Over the summer a friend of mine asked me to make 125 wedding invitations for her.....on a BUDGET!
If you know me at all then you know I am a pretty frugal crafter. So the challenge of making 125 invitations at a low, low price was right up my alley. I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I used to create beautiful invitations on a very tight budget. Whether you are making a large quantity of invitations, bulk cards for groups like "Cards for Soldiers", or your yearly Christmas cards, I hope you find these 8 tips very useful.
- Tip #1 - Choose your envelopes first. For this project and likely for most projects the envelopes were going to be the most expensive component. And once the envelopes are chosen it is easier to size and plan your project.
- Tip #2 - Make a prototype (shown below). Even if all of the elements aren't exactly the right color the prototype will help you get the perfect sizes and help you plan on how much paper, ribbon, vellum, and other supplies you need to purchase. I generally write sizes and instructions on my prototype. A prototype will help you work out all the kinks so your final project will be perfect. I also take the prototype with me when shopping for other supplies. And....all of my prototypes are kept in a file in my studio. So later I can refer to it for a different project and not need to completely reinvent the wheel. :)
- Tip #3 - Make a cheat sheet. I know...mine looks like a bunch of chicken scratches. :) List each supply and make a calculation of how much you will need to finish the number of cards or invitations that you are making. My cheat sheet showed the measurement of the envelopes that I chose and how many packages I would need to order. I multiplied the number of inches of ribbon I needed for each invitation by the number of invitations I was making to figure out how many spools of ribbon to purchase. And I figured out how many sheets of paper I would need by determining how many parts I could get from each sheet of paper. This is SO helpful because I always purchase more than I need if I don't take the time to plan. Purchasing exactly what I needed was a big budget saver.
- Tip #4 - Make a cutting "map" for each paper component of your project. Making this map will insure that you get the most from each sheet of paper that you purchase. The map helps to determine how many sheets that you will need to purchase and it is a great reference to look at when you are actually cutting all the parts for your project. I am a very visual person so I mapped my cuts on typing paper. (using 12 x 12 paper? Just tape typing paper together to achieve the right size...then make your map) As you can see from my vellum "map" it is sometimes helpful to turn the direction of some pieces to fit more on the page. I made little notes so I knew the exact measurement of each cut to make on my paper cutter.
- Tip #5 - Make your own embellishments. Embellishments are so expensive! It would have cost a ton to purchase beautiful ribbon sliders for each card. So I made my own and cut them out. Was it alot of cutting? Yes...but it is kind of mindless. It is definitely something that you can do in front of the TV while watching "Last Man Standing" on Tuesday nights. (one of my new favorite shows!) I drew the image that I wanted to use for my slider. Then I laid the ribbon over the image to get a feel for where I wanted the cuts to be. I wanted the cuts to be a little narrower than the ribbon so that the ribbon would bunch together at the slider. I used Glossy Accents and glass beads to add sparkle to the image. *Bonus Tip* for my project I found it easiest to thread the ribbon through the slider, then do the glossy accents, and then sprinkle on the beads.* I am including the heart image that I made for these invitations. Please enjoy this little freebie. :)
- Tip #6 - Use hot glue when possible. I know, I know....hot glue isn't exactly archival. But it is CHEAP. And it is fast....and it holds like crazy. Offer to make archival versions of the invitation for the bride, her parents, and her new in-laws. The picture below shows the back of the ribbon slider. The hot glue held the ribbon edges perfectly. And I didn't need to have alot of ribbon overlap on the back of the project.
- Tip #7 - Do everything in sets of 10. I cut all of the paper layers, ribbon pieces, slider cutouts, and did all of my printing in groupings of 10. It is so much easier to be organized and to keep count of the project when working this way.
- Tip #8 - Budget paper planning. This might represent the largest challenge for me during this project. Initially when I started planning these invitations I planned to have the base layer of the invitation measure 5" x 7" and then the printed portion of the invitation to measure 4 3/4 x 6 3/4. However, by printing the wording of the invitation on the base layer and printing the heart slider on a smaller piece of paper to the left I was able to use about 50% less paper on that 2nd paper layer of the invitation. Pretty cool! The printed layer with the heart slider still allowed the ribbon to be wrapped around to hide the ugly edges. But one minor problem (ok...kind of major problem). I had to find a way to back the brads so the legs of the brads didn't show on the back of the invitation. I liked the movement of the vellum and really wanted to attach the vellum with the brad. But I hate having things show on the backs of my projects. The solution? I used a little photo corner punch with a small hole punched in it for the brad. Now the legs of the brad are hidden behind the photo corner punch, and it looks like a decorative element under the vellum, aaaand I still have the movement of the vellum that I was hoping for. Oh...and I used hot glue on the back of the corner punch to attach the whole thing to the base of the invitation. *Bonus Tip* Save paper by making a flat "postcard style" invitation. A traditional folded card would have used much more paper than this flat invitation style.