Low Cost Tarot Related Gifts

Low-Cost Tarot-Related Gifts
for Yourself and Other Tarot Aficionados
by Lalia Wilson

You love tarot and you’d like to share that love with others in the form of Holiday gifts, or other special-occasion gifts. Here are some ideas about original ways to create tarot-themed gifts.

Since we are going to be talking about using images from a tarot deck, let’s start with some information about intellectual property law. It is okay to use images from a living artist (or otherwise protected by copyright) if they are in “fair use.” Fair use has been interpreted by the courts in the US to mean in a small way—for example not replicating a whole, or even a substantial part, of a tarot deck. It also means limited—such as for a class you teach or a few friends. And it means not for profit. You are not selling the items. Further, if you substantially change the image—you might think of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe picture here—it becomes “new” art and will be protected as your artistic creation. 

The various ideas presented here will need you to be able to capture an image of a card, either from a screen or from the card itself, and possibly to manipulate it. The capturing part of this is that you are able to use your camera, or your browser on your desktop computer, your tablet, or your smartphone to get the image. Then you will use a program, sometimes built into the device, to crop, rotate, or modify the appearance of the image so that it looks the way you want it to. I have used MS Paint and GIMP 2.0 for myself. GIMP is a free equivalent of Adobe Photoshop, but it is not exactly the same. Both programs will require some amount of playing with them in order to learn how to use them to produce the finished look you desire. With GIMP I can crop an image, alter it subtly or dramatically, and then export it as a jpg or tiff file—the most usable of image formats.

Choose a tarot card or cards that you just love and that communicate the message you want to send. Remember that different decks have variations on the meaning and image for each card.  For the purposes of this article, let us use the iconic image of The High Priestess from the Cosmic Tarot. Here are various ways you can use a tarot image as a gift.


Just using the image itself, you can create a jig-saw puzzle. This can be an electronic jig-saw puzzle through an app like Jigsaw Puzzles Epic from Kristianix, or another similar app. You will need to install the app on the device of the gift recipient, then from the app find the image (which you have previously photographed or saved) and you then use that image as an electronic jigsaw puzzle. Shutterfly and Walmart both offer the option to create a puzzle for about $20 from your image, which you can wrap and give in person, or mail to the recipient. Or you can give a more elaborate and permanent gift with a crafted wooden, cardboard, or magnetic puzzle from a source like https://piczzle.com/.  

What about using an office supply store, like Staples, to create one of these? Photocards, 25 for $14.99.  Posters from $9.99. Magnetic signs from $17.99. Vinyl window signs from $9.99. Prints mounted on foam board, suitable for direct display, starting at $14.99. Other stores like Walmart and Target offer similar products which all begin with the image you supply. Walmart offers smaller and cheaper magnetic photos, tote bags with images, jewelry boxes with images, and a host of other creative ideas. Target offers over 16 customized Monopoly games with your images. Many stores have keychains with your image. Check these out online by searching the store of your choice under “photo center” or “Photo gift.” Also, you can do business with these retailers online, in person, or a combination of both. It is very convenient. You can also have the gift sent directly to the recipient, in some instances.

 You can create your own note cards or stationary from a Tarot (or other) image. Take the image you want. Crop or alter it as you wish. For cards, either find or develop your own template and print on quality paper. If you print on 8 ½ X 11 paper and fold it into fourths, you can use “invitation” size envelopes, under $8 for a hundred at Staples. For stationary, you can create a letterhead with your image, or use the image as a watermark, a faded image which will be underneath where the person will write. Your choice of image for note cards can further express your feelings if you are using them yourself, or giving to a friend as perhaps a Bridal or Baby Shower gift—an excellent time for the Empress or the Queen of Pentacles. (Remember that brides and new mothers need lots of note cards to send their thank you messages.) I’m thinking of the daughter of a friend who is expecting a Christmas baby. Now what card would be appropriate for that occasion? 

But wait, here’s another fun idea. Make your own coloring book. You can use any card you want, though I recommend using simpler images. You can convert it to a black and white line drawing using GIMP by using the Filter->Artistic->photocopy function. If the image is too pale, you can then take that B&W image from the photocopy and use Filter->Artistic->Predator, which will further alter and enhance the image. These coloring books can be suitable artistically for more advanced or more novice artists, depending on which cards and decks you choose. You can also select images whose subjects work better for younger friends and family, versus adults.


High Priestess from Cosmic Tarot photocopy

This is only touching the surface of what is possible. Please share your ideas.

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. All images are used with permission. Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - 2016  Questions? Comments? Contact us at ATAsTarotReflections@gmail.com