Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DIY invitations, table cards and more!

Turn a plain white invitation into a handmade work of art.

I was looking for a stamping art project to do. Creating and using stamps to make art was one of my favorite projects in college. There was even a semester in experimental drawing where I used my own carved stamps to create patterns in pretty much all of my pieces.  I thought wedding invitations was a great excuse to break out those former skills and bring my old linoleum block cutting set into action.

Here is how the process went and how you can do it too!

1.) I purchased a packet of postcard paper from Office Max. This paper was perforated so that all I had to do was layout my invitation text four to a page and run this paper through my home printer and tear apart. I used a matte paper that was textured for a little added detail. It was so easy that I plan on doing my thank you cards and programs with this same paper.

2.) Now for the decoration. I first designed what I wanted the invitations to look like in photoshop. I can't help myself, I use the computer to sketch out all my art work. I'm a graphic designer I think it is just natural for me to sketch on the computer first.

Once I was good with the design, I printed it out and sketched out the two birds sitting on a branch with two flowers above them directly on the linoleum block.

Then I began carving out the reverse of what I wanted the final image to be. I used a Speedball carving tool that I already had, but they are around 10 bucks to purchase from any art store.
I repeated the same process with two smaller rubber block stamps for extra flowers to use.

3.) I used a large flat plastic surface to roll out some yellow and blue printmaking paint. With two rollers I applied both blue and yellow paint to my stamp. The birds blue and the flowers above them yellow.

Make sure you use a water-base printing paint. That will ensure your invitations dry nice and fast so that you can do the other side in the same day. I made the mistake of using an oil base paint and although the colors are very vivid and beautiful I had those puppies hanging up for about a day and a half before I could do the other side. Even then, some of them stuck together.

My helper hard at work. Is that an empty mimosa glass I see? This is an unacceptable work environment. You need a refill!

4.) With a thin layer of paint on the stamp, I then lined up the back of my invitation with the edge of the stamp and applied pressure evenly to the surface to make sure all the paint transferred equally from the stamp to the paper.
(you don't want too much paint or when you stamp it paint will gush out and create a messy image)

I peeled back the invitation and my design was printed on the back!

5.) Then I hung up to dry. With the help of my lovely bridesmaids we repeated the process on a hundred plus invitations ... whew!

6.) Once the back side was dry I flipped the invitation over and using my separate flower stamps that I carved put one blue and one yellow flower on the front of the invitation.

7.) What was great about creating my own stamp for the wedding invitations was that I could now use those stamps on everything. Again with the help of my bridesmaids we stamped blue and yellow flowers on table cards, table numbers, RSVP cards, programs and various other things that will be set up around the reception.

Warning: Not every card is perfect and there are definitely ones with smudges but they are all hand-stamped and made with love! 

This was a time consuming process but it was very fun! 

It is also a good idea to print more then you need just in case you mess up on a few ... which is bound to happen because we are only human and that is why it is called handmade!

Happy stamping!


  1. They look FABULOUS! So clever Allison :)

  2. Can't believe how well your DIY projects are coming out...amazing!

  3. Kathy Pinkerton would be so proud.. ;)