Paper Chase – The Quest for Inexpensive CD J-Cards/Inlays/Tray cards and How I Made My Own.

For my latest single, Back Again, I only manufactured the physical CD figuring that I can get a good deal on jewel cases if needed, and print the CD tray card using some sort of template kit from an electronics store.  I used to buy these kits to make mixed CDs when I was into that sort of thing so I knew they existed.

The CD run for Back Again was mainly for radio.  Some radio stations require a jewel case, some are fine with a cheaper CD envelope (blog on that coming soon!)  “Why pay for a CD manufacturing to do a large run of jewel cases and tray cards when I might not need them all?” I thought.  “I can just buy a kit and use the extras for the next run or next single,” I convinced myself.

I went to the store.  I ran into a problem.   The template kits all had the inlay cards I needed but they were in packages with 80 CD stickers, 10 inlay cards, 10 inserts.  The kits averaged $19.99 to $39.99 – ouch!  All I needed were the inlay cards, and paying that kind of money for 10 (the first of which would probably be a test run) was not in the (tray) cards.

I got home, and searched around the internet for a deal.  There were none to be found.  After searching a lot of discussion threads, I found a link to a site called Paper CD Case on which you can enter the CD information, and it creates a printable tray card for you.   I pressed print … it looked great even just using regular printer paper … I put it in the jewel case … and … too small.   You have to go into the Acrobat Reader Print window, and tell it not to shrink to page.

The one limitation of the program is that it does not have a field to enter your contact information, website, etc.    I, however, have that on the physical CD so it was not a huge issue for me.   If that is something you want on the back of the CD, I would suggest buying mailing labels and sticking them to the inlay card.   It is going to save you a lot of money.


Jef Kearn is a “Soul Flautist” saving you money so you can spend more time in the studio.
Help fund his studio time by visiting his website, and picking up a copy of a song or two or just pressing “share” … budget permitting.

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