(Small) House of Cards


1952 – 1961, 1999 – Present

“Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.” – Charles & Ray Eames

The Eameses designed the original House of Cards in 1952. Exemplifying the design duo’s appreciation for the uncommon beauty of common things, the slotted cards display a rich assortment of photographs from the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms on one side, and an asterisk (used as the current Eames Office logo) on the other. The House of Cards can be assembled together to form fantastic structures both large and small.

In addition to the “picture deck,” still available today, the Eameses initially made the cards in a “pattern deck” that featured photographs of textured or colored surfaces, such as fabrics, Victorian decoupage, and printed marbled or Chinese papers.

The Eameses later made the toy in larger sizes as well.  The Medium House of Cards feature the “pattern deck” mentioned above, and the Giant House of Cards have printed images taken from the “Arts, Sciences and the World Around Us.”

Decades later, the Eames Office began producing Create-It-All Cards with a blank surface that can be decorated and used as a fun, collaborative, and educational teaching tool.

The fun can be yours! The original House of Cards is still available today at the Eames Shop.

Historic Documents

  • Instruction Sheet Front

  • Instruction Sheet Back