Today marks the 31st anniversary of when I started collecting baseball cards, so I decided to have some fun!
Things have gotten a little crazy these days with rainbows, but I can completely understand the allure of them. As collectors, we oftentimes want to collect until completion. Whether that is an insert set, full set, team set or even whatever theme we want to go after. Having a goal to complete something – and completing it – feels good. It gives our hobby some sense of purpose.
Here is a rainbow I’m working on currently – I still need the 2013 Topps Chrome Albert Pujols in Pink /5 and Atomic /10 … if you have either, let me know!
Another rainbow I’m working on is from 2019 Panini Prizm. A buddy of mine (my son’s youth leader) picked up a few boxes of this last year – the base cards were nice looking, but only got one parallel – something called a “lime green donut”. I took a look and instantly fell in love. Here is a lime green donut parallel … how cool is that? I thought about putting the set together for a hot minute, but decided against it. One is enough 🙂
The base reminded me of Topps Finest from the mid nineties, but most importantly, some of the foil patterns used are reminiscent of various hot 90s parallels and inserts. Remember the PMG’s? BAM …
(BTW, PMG’s weren’t the first to use this foil in a trading card … check this out!)
I get that this might not be everyone’s thing – no logos. I feel like it is 2020, and we can get past this. For those of you who lived through the 80s and early 90s with all of the supplemental baseball card sets without logos – remember how much we loved them? At a minimum, can we look past the no logo thing on a card by card basis? Not all of them are blatantly in your face (see Pujols above! He is tilted in such a way that the airbrushed helmet/jersey isn’t in your face.)
I went a little nuts on 2019 Prizm – not by buying boxes, but rather parallel lots from people. I knew I was going to go for a rainbow…but which? Altuve? Verlander? Thomas? Griffey? Pujols? Ryan? Clemens? Ultimately, I sold out of everything except for Thomas and Pujols. I love both those guys. Later on, I got rid of the Thomas cards because when I came back to the hobby, Pujols was my guy.
Panini did two Pujols versions – a Tier I Angels version, and a Tier III Cardinals version. Based upon the numbers I’m seeing for sale and sold, it looks like Tier III is between 4 and 10 times rarer than Tier I … well … the unnumbered ones at least. I could be wildly off, but either way, Tier III seems way harder to get your hands on. I decided to go all in on the Pujols Tier III rainbow.
I’m down to needing two – the Green Retail and the White Shimmer … neither are numbered. If you know where either are, let me know!
As I dug in, I started thinking how this is what a rainbow should be. Different types of holographic foil used – not just different color borders. Pujols has 28 … yes, you heard me right…28 different Tier III cards. With parallel names like power plaid, forest green flash, zebra stripes, blue wave, red mojo, lime green donut circles, and others, I was hooked! Right off the bat, you can tell that a plethora of different holographic foil patterns were used.
Here is the black finite 1/1 … really cool! *DROOOOL*
You know what I thought immediately after looking at the different types? 28 is simply not enough. Seriously!
The black finite 1/1 is great, but I wished they had used the same material Topps uses for their superfractors. I also wished they used material Topps used for atomic refractors (both old and new school versions), used orange in the rainbow, etc.
And then it hit me. What if I made my own? I had an idea, so I ordered a number of various Pujols, reducing the print run of the already rare Tier III Pujols cards (You’re welcome, Tier III Pujols owners – your cards are now even rarer, and therefore more valuable, LOL!), then got to experimenting.
I decided to boil one (I started off with a common first.) The cardboard backing came off, as people used to do to scam others with Finest cards – doing so showed a chrome back, but that isn’t what I wanted.
I wanted the chrome backing to be taken off. Soaking them for a day loosened it up enough for me to get an exacto knife between the foil and the top layer.
Here I am, peeling the chrome backing. This takes a LOT of patience, and you can even go through various copies damaging them in the process. As you can see, the front is clear.
Having the clear front piece opens up a lot of possibilities. I’m super happy at this point, because I know I can do virtually whatever I want!
I haven’t made or modified custom cards much recently, so I thought this would be a fun challenge. If you have been following me, you know I have had fun with junk mail, and made several goofy cards using the fun holographic material from the junk mail envelopes…
The same principles were applied to the Pujols, so for kicks, why not a few different junk mail Pujols? Gosh, I love this stuff!
What about a Dollarfractor?
Yeeeeesh, that looks flippin’ sweet to me. Don’t worry, no $20 bills were harmed during the making of this. I cleaned it up in Photoshop to display.
These are fun, but what about getting serious with it? I remembered (and got super excited about) the stash of fun holographic foil papers I’ve barely touched from craft stores and other places I collected over the years. I thought the 2019 Prizm Pujols was the perfect use of them. I literally couldn’t think of a different application that would be more fitting.
First up, I did the custom Superfractor – the entire reason for this project to begin with. It came out great! I guess you could call this the first Tier IV Albert Pujols!
The rainbow feels more “complete” with the superfractor custom created to complement the others, but I still wanted to do more. This unlocked the doors for me for a number of different types. I hereby dub thee: Starfractor!
Another WILD one was this old school blue atomic refractor version. Check it out! (Left without flash, right, with.)
Man, there are SO many possibilities! One thing I noticed though, when using solid colored holographic foil like above, isn’t really how Panini did these. The bottom and main picture sections are typically colorless … errr … silvery. This posed a bit of a problem for me, because I wanted to do all sorts of wild rainbow borders and such. After many tests, here is what I did:
I scanned in a base card and pulled it into Photoshop. I then created a number of different types of borders. Here is a rainbow … for my rainbow!
I printed it, along with other colors, on an adhesive backed ink jet transparency.
After cutting it out, you can see where I’m going with this …
Affix it to the back of the front layer of the card … it looks dull at first….
…but then put some holographic foil … BAM! Holographic Rainbow Fireworks!
Here is another one – I took some nice wavy foil material I had a sheet of, and made a cool red/orange/yellow gradient to make it appear like it was 3d fire. It looks great in the picture, but like the card above, it looks way better in hand!
They aren’t perfect, but have tremendous eye appeal and I couldn’t be happier! I have many more ideas that I hope to be posting here as I get time. It has been a long time since I’ve had this much fun with customs, so I’m looking forward to making more for my own custom rainbow! Stay tuned – I plan on doing some to add onto my 2013 Topps Albert Pujols rainbow as well!
As a reminder, please keep an eye out for me for the following Albert Pujols cards:
2013 Topps Chrome Pink Refractor /5 & Atomic Refractor /10
2019 Panini Prizm Green Retail & White Shimmer
ALSO!!! I’d *love* to get my hands on a 2001 Bowman Chrome Auto Pujols – if you have one let me know!
Thanks guys! Even after 31 years of collecting today, I am still having a blast and think this is the greatest hobby in the world!
UPDATE: The video is at the bottom, but I’ll use this section to post a few more I’ve done ….
03/14/20 Update …
My tests yielded some pretty cool results!
First, I found that colored (some serial numbered) versions – when peeling, retain their colored borders.
Second, if you are really careful, you can reuse the holographic foil from the card you took apart!
Here are some fun ones I did …
Blue Foil Fire!
Blue Old School Atomic
Also, why not Valentines Day? LOL
Reusing the mojo material …
The black finite 1/1 from the factory is awesome … but so is this custom green finite!