Since I just got my student ID card, I feel that I should rant about how to make a laminated card because nobody seems to be able to do it right.
Here’s the deal, you want to make a card, and you want it to either look cool or survive in a pocket for more than a few months (and maybe a trip through the laundry machine), so you think, “Hey! I’ll make a laminated card!” At this point, please stop and ask yourself why you are too cheap to print out your card on plastic “credit card” stock. It’s much better, not only does it make you look even cooler and more official, it will survive more trips through your laundry machine than any of your clothing, and that plastic stuff is so strong it can be used to scrape ice off a frozen windshield without looking any the worse for it.
So for whatever reason, you’re either a cheapskate or afraid of new technology, and you really have to make a laminated card. Here is my message to you: MAKE YOUR CARD SMALLER THAN 82MM x 50MM (3 1/8 inches by 1 7/8 inches) !!!
You see, the standard dimentions of a credit card are 86mm x 54mm (that’s 3 3/8 inches by 2 1/8 inches for those of you not on the metric system), but lamination takes at least 2mm off of each side, and probably closer to 3mm if you have any kind of multilayer stupidity like a photograph glued to the card (why aren’t you printing the card and photo with a color printer?). Now, that’s per side, so don’t forget to double those numbers before you subtract.
If you don’t do this, your card is not going to fit into any wallet known to man; it will be shoved into some other place where it will be bent, mangled, and forgotten just before the clothes are tossed into the laundry machine. If you are the sort of person who has wondered why people are not respecting your card, this is why. If you wonder why people are not carrying your card with them, this is why.
If you are making one of these cards, be sure that the lamination can be reliably trimmed down to credit card size without making the card come apart.
Trust me on this, I’ve had dozens of these stupid laminated cards and only a few have been clever enough to take the laminated size into account, all of the other cards always ended up looking like crap after a week.