How To Double Sleeve MTG Cards

Whether it’s a pauper deck, a budget Modern deck, or an all-foil cEDH deck, chances are you care about your cards and want them protected while you play. To do this, most players put their cards into protective card sleeves. However, outer sleeves alone still expose your cards to dust, air, and moisture. Thankfully, there are options for players who want the max protection for their decks. The most effective of these options is known as double sleeving. So, how do you double-sleeve MTG cards?

To double sleeve, you will need a pack of card sleeves and a pack of “perfect fit” or inner sleeves. These are smaller and fit inside regular sleeves. First, insert your card into the perfect-fit sleeve upside down, so the opening is at the bottom of the card. Afterward, turn the card right side up and insert it into the standard sleeve. The opening of the inner sleeve will now be at the bottom of the outer sleeve.

Let’s take a closer look at the whens, whys, and hows of double sleeving. In addition to the pros and cons of double sleeving. We’ll also look at a few different options for sleeves and what deck boxes work best for double-sleeved decks.

Extra protection for expensive cardsMakes your decks “puffy”
Prevents damage from dustHarder to shuffle

How Do You Double-Sleeve?

To double sleeve cards you will need a pack of standard card sleeves, as well as a pack of perfect-fit sleeves. There are several options for inner and outer sleeves and we will look at these options more in-depth below. For now, let’s assume you have your perfect fits and outer sleeves picked out.

To start, take each card you want to double sleeve and put it into the perfect fit so that the opening is at the bottom of the card. In other words, you put the card in upside down and then turn the sleeved card right-side up.

double sleeve step 1

Afterward, slide the card with the perfect fit on it into the regular outer sleeve.

double sleeve step 2

The card should now be facing the right side up with the opening of the inner sleeve at the bottom of the outer sleeve.

how to double sleeve step 3

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Double Sleeve?

A “double sleeve” refers to a method of sleeving cards where the cards are inside two separate sleeves. One inside the other. The inner sleeve is close to the exact size of the card. This is why it’s called a perfect fit. It goes over the card from the top, so that the opening is at the bottom of the card.

Next, the card and the perfect fit are inserted into the standard sleeve, so that the opening of the inner sleeve is at the bottom of the outer sleeve. This leaves the card sealed at the top instead of open, like in single sleeving.

Why Do You Double Sleeve Cards?

Double-sleeving is really the only means of properly protecting them while you play. The inner sleeves cost about four cents apiece on average. So, to sleeve a standard sixty-card deck and sideboard or an EDH deck costs about $3 to $4 more than usual.

In formats like modern, legacy, vintage, and EDH, decks can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. The cost and time of double sleeving is a no-brainer for protecting your expensive cards.

As mentioned above, this method does not leave an opening at the top of the sleeve. This keeps out dust, dirt, and moisture. This is especially important for stopping foils from curling. Once double-sleeved, foils are cut off from all air and moisture which will help flatten them out.

Cards are even protected against spills from drinks that players have left sitting on tables. Spills like this can easily ruin single-sleeved cards.

Furthermore, double sleeving offers protection when you change sleeves or take cards in or out of trade binders. The friction of cards sliding in and out of sleeves repeatedly will cause wear over time.

The inner sleeve reduces this friction and the damage that comes along with it. Lastly, all this protection comes at a price of about four cents per inner sleeve. Making it an extremely affordable way to protect your cards.

Are There Downsides To Double-Sleeving?

Sometimes very snug outer sleeves or lower-quality inner sleeves can cause the perfect fit to slide up the card as you slide it into the outer sleeve. This can be very time-consuming to correct when sleeving an entire deck.

However, this can be avoided entirely with a good combination of perfect fits and mtg card sleeves. We have you covered, with an entire section below on how to choose the right sleeves for you.

The only other downside is that having two sleeves per card makes your deck a lot thicker. This is an issue because a double-sleeved deck (especially a commander deck) can have trouble fitting into smaller deck boxes. Even more so, if you have lots of tokens that you keep with your deck.

Fear not though, there are deck boxes designed to hold these bigger decks and we will take an in-depth look at them later.

What Are The Best Sleeves For Double-Sleeving?

When it comes to double-sleeving, many brands are offering many variations of inner sleeves to choose from. Which brand and variation are best for you will depend on a few things. Let’s look in-depth at the different options made available by the top brands on the market.

KMC Perfect Size

KMC brand inner sleeves have long been the go-to for many players and with good reason. These inner sleeves have a very consistent fit. They are thick enough to offer good protection for your cards and for you to be confident they won’t split. However, they are thin enough to be easy to slide into outer sleeves with ease. They have very good protection to ease of use ratio. 

kmc double sleeve - how to double sleeve cards

This was originally a Japanese product, but KMC has now put out a “USA Version” as well. There is no functional difference between the products, but the USA version is touted as their improved sleeve by KMC. Just look for the “USA” at the top left of the package. These will cost between $5.99 and $8.00 per pack of 100.

Dragon Shield Perfect Fit Clear Version

Dragon Shield is a brand name that many players know and trust the quality of. Their clear perfect fits are no exception. Much like the KMC inner sleeves, dragon shield has a perfect balance of protection and ease of use. They are thick enough that spitting is no issue and the cards feel secure. Meanwhile, they are thin enough that it’s not inconvenient to get into an outer sleeve.

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These dragon shields are smooth and make it easy to double-sleeve entire decks. They come in packs of 100 and cost around $5.99 per pack.

Dragon Shield Sealable

These sleeves aim to take security for your cards to the max and work slightly differently. They have a perfectly sized flap that you tuck in behind your card. This creates 4-sided protection with essentially no opening at all. Consequently, your cards are 100% sealed off from all debris and liquid.

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This method has a small learning curve to tucking the flap behind the card and takes a little longer. However, the extra time is by far worth the extra protection for players with very valuable cards. The fold method has no glue or anything sticky that could damage cards. This would be my top pick for players looking to get maximum protection. These sell for about $7 per 100 sleeves.

Ultimate Guard Undercover Sleeves

These are inner sleeves with a clear front and tinted back. This was designed because many brands of outer sleeves are not fully opaque, making them unsuitable for tournament play. This is largely an issue with double-faced cards. The tinted back of the inner sleeve does succeed in making the non-opaque sleeves work.

Ultimate Guard Undercover Sleeves Standard Size Card Game (100 Pack)
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With that said, they are thinner and looser than the products mentioned above. As a result, they tend to slide off during the sleeving process. Overall, this is an acceptable product, that can be used. However, because of the hassle of having to readjust the sleeves due to the sliding, they aren’t my first choice. These come in packs of 100 and cost around $6 per pack.

Dragon Shield Perfect Fit –Smoke Version

This is dragon shield’s version of an inner sleeve with a tinted back. Dragon shield has many non-opaque outer sleeves, so it makes sense that they would offer this under their brand. The tinted version has the same high quality as their clear inner sleeves. These are a great option for anyone who prefers to play with very lightly colored sleeves. They retail for around $6 per pack.

Dragon Shield 100 Standard Size Smoke Sleeves (2 Packs)
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KMC Perfect Black Inner Sleeves

These are KMC’s version of dark-backed inner sleeves. Unlike the others mentioned on the list, the perfect blacks are not only tinted; They are fully opaque. These fully black sleeves will give you total coverage no matter how light your sleeves are.

Kmc Perfect Fit Black Sleeves
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As for the sleeves themselves, they have the same high quality as the clear sleeves from KMC. They are smooth and easy to use. While offering the protection customers have come to expect from the brand. These are my top pick for players who require sleeves with dark backs. They will cost about $7.99 per pack of 100.

Top Picks

Best Deck Box For Double-Sleeved Cards?

One of the first things you may realize after you double-sleeve your cards is that your deck is much thicker. The extra size from the inner sleeves can cause your deck not to fit into some smaller end deck boxes. However, there are boxes available to accommodate even the thickest of decks. Here are my top picks.

Ultra Pro Satin Tower

The ultra pro satin tower is made from hard acrylic plastic and has 3 parts. The lid, the base, and a removable dice tray at the bottom. The box can hold a double-sleeved mtg commander deck and a few tokens. The lid is extremely secure and won’t come off unless you want it to. Likewise, the dice tray holds a considerable number of dice or counters and is equally as secure.

Ultra Pro Satin Tower
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02/18/2024 02:31 am GMT

These come in a variety of colors and finishes and are very affordable at around $15 each. The ultra pro satin tower is my top pick for larger deck boxes.

Ultimate Guard Flip-n-Tray 100+

This box comes with a slide-out dice tray and can hold 100 double-sleeved cards. The flip-n-tray has lots of nice features, in addition, to being roomy. The xenoskin interior makes removing your cards smooth with no risk of them being caught on any rough surfaces. It closes using strong, removable magnetic strips.

Ultimate Guard Flip-N-Tray 100+
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The fact that they are removable is great because you don’t have to keep your deck box closed to keep them out of the way. Simply remove them and snap them around the box itself. At around $40 each, these added features do cause the price to be slightly higher.

Can You Triple Sleeve Cards?

You can triple-sleeve cards. However, most of the time it is not necessary to do so. When you properly double sleeve they are about as protected as they can get. There are some cases where players may want to triple sleeve though. For example, if you enjoy playing with outer sleeves that have art on them.

Related: Best Magic The Gathering Art

Oftentimes, these art sleeves are slightly sticky and don’t shuffle well as a result. Or the art flakes off or chips easily. To avoid this, you can double-sleeve mtg cards like usual and add an oversized outer sleeve on top of the standard outer sleeve. This will be more to protect your art sleeves than the cards themselves though.

This also brings the downside of making your deck even thicker than with a double sleeve. As of now, I don’t know of any deck box on the market that could hold a triple-sleeved deck.

However, there are boxes designed to hold two separate double-sleeved decks. So, spitting the deck in two and keeping half in each section might suffice.

It is also worth mentioning that, the same effect can be achieved with a double sleeve. To do this, simply use your outer sleeve with the art like you would a perfect fit. Then put the larger outer sleeve over it. This would offer slightly less protection than a traditional double sleeve; but if your cards are not highly valuable, I think it would be preferable to a triple sleeve.

End Step

Even if your MTG cards are not particularly expensive or rare, it’s safe to assume they are probably special to you in one way or another.  We all like to protect the things we care about, and double-sleeving lets you do that. It is the best way to rest assured that you can continue to play with your favorite cards night after night. So, now that you know how to double-sleeve, break out those expensive foils and sentimental oldies, sleeve up, and go play some magic. 

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Geno Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015. I love all formats but I particularly love to play and build decks in modern. Pretty much every part of my life has been influenced by Magic in some way or another. It is something I am very passionate about. RIP Simian Spirit Guide.