap! shut. I like the sound of the box snapping shut. When the cards are inside, it mildly muffles the snap and makes the box seem far more solid and substantial than it really is. A bit of the ol’ auditory prestidigitation. When the parts fit just right, I pull the pins, add a dab of epoxy, and put the pins back. Then, I route the edges with a 1/8” or 3/16” roundover bit and sand the entire exterior.

This box is really well received, and I like it so much that I’m refining some jigs that will allow me to make short production runs.

I hope this is helpful.

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3322 days

#5 posted 10-08-2011 01:31 PM


I hadn’t realized how bad that previous image was. Here’s another which I hope is more readable.

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