What are scratch cards made of?

How are scratch cards made?

Scratch cards are fun, interactive ways of revealing hidden messages! You might know them best from scratching lottery tickets or parking permits, but scratchcards are now commonplace for promotional materials, games, gambling and much more. The rise of popularity in scratch cards and their big brothers scratch posters is continual… but how are scratch cards made? What are scratch cards made of?

Despite the proclivity of the scratch off lotto ticket and the scratch-where-you’ve-been world maps, we’d wager that most people don’t know how they actually work, how they’re made and what materials and processes are used to create that magical scratch-off effect? 

We are here to help! We’ll show you how to make scratch card; let’s go through the production journey of a typical scratchcard…

How are scratch cards made?

What are scratch cards made of?

What are scratch cards made of?

Scratch-away items are obviously made from several different materials: you can’t rub-off paper! But exactly what are scratch cards made of? Their creation begins with a 350gsm silk paper card layer as a base (as standard but other options are available). Next an additional part-layer of scratch off latex is added, and finally optional overprinting can be added on top of the latex. The scratch card is built up with various different print runs…

Starting from scratch

The first step in any scratchcard print run is producing the plain cards themselves. The printer will take your base layer artwork and print it out onto cardstock sheets, with several individual cards on each sheet.

The printing at this stage includes all the content which will be hidden under the scratch-off panels on the final cards (such as prizes, matching icons and verification codes). This is often called the ‘first layer’ or ‘base layer’, as it is the bottommost artwork. Digital variable data printing can apply different details to each individual to create ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ cards.

Creating the scratch-off sections

Here comes the fun bit! After applying a transparent varnish which allows the scratch-off panels to scratch away without damaging the rest of the card, the classic scratch away panels are then created by ‘printing’ scratch-off liquid latex (also known as rub-removable latex ink) on specific areas of the card using screen printing technology. Choose from various colours and shapes, with our panel options.

This latex is designed to come away from the card with the scratch of a coin or fingernail. Once the latex dries… we have a working scratch card!

scratch card making tutorial

Over-the-top printing

This step is optional, but it certainly helps if you’re looking for scratch card prints that’ll grab the customer’s eye.

The silver, black or gold rub-remove latex can either be left as-is, or the card sheets can be fed through the printer a second time to print additional content on top of the scratch-off panels.

Overprinting is often used to add game instructions or calls-to-action on the front of the card to entice customers to try their luck, but with a bit of creativity you can also blend your card’s base artwork and overprinted artwork to create seamless designs or ‘hidden’ panels.

It’s also a great opportunity to reinforce your branding with an overprinted logo or company message.

how are scratch cards made

All the trimmings

So your cards are done, except they’re all still stuck on the same sheets with their neighbours; the last step is to cut each card to its final size using a professional paper guillotine.

Each card is printed onto the sheet with trim marks, so the guillotine operator knows exactly where to cut. Here’s where setting up a bleed perimeter and safety zone in your artwork design will pay off, as it will prevent the tiny imperfections in the trimming process from harming the presentation quality of your finished cards. Take a look at our artwork guide for more information.

How to make scratchcards? Let us take care of them for you!

So now you know how scratch cards are made – and if you’re interested in printing a few for your next promotional campaign, ScratchcardPrinting.co.uk is here to help. Call us on 02380 878030 to discuss your requirements, or drop us a message online today!

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