Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Invitation How-To: How we DIY'd our invites

Now that you've seen the invitations as a guest, here's how we spent countless hours putting those bad boys together.

It all started around Christmas 2010 - FMIL gifted me a computer program that can be used for making scrapbooks, cards, and other projects. 

My Digital Studio Logo by Stampin' Up / Source

For those of you who may not be familiar with Stampin' Up, it's a company that sells stamps, card making and scrapbooking tools, and lots of other super nifty products.  My FMIL has been really into Stampin' Up for about 10 years or so: she teaches classes, demonstrates, sells products, attends conferences, and about 90% of their basement is devoted to her amazingly-organized Stampin' Up equipment.

Knowing my love of crafting, but the small space I live in, FMIL thought this product would be a great way for me to be able to design cards and scrapbook pages without filling up Mr. C and I's apartment with paper, scissors, glue dots, and the millions of other awesome products one might use in these projects.  My brain immediately started to think about how I could use this program for other design purposes: specifically, our invitations.

At this point in the process, Mr. C and I were pretty dead set on designing our invitations ourselves.  We have a few friends who are graphic designers professionally, so we decided they would be our back up plan (not that we asked them first...).  Basically, our design process consisted of finding some pretty fonts from

Chopin Script from / Photo Source

Optimus Princeps from / Photo Source

Once we found that, we focused on finding appropriate wording, via the ever knowing Google.  At the end of the day, we turned to a book given to me by Bridesmaid AF: The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss.  That gave us the wording we wanted, and then we used some of the stock images from MDS to add a flourish that I was looking for. 

The flourish from the Baroque Motif was exactly what I wanted, and even better, FMIL actually owned the stamp set, so if we decided to use that in other paper products, she could stamp the flourish later.


After Mr. C and I finalized our design (after much tweaking, many reviews, and a few practice print-outs), we had to look into how we were going to have these bad boys printed.  We explored a few options, including having Cards and Pockets send us a sample, knowing they would print the paper as well as cut it all, saving us a lot of work.  But the, FMIL stepped in again and saved the day (maybe I should buy her a cape, huh?).  A good friend of hers works for a printing press and agreed to print all of our invitations, inserts, and RSVP cards FOR FREE.  This was life saving, and definitely cash saving.

We ordered our pockets, envelopes, RSVP envelopes and paper from Cards and Pockets, and then sent the paper off to be printed on.  When we got it all back, we planned a weekend up at Mr. C's parents for a weekend of assembly.  To be honest, at the time, I thought this would take us half a day.  Instead, it took about 10 hours on Saturday, and a few hours on Sunday for finishing up.  And this was with Mr. C, FMIL, FFIL and myself all working hard.  So it was definitely time consuming, but worth the money we saved. 

What were we so busy doing?

FMIL and Mr. C making cuts / Personal photo
FMIL and Mr. C calculated that they made well over 2,000 cuts to size down all the inserts, invitations and RSVPs.  I left them to do this, because it involved a lot of math and patience, and I was too anxious to be good at either.  Mr. C has demanded that he never be asked to use a paper cutter again.  I'll probably allow that, because the man did good work that day.

While FMIL and Mr. C cut away, I was busy stamping the envelopes and the RSVP envelopes with our custom-ordered return address stamp

Personal Photo

It takes intense concentration / Personal Photo

Inking the stamp / Personal Photo

Success! / Personal photo

We lined up cut pieces for assembly / Personal photo

Mr. C trimming orange card stock / Personal Photo

With all the paper-cutting happening, I got to work on some ribbon-trimming.  We used ribbon from Michael's, and FMIL's tape runner to adhere the tape to the pocketfold.

Pre-cut pieces of ribbon / Personal photo

My ghetto measuring technique / Personal photo

We measured in advance, and I used this piece of paper to mark where the ribbon should line up on the pocketfold.  I held the paper along the edge as I folded the ribbon along the pocketfold.  It was nearly perfect every time!
Personal photo
Personal photo

We started the ribbon along the main body of the fold, so it would tuck easily behind the invitation, and brought it along to the pocket it, and tucked it in there.  Next, we glued on orange backing to enhance the invitation.  We used FMIL's tape runner again for this piece, as well as gluing the main invitation piece on top.  Again, Mr. C's fantastic math skills came in handy to expose just enough orange border.

Personal photo

Personal photo

Almost done! / Personal photo

From there, we were left with assembling the inserts, which after creating organized piles, with four of us stuffing the pockets, it only took a few moments, and before we knew it, we had stacks of invitations almost entirely ready to be sent off!

Personal photo

Personal photo

I don't have any photos of creating our monograms (I was getting pretty cranky at this point), but we used one of FMIL's punches to punch purple cardstock, and then embossed the "T" using one of her stamps.  We adhered them to the front using glue dots, and opted to not use the monogram to fully close the pocket, as it was pulling and tearing the ribbon.  So the invitations never fully seal, but I still think they're pretty great. 

All that was left was labeling the RSVP cards in case any came back unnamed, as well as filling in the number of seats reserved for each guest.  I spent a weeknight completing that task and numbering our spreadsheet, and then Sister J and I teamed up to print the envelopes, stuff them, stamp them, and send them off. 

I'm so relieved that our invitations are done!  It was a long and hard task that literally took us seven months to complete.  But I think the hard work was worth the final (beautiful!) product. 

How much time would you be willing to put into DIY invitations?

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