How to Print Your Own Plastic Business Cards

Sep 14th 2023

Your business card is so much more than a card containing your contact information. It is a way to represent your brand to the world. It is a simple tool that can instantly add or take away credibility. If you are looking for durable and memorable cards that really stand out from the crowd, plastic business cards are the way to go.

Step 1: Design Your Plastic Business Cards

The professional graphic design tools of choice for over 30 years has been the Adobe suite of products which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Graphic designers love how these programs allow them to have complete creative control when designing. The two main drawbacks of Adobe products are that they are expensive and there is a bit of a learning curve to master them. 

Canva (shown above) is quickly rising to the top of the list as THE online design tool for beginners. It is very easy to use, doesn’t require any downloads, and offers both free and paid plans. If you are not a professional graphic designer but would like an easy way to design your own business cards, give Canva a try. It’s free and they offer many templates that can be easily customized to fit your needs.

Design Best Practices

No matter how you decide to design your cards, be sure to keep it simple. Don't clutter your card with too much information. Stick to essential details like your name, job title, company name, phone number, email, and website. Use high quality images to ensure high quality output. Choose fonts and colors that are easy to read and represent your brand’s style. Most importantly, when someone takes a glance at your card, they should immediately understand what type of product or service you are offering.

Step 2: Decide on Your Plastic Card Size, Thickness & Color Options

Business Card Size

Standard paper business cards measure 3.5” x 2” but the standard size for plastic cards is slightly different at 3.375” x 2.125”. This is also known as CR-80 or credit card size. The difference is minor but it is important to set your artwork to the correct dimensions to ensure that it will print correctly and nothing important will get cut off.

Card Thickness

Paper business cards are typically printed on cardstock - often 10 - 14pt in thickness. The standard thickness of plastic cards is the same as a credit card which is substantially more robust at 30 mil thick. There is also an option for a thin, 20pt plastic business card.

Plastic Color Options

White is the most popular plastic color used because it can be printed on in any color. Plastic cards also come in  a variety of other colors with some of the most popular being black, metallic gold, metallic silver, red, blue, and green. When selecting a plastic color other than white, it is best to keep the printing very simple. Usually black, white, or metallic inks are most impactful on colored plastic using simple spot color designs - no photographs, gradients, or background images.

Step 3: Select Your Optional Upgrades

There are several upgrades available that can make your plastic business cards stand out even more including:

  • Add a QR code that links to a video, your social media account, or a web page
  • Add a matte finish
  • Add sections of spot gloss on top of matte finish
  • Add a pearlized metallic finish
  • Add gold or silver foil design elements
  • Add an NFC chip embedded within your card to digitally transmit your contact information with a single tap

Step 4: Print your Plastic Business Cards

Now that you have a finished design, it’s time to print your plastic business cards. This leaves you with two options.

Option 1 - DIY

Unlike paper, it’s not possible to run plastic cards through a standard inkjet printer. You must first purchase a printer that is designed to print on plastic cards. The most cost effective option for this is an Evolis thermal card printer. There are many models and options available which range from roughly $1,000 - $5,000+.

Once you’ve purchased a card printer, be sure to load up on thermal ribbon (ink) and blank plastic cards.

Learn more about printing your own plastic cards

Option 2 - Order professionally printed plastic cards

Unless you will be printing MANY sets of plastic business cards, it will probably be more cost effective to order them from a professional printing company. Print Robot offers custom printed plastic business cards with a wide range of options and finishes. They manufacture all of their cards in the USA and even offer free design services on most orders.

Here are some plastic card options from Print Robot: