Gear Review: A Good Eraser for Write On Cards

I love the write on cards from Custom Cards (full review here) and use them consistently.  You can use either pencil or permanent marker on them without any problem.  After experimenting with both, I find that I prefer using the Bic Permanent Marker (full review here), primarily because it is a full size pen that clips to my shirt pocket, making it easy to retrieve.

The challenge with all write on cards and permanent marker is getting them clean and ready for the next use.  Alcohol containing liquids like (yecch) Axe body spray, sunblock spray, or even nail polish remover all work well, but I have found they damage the surface of the card over time.

Enter the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, $4 on Amazon.  This eraser works well on both pencil and permanent marker.  In the case of permanent marker, you need to use it right after the match, as it doesn’t work nearly as well if the ink is allowed to set in for an extended period of time.  In this case, back to the sprays.  It does require a little more elbow grease than an alcohol-based spray, but on the other hand, your gear bag doesn’t end up smelling like a 14-year old boy.

NOTE: The product on Amazon is slightly different to the photo below.  The product on Amazon is all white, like the left side of the “combi” eraser below that I bought at an art supply store.  The blue section contains a small amount of solvent in the material.  In my tests, the white section was just as effective as the blue section.


staedtler-mars plastic eraser


Gear Review: The Write Pen For The Right Job

If you use write-on cards like me, you may have struggled to find just the right pen to use.

I don’t like the standard Sharpie because you have to manually remove the cap and either put it in your mouth, or your other hand. I ended up either looking ridiculous or having both hands full.

So I was happy when I discovered the retractable Sharpie markers. But alas, I solved one problem and created another. It turns out the “clicker” on the Sharpie retractable pen is so long you can’t close the flap on your jersey pocket (images 1 and 2). Of course, you could simply put the pen in your shorts pocket, but that didn’t suit me.

The search continued until I found the Bic Mark-It retractable permanent marker (image 3). The construction of the cap on the Bic allows the pocket flap to close completely (image 4).

These markers are hard to find in stores. I’ve looked in my local Wal-Mart, Staples, and Office Max without luck. Fortunately, they are available online through (and others, I’m sure).

Another important refereeing problem solved.

Gear Review: Custom Cards write on cards

Durable, superior laminate finish that can be written on with pencil, can be customized with your name, very reasonably priced. Highest rating.

Our journey through game information recording systems continues today with a look at write-on cards from Custom Cards. Custom Cards is an Internet-based company run by referee Larry Cooper in Collinsville, IL. Larry produces a variety of write on cards, available in multiple sizes. The “custom” moniker is used because they can print custom text (e.g., your name) on your cards before they are laminated.

Before we dive into the individual cards, what makes all of these cards unique is the laminate material used on the cards. The material, which is relatively thick, has a unique matte finish that you can write on with virtually any writing instrument. Of course, permanent markers work well, but the real joy in using these cards is that pencil actually works quite well. The instructions included with the cards point out that using pencil will extend the life of the cards, when the user employs a quality gum eraser to clean it after each match.

I really like the matte finish on these cards, for a couple of different reasons. First, I prefer to use pencil when possible. I like the smaller form factor of pencils, and I never have to worry about getting marker on my hands or uniform. Second, the matte finish is much easier to see in bright sunlight. Cards with a glossy finish reflect light and can sometimes be hard to read when used in direct sunlight.

Now, let’s take a look at each product. First up are the Yellow and Red Card Set. These are available in three sizes, the Standard (3 1/2” by 5 1/8”, $5), the Pro Elite (3 5/8” by 5 3/4”, $6) and Petite (3 1/4” by 4 3/4”, $5). Apart from size, these card sets are identical to one another.

The laminate corners are nicely rounded so that they won’t poke you while they are in your pocket. The back of each card is blank and has a glossy laminate finish. The colors are appropriate versions of yellow and red, not some flourescent version that doesn’t look quite right.

Each card has space to record 6 misconduct events per team, and eight goals per team with time, or 16 goals per team without the time. The space at the top of each card is reserved for any custom printing requested during the ordering process. The cards are thick enough that you can write on them comfortably, without feeling like a piece of cardboard.

My personal favorite is the Game Record Card ($3). I prefer to use my old yellow and red cards from the 70s – I still haven’t found a set of cards that are as thick and comfortable as these. So, I use a separate card to record information, and the Game Record Card is perfect for this task. I really like the portrait orientation (I’ve seen some other write on cards that are landscape and this bugs me), and, again, the fact that I can write on it with pencil.

Another cool feature of this card is that it is two-sided; great for back-to-back games!

Like the Yellow and Red Card Sets, the Game Record Card features spaces for 8 goals plus time, or 16 goals without time, per team. It has places to record 10 instances of misconduct, and all of the basic match data, such as date, time, referee crew, etc. This is very handy because I use my smartphone to snap a photo of it after the match is over (more on that in a future blog).

Custom Cards also offers a few other specialty cards, including a card for recording kicks from the mark (the Kicks From The Penalty Mark card, $2.50), an NCAA substitution tracking card (NCAA Substitution Card, $2.50) that could also be used for other competitions such as Super Y where subs must be tracked, a luggage/bag tag (Personalized Bag Tag, $2.50), and even a Rugby Yellow/Red Set ($5.50).

All of these cards are incredibly utilitarian, durable, and to top things off, very reasonably priced. Combine this with great customer service and you’ve got an unbeatable combination. Custom Cards wins my highest recommendation: a 5 whistle rating.

To order, click here.