We have Programs

I wanted programs for our guests.  I wanted them to know who was who, what to expect, and more about the beautiful building they are visiting.  Besides, I wanted them to have something to keep them occupied while they waited for the ceremony to start…Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve sat through many a graduation ceremonies with nothing to keep me company other than the program.

Our programs!

wedding program 1

Two versions, above green cover paper with ivory bond paper; below black cover with green bond paper (hard to tell it’s green in the photo).

diy wedding program 3

 

The programs are small (6″x5″), but very readable (14 point font), 9 pages long, but less than the thickness of a dime.

The inside starting with the time line for ceremony & reception:

diy booklet program wedding 1diy booklet program wedding 2

 

Some additional information (bunch of professors and trivia buffs at our wedding)–gives guests something to read if they arrive early.

diy booklet program wedding 3

 

And of course a thank you/memory page as the inside back cover:

diy booklet program wedding 4

 

 

The Layout & Assembly:

Double sided printing and binding can be a bit mind-numbing, but it really isn’t difficult.  To avoid the trial and error (and wasted paper/ink) here are steps with pictures of the layout.

In your word processing program create text boxes of equal size (mine are 6″x5″).  To bind on the left side as I did, leave  a 1″ margin on the left side for odd numbered pages and a 1″ margin on the right side for even numbered pages.  Make sure all of your text boxes are lined up the same on each page (if you uses iMac Pages, this is really easy).  You can create the first page with two text boxes, and then just duplicate that page as many times as you need–that way all the text boxes will be in perfect alignment with one another.  I strongly suggesting testing the double print on your chosen paper.  You want a heavy enough bond (paper) so the double sided printing doesn’t show through to the other side.

Your page numbering order is as shown in the photos, and then print using your double sided -capable printer (long edge binding setting). Or you can manually do this with a printer/copier by printing only the odd number program pages and then flipping the paper over to print the even sided on the other side.

I was able to fit two text boxes (program pages) per document page (as shown)

Word processing document page 1 (pages 1 & 3 of the program):

wedding program pg 1 blog

Word processing document page 2 (pages 2 & 4 of program):

wedding program pg 2 blog

Word processing document page 3 (pages 5 & 7 of programs):

wedding program pg 3 blog

Word processing document page 4 (pages 6 & 8 of programs)

wedding program pg 4 blog

Word processing page 5 (inside back cover of program–or page 9)

 

To assemble, cut all the pages to the size of the text box (if there is a line around your text box, use that as a guide).  A guillotine cutter is your friend–you can cut multiple pages at a time.

 

To create the “cover”, cut a piece of card stock 1.5″ longer than your pages and 1″ wider.  For my 6″x5″ program pages, I cut card stock strips 7.5″ across and 5.5″ high. I cut two pieces of program covers from one 12×12 piece of paper.

Fold over your cover card stock 1″ on the left side, slide in your pages (in order!)  and make sure everything looks nice. Use a binder clip to hold everything together and punch two holes through all pages and cover.

programs binding 2

progams binding 1

Optional step: insert eyelets into the holes you just punched.

Thread ribbon through the holes and tie securely.  This is your binding.

 

Done!

wedding program 2

 

I made 85 programs for approximately 120 guests, figuring some couples would only take one.

How much time did it take? Designing them took the most time.  I started them nearly a year ago, our best man changed, some the time line changed….I waited to print them for as long as I could.  I probably worked way too long on the design tweaking this and that, getting the spacing just right, etc.  But allow yourself at least 3-4  to do this and make sure you get someone else to edit them (up to the last minute, I still had “groom” spelled wrong!).

Printing & cutting takes maybe an hour–with a guillotine cutter.

Final assembly took me 2-3 hours, but I also had the extra step of eyelets, which were not really necessary.  I also seared the ends of the ribbon so they would fray, which adds time.

Sugar and Dancing

And paper lanterns.  They go together, right?

The dance area at our venue is separate from the banquet area (the pass through bar area is in-between the two spaces).  The dance hall will be dimly lit because I have my heart set on a star-field projector so we can all pretend we are dancing under the night sky (and the room is in rougher shape and all white).  This space will also hold the sweets tables.  The ice cream bar, the wedding cake, the dessert bar and the candy/popcorn bar.  Yes, I definitely have a sweet tooth.

But food requires some light.  So I came up with this idea:

paper lanterns wedding

 

paper lanterns signscandy bar sign

 

Using battery operated LED string lights (after Christmas clearance), 84″ double shepherd hooks, two buckets (OK actually Tidy Cat litter bucket containers), four 12″ paper lanterns, and lettering from plain black paper using my Silhouette Cameo.  I have lights and signs!

These will be placed right behind the sweets tables–lighting your way to a sugar high.

 

And while I was at it, I made these to demarcate the dance “floor” (area) in the same room:

paper lanterns wedding

These six foot lights will go in each corner of the area where people will be dancing.  Since it is just one large room, I liked the idea of marking it off.  Plus they give off such a pretty glow.

I used a 1″x2″ cut to length and set it in plaster of paris inside regular flower pots.  I wrapped battery operated LEDs around the wood pole, and used tea cup hooks to hang the lanterns (one hook on each end of the lantern to keep them from bopping around).  The black band hides the seam between the two lanterns since they don’t meet up perfectly.  The band is a 2″ piece of paper looped around.  To finish it off, I also put a loop of paper at the top too.  I have not yet covered the plaster at the top of the pots, but am planning to just use shredded tissue paper (or raffia, or silver sparkly stuff–whatever looks best).

2014-05-26 20.09.39

 

They are quite stable, but I do wonder how long they will last at the reception before someone puts their hand (or head, or other body part) through the lantern.  Good thing the lanterns are only a couple bucks each 🙂

 

A Stand-Up Bar Menu

I love our venue.  It is a historic old courthouse with hight ceiling, beautiful chandeliers and woodwork, grand doors, and intricate moldings and carvings.  But with all the rooms on such a grand scale, some of the decor has to be as well.

So I made this:

 

DIY Bar Menu wedding

 

A five foot bar sign, big enough for even my older guests to read from far away (and my fiancé who needs reading glasses, but often does not seem to have them with him).

The sign will go as noted in the below photo of our venue:

reception hall bar set up

 

The large floor bar menu is an easy, and very inexpensive project. It takes a foam board (available at most home improvement stores for about $4-5) such as this:

foam board

 

Which usually come in packs of 6 to 8 boards roughly 14″” by 4′ tall (made for insulation in-between studs).  I bought a few packages to make our photo booth backdrop and had a few left over to make the bar sign.

I covered it in fabric (some old drapes I had), just wrapped it like a package.  Printed and cut out the signs and pinned them on.  I did use my Silhouette Cameo to design, print and cut, but the same thing can be done with any word processing program and scissors/punches (or even pre-cut shapes).

diy bar menu wedding 2

There are many serious things about a wedding. But this is one area we both decided early on to be whimsical.  Signature drinks named after our cats.  Hence, the cat photos on the bar sign.   Three cats, three signature drinks (one is non-alcoholic, which I highly recommend so all your guests feel included).

Unfortunately, we had a last minute change and could no longer have a full liquor permit.  So wine and beer only.  No problem –there are plenty of wine-based cocktails.

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So just about a month away now.  I *think* things are all coming together.  Just a few more last minute DIYs such as programs and menu cards (posts coming soon).

The Little Ones

I haven’t posted in a while.  Most of my DIY is done.  After all, I had a year and a half!

The past month has been filled with sending invitations, attending parties, and taking care of last minute details. Most of the gifts for the wedding party have been purchased/made, but I still needed gifts for the little members: two flower girls and our ring bearer.  They are all very young, ranging from 2.5 to 4 years old.  We purchased three small silver frames for their picture at the wedding as a keepsake.  But what 3 year old wants a photo frame?

I decided to go with activity totes, personalized for each child.  A gift, and something to keep them occupied and entertained at a nearly 100% adult wedding.

 

children's totes wedding gift

 

I had these black ones left over from my Vegas bachelorette (fun!) and used my Silhouette machine and smooth heat transfer material for the names and flower/car.  For the flower girls, I also glued on some fabric flowers for a little extra fun.

I filled the totes with the usual suspects, coloring book, crayons, stuffed animal, and some toys.

flower girl gift totering bearer gift

 

But what was so fun was making the little personalized coloring “books” for them.

flower girl ring bearer gift 2

 

I just used free-use clip art, some fun fonts, and my regular word processing program (Pages).  They are printed on standard 8.5″x11″ copy paper.  I quickly painted a piece of cardboard for the back (they may need something sturdy in which to color) and bound each with a piece of 3″ fabric folded over the top and eyelets to hold the whole thing together.  The ribbon is just decoration.

The books are 12 pages and each one is personalized with their name and a little story (sort of).

ring bearer coloring bookring bearer coloring book 22014-05-11 21.08.012014-05-11 21.08.34

flower girl coloring bookflower girl coloring book 2flower girl coloring book 3flower girl coloring book 4

 

They took maybe an hour to make all three.  Each one is unique and I tried to keep them “age appropriate” with words and story.  I can’t wait to see them scribble all over them!

Here is a link to the files in PDF form.  If you don’t have a PDF editor to change the names, you can simply put a text/caption box over them in your photo editor.

flower girl coloring book 1

flower girl coloring book 2ring

bearer flower girl coloring books

Happy gifting!

Random Acts of DIY

As the wedding approaches (only 3.5 months to go–Woot!), I have been organizing and packing away all the projects, decor, etc.  There are several projects that don’t really need a tutorial, but I wanted to include here anyway.  I actually use this blog in part to help keep myself organized.

A ring bearer box instead of pillow.  We will not be putting our rings in this, my grand-nephew will only be 3 years old.

diy ring bearer box

Supplies needed: unpainted wood or paper mache’ box, paint, ribbon, flower or other decor.  If you wish to decorate the inside (which may not be needed if you won’t have the rings in there), you’ll need  foam/styrofoam cut to fit the inside of the box and material or wide ribbon to cover the foam.

Total cost for this project was about $1-2, the box was $.90, plus a little ribbon, a few paper flowers, and paint.

ring bearer box

The flower girls will be wearing these tutus I made from strips of tulle and crocheted bodice.  They both will have a strapless slip underneath so that they have full coverage.

Each one is embellished differently so the girls will know their dress.  On their request, I added the crystal strands coming down.  They are 3 & 5 years old and want that extra sparkle.

[Please ignore the pillow and floor lamp I am using as dress forms 🙂 ]

flower girl tutus 1

flower girl tutu

flower girl tutu diy

Supplies needed. Lots of tulle.  If you buy it on a spool (6″ to 12″ wide, it will save you a lot of cutting), a tube-top like bodice (I crotched mine, but lots of people use headbands), embellishments.  Optional are the shoulder straps and belt sash.  I actually used chair sashes for both.  I had to make both of these last fall, and little ones grow fast.  So I took their measurements, added a few inches (everywhere) and made the whole thing adjustable with elastic and ties (you can see this in the back of the dress where the shoulder straps are weaved through). There are lots of tutorials available for diy tutus such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIsdx62Qtlg

Total cost for this project (both tutus) was about $20–most of that in tulle, but I wanted them very full.

The flower girl pomanders match their dresses (I used the same yarn) and was one of the first DIY projects I did.  I crocheted mini flowers (learn how here), beads and straight pins to attach to a 4″ styrofoam ball.  The littles ones can toss these around all they want with no damage, except for dirt.  The cost and supplies are: styrofoam ball ($2), yarn ($2), ribbon & pins ($2-5 depending on type).

crotched pomander

Bridesmaids’ jewelry which is not their gift, but for them to keep.  I’m still a novice at jewelry making, but I love how these turned out. Cost and supplies depends on the jewelry you are making.  For this set, about $5 using sterling silver findings and beads, and glass/crystal beads.

bridesmaid jewelry

When trying on my wedding dress, I fell in love with look of statement necklace with it.  So I made this one.  I still haven’t made the earrings, but I’ll get to work on that 🙂

I used Swarovski crystal pearls, crystals, and silver lined beads.  Total cost was about $10-15.

diy statement necklace

bridal statement necklace

My garter is another crochet project that I did early on.  I have a simpler one without the crystals for tossing. You need yarn, beads, elastic, ribbon/embellishments.  Total cost is about $3-5 (for both garters).

diy crocheted garter

And finally, our cake topper. Yes that is Barbie and Ken, but they were the right size (2.5″ tall –they were ornaments in a previous life) and they are higher quality than the little plastic ones in the stores.  Plus, they kind of look like us (fiancé is tall and thin, I have dark hair and bangs). I painted them to match our scheme, added a cat and hockey stick/puck to match our life.  They are mounted on a 4″ wood round outlined in flat-back pearls.  I blinged Barbie out a bit just because.

Cost and supplies: the Barbie/Ken ornament was $5. I had the little ceramic cat. The hockey stick is a popsicle stick cut and sanded to shape.  The puck is a sweet tart painted black and sealed. The wood round is $1, paint, flat back pearls (about $1-2 if you don’t already have some), ribbon (I used one-quarter from a $3 spool).

DIY cake topperdiy cake topper 2diy cake topper 3diy cake topper 4

So it is all packed up, semi-organized and waiting.  If you want further details on any of these projects, leave a comment and I will answer the best I can.

Bridal & Bridesmaids Hangers

This wasn’t something I had given much thought too.  But I do want the standard dress hanging photo the morning of the wedding.

I do not want a plastic or wire hanger though.

And with just me and two bridesmaids (matrons), I don’t think we need our name on them. I won’t be a “Mrs.” and I don’t need “Bride” spelled out because I think the white wedding dress makes that clear.

Just something pretty, a little girly.

In an earlier post, I had made these really simple, fast, easy ribbon/tulle/lace flowers. [Click here for that tutorial]

2013-11-02 15.27.00

 

Since these flowers have thin wire “stems” they were easy to wrap around a felt covered hanger.

diy bride hanger 1diy bridal hanger 2diy bridesmaid hanger

 

 

The wire gets covered up by wrapping flowers on each side.  You can also tie some ribbon, tulle, or a bow around the top.

Simple. Easy. Fast.  I think these will work just fine for the photograph 🙂

Bride hanger

 

Something Sweet

Aside from marrying the man of my dreams (and he really is), I am looking forward to our ice cream bar at the reception.  As the sign states: I love ice cream!

This weekend, I finally got to start working on it.  We have rented a soft serve machine, I ordered these cute little ice cream paper sundae cups and long spoons.  I still haven’t figured out the containers for the sprinkle-on toppings, but did decide on these large squeeze bottles for the sauces:

diy ice cream bar

I wanted them large (32 ounces) so they would last the onslaught. I purchased a case (12 bottles) for $25 on Amazon, and therefore made back-up bottles so the ice cream bar can be restocked quickly.

diy ice cream bar sauce

No great mystery on the labels.  I cut 12×12 paper to 6 inches, wrapped it around the bottle and secured with double sided tape.  I wrapped a ribbon around the center (again with double sided tape) and put the label directly over the seam of the ribbon.

So now, I buy the sauce in bulk, fill up these lovely bottles, and get ready to eat lots of ice cream!

Origami Pomanders

simple wedding pomanderwedding pomander1

origami pomander diy

Styrofoam balls for craft projects gives me sticker shock.  I wanted some smaller pomanders to go with my large origami topiaries I made earlier (posted here).  They will be hanging about the ceremony space and on the ends of the pews.  The best thing about this project is no styrofoam balls needed (yay!).  So the cost is the cost of paper and some ribbon.

Supplies:

Paper cut into squares (recommend 4″ or 5″ squares or the pomander will be too tiny).

Ribbon (about 2′ per pomander)

Glue gun, scissors

Maybe a stick/skewer to help thread the ribbon.

origami pomanders 1

Cost & Time:

The cost is paper.  A 12″ x 12″ sheet of scrapbook paper makes almost 2 flowers and is about $.20 each (about 7 sheets of paper per pomander). Glue sticks, the cost of your ribbon (I spent $3 for a spool which was more than enough to do eight pomanders).

Folding the flowers takes about 5 minutes each (x 12 flowers); gluing them together in the pomander takes about 10 minutes.

Steps:

1) Cut your selected paper into perfect squares and make kusudama flowers.  Each pomander requires 12 completed flowers all of the same size.  For instructions on how to make the flower, see this tutorial.

2) Cut your ribbon to length (how far you want it to hang down) –about 2 feet–and fold it in the middle.  Thread it through the center of one of your flowers (this will be your top flower in the pomander).  I had to use a skewer to help thread the ribbon through.  Knot the ribbon close to the ends and pull the loop taut so the knot sits snuggly right at the base of the flower (see the pics below).

origami pomander 2origami pomander 3origami pomander 4origami pomander 5

3) Now you will start the first row of 5 flowers.  Take a loose flower and place it snuggly against the ribboned (top) flower so that one of the petals fits between two petals of the top flower.  Make sure the base of the flowers line up with each other.  Glue in place.

origami pomander 6origami pomander 7

4) For the next flower, you will get a better fit if you match two petals of the loose flower to the two petals of the top (ribbon) flower.  A petal of the previous glued flower (step 3) will sit in-between of the loose flower (picture explains it much better!) —

origami pomander 8

Glue three more flowers working around and that completes row 1.  As you go, just make sure the base (pointy end) of the flowers all line up.  At this point you have completed half of the pomander and it will sit flat.

origami pomander 92014-02-20 18.56.29

5) This step is a repeat of step 3 & 4 above.  This is just row two –five more loose flowers glued to the flowers of the first row.  Again, keep the flower base lined up.

origami pomander 11origami pomander 12

6) You now have one flower left and one hole to fill.  Glue in the last flower.  Look over your pomander and glue up any loose spots.

DONE!

easy origami pomander diy

Add an extra bow around the base of ribbon if you like.  Or some pretty button/crystal centers to the flowers.

Table Years (paper time pt 2)

Still printing, cutting, embellishing away.  I am so happy to have this little project done.  It has been on my TO DO list for nearly a year.  I knew I wanted our table numbers for assigned guest seating not to be just functional. I wanted them to be a little fun, and represent “us.”

The years of our lives…

table numbers years 1

With bonus factoids 🙂

table numbers years 2

An easy enough project, inspired by other pictures I’ve seen with actual table numbers to represent the couple’s age at that point (e.g., table 1 – the bride and groom at 1 year old).

But when it takes you 5 decades of living to find your mate, years just seemed a better choice for us. Besides, we selected years that represented milestones in our lives (born, first day of school, graduations, etc.).

The hardest and most time consuming part of this project was selecting just a few photos to represent our life up to the point we met and fell in love (awww).  We spent an evening down memory lane, and made a deal that each would select their own.  

table numbers years 3

The HOW TO:

I had purchased Tolsby frames from the classifieds for about $1 each.  These frames are perfect for this project in that they are two sided -so two pictures (one bride, one groom) per frame.

They were grey/silver, but I painted them with texture spray paint (Krylon Stone) and added a little sparkly with some black glitter while the paint was still wet.  To protect the texture and paint, I used a clear high gloss acrylic sealer.

I measured the inside frame size (4″x6″) and created text boxes in Pages (or any word processing program), scanned the photos into my iMac, and typed the text I wanted (see below). I didn’t worry about the photos fitting exactly in the box since they would but cut down to size once printed anyway.  I just made sure the photo was centered and the text wasn’t too near the edge to keep the frame from covering it.

blog table years imac

My groom loves trivia. So including little historical “factoids” was a nod to him.  I am a Denver Bronco/NFL junkie and like movies.  He has hockey in his bones and is a music aficionado. Hence, the factoids chosen. [And yes I made sure to include the years in which our teams won their respective championships–woohoo!]

I printed on ivory medium weight card stock and just cut them out old school with scissors on the lines.  The edges don’t have to be perfect since the frame covers them.

To make the table number “year” readily visible for our guests, I cut card stock the width of the overall frame, hand punched the corners, added the glitter 3D stickers for the year, and cut out notches so it could slide into the top.

table numbers years 4table numbers years 5table numbers years 6table numbers years 7table numbers years 8

So, we now have table numbers years so our guests will be able to find their seat. I think our family and friends will enjoy our goofy pics too.

I mean, can you get more 1960’s than this?

2014-01-17 23.26.42

That’s me at 2 years old on the right.  Loving my mom’s hair 🙂

And this is the man I am marrying–What a cutie!

table numbers photos 9

 

 

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.