Borderectomies – or teaching an old deck new tricks

Having returned from Readers Studio and seeing several decks whose appearance was greatly enhanced by judicious snipping.  I was inspired by a tablemate’s snipped Radiant RWS and Witch’s Tarot (by Ellen Dugan).  I had not previously been very enthusiastic about or attracted to these decks but without borders the images really popped!This inspired me to do some deck doctoring when I got home.

As I eagerly reviewed my decks (and came to realize that some needed to be cleared out of my collection), I selected a few for a trial snip (including my own Radiant RWS and Witch’s), got out the scissors and got to cutting.  At this point I have given 7 decks borderectomies:  Ghosts & Spirits, Radiant RWS, Albano RWS, Wizards, Witch’s, Sacred Rose, and Vampire’s Tarot of the Eternal Night.  During the snipping process, I realized that it allowed me to focus more on details in the individual cards that I might have missed before.  It was also rather meditative and relaxing.  However I also realized that that I need to pace myself because after half a deck my hand started to hurt.

Other decks that I’ve seen dramatically improved by some trimming of borders are the Robin Wood, DruidCraft, Wildwood and Thoth.  I find this allows you to personalize the deck as well as makes the images appear more intense and unobstructed.  A friend also pointed out that borderless images allows you to put the cards close together and create one image from the cards which can deepen your interpretation of the meaning and add more layers to it.

So take a deep breath, grab a sharp pair of scissors and try cutting the borders off one of your Tarot decks (just make sure it’s a deck you can easily replace in case of user error).

Here are some images to whet your appetiteEternal Night Chariot:Sacred Rose World

Albano Devil

4 thoughts on “Borderectomies – or teaching an old deck new tricks

  1. I have a guillotine, and still get tired and sore before a deck is done! Still, I adore my trimmed decks – DruidCraft and Tarot of the Sidhe 🙂


    • I’d love to get one of those old-fashioned guillotine style paper cutters. The inexpensive one I picked up just doesn’t hold up and having to keep turning the cards around and re-aligning them become much too time consuming. Despite the hand aches I’m now dealing with, I love my newly trimmed decks (today I did the Viking Tarot by Lo Scarabeo). They just seem to pop without borders. I did my DruidCraft too and it looks so amazing now! I think I’ve found a new obsession. My decks are starting to quiver when they see me pick up the scissors. 😀


  2. I have weak wrists and thumbs, so a guillotine suits me better, despite the realigning. Had to laugh at the visual of your decks trembling in fear as you approach, scissors in hand 😀


  3. I use scissors for some decks and the paper cutter for others. I also use the corner rounder. I’ve only “borderectomied” a few of my decks though. For me … most don’t need it.


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