Friday, May 2, 2014

DIY Etsy-Inspired Party Invitations

As you may know, our sweet & tiny little Reaganbaby recently turned one, and we threw a little celebration in honor of the occasion. I DIYed just about the entire thing because it's a lot cheaper that way, and because I like doing that kind of stuff. I also decided to document how I made everything so I could share it with you!

One of the first things needed when planning a party is invitations. Starting with our theme - You Are My Sunshine, and a color scheme - yellow, pink, and a splash of orange, I began searching for the perfect invitations. I first looked at Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, and Snapfish since they tend to be my go-to for photo cards. Sadly they had nothing relating to the theme or colors I wanted. Moving on from there I went more specialty and looked at Etsy. There are tons of great options on there and the sellers are usually very willing to work with you. I found several designs that I liked but that weren't in my color scheme. I could change that for a $5 fee. The other thing I needed customized was two separate dates and addresses because we had separate parties for my family and Josh's (our house just isn't big enough for one big party). That's another $5 fee. Most of the invitations I looked at were $12 for a printable file. So if I add $10 in customization fees, and I only need 9 invitations... I'm spending $22 on 9 invites? That's when I looked at the designs and decided to DIY!

This design {found here} was my inspiration...

I used the following supplies:
  • White cardstock
  • Patterned scrapbook paper
  • Plain contrasting cardstock
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Wallet-sized photos
  • Scissors and/or paper cutter
  • Scrapbook-quality glue
Here's how I did it:

{Side note: please excuse the poor quality of the photos. I was doing all party planning & prepping late at night after the girls were in bed, so the lighting is bad + I used my phone = ack}

I first created the design of the text using the word program on my computer. I played around with different fonts, colors and layouts until I was happy with the way it looked. All the while, I had to keep in mind that the cards would be 5x7", so I positioned the text so that it would print where I'd want it to be when the paper was cut to 5x7" {this was fairly simple just using the rulers along the top and side of the screen in the word program}. Once I had the design just the way I wanted it, I printed it out on plain white cardstock.

Since the invitations were going to be 5x7", I was able to print two per page. Once they were printed I used a 12" paper cutter {scissors would also do, you'd just have to measure and mark the paper carefully} to cut them to size.
{I printed in portrait orientation, cut vertically at 7" across, and then cut horizontally at 5" down the page to make two 5x7" cards. Since the cardstock was 8.5x11" I had some extra that needed to be trimmed off the bottom as well}

{What one 5x7" card looked like, printed and cut}

The next step was adding the decorative scrapbook paper. I chose a paper with a yellow chevron design. I wanted a simple band across the bottom of the invitation, so I measured and cut the bands to size and then glued them onto the cardstock with a few dots of scrapbook glue. Glue dots or probably any other adhesive would also work, you just don't want anything that will make the paper too wet so it doesn't look all wavy and wrinkly when it dries!

For the photo, I measured and cut pink cardstock rectangles to be just slightly larger than the size of the photos. I carefully centered the photos on the pink rectangles and glued them in place. Then I glued the whole thing onto the invitations.

The final touch was a band of grosgrain ribbon where the decorative paper met the cardstock. I measured the ribbon to be about 2" longer than the width of the invitation {so about 9"}. I applied a thin stripe of glue along the border of the decorative paper and pressed the ribbon on, leaving about an inch over the edge on each side. Then I flipped the invitation over, folded the ends of the ribbon down, and secured them with a dot of glue.

And the final product looked like this...

Here's another look at the inspiration photo for comparison. Not too bad, right?

It does take a little more of your time to DIY a project like this than it would to upload and order prints of a purchased file, but the cost savings is significant especially if you have some of these supplies on hand. Here's my cost breakdown:

Cardstock (had on hand) = Free
Decorative paper = $0.39 for one 12x12" sheet
Pink cardstock = $0.25 for one 8.5x11" sheet
Wallet photos = $0.50 for two sheets of 9 photos
Grosgrain ribbon = $1.98 for two 6' spools
Glue (had on hand) = Free
Paper cutter (had on hand) = Free

Grand Total = $3.12
Compare that to the customized Etsy price of $22.00 and remember that I only needed 9 invitations! That's over 85% savings.

With a little creativity, this design could be easily customized in countless different ways. A little ribbon, some colorful paper, any type of embellishment like the cute sun in the inspiration photo, or your own photos like I used, and you've got a beautiful invitation completely personalized for any occasion. One of the biggest advantages to DIYing this project, was that my invitations had texture and dimension. If I had purchased a printable file from Etsy, the whole thing would have printed like a photo- the ribbon, the sun embellishment and all would have just been a flat printed image on a piece of paper. I liked that the ribbon was actually ribbon on mine, and the embellishment {whatever I had chosen} was also 3 dimensional. 

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