Example of the Death card

Tarot cards have been around for more than 500 years, and dozens of designs and styles are available. Even with so many decks out there, you can create a one-of-a-kind set by designing your own tarot cards.

Decks consist of 78 cards, each showcasing a different picture. Standard decks have 22 cards known as major arcana, or trumps. The remaining 56 cards are made up of four suits of 14 cards, each known as minor arcane, or pip cards.

Draw a series of 22 rectangles for the major arcana. Make the rectangles as large as you want, in a portrait position. The 22 cards are the: Fool, Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chario, Justice, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Strength, Hanged Man, Death/Transformation, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment and World.

Create your designs for the four suits needed for the minor arcana. The suits you will need to illustrate are pentacles, equivalent to traditional diamonds; cups, which correspond to hearts; swords, which correspond to spades; and wands, which correspond to clubs.

Sketch a series of 56 rectangles for the minor aracana. Each suit will contain 14 cards, ranging from the ace through 10, with the face cards of page, knight, queen and king.

Draw the major arcana. These are often labeled at the bottom of the card. If you wish to do the same, leave enough space to adequately write the card's name.

Draw the minor arcana. A shortcut for drawing the minor arcana is to create a template for cards ace through 10 and the four face cards. Make four copies of the template and then fill in the proper suit at the corners and center.

Things Needed

  • ['Deck of tarot cards', 'Paper', 'Drawing instrument']


  • Picking a particular theme may make designing so many cards easier. They will also be more unified. Some themes include dogs, cats, rabbits, flowers, wildlife or seasons and holidays. If unsure how large to make the card, simply trace the outline of an existing card for your frame. Review existing tarot cards to get some ideas (see Resources).