The Total Beginner’s Guide to DIY Wedding Invitations

14 Jun

Lately, I’ve been feeling very crafty, probably due to my ongoing boredom of having nothing to do besides housework and running errands. I got this great idea in my head that it might be a good hobby for a while if I decided to make all my wedding invitations. I’m fascinated by all these crafty DIYers on Pinterest and a little jealous, so I figure if they can do it, why can’t I?

diy vintage wedding invitation lace pearl

This is what we’ll be making today. Interested? Then keep reading!

As I looked around for ideas, I noticed there are a lot of other ladies out there who want to make their own invitations, too, but don’t necessarily know where to start. So this post is for all those brides-to-be out there who want to DIY their invitations without too much hassle and without buying those expensive (and usually unattractive) “DIY kits”. No offense to anybody who has used those, but if you buy everything pre-cut and pre-decorated and all you do is assemble it with some tape or glue without using any of your own imagination or even a tape measure, it’s not really DIY. Just saying.

So I’ve put together this nice little DIY wedding invitation tutorial for complete beginners, using only basic supplies that you can get at any craft store. No special skills needed. 🙂

And without further ado, let’s get started.

First, you will need the following supplies:

lace wedding invitation tutorial

You’re going to need:

*three pieces of A4 sized card stock: one in your main colour and two others in a contrasting colour

*wide lace

*ribbon

*a paper cutter

*scissors

*a border punch

*double sided tape

*craft glue

*clear nail polish

*a measuring tape or ruler

*a pencil

*paper towels or Kleenex

*C6 sized envelopes in a matching colour

*optional: pearl embellishments (not pictured)

I suggest before you dive head first into this project that you make a test invitation and figure out how much of all the supplies you will need and what it will cost you if you have any budgetary concerns. I imagine if you were to buy ready-made invitations like this, they would run about $4-$5 per card. So far, I’ve managed to keep the cost down to about $2.50 per card. If you’re looking for very cheap invitations, the DIY route is not always going to be a money saver.

That said, the biggest costs were the border punch and the paper cutter, both of which I can use again in the future, and which I probably shouldn’t factor into the cost of the card. They were $40AUD each. However, if you never ever want to make cards again, you will be stuck with a few things you don’t really need. Just something to consider.

Moving onto the first step!

diy wedding invitations

One A4 card will make two invites. We need to cut it in half. Measure twice, cut once. This piece of card was 29.6 cm, so I’ve made a small mark at 14.8cm and that is where I will cut. Once you have cut the first piece, you can take a short cut and just hold the cut piece up to an uncut piece and make the mark that way.

vintage wedding invitations

Line the pencil mark up to the cutting like on your guillotine. If you have never used one of these before, make sure the edge of the card is flush against the top edge or you will not get a straight cut. When sliding the cutting blade down the paper, press firmly to avoid tearing the paper or pulling it out of position. I personally find it works better to move the blade in a downwards fashion only, but if you can press very firmly, there’s no reason you can’t cut on an upward stroke, too.

how to make lace wedding invitations

Once you have cut the card in half, you can now fold it in half. If you are bad at folding in a straight line or getting a sharp crease, you can buy what’s called a scoring mat, which comes with a mat and tool that will make the crease for you. They are usually marked for scoring standard paper sizes and this will get you a perfect crease every time. I’m cheap, so I just fold mine by hand and use a ruler or something like that to make a firm crease.

We’ll just be working with the piece you folded from now on, so go ahead and set that other unfolded piece aside. You can use it to make another invitation later, though once you get the hang of this, you’ll find the work goes quicker by doing it “assembly line” style.

border punch wedding invitation

Next, get out that border punch. I’m using one that punches a rose pattern and also embosses a smaller pattern above it, which you can sort of see in the picture. If you’ve never used a border punch before, it’s very simple. Just line up the cut pattern with the design on the punch to get a continuous cut.

One thing to note! This pink card I’m using is 285 gsm and it takes every ounce of shoulder strength I have to punch through it. I suggest not using anything thicker than 200 gsm with these border punches or you may end up breaking the handle with the force you have to use. It’s a pretty paper, but not the easiest to work with when you need to make a lot of invitations. When I run out of this stuff, I’ll be getting something different that isn’t so thick.

diy invitation

Next we need to cut out the contrasting card. First, cut it in half the same as you did with the first card. I’m cheating here, by using the other half of the pink card (the one I set aside earlier) to measure the mark on the black card.

homemade wedding invitation

We now need to cut this card into fourths. This is going to make the interior pocket where you will put the RSVP card and other things. So flip it 90 degrees so that the longest side is facing you. It is on this side that you need to measure and mark it off into fourths.

diy vintage wedding invitation

Cut the card into fourths with the paper cutter. Set three aside for later use and select one to use now.

wedding invitation tutorial
Take the one you’ve selected to use for now and punch out one edge with the border punch. This black card I’m using is 200 gsm and works fine in this border punch. If you’re punching a lot all at once, just scoop away the debris from underneath it every two or three cards, so that it doesn’t get lodged in the die which makes it harder to cut. If you do get stuff stuck in there and can’t punch or shake it out, punch out a piece of aluminum foil to clear the blockage.

lace wedding invitations

Next, we’re going to glue that black bit onto the pink card using craft glue. Because it needs to dry, this works best when making several at once and each has time to dry before you go onto the next step. You can do this step at a different point if it suits you better.

Do not use too much glue. You don’t want it oozing out the sides or into the center of the pocket. If it oozes, use some tissue to wipe it up. In this photo above, there is too much glue on the left side. There is just enough glue on the right side. You do not need to use very much, just enough to get it to stick. If you are ultra messy with glue and just can’t resist using too much, I suggest using double-sided tape to stick the pocket down instead. It will save you a lot of hassle of constantly wiping up glue ooze.

vintage wedding invitation pocket
Affix the pocket to the card, making sure to line up the edges just right. You don’t want sticking out over the edge of the card.

Sometimes, you will not have cut the pocket to the right size. It’s always a good idea to hold it up to the card first and make sure it is not just slightly too short or too long. If it’s too short, don’t use it. It will look sloppy. If it’s too long, use the paper cutter to trim it to fit before gluing it down.

diy lace wedding invitation
lace vintage wedding invitation
Next, cut some lace for the front of the card. Use just enough that you can wrap the lace around the edges. (Not more than about 18cm or 7in.) Using too much will cause problems in a later step- we’ll get to that in a minute. I hold the lace up to the card and figure out how many of the top notches need to be on either side and then make my cut. Don’t worry if you don’t cut straight because no one will see it.

how to make wedding invitations
Affix two strips of double sided tape to the inside of the card. They don’t have to be perfect, but try to get them as close to the edge as possible. Why not use glue? Because glue would ooze out of the holes of the lace and make a mess all over your card, plus lace and glue don’t really like to stick to each other very well. The other nice thing about double-sided tape is that if you don’t get your lace quite where you want it to be, you can always lift it up and reposition it without making a mess. I’ve repositioned lace up to four or five times without it losing its stickiness.

diy lace invitations
So peel off the white strip from the tape to expose the other sticky side. Make sure you press the lace down firmly and pull it snugly around the card. Not too tight, though, or you will bow the card and the lace will look all stretched out on the front. Not good. Just snug enough to keep it from sagging in the front.

diy vintage lace invitation

Next is the ribbon. Personally, I think this is about as wide a ribbon as you’d want to use on an invitation this size, but it’s up to you. I’ve also made some using a thinner ribbon (see the first photo in the post or scroll down a bit for a different photo of the same thing.)

You will need to wrap the ribbon the whole way around the card. I prefer to leave the ribbon uncut until I have tied the bow, otherwise I often end up with not enough ribbon to tie. Once I have my bow tied, I can tug at it to make it the right size and shape and THEN I cut it from the spool.

There are two ways you can do the ribbon, depending on whether or not you want to use an embellishment in the center. In the above photo, you are simply tying a bow, which is very simple and elegant in its own right.

wedding invitation tutorial

lace invitation tutorial

The second way is how you would do it if you want to add a pearl embellishment to the center of the bow.  This is a great option if you want a fancier looking invitation or if you just plain suck at tying nice bows. (Just keep in mind that embellishments can add a lot to the cost of each invite and may also add to the postage cost, depending what you use.)

So instead of tying a bow, you fold a bow. Take one side of the ribbon and fold it under into a bunny ear. Use a small piece of double sided tape to hold it in place. (This works much better than glue, as it sticks immediately, holds to the lace better, and doesn’t make a mess). Then fold the other side into a bunny ear over the top of the other one, holding in place with a small bit of double sided tape. You now have a flat surface on which to glue your embellishment into the center of the bow.

vintage diy lace wedding invitation

If you think you might find this step difficult, I suggest practicing on something other than your half-finished invitation until you get the hang of it. You really don’t want to mess up the  front of your card. I promise it really isn’t that hard, though.

One more thing: You may find it easier to glue the embellishments on as the very last step, as they do need considerable time to dry. I’ve actually been making a tied bow with mine until I finish the card and then go back and untie the bow, fold it how I want it, and add the embellishment. It can then dry undisturbed for as long as it needs to without me freaking out that I’m not getting it done fast enough. But whatever works best for you is fine.

handmade wedding invitation

Once you are happy with your bow, bust out that clear nail polish and paint a small bit over the ends of the ribbon to keep it from fraying (which will happen very quickly!) Again, you can save this for the end if you plan on adding an embellishment as the last step, since tying a bow, only to fold it later means you will have a longer ribbon than you probably want and you may want to trim it. Up to you.

printed wedding invitations

We’re almost done, but we kind of need to put some information inside the cards. In mine, I’ve included the actual invitations, plus an RSVP card and a directions card. You may want to include more or less.

I designed mine using a free lace frame image I found online, Microsoft Picture It, and a French script font. Easy-peasy. I’m not very good with designing things on a computer, but if you are, I’m sure you can come up with something way better than I did. Alternatively, there are a lot of printable free templates online that you can use.

I printed mine on putty coloured parchment paper from the office supply store. If you can print yours on a laser printer, I recommend it, because you don’t want the glue to make the ink run. If you only have an inkjet printer and you’re having problems with the glue making the ink run, just use double sided tape anywhere that I say to use glue. It works just as well (sometimes better), but it costs a little more, which is why I use glue when I can.

printed wedding invitation inserts

Each print out needs to be cut out with the paper cutter and will be glued onto your contrasting colour cardstock. Get out that second sheet that hasn’t been cut yet.

You will need to arrange each cut print out onto the card and mark where you want to cut, depending how much border you want it to have. The only one that need to be cut fairly specifically is the one that is going on the inside front of the card because it needs to cover the lace without sticking over the punched out border.

To do this, I take the card and hold it next to the black paper and mark it so that it will be exactly the right height to fit inside the invite. I then mark the sides. In my invitations, the black border is wider on the top and bottom than it is on the sides. If you are very OCD, this might bother you and you will want to make very tall and narrow print outs for this section.

make your own wedding invitations

Once you’ve marked out the invitation, place any other print outs you are using on the card and mark out their borders, too. Cut then out with the paper cutter.

When I make several at a time, I avoid wasting too much paper by putting all like sized print outs together. I can fit, for example, six RSVP cards onto one piece of A4 card stock and not a single bit of it gets wasted. I’ve arranged them like this for purposes of illustrating how to do just one card, but if you are making a lot, play around with positioning them on the card to maximise the space you can use. In Australia, cardstock usually costs about $1-$2 or more per sheet, depending what kind it is, so you end up spending a lot of money just on the cardstock when you are making a lot of invitations. Save money by cutting the amount of waste paper wherever you can. It does add up when you are making a lot.

how to make a wedding invitation

Next, you need to do two thing before you proceed.

First, put that newly cut cardstock into the pocket and make sure it fits and that you can close the card without bending anything. If you can’t close it or it doesn’t fit in the pocket, you need to make it smaller (obviously). This may mean you need to shrink your printouts. It took me a LOT of trial and error with mine.

*The measurements I used, by the way, are:

Invitation: 7.5cm wide and 13.25cm tall (this could be slightly taller and still work, if you wanted it to be)

RSVP card: 11.5cm wide and 6.75cm tall

Directions card: 7.5cm wide and 10cm tall

Second, hold up the inside front piece and make sure it is the right size. Is there any lace sticking out? Trim it. Is the insert slightly to long or wide? Trim it. This is your only chance to make sure this essential piece will fit in the card, so double check all the details. Once the glue goes down, it’s very hard to fix anything.

If everything fits, move on to the next step.

diy wedding invitationdiy rsvp card
Put some glue (remember: a drop does a lot!) onto the backs of the paper print outs and position them onto the cardstock you cut out for them.

(Notice how I’m using a paper towel on the table. That’s because even though I try to be neat and not use too much glue, sometimes I do make a mess and scraping dried glue off a glass tabletop really sucks.)

Once you’ve glued all these together, set them aside to dry.

diy invite

Once the card and the print out that will form the interior front of the invitation are reasonably dry, it’s time to glue that in place on the inside of the card. Remember how I said that glue and lace don’t really like each other? Well, too bad for them. If it really becomes a problem in getting the corners to stick down, trim some extra lace off the interior so that most of the glue ends up attaching cardstock to cardstock, which sticks better. I like to put a fair bit of extra glue on the corners, as you can see, but I usually skip it on the short sides that are the top and bottom because, as I said, it doesn’t stick to the lace very well and I’m cheap and don’t like wasting things. No point gluing it where it won’t do any good.
vintage wedding invitation
Being VERY careful, position this insert where you want it to go. Be careful not to put it right up into the crease or your card won’t close. Leave a couple millimeters of space between the edge of the insert and the crease. Now let it dry, leaving the card open, so that renegade glue doesn’t accidentally cause it to get stuck shut. That would ruin your card and probably ruin your day, after you’ve put so much effort into it and managed not to screw it up so far. (Trust me, it’s better to make your screw ups early in the process rather than later!)

diy vintage invitation

Once everything is dry, you’re ready to put all the remaining pieces in the card and fold it up to mail!

diy wedding

The finished invitation, with all inserts and decoration, should fit easily into a C6 envelope with room to spare. Definitely test this before making dozens of invites. If you want to add anything more than what I’ve put in mine, it should not be a problem getting it to fit.

Also, make sure you buy your envelopes when you buy the rest of your supplies and make sure you can get the colours and quantities you want. You don’t want to be stuck using a plain coloured envelope that doesn’t match your colours or theme after putting so much thought into those things.

Clear as mud? Great! 😀 Now go get started!

26 Responses to “The Total Beginner’s Guide to DIY Wedding Invitations”

  1. megalagom June 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Great tutorial! Looks lovely! Maybe when my wedding anniversary comes around I’ll post photos of my DIY invites and thank you cards!

    • housewifedownunder June 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Please do! I’d love to see them. It’s always neat to see other people’s creations.

      • elizabeth berg November 12, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        Hello! My mother and I are trying to make these invitations but the one we really love is teh one where you have the black cardstock ontop of the pink and the lace ontop of that and there are no instructions for that specific invite! Any help would be appreciated.
        Elizabeth

      • housewifedownunder November 13, 2012 at 10:42 am #

        Hi, Elizabeth! the instructions are identical for both invites. Just swap out the cardstock and lace for the colours you want to use. I just used the pink invitations for the tutorial because they small details showed up better in photographs. But other than the colours, there is no difference in how they are made. So instead of two pieces of pink cardstock and one piece of black for each invite, you’ll need two pieces of black and one of pink. You can use any style of white lace that you like and any kind of pink ribbon (though I recommend the kind that is satiny on both sides, instead of just one). Let me know if you have anymore questions! Happy invitation making!

  2. astimegoesbuy June 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    I’ll have to share this with my step-daughter…although I have a funny feeling I am going to end up making the invites!
    Cheers,
    Laura

  3. Wedding Invitations June 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! I’m trying to find information on wedding invitations, wedding decorations and wedding invites.This has definitely helped me in this process.

  4. Wedding dresses June 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    12/04/2007· cracking open the wedding items is surely an pleasant and fascinating activity in the newly-weds. This is often accomplished possibly right after the particular wedding reception celebrations as well as following the pair …pascal baetens

  5. Melanie January 23, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    I know you posted this awhile ago but I’m hoping you (or someone in the States) will know…any idea if this would be under the 1 oz maximum that you could send it with normal postage? I’m on a very tight budget and finding invites that don’t go over the weight (or aren’t too big size-wise) is very hard!

    I love these invites…I’m not super crafty but they seem easy enough 🙂

    • housewifedownunder January 23, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      It is definitely not under 1 oz. I think they all needed about $1 in US domestic postage. They are too thick (only because of the pearl, which you could leave off) to go at the standard letter rate. They were also just too heavy. You might be able to get it down by using flimsier cardstock (mine was pretty thick) or by modifying it to leave out all the things that go in the pocket. You could even just do the front half of it (think slicing down the middle crease and keeping only the front side and the reverse of it with your information on it), which would give you the same look without as much of the bulk. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find invites that don’t go over the weight or size limitations and are still pretty. I hope you can find something that works for you!

  6. Sabrinuh January 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    How much lace would you suggest for 60 invitations?

    • housewifedownunder January 30, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      18cm or 7in per invitation is about what I used. So for 60 of them, you’d need 1080cm or 420in. But I’d recommend getting a little extra in case of any mistakes.

  7. lorna s February 7, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Hello, where did you buy your lace from and what size is it?

    • housewifedownunder February 7, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      The white lace was about 3.5 inches/8.5cm at its widest point. The black lace was about 3.8 inches/10cm at its widest point. I bought the white lace from a local shop called Flutterbuys in Preston (Melbourne, VIC) and the black lace from Spotlight.

      Of course, you don’t have to use the same lace I used. The stuff I got was the only selection in those colours that I could find. Maybe where you are you’ll have several designs that you can choose from.

      • lorna s February 12, 2013 at 2:51 am #

        I will like to use a purple card, so i am sure white lace would be prettier.. the other option was purple lace on a cream/silver card and i can imagine finding purple lace would be hard and when you do, the cost will something else. Any ideas?
        What about the weight of you cards?
        Also, thank you very much for the reply!

      • housewifedownunder February 16, 2013 at 11:46 am #

        You can use any colours you like. I picked my colours to match our wedding colours, but obviously not everybody will use those colours. If you are in America, you might be able to find purple lace at a big box fabric store, like Joann or Michaels or maybe they could special order it for you. We don’t really have stores like that in Australia, so I was really limited with my choices, but the American stores are so much better. I don’t recall the weight of the cards- they were definitely over 1 ounce, though. I actually shipped all my cards to my mom in America so she could mail them domestically and I think they ended up needing about a dollar each in postage, mainly because they were too thick (because of the pearl embellishment) to go at the standard letter rate. They had to be sent at the parcel rate instead.

      • VampyVani March 8, 2013 at 9:48 am #

        I don’t know if anyone has yet, put I had to pin this on Pinterest!
        (I linked it straight back here to your page)
        Need this for future reference! Thanks for the gret tutorial!!!

      • housewifedownunder March 8, 2013 at 10:55 am #

        Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. 🙂 i get a lot of traffic to this page from Pinterest and I always wonder if anyone has made their invitations from my tutorial and how they turned out. If you make these, I’d love to see a picture of them. Thanks again for pinning this!

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