By Paul Aceto
In a previous Daily Content posting, Richard
Gutenkunst provided his thoughts on making
counters from electronic files. I offer below
an alternative method, using the old downloadable
Iron Wolves as an
example (that download's no longer available; Iron Wolves now comes with die-cut counters).
To do it my way, you will need four things:
- Color printer (either your own, or
one at a copy shop/office supply store).
- Mat board (available at arts & crafts
stores in their framing department, about
$15 a sheet).
- Adhesive-backed label paper (available
on-line or at an office supply store.
I use Avery 5265, 25 sheets for $8.49 on-line
or about $12 retail).
- Rotary cutter (available at an office
supply store for about $49.99).
To start, I printed the two Iron
Wolves files, front and back, onto the Avery paper.
For this example, I actually went to Office
Depot with the files on a thumb drive and
asked them to make the copies, using my paper.
Total cost about $1. Their quality was better
than my basic HP printer.
Next, I cut out a piece of the mat board
that was large enough to hold one counter
I then peeled off the back of the adhesive
paper, and carefully pressed the counter
sheet down on mat board. That done, I cut
off the edges of the counter sheet with the
Next, I cut this piece into smaller blocks
before affixing the back-side counters. This
is a key step. It is very hard to get both
sides of double-sided counters to match up
perfectly. This is especially true when you
use label paper, as you will not be able
to massage into place once it is affixed.
By using smaller pieces, you minimize the
potential registration errors with each block.
So I cut mine first vertically, and then
each resulting piece into thirds.
Next, you cut the back-side counter sheet
to match the corresponding blocks.
Then you very carefully and slowly affix
each back-side sheet to the mounted block.
I found with the Avery paper, you can remove
the new sheet once if you make a mistake,
but after that the paper starts to curl and
you lose adhesion.
With both sides on, you are ready to start
your final cuts. I do mine in horizontal
Then you cut each strip into the individual
pieces. You will need a small piece of mat
board from time to press through the rump
end of the strips, when there are only two
units, as it will be completely under the
rotary cutters plastic shield.
Here you see the finished product, both
front and back.
Total time: about 30 minutes.
You can use scissors or an X-acto knife
in place of the rotary cutter. I mount quite
a few counters, so find the cutter a very
worthwhile investment. Also, you can substitute
other types of backing, though after much
trial and error I am now sold on mat board.
The one area I would not change is the Avery
paper. I used to use rubber cement for affixing
the counters, but have found the Avery paper
much better and easier to use. Less stress
on the hands, more consistent adhesion and
Put your new knowledge
to work —
just Print and Play!