How to White Border Your Magic Cards

How to White Border Your Magic Cards


I love modern, don’t get me wrong, but legacy is my favorite format. The card diversity is unmatched, the community is the best I’ve seen, and everyone’s deck is personalized! Hey, if you play the same deck for years, you want your favorite version of every card, right? I’ve seen foiled out burn, altered miracles, russian signed infect… everyone has their thing, and it’s sweet.
I wanted that for my modern deck.
How do I personalize my modern deck so I feel like I’m playing legacy? By playing dual lands, of course!

I white border all of my fetchable lands in modern. It makes me feel like I’m playing legacy, fetching up my white bordered duals! It makes them easier and faster to fetch up, too. When I started this, most people did a lot of gagging when they saw my new duals, I even had one guy legitimately tell me that I couldn’t use a fetchland to search for a painland. Now, I’ve grown to love the salty, tilted, frustrated players who can’t fathom why I’d damage a perfectly good seven dollar shockland. Every once in a while, I find someone who really appreciates them and wants to do this themselves – this article is for you.
First time I tried this, I remember pulling half the face off a forest, effectively mutilating it. Seriously, I murdered it. I’m here to make sure no more basic forests befall the same fate.
Painter’s Tape: Any low-tack, low adhesive painter’s tape will do, but I suggest getting tape no more than half an inch wide. You’re going to be peeling this off your cards, so getting something thin and easy to peel off is ideal. My friend swears by the frogtape, but I think it’s a bit thick.

1/2 Inch Art Tape 2 Rolls

FROGTAPE 280220 Delicate Surface Painter’s Tape with PaintBlock.94 inch width, Yellow

Erasers: If you walk into any art supply store and get a typewriter eraser or sand eraser, it’ll do the job. I’ve tried a bunch of erasers and my favorite combo is to start with a rough sand eraser, like a Tombow 512A Typewriter eraser to scrub off the top layer of black edging, and then a softer Factis Black 18 to clean it up a little bit. The Black 18 isn’t strictly necessary, but I think it does put a nice smooth sheen on the edging, and get a little bit crisper of an edge.

Tombow MONO Sand Eraser

Factis Eraser Black 18

I also like to tape my cards to a sheet of paperboard or clipboard, one that is easy to peel the artist’s tape off, but you can tape it to anything smooth. Be warned, if you tape it to your desk, you’re going to have to keep rubbing at the same angle for a while and you won’t be able to readjust or easily examine your work.
First, take your card and clean it off with a soft cloth to remove any dust and place it face up on the paperboard. Your shirt will do fine. Now you need to place the artist’s tape covering the art on the card, leaving a just barely visible section of the edge contacting the black edge:


Figure 1) Tape Spacing


How I apply the tape is by sticking the top part to the paperboard and then holding it taut above the card, moving the card to align it under the tape edge. This makes it much easier to place the tape on the card parallel to the black edge, with just the right amount of patterning visible (Figure 1).
Next, you want to take the typewriter eraser to the edge. Start in the middle of the card to get a feel for how quickly it rubs off. If you’re too vigorous, you’ll go through the black ink and into the blue layer. If you’re too ginger, you won’t be rubbing any off near the lip of the tape, and you’ll eventually end up with some black edge still visible near the tape, but the blue border showing through towards the outer edge (Figure 2).

Figure 2) After using the typewriter eraser. | Figure 3) After using the Black 18 eraser
This is why we let a little bit of the brown pattern show next to the tape. I’ve erased all the black edge, and you can’t see any of the blue layer underneath. At this point, if you have a softer black eraser, give the whole white section a quick once-over, and focus a little more on the edge of the tape, but less on the corners of the card, because you’re going to be erasing that area again when you do the top edge. Now you should have a nice clean edge.

Figure 4) Peeling the tape


Now that the edge is done, we have to peel the tape off. Start by peeling up the corner above the card and peel it away at a 45 degree angle, very slowly (Figure 4). If you don’t pull at a 45 degree angle, especially as you start peeling off the card itself instead of the paperboard, you could rip off the top layer at the edge of the card.


Figure 5) Second tape.


Next, you’re going to repeat this process for each of the other edges. If you’ve been too gentle on the edges, you might get a little bit of black on the corners, you can use the black 18 to clean that up, or reapply the tape and repeat the process using a much lighter touch. Again, you’re erasing the corners twice, so just be a little more light-handed there.
I’d say there’s more to it, but it’s not terribly difficult – I think it only takes one or two cards to really get the hang of it!
Some quick tips:

  • The first few cards you practice on basic lands or draft chaff, try ripping the tape off more and more aggressively, so you know exactly where you rip the top layer off the card. Better on that than something you actually care about!

  • You can use this technique to clean the dirt off dual lands as well, but I’d suggest only using the Black 18. Also, because the dirt is usually on the outermost edge of the card, I usually don’t even bother with the tape – it only increases the risk you’re going to pull the top layer off your $300 $500 $600 card.

  • Original Zendikar Basics look the best white bordered, but you can white border the Return to Zendikar basics… you just have to make the decision to erase either an equal amount of the border on the bottom edge, and have some of the black border on the bottom visible, or erase a little more, and have the bottom white edge look a little wider. You could also only do the top half, or one corner, and face the border! I tried some of these, below.



Congrats! Now that you’ve got some sweet lookin’ cards, see how many achievements you can get:


  • Opponent tilts their head and squints their eyes at you when you search up your first land

  • Opponent asks what set your lands are from

  • Opponent asks if you used white-out, and once you explain the process, they just pause for a second and then say, “…why?”

  • Opponent reaches over the table, examines a card, and physically retches

  • Opponent thinks you just searched up a painland and tries to correct your play mistake because you’re obviously new to this game and don’t know what you’re doing

  • Opponent says you disgust them while glaring deep into your soul

  • Opponent is visibly tilted and it costs them the match

  • Opponent high fives you when you tell them that your last opponent threw the match because of your manabase


Have fun, everyone!

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