Our dear Amy is getting married in May, which means we are right in the middle of getting ready for her shower. The theme of the shower is 1920’s Speakeasy (how cool is that?). Being on the wrong end of the country during the planning and prepping phase has made me of limited use, and, guys, I like being useful! So I offered to do the invitations. But since this was a shower for Amy, my bff since forever and also one of the craftiest (in terms of making stuff, not in terms of scheming) people I know, I decided I should design them from scratch and make them by hand. All fifty of them. By myself. In one week.
But you know what, Readers? It wasn’t so bad at all. Once I got a plan, and a design in place, and four seasons of Battlestar Galactica streaming on Netflix, it was pretty smooth sailing.
The first step on my card designing journey was going to Michael’s and just seeing what they had. I highly recommend this as a first step in any crafting project, because you never know what you’re going to find there! The most important thing I got were these:
Blank Cards. I can’t imagine not using these for any card making endeavors. They were relatively cheap, come 20 to a pack, and come in a multitude of colors. They also have matching envelopes in corresponding colors. If you guys are feeling ambitious, you certainly can buy cardstock and make your own cards, but I found the thought of doing that slightly panic inducing. These pre-made jobbies are also white on the inside which makes filling them much simpler.
The colors for the shower are going to be black, red, white, and silver, which seemed very Speakeasy to us. So when I found this paper, I got really excited:
I sort of thought it looked like a retro curtain or something. That gave me my inspiration for the cover of the invitation. I decided to use black stamps to create shadows on this “curtain.” By the way, this paper (and tons and tons of other options) was with the cardstock and scrapbooking papers. It’s somewhere between cardstock and paper in terms of thickness.
Step one was to cut my curtains. I decided to make the red and white paper a bit smaller than the cards themselves, so there’d be a black border around the edges. If you are planning on embarking on a cardmaking project, I definitely recommend getting yourself a paper trimmer. It doesn’t guarantee straight edges, but it makes it a lot easier. And if you get one with cool rulers right on the board, it makes consistent sizing a reality (which is something I really need, since I pretty much failed “scissors” in grade school.)
Once I had my pile of red and white papers, I got to stamping! My awesome mother found a flapper stamp on the Michael’s website, which, luckily, they had in the store. I also bought a gigantic stamp pad (which was really satisfying, somehow.)
A few notes about stamping. Definitely practice with your stamp on some scrap paper, so you can figure out how much ink it needs, if there are spots that need you to really push on, etc. The bigger the stamp, the more you might have to fuss a little. Then test the stamp (or more specifically the ink) on the paper you plan on using. Depending on the combination, you may have to let your stamped paper sit a bit to set so it doesn’t smear. Also, I found the prime stamping technique to be a little counter-intuitive. I tended to want to rub the stamp around on the ink pad, but that actually created odd little lines. The best technique was pushing the stamp forcefully on the pad, an the forcefully on the paper. Obviously, make sure you are stamping on a solid surface. Finally, make sure you get an ink pad big enough for your stamp! I almost walked out of the door at Michael’s with an itty bitty regular ink pad. Could have been very sad.
The flapper silhouette stamp on the red and white paper actually looked pretty cool. The stamp came out very solid, with just the faintest hint of the lines behind it, which created the impression of a shadow. I was really pleased with it.
I then repeated the stamping procedure with a “You’re Invited” stamp that I found in a pack of invitation themed stamps.
Once I had all the covers done, I just had to attach them to the cards. I had options here, but a lot of them made me nervous. Glue is messy and the wrong glue on the wrong paper can be disastrous. Tape takes forever and I always misjudge the size of the pieces. Thank heavens, then, for the tape runner.
Tape Runners are like little pointers that you run along the paper and it deposits a super sticky trail of gluey/tapey goodness. They are super effective for projects like this, very tidy (unlike glue), and very sticky (unlike tape). The one negative is they don’t always last really long, so buy more refills than you think you’ll need. You can always return them or save them for later!
Once I had all the covers stuck to the outside of the cards, I started working on the insides. I typed up the information for the actual invitation (what, for whom, where, when, and 20’s slang to boot) and made copies at Kinkos. They I used my paper trimmer to cut them out to fit inside the cards, and my tape runner to glue them in.
I also printed and cut cards to insert with information regarding Speakeasies (not everyone was a history major) and a password to get in (necessary to avoid getting collared by the coppers), as well as registry information. I thought about pasting those in, but decided they worked better just as inserts.
Once I had the insides pasted in, I should have been done, you guys. But no, no. I had to make the cards just a bit more elaborate. Because a craft project just isn’t a craft project without that extra edge of insanity.
You may have noticed the holes in creases of the cards in some of the pictures above. That’s because I decided the cards didn’t look fancy enough as is, and clearly needed to have red ribbon run through them and tied into a little bow.
This was simultaneously the simplest and hardest part of the project. Making the holes was easy (hole punch, meet cardstock) and even measuring it was easy (I just put the hole punch in as far as it would go on each end).
The ribbon was just basic thin red ribbon. Measuring the proper length was a little tricky. The longer the ribbon, the easier it was to tie a nice little bow and make it lie flattish against the edge of the card, but I also didn’t want to make the ribbon too long and waste a whole bunch. I ended up settling on around 18 inches, which seemed to work consistently. I just threaded one end of the ribbon through each hole, and then tied the best bow I could.
Again, super simple in theory, but around the 35th tiny little bow, I started to question my sanity a little. Ultimately, though, I think it was worth it, because it turned out hell of cute:
Once all the bows were tied, all that was left to do was stuff and send! I had intended to make labels with all the addresses on them but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to do a mail merge and go all the way back to Kinkos. Luckily, I had a silver sharpee. I think this is much prettier than a label anyway.
I put in all the little extra cards and into the envelope and down to the post office they went!!
I have to say, while it was a fairly elaborate project (especially for me, especially during a school and work week) I had a lot of fun with it! And it was for a good cause ( a cool girl’s cool shower!)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a dog!
(That means whiskey, guys. I’m going to find some whiskey ;).)