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Subject: TUTORIAL: Custom Poker Chip Tokens - (Updated 6/27/17) rss

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Luke Matthews
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GEEKELITE’S GAME UPGRADE TUTORIALS

Graphics-Wrapped Chipboard Card Boxes
Creating Graphics Wraps for Chipboard Boxes
Chipboard Bit-Boxes for Card Games
THIS TUTORIAL: Custom Poker Chip Tokens
Poker Chip Racks for Card Game Boxes
Two-Piece Bit Boxes for Board Games

GeekElite’s Tutorials Geeklist w/File Links (WIP)


NOTE: I've added new information within regarding using full-sheet photo sticker paper rather than photo paper and spray adhesive. Each has their advantages. Read on for more info.

After posting about my Kingsburg poker chip Soldier Tokens and my poker chip tokens for Jaipur, there’s a lot of interest in how to make these chips. The process is actually pretty easy, so I figured I’d throw together a short tutorial.

Here’s the materials you’ll need:

• Blank Poker Chips (Links below)
• Color Photo Printer (or any color printer, depending on quality)
• Photo Paper (I use Canon Photo Paper Pro Semi-Gloss -OR- LD Glossy Photo Inkjet Sticker Paper(See updated information))
• Spray Adhesive (I use 3M Super 77)
• Circle Punch (I use this EK Tools Punch for chips with a 1.25" sticker well, and this Little B Punch for chips with a 1.125" sticker well.)
• Large Tweezers

As requested, here are the links to sticker images I've created so far:

Jaipur Scoring Token Stickers (1.25")

Kingsburg Soldier Token Stickers (1.25")

Capital Lux Gold Coin Stickers (1.125")

Ethnos Control Token Stickers (1.125")

For Sale Money Stickers (1.125")

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


POKER CHIPS

First, you’ll need to acquire some blank poker chips. When I first started this project, I was actually searching for the same chips used in Splendor, but it turns out they’re rather hard to get and kind of expensive, at least for the average consumer.

So, if you want a 1.25" sticker well (more visible artwork, less chip rim) the two chips I recommend using are either these 5 Spot blank chips (which I used for Kingsburg) or these 8 Stripe blank chips (which I used for Jaipur). If you want a smaller sticker, like the one I used for my Capital Lux and Ethnos chips, use these 6-spot blank poker chips, which have a 1.125" sticker well.

The chips you use are purely an aesthetic choice, but be warned: the Kingsburg and Jaipur chip images linked above are 1.25" in diameter, and the Capital Lux and Ethnos chip images are 1.125" in diameter, designed for different chips.

The links above are for Discount Casino Gear and Discount Poker Shop, but you can also get the chips on Amazon. The caveat being that you have to order them in much larger quantities (usually) on Amazon – 25-50 chips per color – which is way more than you’ll need.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


PRINTING

For my money, the best looking chips are printed on a photo printer that can print at very high resolution. You can print these stickers on nearly any color inkjet or laser printer, though, so feel free to do whatever is most convenient for you. This demonstration will be using primarily photo paper, but I've recently discovered full-sheet photo sticker paper that also works very well. Each has it's advantages, which I'll detail later.



You can also buy round labels specifically designed for poker chips, like these. I tend not to use labels like these because I can’t print on them at high enough resolution to make them look good. Plus, designing the actual print file to line up with the stickers is kind of a bitch, so I just use photo paper and punch the stickers individually.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


DIFFERENT PAPERS
The original version of this tutorial included only information about printing on photo paper (or other inkjet-compatible paper) and using spray adhesive to create the stickers. Recently, I've found a this great photo sticker paper, and have used it on a couple of projects.

Using spray adhesive on normal paper definitely has its advantages. Although it can be a tad messier, it is, in general, quite a bit faster than using sticker paper. You can spray 20+ stickers at once, and once you're adept at using tweezers to apply them, the stickering process can actually go quite quickly. You also have quite a bit more flexibility regarding the paper you use, so if you want to add some texture or have a preferred sheen (I use semi-gloss instead of glossy photo paper), you can do that.

The advantage of the sticker paper is that you don't need to use spray adhesive. The glue doesn't get on your fingers, and it eliminates one whole step from the process outlined below. Also, the sticker paper is significantly thinner than regular photo paper, so for chips with a very shallow sticker well (like the 6-spot chips linked above with the 1.125" sticker well), your sticker won't have the potential to rise above the face of the chip, impeding stacking. The problem with sticker paper is that peeling the backing off each sticker can be a real bitch, so the stickering process actually takes quite a bit longer. The other disadvantage is that sticker paper tends to show punch defects around the edges much more readily than photo paper. So, if your circle punch blade isn't perfectly sharp and ding free, you might end up with some visible blemishes around the edges of your stickers.

The process detailed here will work with either method. Rather than re-write the whole post, though, I've simply inserted notes below where they apply to the sticker paper rather than spray adhesive.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


CUTTING

Alright. Once you’ve acquired your chips and printed your stickers, you’ll need to punch them out. This is where the circle punch comes in.

The first step is to cut up the printed sticker sheet.



The punch won’t be able to reach the stickers in the center of the sheet, so you’ll need to cut it into two-sticker wide strips. You could also do one-sticker-wide strips, but I think two give you a little more paper to grip while you’re punching them out.

This is what my circle punch looks like:



EK Tools circle punches are designed for use with craft paper for scrapbooking. Usually, you’ll set them flat on a desk, insert paper, and punch blindly to make colored circles. That’s not what we’re going to do here. Flip the circle punch over so you can see the opening on the bottom.



This will allow you to line up your stickers with the hole on the bottom to ensure you’re punching them out properly. There’s also a secondary benefit: Because of the shape of their “blade”, most circle punches tend to leave marks on the front side of the paper they punch. Flipping the punch over ensures those marks are on the back of the stickers, and not visible on the final chips.

Simply insert the sticker sheet and line up your sticker…



…then squeeze to punch it out.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


APPLYING SPRAY ADHESIVE

Once all your stickers are punched out, you’re going to apply spray adhesive to the backs. This is as simple as laying out the stickers face down and spraying them with adhesive, but I have three specific bits of advice:

First, add a slight bend to each of your stickers before putting them down, like this:



The reason for this bend is to make the stickers easier to pick up off the paper where you sprayed them.



If they’re lying perfectly flat, they’re almost impossible to pick up once sprayed, and you’ll end up pushing them around in the adhesive and making a big mess. The bend allows you to pick them up by their edge without having to touch any of the actual adhesive.



Second, use tweezers to manipulate them, like this:



Using your fingers will be clunky and unwieldy, and you’ll eventually end up with adhesive all over your fingers. Which is generally bad, because you need to press the stickers into the chips, and you’ll just smear glue all over the face of the chips when you’re doing it.

Lastly, don’t spray more than about ten chips worth of stickers (twenty stickers) at once. If you do more than that, in the time it takes you to sticker a bunch of chips, the adhesive on the backs of the remaining stickers will dry out and become useless.

NOTE: If you're using sticker paper, obviously this step is omitted. You'll simply print the stickers and punch them out from the sticker paper, which will already have adhesive and a backing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


APPLYING THE STICKERS

Once you’ve grabbed the sticker with tweezers, it’s as simple as lining up the sticker on the face of the chip and laying it down.



I tend to use the spots/stripes on the edge of the chip as a guide for placing the stickers. Once the sticker is laid down, just give it a quick press with your thumbs to set it.



Then, flip the chip over and apply the back.



Just be sure to orient the chip correctly so the back and front match up. With Jaipur, specifically, be sure to pay close attention to the values of the back you’re applying, so they properly match up.

NOTE: The application process for sticker paper is mostly identical, except you just peel the backing off the sticker and apply it to the chip. You can still use tweezers if you're more comfortable with them, but I've found that the sticker paper adhesive doesn't stick to skin much, so you can also just use your fingers.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


And that’s it!



It really is a pretty straightforward process. Actually, the most time-intensive part of the process is just creating the images for the stickers, which – at least for a few games - I’ve already done for you (links above).

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to see the results of your chips, if you decide to make some. Happy gaming!
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Charles Boyung
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
Hmm, I wonder how well this will work with the chips with the little dice faces on the edges - I think those have a smaller blank space than what you're using. I just got a ton of brand new nice heavy chips like that at GoodWill and wasn't really sure what to do with them.
 
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Jake Staines
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
I'd add a couple of things:

- If you want to protect your stickers, then use a spray lacquer. Spray over the printed side and wait for it to thoroughly cure before proceeding. Don't try and laminate them, with tape or with a cold laminate machine, or with "contact paper" or whatever - the round craft punch will chew the laminate up something rotten.

- It works variably well depending on the spray adhesive you use, but you can sometimes get away with creating a sticker sheet using waxed baking paper (or better still, the backing from full-sheet labels - if you keep it and don't crease it!) Lay out the stickers face-down on a sheet of printer paper or something and then spray the backs with glue as in the tutorial above, then lay the wax paper with the waxed side down over the top of them. Dab the paper down, and you'll generally find that the printer paper peels off easily, leaving the round punched-out stickers on the face of the paper. It's not as good as the kind of stickers you can make out of the "sticker maker" machines (Xyron etc.) you can get from craft shops, but it can be better than curling each round individually and picking them up carefully. You still have to work moderately fast, though.
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
motoyugota wrote:
Hmm, I wonder how well this will work with the chips with the little dice faces on the edges - I think those have a smaller blank space than what you're using. I just got a ton of brand new nice heavy chips like that at GoodWill and wasn't really sure what to do with them.


The issue with most poker chips, including the D6 chips like you're describing, is the center of the chip is flush with the edge. Meaning that the sticker will actually sit above the face of the chip, and will be more prone to peeling or damage.

The chips I link to in this post are made specifically for stickering, so the center area of the chip is recessed slightly. That way, the sticker settles down to be either flush with the edge or slightly below it. When the chips are stacked, the weight is around the rim of the chip and not on the face of the sticker. This recess also protects the edge of the sticker so it won't get caught and peel easily.

I'd suggest against trying to sticker any poker chips that aren't made specifically to take stickers.
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Tragic TheBlathering
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
or... alternatively for the creatively uninclined...

http://www.makeplayingcards.com/promotional/custom-chips.htm...

Custom Chips, you can buy in singles.
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
TragicTheBlathering wrote:
or... alternatively for the creatively uninclined...

http://www.makeplayingcards.com/promotional/custom-chips.htm...

Custom Chips, you can buy in singles.

That does kind of defeat the purpose of a tutorial posted in the Do It Yourself forum, though.
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Randall Clayton
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
I can vouch for that EK punch. I've got the same one and it works great for this very purpose...punching out nice, perfect circles in paper and card stock.
 
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
Does anyone have a template I can use to design tokens?
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Starla Lester
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
Those are amazing! Thank you for sharing.

How well do they wear? Do they need some kind of photoprotective spray, or are they fine as is?
 
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Starla Lester
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial (w/pics)
TragicTheBlathering wrote:
or... alternatively for the creatively uninclined...

http://www.makeplayingcards.com/promotional/custom-chips.htm...

Custom Chips, you can buy in singles.


Expensive!!! Evidently, this is a case where just a little do-it-yourself will save a lot of money.
 
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated w/File Links
For those who have been interested, I've added Google Drive links to the post above where you can download sticker images for both Jaipur and Kingsburg.

Here they are again:

Jaipur Scoring Token Stickers

Kingsburg Soldier Token Stickers
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated w/File Links
Ryuu wrote:
Those are amazing! Thank you for sharing.

How well do they wear? Do they need some kind of photoprotective spray, or are they fine as is?


I honestly don't know just yet. I haven't had them long enough to figure out how they wear. I would imagine - at least in the cases of Jaipur and Kingsburg - that they'd be fine, because there's not much in the way of shuffling or bagging that's going to cause excessive wear.

That being said, a quick spray of acrylic sealant never really hurts
 
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TragicTheBlathering wrote:
or... alternatively for the creatively uninclined...

http://www.makeplayingcards.com/promotional/custom-chips.htm...

Custom Chips, you can buy in singles.

It also doesn't look like they have enough colors to even make these.

As a side note, I just got my chips ordered from discount poker chips for $20 including sipping.

This will be a fun project for my wife and I on a rainy weekend!
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
I just updated this post to include:

1. Information on chips with a 1.125" image size, and the appropriate circle punch.
2. File links for Capital Lux coin images, which use these chips.
 
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
rwclayton74 wrote:
I can vouch for that EK punch. I've got the same one and it works great for this very purpose...punching out nice, perfect circles in paper and card stock.


I have the same punch, and I love it -- it's worked very well for me. I've done some similar mods, but instead of using poker chips, I've used wooden discs that I've painted and then attached round stickers to. Instead of using photo paper, though, I used full-page labels. They're not quite as nice as printing on photo paper, but it eliminates an extra step with the spray adhesive. I'm not sure how well the label paper would stick to poker chips, but it works very well on cardboard and wood.
 
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William B.
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
How did you make (or setup) the pages with the pictures on them? What sort of program, do you scan them in, take a picture with your iphone and use it or what?

I ask because I am thinking about doing something similar for the emperor favor tokens for Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts because I don't like the cardboard there. I was thinking of using the graphics off the front of the token and then gluing it to a yellow wooden disc.
 
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
Cemaran wrote:
How did you make (or setup) the pages with the pictures on them? What sort of program, do you scan them in, take a picture with your iphone and use it or what?

I ask because I am thinking about doing something similar for the emperor favor tokens for Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts because I don't like the cardboard there. I was thinking of using the graphics off the front of the token and then gluing it to a yellow wooden disc.


I can't speak for the original poster, but I use GIMP for almost everything, and it works very well. It's not the easiest program to learn, but it's free, and it'll allow you to do almost everything, including creating a full page with circular templates on them, doing some sharpening, color correcting, and other bits of tweaking, and then printing.

To acquire the images, I tend to first look for high-res images on BGG or on the publisher website of whatever it is that I'm planning to put on these wooden tokens. If I can't find them online, then I'll scan them and spend a little time cleaning up the scan. A photo using a good camera could also work, but you'd need to take the photo from directly above (i.e. so you get a circular image) and it would need to be taken with a very steady hand or a tripod in order to get the best image quality. Things like a flash or the lighting of the room could also alter the color a bit -- it's certainly doable, but scanning is probably easier, and finding a high-res version of the image already online is even easier than that.

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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
Hello! I decided to follow your tutorial for creating my very own custom Jaipur tokens and ordered the poker chips from the company you recommended. My Kingsburg chips arrived in perfect condition, as they are plastic, but my Jaipur chips arrived mostly damaged. Green survived unscathed, but the majority of my other chips arrived like this:



I'm guessing it won't matter as much once I apply the stickers, but I'm just wondering if yours arrived in similar condition.
 
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
I generally do the same thing but use full-sheet label paper. I'm guessing the photo paper may come out nicer but the trade off is that you don't need to mess around with the spray adhesive.

Otherwise, the procedures are similar.
 
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 4/11/17 w/Capital Lux Chips
kjamma4 wrote:
I generally do the same thing but use full-sheet label paper. I'm guessing the photo paper may come out nicer but the trade off is that you don't need to mess around with the spray adhesive.

Otherwise, the procedures are similar.

I actually just discovered full-sheet photo sticker paper, and it's amazing. The best of both worlds. I probably should've known about it earlier.

There are still some advantages to the spray-adhesive method (more flexibility in paper type), but I'm definitely going to update this tutorial soon to include the photo sticker paper.
 
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 6/26/17 w/New Info + Ethnos Chips Link
I've updated the post with new info regarding the use of photo sticker paper rather than spray adhesive, as well as a link to the poker chip sticker images for my Ethnos upgrade. As always, let me know if you have any questions.
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 6/26/17 w/New Info + Ethnos Chips Link
chestond wrote:
Hello! I decided to follow your tutorial for creating my very own custom Jaipur tokens and ordered the poker chips from the company you recommended. My Kingsburg chips arrived in perfect condition, as they are plastic, but my Jaipur chips arrived mostly damaged. Green survived unscathed, but the majority of my other chips arrived like this:



I'm guessing it won't matter as much once I apply the stickers, but I'm just wondering if yours arrived in similar condition.

I've never had poker chips arrive in that condition, before. I've had some with scuffed faces, but never major cracks like that. If the cracks are bad enough, it's possible the ABS will come away from the metal insert, like it has on a few of the chips in your pic, but in larger quantities that stickers won't solve. I'd look into returning/exchanging them.
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 6/26/17 w/New Info + Ethnos Chips Link
I actually did contact the company for replacements. They sent me a boat load of chips, but again, the majority of them were cracked quite a bit. I just set aside the best of the lot and will apply the faces today. Hopefully they'll stay on for the long haul!
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 6/26/17 w/New Info + Ethnos Chips Link
As a result, I now have lots and lots of chips, so thank you for the heads up on Ethnos, and please keep the games coming!
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Luke Matthews
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Re: Custom Poker Chip Token Tutorial w/Pics - Updated 6/27/17 w/For Sale Sticker Images
I just added a link to images for making poker chip money tokens for For Sale. They look like this:

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