Monday, August 1, 2011

Citra Solv Wedding Invitations

There’s a new trend in weddings: NOT spending a bajillion dollars on things you can do yourself. Blame (thank!) the economy, blame (thank!) the crafty revolution or blame (thank!) the fact that every time the word “wedding” comes out of your mouth, the price quadruples.

My dear friend Rachel and her fiance Kyle are planning an ever so fabulous affair. Kyle is a WIZ at graphic design and Rachel has a very specific and very cool vision for their event. I’m calling it Farm Fair-tastic. The two shall be married this fall at Weatherlea Farm in Virginia...a spot perfect for an event infused with rustic charm and country carnival fun. It will be grand and as such, it called for grand invitations.

Kyle is the master behind the design and I knew I could help them out with the actual construction. I offered up my services and one very fun summer evening, Rach and I made it happen (partially thanks to a yummy batch of Rasberry Vodka Lemonade).

Planning out a multi piece invitiation can be overwhelming and complicated.  There are so many parts to think takes thoughtful planning to pull it off.  What I learned with this project might be helpful, so here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  • Wording and design come first as they are the most important part.  You don't want to cut 100 pieces of paper in 5x7 and then realize there's no way your design and all the information will fit...that would be bad.
  • Figure out how you’re going to get the wording and design on your desired paper.  Will you use a regular printer?  If a regular printer, you will need to use standard size paper.  But remember, there are lots of other printing options:  screen printing, collage or the technique I used below which are all possible.  Using an alternative technique allows you to open up to different paper/surface choices which means you can be more creative!
  • Think about how it will look when a lucky guest opens up the envelope. Will everything be loose inside or do you want to have it wrapped up together?  If you do want it wrapped up, will it be just a belly band?  Or do you want something more elaborate?  Be creative.  Be resourceful.  For wrappings, paper isn't your only options.  Think of fabric, ribbons, buttons, vintage postcards, lace, tourism materials from your wedding locale.  Google will teach you how to do anything you want.  That's the magic of the interwebs!
  • Shop around and price out the best options for the supplies you will need. Coupons aren't just for the extreme.  AC Moore has coupons on their website that you can print any day.  AC Moore's competitors take their coupons.  You do not have to pay full price for most things at craft stores so refuse to be bamboozled and wait for the sale or return once a day with a different coupon.  If you need multiples of things (meaning 30 pieces of scrapbook paper), realize that one craft store will probably not keep it all in stock.  BUT, often scrapbook paper designers have their own websites.  Small business that specialize in paper could also help you order the amount you need.
  • Purchase everything you need for ONE invitation.  Resist the temptation to get out your shopping ya yas. If you buy it all and something doesn’t turn out perfectly, you will have wasted money on supplies you won't use.  Resist the urge to buy before you have your sample set.
  • Make a sample and consider two things: how much it was for one invite and how long it took to make one invite.
  • Before buying anything else, take your finished sample to the post office. Address it to yourself, have them weigh it and then mail it to yourself. You want to see what it will look like when it arrives in your mail box.  There should be no suprises.  Also, if you make an invite that costs $1.50 to mail, that’s important info to know before getting the bill for mailing 100 of them.

With all of the fantastic scrapbook papers out there, it seems a shame to limit yourself to what you can find in printer size. Because scrapbook paper and other interesting, textured surfaces are not printer friendly, Citra Solv is a BRILLIANT solution to getting your design onto a non traditional surface (see the tutorial here!).  Rach's pick is so perfect, but also textured and sized wrong for traditional printing.  I tell you, Citra Solv has changed my life.  That may be a bit dramatic, but it has certainly changed my arsenal of crafty techniques.  I LOVE IT.  You should too.  

Because of the paper's texture, the invite was a bit worn looking and totally fantastic.  If you do this, don't forget to mirror your words (flip horizontally) so when you transfer the image, your guests don't have to hold it up to a mirror to read.  Also, it's really important to test your surface before buying what you need to make a large number.  I found that textured surfaces can be tricky, but also, anything with a sheen to it will not absorb the ink.  I will say it again:  do a sample first!

I am a detail person.  I often miss the big picture completely, but I just love some good detail work. The To Be Weds picked up some "wood paper" which was too cool.  The addition of small strips of wood (from the .99 cent bin at Michael's) finished off that invite and made it look polished.  I punched two holes through both pieces and tied on with hemp twine.  Darling!  (And something I had laying around my house...before buying, always shop your house first)!

The Direction sheet was printed traditionally onto medium weight card stock.  Rach fell in love with this little Martha Stewart Barn Punch (this punch was also from the Michael's sale rack...score!).  I then used rubber cement that the groom to be had cleverly purchased to mount on textured scrapbook paper.  Without the backing, the barns wouldn't have been nearly as visible or cool.

I have to say, the RSVP cards are THE finishing touch. Designed like a ticket, the only thing that required a special touch were the notched sides. I purchased a pair of “jigsaw” scissors (.99 cent rack a Michael’s....SCORE!) and found them to be completely dull when I started cutting. Luckily, I started on a scrap piece as the sides looked like they had been chewed by a teething baby zebra. I tried a trick I read in a crafty mag....when you have a blade (scissors, punch, etc) that is dull, cut some aluminium foil to sharpen. I did that and I was in business!

Finally, we needed something to tie (literally) all the pieces together. Using the CUTEST golden rod polka dot paper (so very, very Rachel), I cut strips, punched some holes and wrapped it all together with the same hemp twine I used for the invites.

The envelopes are adorable.  Rach picked out a simple ferris wheel stamp to dress them up a little's just a delight to get such a fun looking package in the mail.

The result is pretty fantastic. There is no way you could get this level of customization or quality for the price when going the traditional route.  I think these priced out to around $2 per invite.  If this kind of work doesn’t thrill you, think about including one of your crafty friends.  Most would be honored to help. More than anything, I’m really thrilled I have good friends who trust me enough with something so special.  And I think I may have impressed myself with the outcome!

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