Most ID cards are 2.125” x 3.375” 30 mil PVC. Governments, colleges, and large employers use very expensive PVC ID card printers with a thin ribbon they print on and bond to the PVC ID card. Ideally, it would be best if you have access to an ID card printer, but that is not necessary. You can make very professional appearing ID cards with some inkjet printers that have a CD/DVD tray or by printing the ID image on appliqué film or paper and attaching it to the ID card with an adhesive.
Assuming you don't have access to a $5,000 PVC ID card printer, there are three inexpensive ways to make novelty or fake ID cards.
1. The least expensive it to print on appliqué film or synthetic paper and attached the images, front and back, to blank white 20 mil or 30 mil PVC ID cards. The difficulty is the hand eye coordination required to perfectly align the printed image on the ID cards.
Appliqué film is about half the thickness of plain bond paper so it does not appear to add thickness the ID card and when aligned correctly the results are very good. The problem with appliqué film is that it will not pass the bend test. Any normal flexing of the ID cars will not be a problem but if you bend the ID card to a radius of about 2" the appliqué film will separate from the paper and cause wrinkles.
Although thicker and more difficult to apply in the correct location, synthetic paper is much like rubber; that is, it will compress and stretch. Synthetic paper will pass the bend test even if the ID is bended double and warped. It is also water proof and forms a very strong bond to the PVC ID card. However, it is 10 mil thick and the added thickness may be noticed.
You can also print on presentation paper or brochure paper which is identical in appearance to photo paper except much thinner. You can attach the paper with white glue and for a second or two make slight alignment adjustments. However, you must spread the white glue completely and with a uniform thickness or it will separate or results in bumps that you can feel, even if not visible. Obviously paper is not water proof or as durable but the appearance is outstanding.
2. More common, but I don't recommend it, is printing on synthetic paper (common trade names are Teslin and Artisyn) and inserting inside 10 mil butterfly pouches and laminating. In theory, you can use an iron instead of buying a laminator, but I don’t recommend it. I made numerous attempts with an iron and all were unsatisfactory. The pouches take on the texture of whatever you iron it on. I even tried plate glass but even that didn’t look right. I tried ironing on paper and it bonded to the paper or else it wasn’t hot enough and the butterfly pouches partly separated from the synthetic paper at the edges.
Most laminators will not work because they are not made for the thirty mil thickness of PVC ID cards. Typically, the maximum thickness for most laminators is about 10 mills. Arcadia (http://www.arcadiaid.com/) sells 30 mil laminators with temperature controls for as little as $50 plus shipping. That gives much better results but, the adhesive used gets on the rollers and the laminators don’t last long. Also, the heat warps the synthetic paper and butterfly pouch IDs. That requires extra steps to prevent or minimize warping and then you must trim and sand the edges.
Finally, even if you do everything right, and it requires a lot of time and effort, the result only simulate the appearance of PVC ID cards. They will not stand up to close inspection. In any event, you can purchase the complete system with laminator, exacto knife, and butterfly pouches from Arcadia to make 10 ID cards for about $90.
3. Recommended: Print ID Cards using an Epson R280 or other CD/DVD Printers. For slightly more money than butterfly pouches and a laminator, and far less effort, you can obtain much better results by purchasing an Epson R280 printer and inkjet ID cards. On Craigslist you can purchase a used R280 for about $40 so the total cost can even be less than the purchasing a laminator, synthetic paper, and butterfly pouches.
I scanned at 600 dpi a college ID card and printed the image to an inkjet ID cards and, when I put them side by side, I had to turn the ID cards over to tell which was which. The results were that good. The inkjet ID cards are waterproof. After drying for a few minutes you cannot wash the ink off using a liberal portion of liquid detergent and hot water. Furthermore, after the ink dries, you cannot scratch it off with your fingernail, so they are very durable. I did scrap a tiny spot off with an exacto knight, but even that was not easy.
Therefore, especially, if you own or have access to an R series Epson inkjet printer such as the R200, R220, R260, R280,or R300, I recommend you use it and inkjet PVC ID cards to make ID cards. You can also use the Epson Artisan 50. However, it requires special drivers and instructions. As stated above, to make IDs using the foregoing printers you need 30 mil inkjet PVC ID cards. Also, you will need either an ID tray that is available on the secondary market or a modified CD/DVD tray. You can buy the inkjet PVC ID cards and the ID tray for ID cards on eBay and, if you ask, the seller will provide a template.
By modifying the tray or buying an ID card tray, you can print directly onto blank inkjet ID cards. If you are handy with simple tools, you can modify your CD/DVD tray to print on inkjet PVC ID cards. In some ways that is superior to the specially make ID card trays for Epson printers. That is because the Epson CD/DVD tray is better quality and because, instead of vertical sides to hold the ID cards, the ID card trays are manufactured with stair sides. That allows the ID cards to occasionally jump out of position during the initial rapid movement. The following are the instructions for modifying an R280 and other Epson R series CD/DVD trays that you can then use to print inkjet PVC ID cards:
a. Find some smooth cardboard the thickness of the 30 mil ID card but not more than the thickness of the 50 mil CD/DVDs. If you have the tools, patterns made with 30 mil or 1/32” plastic, PVC, or laminates for counter-tops are better.
b. Cover both sides of the cardboard with clear uncoated appliqué film such as Chartpak DAFC8. This is not required but it allows you to wash off the ink that will invariable get on the cardboard.
d. Using the pattern cut the adapter for the ID cards. Cut as accurate as possible so there are no gaps larger than 1/16”. This allows a smooth surface so the printer will not be damaged.
e. Drill a 5/8” diameter hole in the center of the tray to remove the raised portion in the tray that locks the CD/DVDs in place. You will still be able to use the tray to print CDs and DVDs.
To print an ID with an Epson R Series Printer and the modified CD/DVD Tray andAdapter:
1. Set your Epson Printer as default printer.
2. Create the image for your ID card and size it Width: 3.375” and Height: 2.125”. Make the image 0.02" to 0.04" larger if you are going to print edge to edge or print a simulated magnetic strip.
3. Open the ID image in Photoshop.
4. Click on File, select Print with Preview, and <Enter>.
5. In the page that opens click Page Setup and select Size: A4 (210 x 297 mm); and Source: CD/DVD, and click OK.
6. Uncheck the box Center Image and set Position:Top: 1.50”; Left: 1.125”.
7. Click Print then click Properties. 8. Choose Quality Option: Best Photo.
9. Set Paper Options: Source: CD/DVD; Type: Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy. Size: A4.
10. Select Photo Enhance then Click OK and Click OK to print.
The above instructions are limited so if you need better instruction send me an email requesting the same and I will email you a template and better instructions, complete with screen shots.
Make an ID Card by Laminating the Image onto a PVC ID Card:
Although less desirable, if you don’t have an R series Epson printer, you can print to paper or appliqué film and attach that to the ID card. Examples of the types of paper or film and the advantages/disadvantages of each are as follows:
Appliqué Film: Appliqué film comes in both clear and matte finish with paper or clear Mylar backing. It is 8.5” letter and legal size and has its own adhesive. Advantages of appliqué film are it is water proof or resistance, the adhesive bonds well to the PVC ID cards, it is very thin, and when applied to the ID it has the appearance of the ribbon used in ID card printers.
Appliqué film with the matte finish appears to be identical to Scotch magic tape. You can write a signature on it and it is transparent when pressed firmly down on the ID card. However, when used as an overlay, it prevents viewing of holograms. Holograms are clearly visible under clear appliqué film. This is only applicable when covering a hologram. Hologram overlays are visible regardless. The problem I have with clear appliqué film, but not much with the matte appliqué film, is the difficulty of applying it without air bubbles. It takes more effort, but the solution I found is as follows:
Place the PVC card on a sheet of paper on the kitchen counter or other smooth flat surface. Apply and spread only 1 or 2 drops of rubbing alcohol onto the ID card, and then place the clear appliqué film with the ID image on the ID card and slid it into position. Temporarily, the alcohol coats the outer surface of the adhesive and makes it very slippery so that allows you to slide the film and align the image on the ID card perfectly.
Pre-cut the appliqué film so as to have about a half inch around the outside of the ID card. Then once you have it into proper position, lock the ID card and the appliqué film with your ID image into place by pressing the outer edges of the appliqué film onto the paper. Then with light pressure from the center out remove the air bubbles. Air bubbles may reappear at the edges so in a couple of hours, cut the paper and appliqué film around the ID card leaving about 1/8th of inch. Then lightly press out the remaining bubbles. You will still need to check for air bubbles for the next couple of hours. In a few hours, the alcohol will be absorbed into the adhesive and form an excellent bond to ID card. The film prevents the alcohol from evaporating (at least for a couple of weeks) so if you use more than one or two drops of alcohol, the adhesive will be weakened.
Give it 24 hours to bond and trim the appliqué film to the edge of the ID card. If necessary, sand the edges your ID card with emery cloth making sure you sand in a direction to press the appliqué film toward the ID card. You can then use your ID card but wait several days before exposing your ID card to hard use.
HP’s Presentation Paper for LaserJet or HP’s Brochure Paper for Inkjet Printers: Advantages are, these papers have the finish of photo paper without disadvantage of the added thickness and copies are near perfect in appearance. You can use white glue to attach it to the ID card. Take care to have a uniform thickness of white glue before bonding the paper to the ID Card. If you apply the white glue and work quickly, during the first second, you can slide the paper about 1/8” into position. Don’t force it because the glue quickly softens the paper and can result in tears and bumps. However, if you make a mistake, you can remove the paper from the ID card using water. Additionally, it matches the color of the white PVC ID card so that you cannot tell it was laminated by looking at the edges provided you can cut it and lightly sand using emery cloth without fraying the edges. The disadvantage is that water will damage it and if the white glue is not spread evenly, it will leave bumps. I achieved better results by using 3M Super 77 spray on adhesive.
Synthetic Paper: Advantages are, synthetic paper is very tough and it is not affected by water. It is somewhat like rubber. I soaked a piece in a cup of water for thirty minutes and, like rubber, the water didn’t affect it. One of the disadvantages is that synthetic paper is 10 mils thick vs. four or 5 mils thick for bond or presentation paper.
If using synthetic paper, it may be best to use 10 or 20 mil thick PVC ID cards. That way the final thickness will be virtually identically to regular 30 ID cards. Also, you can purchase 20 mil PVC ID cards with an adhesive backing.
Synthetic paper would not bond to the PVC card using white glue. However, 3M Super 77 spray on adhesive formed an excellent bond that seems to fuse the synthetic paper to the ID card. Another advantage of synthetic paper is it is very elastic so if you bend the ID card, it will stretch or compress, just like rubber, and not separate from the ID card. Paper is not elastic and tends to separate from the ID card when the ID card is more than slightly bent. Appliqué film is thin enough so that it is less of a problem.
A disadvantage of synthetic paper is that proper placement of the ID card is more difficult. It requires very good hand eye coordination; something that, at my age, I seem to be lacking.
Transparency Film: Not recommended but I obtained fair results printing a reverse image on transparency film and using 3M Super 77 spray on adhesive to bond it to the ID card. By printing a reverse image and attaching the printed side to the ID card, the image is protected between the ID card and the transparency film. The 3M Super 77 adhesive does form micro white spots since the adhesive is not perfectly uniform when sprayed on. However, that may result in an acceptable image.
3M Super 77 spray on adhesive is my preference when applying a glue or adhesive. However the spray tends to get underneath the ID cards and the paper or film. And, after spraying, handling tends to get adhesive onto your fingers and transferred it to unwanted surfaces. The solution I found is to cut the film larger than ID card and Scotch tape the surface you wish to protect to paper. Also, apply glue stick to paper and place the paper on the protected side of the ID card. Glue stick is a very weak adhesive (about like stick-on notes) and is very water soluble so it washes off or it easy to wipe off with a damp handkerchief. After bonding the image to the ID card, trim and remove the paper and you avoid getting any spray adhesive onto the exterior surfaces.
Labels and Synthetic Paper with an Adhesive Backing: The use of either would solve the problem of applying an adhesive with a uniform thickness to paper or synthetic paper. You can purchase paper or clear Mylar labels that are similar to appliqué film.
After bonding, when trimming the paper or film, I find it best to use a very good pair of scissors (poor quality scissors and not good enough) rather than an exacto knife which tends to leave ragged edges. Finally, after trimming, you may need to sand the edges with emery cloth to eliminate all signs of lamination. However, I bought a pair of Fishars razor scissors that cut and trimmed so well that sanding was not needed.
Conclusion: Although the difference is slight, HP’s presentation or brochure paper gives the most exact images, but is the least durable and must be protected from moisture. Appliqué film with adhesive backing provides the best combination of durability and ease of applying and is my recommendation. Synthetic paper may be more durable but it results in a thicker ID card and is difficult to place in the correct location without great hand/eye coordination. Synthetic paper such Teslin and Artisyn inside of butterfly pouches is not recommended. In my opinion, You obtain better results by printing on appliqué film and attaching to 30 Mil PVC ID cards.
In any event, if you can afford an extra $50 to $100 or if you are printing more than a few ID cards, I recommend using an Epson R280 or other CD/DVD printers with a tray for printing ID cards and inkjet ID cards. Not only does that require far less effort, the results are outstanding and very closely resemble PVC ID cards printed with $5,000 printers.
State issued driver licenses have a hologram overlay and, except for the GREAT SEAL which is very similar to the holograms on the new Florida DLs and IDs, none of the holograms you can buy are even remotely similar. On my driver license that recently expired, I removed the hologram overlay by placing clear appliqué film with an adhesive backing and then removing the film. The overlay with the hologram was removed in near perfect condition when I removed the appliqué film. However, on my new driver license, the hologram overlay appears to be fused into the PVC and I cannot remove it.
Unless you can remove and reuse the hologram overlay from your driver license, somehow obtain the overlay, make a simulated hologram, or purchase an ID card hologram overlay, I cannot recommend making a driver license. That is because, I believe, almost everyone knows to check for a hologram on a state issued ID card or driver license.
In any event, do not buy a fake or novelty driver license from any website located in the USA or Canada. They only sell garbage with misleading ads that imply you will receive a good quality ID. However, if they sold good quality replicas, law enforcement would shut them down. Using my methods is much better than any of the ID cards you buy from sites within the USA or Canada.
Warning: Two people have told me that http://fakeidreview.com/ is a scam. That is a web site claiming to sell off shore IDs from countries outside the influence and jurisdiction of the USA. Apparently one person owns all the sites and writes the reviews to con people into believing that will receive a good quality ID. However, they told me, they sent their money and received nothing in return. And, that they received no responses to their emails. Also, I requested a free sample and received nothing.
How to Make an ID Hologram (as modified from a couple of web sites):
2. Order a small bottle of PearlEX Pigments.Brilliant Gold and Pearlwhite appear to be the most reflective and are my recommendations, but almost any color will work. A used bottle or bottles from eBay may be the lowest price choice. A teaspoon full is all you will need for a few hundred ID cards so don’t be concerned about the quantity in the bottle.
3. Order an 8 oz bottle of SpeedBall transparent base. Any thick transparent paint or varnish will do.
4. Make a black and white copy of the hologram(s) that are on your ID card or driver license. If it is a state seal, Google to find a photo file of the appropriate state seal.
5. Print a black and white image of the hologram on the transparency film supplied with the Stencil Pro Starter Kit. Increasing the print density is better. The ink or toner should be a carbon base. Set your printer to the highest density. If not dense enough to make a good stencil, find another printer or make a copy on a copy machine. If your state seal is 2 inches in diameter, it will be easy to make a good stencil. Small diameter (less than 1 inch) state seals will have fine lines that light can diffuse under.
6. Follow the instruction that come with the Stencil Pro Starter Kit to make the stencil. Make certain to lay the transparency film with the printed face on top of the Stencil Pro. Otherwise, the thickness of the transparency film is enough for light to diffuse under any fine lines. In sunlight the exposure time given in the instructions may be on the high side. My best results were 2/3rds of the stated exposure time. Cut several test pieces and make test stencils with varying exposure times to determine the best results.
7. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of PearlEX to 1/4 cup of Speedball transparent base, clear paint, or varnish. Then apply to the stencil. The Stencil Pro starter kit comes with a squeegee but I obtained better results by dipping my finger into the mixture and applying with my finger using little circle motions.
8. Allow a little time to dry. If you can rotate the image and not see the hologram image, mix another 1/4 teaspoon of Pearl EX to the base. Continuing adding and mixing 1/4 teaspoon of PearlEX until the image is barely visible when rotated to be least visible or until the simulated hologram looks good. If you add too much Pearl EX, add and mix a couple tablespoons of the base to your mixture.
Before making the simulated hologram, make certain the stencil, your hands, and work area are completely dry; otherwise the stencil with stick. Especially, if applying to inkjet PVC ID cards start with everything very dry and after applying the mixture to the stencil, don’t delay; remove the stencil (you don't have to rush). The coating for inkjet PVC ID cards has an adhesive that will glue itself to the stencil if the stencil is not completely dry or if the stencil remains on too long after applying the base with the Pearl EX.
Modifying Your ID Card (not Recommended) or Making a new ID Card:
As I stated in the main topic (Make ID Cards and Documents), there are two ways to either modify your ID card or create a new ID card. If you only wish to change your Date of Birth (DOB) and if your ID will not be given a close examination, that can be achieved by printing a partial overlay on Scotch magic tape. Refer to the main topic for details. However, if you are willing to make simulated holograms, better results can be obtained by making a new ID card.
If you wish to make more extensive changes to an ID card or driver license, you will need to make a new ID or purchase the ID card offshore provided that option actually exists. Also, if your ID does not have holograms, it is easier to make a new ID.
In the following example photo, I used my driver license to make a novelty driver license for Miss Albania. The Arkansas ID template with overlays that can be edited is available in the page Downloads & Requests.
Borrow and Use Someone's ID card:
If you are under 21 and wish to use someone's ID to get into a club, you may be able to overlay just the photo, keeping everything else the same. If your photo overlay has a dark background, just print to appliqué film and attach. If they examine the ID card carefully, they can feel the overlay, but when there is a line of people waiting to get in, likely they will just give it a quick glance and perhaps scan it.
Use an Existing ID Card to Make a New ID Card:
To make a new ID card using an existing ID as an example, scan the ID card. Then after making changes with Photoshop, print the scanned ID card onto paper or film, and attach it to a blank ID card. If you have an Epson R series CD/DVD printer, you can use the printer to print directly onto an inkjet ID card. Refer to the details in the main topic. Using an Epson R Series or Artisan 50 printer, or other CD/DVD inkjet printers and inkjet ID cards is my recommendation.
You may wish to change the bar code. You can download a 60 day free trial to read and make bar codes at http://www.inliteresearch.com/. By using their programs to read what is on the bar code, you can make the appropriate changes and make a new bar code.
Caution About Changing Driver License Numbers (DLN): Your state may have an algorithm that matches the DLN to the name and DOB. Before making changes to your DLN, check out the following websites:
If you have a Florida, Wisconsin, or any of the states listed on the first site, you should to use the program listed on the foregoing sites to create a DLN. It is quick and easy. The last digit, usually 0, is omitted. The last digit is a counter for situations when more than one person has the same name and DOB.
Design and Make an ID Card: Other than purchasing an ID offshore provided that option is actually available, this may be the best method. However, unless you use a template such as the template(s) I will provide, this requires the most effort. There are somewhat restricted books available that shows the driver licenses of the various states and countries. There is one for the USA and Canada. Also, the International Edition shows the driver licenses and IDs for countries other than the USA and Canada. I was able to obtain the international version. I used it to make several templates including the Dutch template.
The following is the Table of Contents. I have scanned, at 600 dpi, all 288 pages so just ask (email@example.com) if you want the scans of the pages for any of the countries listed and I will email them to you.
The following are scans and photos of driver licenses that I used to make the Dutch template.
The following is the front and back of an ID made from the template. However, I have redone the Dutch template to more closely resemble the actual Dutch ID:
If you are 19 or 20 and wish to exercise your natural right to enter a club, then I can recommend the Dutch ID template. It is made to be read in Dutch, French, and English. Unless the person asking for your ID has and refers to the book of the International IDs, It is highly unlikely that he or she will even know what a Dutch or other foreign ID card looks like. Also, most people don’t like to be rude to visitors from other countries so it will probably accepted as valid provided you take care in making it.
However, I didn’t wish to provide a fake Dutch ID template so in microprint on the front and in much larger letters on the back, it says in part, Rights and Responsibilities: This card is not an official documents and this card is not issued by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Well, that is what it says if you translate it into English. Since it is a Dutch ID card, it reads, Rechten en Verantwoordelijkheden: Deze kaart is geen beambtedocumenten en deze kaart wordt door het Koninkrijk van Nederland niet uitgebracht. I suppose the doormen at most clubs are language experts and can read most every language
The template is a Photoshop file with a text layer that you can edit. Since some months are different for Dutch and English, both are shown. Female is shown as V/F. Since the Dutch word for male is man, male is show as single letter M; not M/M. On the back side, edit the bottom three lines. They include the Document No. separated by a number followed by the Pers No. The next line is year, month, and day of birth separated by a letter followed by Expiry year, month, and day. The bottom is the name. The text of the forgoing was changed from black to red so they are easily found. After editing, change the red text to black.
In the example, I show place of birth as United States. My thinking being that the mother could have married a Dutch and that could explain why you don’t speak with an accent and perhaps have dual citizenship. However, they learn English in school so that may not be necessary or even best.
Note: If you need to make a border on the back side of the paper in order to place the image in the exact desired location on the ID card, shade with a #2 pencil an area about a half inch by 4 inches. Then, using a straight edge, draw a border around and slightly larger than the ID card image you wish to apply to the PVC ID card. The image of the border will be transferred to the back of the paper. It may not be as dark, but it will be clearly visible.
Choose the paper, or film you wish to print on and attach to the ID card. If you use thin clear plastic sheets and attach with a spray adhesive—not recommended, reverse the image so it can be protected between the ID card and the plastic sheet. Trim to the edge of the ID card; and, unless you have good scissors, finish the edges with emery cloth by lightly sanding in the direction that presses the paper or film to the ID card. Be careful and take your time. The ideal result will leave an edge without any indication of a lamination.
Finally add a hologram overlay or add a simulated hologram. The overlay not only helps protect the image, if needed, it also helps make a very professional and official appearing ID card.
Note: As I stated, I am providing more information about using certain models of Epson printers to print the ID cards. I purchased and tested an Epson R280 printer using inkjet PVC 30 mil blank ID card and the results are outstanding. Once you have the template and/or the left and top positions the images are printed in the exact location every time and the appearance is equal to the printing by $5,000 ID card printers. They are not as quite as durable since ID cards printers embed the ink into the PVC high temperatures that vaporizes the ink. Nevertheless, they are very durable.
After printing and letting the ink on the ID card dry for an hour, I attempted to wash the ink off with a liberal application of dish water detergent and fairly hot water. The ink would not come off. However, the detergent and hot water did soften the coating so that I could scratch the coating off using moderate pressure with my fingernail. After it dried, my fingernail only scratched the surface. It did not remove the coating and/or ink.
I will not sell material or ID cards. However, subject to the statement below, using my Epson printer and inkjet ID cards, I will, print and give ID cards to select people, age 18 or older that emails me a request provided they send me the templates (front and back if printing on both sides is desired).
Along with your request and template, email or fax a copy of your credit card statement showing a donation for $20 or more or send me a check money order for $20 or more payable to Peter Schiff or Rand Paul US Senate 2010, or to most any freedom loving organization such as FIJA, Institute for Justice, Innocence Project, Jail4Judges, We the People, Architects & Engineers for 911 truth, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Cato Institute, or Truth Attack.
I will not accept any payment for the above. Any check made payable to me will either be returned or endorsed over to Peter Schiff or Rand Paul for US Senate.
Just email the request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call or send a fax to (870) 216-0050. You may mail a donation, payable to any of the above, to DC Wornock, 36 Meadowview Dr, Texarkana AR 71854. I like to assist people that believe in the Constitution and liberty and a small donation to any of the above is proof enough.