DIY Wedding, Greeting Cards

DIY Wedding Invitations by Sandpaper Road

Thinking about making your own wedding invitations? If you are crafty and if you don’t mind lots of repetition, you will most likely enjoy taking on such a big project. I was happy to make my own invitations for my wedding, and I wanted to share how the entire process went for me.
First, (even before I had an invitation design in mind) I made a Pinterest board for myself to store ideas. I kept the board marked “secret” just to separate it from my other regular business. After a few weeks, I looked back at the board as a whole and took notice of the similarities among the designs I pinned. THEN I could start shopping for supplies (even before I had an exact design in mind).

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When I shopped for supplies, I was careful to anticipate things that would bother me while I was crafting. For example, when I purchased a few intricate “lacey-looking” dies from Heartfelt Creations, I also purchased a Spellbinders Tool-in-One and a Sizzix Precision Base Plate. I already knew that if I was going to spend all that time and effort creating beautiful invitations with a lacey paper die cut piece, it would drive me crazy to try to poke out all those little holes without a special tool. Snapshot_269Snapshot_270

And it would drive me even crazier if the die didn’t press all the way through the cardstock (thus the plate). So, anticipating problems ahead of time and trying to solve the issues BEFORE they were issues really proved to be helpful later on.
Next, I created a bunch of different possible designs for my invitations. At first, I thought I wanted an accordion-style fold-out invitation. It would have been gorgeous to have the time and place information on one panel, the registry information on another panel and a keepsake photo on another panel, all inside a fold-out card. But, the thought of creating over 175 accordion-fold invitations was just too much. So, I narrowed my designs down to a few A2-sized cards I had created. Finally, I got the input of my children and my fiancee’ before I made a decision.

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Snapshot_301PREPARATION:
1. The invitation itself: I gathered all my supplies together, including several plastic trays for storage along the way. I had a lot of these trays on hand, and they work perfect for keeping in-process projects all in one place. The trays actually came from medical supplies donated to a local non-profit organization. They just recycle the trays after removing the supplies, so it was a plus for both them and for me to haul a bunch of trays away.Snapshot_279
Then, I bought a ream of Neenah #110 white cardstock and had Staples cut the whole ream in half vertically. It cost me $2.00 for the service of cutting an entire ream, but it saved me so much time later on. I made sure I had enough navy blue cardstock and orange cardstock on hand. I used Stampin’ Up! cardstock, but you could use any brand you like. I do recommend a cardstock with a weight of at least #80, however. AND, I made sure I had plenty of ADHESIVE! This project required me to use several different kinds of adhesive and I did not want to be in the middle of something and run out.

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2. The envelopes: Since I make a tremendous amount of cards on a regular basis, I order A2-sized envelopes in bulk from Uline.com. But, before I ordered 500 envelopes at a time, I used to order 100 from Amazon, which is extremely economical. The envelopes are of good quality, and I like the self-seal feature.
I knew I was going to keep a spreadsheet of all my guests’ contact information, so I created labels for the envelopes and printed them out ahead of time. This also helped me to be certain of the number of invitations to make (one per HOUSEHOLD, not one per PERSON). When I printed out the labels, I printed out 3 sets: one set for the wedding invitations, one set for the thank you cards and a third set for Christmas cards that same year. If I’m printing labels, I might as well go ahead and print labels for the year, right?
I also printed enough return address labels for all the envelopes, as well. In addition, I made sure to have enough stamps on hand for all my invitations before I started.

3. The inside of the invitation: I wanted to give my guests a little keepsake photo of me and my fiancee’, so I used PicMonkey free photo editing online to create a little version of a cute picture. I like PicMonkey because it’s SO easy to use and you can try it out for free. I have to admit, I used it free for a whole year before I bought the yearly subscription, but it is worth it (under $50). I added text and color to the photo in just the font and design I wanted and then cropped it to a “wallet-sized” dimension. Then, I saved the edited photo to my computer and uploaded it to Shutterfly. Through Shutterfly, I ordered sheets of wallet-sized photos at a great price. The thought was to include the address, date and time right on the photo, so guests could carry the photo in their purse or wallet and still have all the essential information (without carrying the whole invitation around with them). Great for your guests who tend to forget things or who don’t put important information in their phones!
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I also used PicMonkey to create the actual wedding information text. It was easy to choose a blank template, plop in a fancy frame, choose the font I wanted, and move text around. Then, I just saved it to my computer. When I was ready, I opened a Microsoft Word document, plunked in my saved image, and fit 4 to a page. Then, I printed them off on my printer onto cardstock sheets and cut them to fit.Snapshot_300
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
After I had all my supplies ready (including my envelopes and labels), and after I had my design template ready, I worked the entire project assembly-line style. That way, I could take as long as I needed and still stay organized.
tip #1: I kept everything in piles of 10 throughout the whole process.
tip #2: I cleaned up my area after each section. For example, the intricate die I was using left thousands of tiny pieces EVERYWHERE. So, I just left it all go until the end of that step. Then I cleaned up the area and moved to the next step.
tip #3: A project of this magnitude is almost impossible without a Cricut, a Sizzix Big Shot, or some other die cutting machine. If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend or check out the links in this post. If you do a lot of crafting, it is a wise and worthwhile investment, honestly.
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tip #4: Clear off counter space or set up extra tables for drying room (if needed). I was using Liquid Pearls to add a nice touch to the center of die-cut flowers, and needed LOTS of room to lay out all my invitations to dry. So, I set up tables in my kids’ room, laid out all my invitations, and just went through with the Liquid Pearls dot-by-dot. Snapshot_293Snapshot_295Snapshot_296Snapshot_297Snapshot_298Then, they were already in a spot to stay put until the dot dried. I found that it only took a few hours to dry fully.
Watch the complete process video HERE:


THINGS I DIDN’T EXPECT:
1. I didn’t anticipate the massive amount of double-sided adhesive tape I would need. I ended up using it to back foam pieces, tiny cardstock strips, and other cardstock panels. If you are going to make your own invitations, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND investing in a strong, double-sided adhesive tape like Super Tacky Tape from Creek Bank Creations. It comes in a big roll and you can lay down cardstock on one sticky side, die cut your shapes or panels, and then just peel off the backing and stick them down. It’s a HUGE time and money saver, plus they offer free shipping on everything.
2. I didn’t expect that the process would take SO LONG! I knew making over 175 invitations would take some time, but it really took a lot longer than I thought. I knew I didn’t have time to completely devote 8 hours a day to this project, but even working on it every day for an hour or two while the TV was on still took like a month. So, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND either devoting your entire day for like a week to this project, or else plan that it will take you about a month if you are going to only work an hour or two a day. This also depends on the design you are making, but the design I made was a fairly “intermediate” design, and it seemed to take FOREVER.
3. I didn’t expect that it would take up so much physical space. I am fortunate to have an art area in the living room, so I wasn’t worried about space initially. But once this project started, it was really hard to have space to work on anything else. Every inch of space was consumed with this project. Even doing some other basic stamping was put on hold because I literally had no room until the invitations were completely done.
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4. I didn’t expect to love my colors or my design at the end of this project! I know it sounds crazy, but I thought that I might be “sick of it” by the end. The truth is that I loved my design and my colors just as much, if not MORE, when I saw the completed pile. I think taking so much preparation time at the beginning helped me love the results MORE at the end!
5. I didn’t expect the inside photo keepsake to be such a HUGE hit! EVERYONE loved getting a nice candid photo beforehand, especially family members who wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding or who had never met me or my fiancee’. And because I used photo corners to secure the photo, it stayed put when the invitation opened up, but it could be removed easily with no sticky residue. The guests loved it!
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Hopefully, this helps you decide whether or not you will choose to embark on the journey of creating your own wedding invitations. If you found this post informative, be sure to LIKE and SHARE with your friends. And don’t forget to FOLLOW the Sandpaper Road blog for more crafty posts!