Paper Time (part 1)

What is it about weddings that make you go all paper crazy?  I’ve always been into hand-made invitations (especially in the age of FaceBook/E-vites), but I was little prepared for paper learning curve…And that I would care so much.

This post is a first in a series dedicated to the paper productions for our wedding.  I have been designing, tweaking, shopping (with coupons and during sales of course), and having a great time.  Who knows, I may become a scrapbooker after this.

So the Save the Dates were the first thing I made (earlier post here).  They have all been sent. One hurdle down.

Next, the invitation.  I have been tweaking so long on this design, I feel I can tweak no more.  After working on all the bits and pieces, I finally put together one complete invitation last night and I am happy.  Very Happy with the cost (under $60 for nearly 100 invites!).  Hope you like them!

DIY Envelope liner

First up, the “outside.” I did a DIY envelope liner using silver tissue paper that I embossed using my Cuttlebug. I just traced the flap of the envelope onto card stock and added a few inches in length (so the liner would fall below the visible opening).  I can cut and emboss about ten to twelve sheets of tissue paper at a time, so this went really fast.  The tissue paper is so light, just an ordinary glue stick is all that is needed to paste it in.

I wanted a modern twist on the classic invitation, so I used vellum to wrap the invitation card which mimics the inner envelope. I purchased this particular vellum from the craft store open stock collection for $.12 per 12″x12″ sheet.  The vellum is sheet is cut down to 10.5″x12″ and then cut into thirds (short ways) which gives me three wraps per sheet (note: my invitation card size is an A2 –5.5″x 4.25″).

To hold the vellum is a circle with a smaller circle inside–but not completely cut (so more like two half circles inside).  These are cut from pearl card stock and then embossed with the Cuttlebug with a swirl design (more swirls to come!).  The circle “buckle” is about 1.5″ square and I can get 20-24 circles per 12×12 sheet (again, open stock paper at $.12 each).

DIY wedding invitations

So you open up the vellum to the actual card.  Who knew you can cut a standard 8.5″x11″ piece of paper and get two A2 cards? OK, I may be the only person who didn’t know that.  But what a deal! Two cards per sheet of card stock which I bought in a pack of 50 sheets for about $5.  Nothing fancy about the paper here.  I didn’t want a sheen or texture because I wanted the heat embossed stamp to be the star (and stamping/embossing on texture or glossy/shiny/satiny paper is nightmarish).

Stamping and using embossing powder takes a little practice, but is not difficult. On black paper, I found I needed a light pigment ink (like silver or white) and then the powder in the color of choice. I used a pearl green fine powder).  To keep the green powder only where I wanted, I quickly rub each card surface with a dryer sheet.  I do about ten at a time, stamp, pour powder, set aside. Stamp, pour powder from the last invitation onto the new one, set aside….  It is surprising how little powder you actually need. Just one little 1/2 jar of the powder is probably enough to due a 1000.

OK, so after I have about 10 stamped and powdered, I use a small angled painting brush to clean up stray powder bits.  I then use the heating gun on all ten (one at a time).  Still I found a few green embossed sparkles where they shouldn’t be.  Depending on how anal you are, I used a black crayon (yes, crayon) over those green spots which made them disappear like magic.  I then stack the completed cards and put a heavy book on them to take care of any warping during the heating process.

diy wedding invitation 2Open up the card to the text insert and rsvp card (names and personal information blocked out–but all your missing are our middle and last names and the location–no biggie).  Both the invitation text and little rsvp envelope are made from ivory bonded resume’ paper.  It doesn’t show in the photo, but it has a very subtle (and I think classy) design and texture to it.  I printed the text using a laser printer. I created a text box in Pages (or Word, or what ever word processing program you use) in the size I wanted (in my case 5″x3.75″) and just typed my text inside –right justified so I could do another matching heat embossed stamp.  With my size, I could print four text inserts on a 8.5×11 sheet, and again the resume paper came in a box of 50 sheets for about $8.

I used the same paper to make the little rsvp envelope on top.  I created it using my Silhouette machine, but it is a simple cut to do by hand.  Here is the template (Download the JPG by clicking HERE).  I, of course, then had to emboss the envelope with the swirl design using my Cuttlebug 🙂

envelope template

Onto the actual invitation text insert: Not a gazillion of different fonts (just two: copperplate and Channel, both available for free at Dafont.com) , little stories, etc., but just the facts.  We are the hosts (so no parents’ names), our wedding is not in a church (so “pleasure of your company” instead of “Honour of your presence”), date, time (all spelled out), location (place, city, state, no zip code), reception at the same location.

For this inside heat embossed stamp, I used green pigment ink and then used clear, detailed embossing powder.  With the clear powder, the stray bits do not show up and you do not have to be as careful getting all the strays that are sticking apart from the stamp off the paper.  When heating, the clear bits really just don’t show.

diy invitation 3

I cut a frame (1/4″ thick) to go over the text sheet –sort of a reverse layering than one usually uses.  This will help protect the heat embossed stamp, and hides any crooked hand cuts on my text cut.  I used the same card stock on the frame that I used for the rsvp card.  In fact, I printed the rsvp card inside the frame to conserve paper (see below). I use 1/4″ double-side tape to attach the frame and invite text to the card.

rsvp card frame silhouette

The RSVP card is a simple designed, inspired by gift card holder/old library card holders.  Designed in Silhouette (see above), I wanted the “RSVP” to really stand out in hopes (*fingers crossed*) that guests will rsvp in a timely manner.  We opted for online rsvp’s because:

1) Half of our guests are international –International post is subject to delays and we will really need a timely headcount,

2) Adding return postage for a mailed rsvp card adds significant expense due to international rates,

3) It is more environmentally friendly (less paper),

4) It reduces the outgoing postage because it helps keep the entire invitation under one ounce (standard postage for standard letter sizes under one ounce).  If you can keep your invitation to a standard letter size and underweight, you will save significant $$$$ on your budget.  As I was designing and tweaking, I kept weighed the invitation on our kitchen scale just to make sure.  I should also add, that the whole design started with the selection of the envelopes.  Not so great when you design a great card/invitation only to find there is nothing out there to mail it in 😦

I love the rsvp card.  I think it adds a little something-something to the invitation.  Just a touch of special.  You will notice I also added a little printed swirl design to the card itself.

 diy wedding rsvp insert 2

And so there it is.  Our wedding invitation (awww).  This just got real!

 diy wedding rsvp insert 1

Here are a few general pointers I learned along the way.

1. If you DIY, skip the pre-boxed print yourself invitation suites available at paper/craft stores.  I have used them before and they are a nightmare to line up correctly, etc.  You can buy really nice paper that is easier to print on, and then trim/cut to the size you want.  You will have a lot less stress, a lot less waist, and something more unique.

2. Select your envelopes first, design the invitation to fit the envelope.  Selecting standard, non-black envelopes will save you significantly in postage costs.

3. Buy a few papers, stamps, embellishments, etc., and play around with it months before you need to get serious.  Open stock paper is cheap, stamps and inks are too.  A good paper trimmer/cutter is your friend (and has many uses beyond the invitation).

4. If you can, use colored pigment ink to stamp, and then CLEAR embossing powder.  Stray bits of powder will not show nearly as much with the clear.  However, when heat embossing on dark colors (like black), the colored ink just didn’t work for me.  You have to practice on scrap to get the look you want.

5. Edit. Edit again. Get others to look at it and edit.  Then, edit again.  Once they are out, typos, wrong phone numbers, addresses, times, etc., cannot be fixed.  You need other people’s eyes on your wording.  Trust me. Up until the last minute I had a wrong phone number on our rsvp card.  It was my own phone number.  You stare at something so long, you just don’t see details anymore.  Luckily, I hadn’t printed a lot of cards before my fiancé noticed the mistake.  I also had the design critiqued online on a wedding forum (thank you Wedding Bee!).  Very helpful!

So here is the price breakdown/supply list for my design:

Bonded resume’ paper 50 sheet pack (invitation insert and rsvp envelopes) …..$5

Black card stock 50 sheet pack (card) ……$5

32 Open stock vellum 12″x12′ sheets @ $.12 each …. about $4

32 open stock green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each ……about $4

5(ish) open stock pearl green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each….round to a $1

Stamps, ink, embossing powder……$13

Various practice bits (paper, stamps, powder, etc.,)…..Let’s say about $10

150 Envelopes (found these on clearance as part of a note card suite, still have the cards left over)….$8

Silver tissue paper (envelope liner)…..$1

1/4″ double-sided tape….$7

Total cost for 95 invitations*….$58 (about $.60 per invite, including the practice bits)

Postage will add an additional $70.  We had budgeted about $500 for invitation, so WOOT! WOOT!

It is only fair to note that I did not add in the price of a paper cutter/trimmer (about $10ish), Cuttlebug machine & embossing folders (about $50), heat gun (about $10), and Silhouette machine (about $250).  I already had all these tools and use them on a number of other projects.

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2 thoughts on “Paper Time (part 1)

    • I used my Silhouette Cameo. I designed it in Studio software that comes with the machine. It has a print and cut feature, so I stuck to 8.5″x11″ card stock that my printer could handle, then ran it through the Silhouette to cut the shape.

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