Happy New Year! After a fantastic 2016, Mike and I have high expectations for 2017 – things can only get better and better, yes?! I don’t really believe in New Year resolutions and the whole new year, new you concept; self-improvement is fluid and on-going, et cetera, et cetera. However, I am going to resolve to add more blog posts this year; our wedding is fast becoming ancient history and I need to get my thoughts down on paper, or whatever the internet is – metaphorical paper, I guess.
One of the main reasons we decided to have a DIY wedding was so that Mike and I could create our own bespoke wedding invitations and wedding stationary. Like everything wedding-related, wedding stationary is ridiculously expensive; suppliers seem to add a few extra zeros to the price tag and the wedding industry is an extremely lucrative business! Looking through the hundreds of online wedding stationary shops, most of our conversations ended with ‘I love it, but I could make that for half the price’. There was no way we were ever going to pay the extortionate prices quoted to us for wedding stationary so we decided to take on the challenge of making our own invitations. As with all our DIY projects, this took longer than expected, we spent every evening for a month or so cutting and sticking our invitations but I’m so proud to say that we designed and made them.
Before I go into the step-by-step instructions, I need to introduce my wedding-DIY buddy, Cricut Explore. Cricut is, essentially, a paper cutter, although its tricks are far greater than paper cutting alone and we used it to do the calligraphy for the insert of the invitations too. Due largely to lack of time, I didn’t do much research into paper cutters before buying Cricut as I had my heart set on Cricut from the moment I saw it. I was glued to Cricut DIY blogs, constantly in awe of the things it was able to create and the diverse range of materials it can cut (from card to vinyl to iron-on). It comes with some online software, which can be pretty difficult to use at times, and you can create more-or-less any DIY project from scratch. Once you get used to how it works, Cricut is fairly simple to use. Always test any project on cheap, scrap material before you get going with any design, to ensure the printing and cutting is correct and to keep your material cost low.
Cricut was a substantial investment to make, particularly at the early stage of our DIY journey, with the initial purchase cost of around £200 as well as additional materials along the way. We did the calculations both before and after the wedding and without a doubt, we have saved ourselves a significant amount of money on, otherwise hugely expensive, items for our wedding. We had little idea how much we would come to rely on Cricut for our DIY wedding projects.
I am extremely excited to share my Cricut wedding invitation design and DIY steps. We played around a lot before settling on our final design and we ran a few prototype invitations past friends and family. Our final design received the best responses, by a long way. As our design was so intricate and each invitation used a whole A4 page of card, it did take a long time to do as Cricut can only cut one page at a time. The other significant problem we encountered was that Cricut didn’t always make a clean cut, we could never work out the reason for this and adjusted the settings ever so slightly each time. In the end we used a thicker material setting, supposed to be for fabric, which meant that the card was cut twice. We also invested in some essential re-sticking spray for the matts to ensure they remained ‘tacky’ and our card stuck to them during the cut stage.
Finger on the ribbon
OK, so here we go. The steps to create my invitations:
A4 Coloured card for external design (we used green, as it’s my favourite colour).
A4 Pale card for internal slip – I’d recommend using a higher quality card, we used this, as this is the bit people are going to spend time looking at.
Pen – Cricut tries to make you buy their branded pens to use but for half the cost you can use American Crafts Precision Pens with a fine tip, which work just as well – if the pen drags across the page then blunt the tip slightly with a nail file. We tried dozens of other pens but these seem to be the only ones that clip in to the Cricut pen attachment.
Spare matts – we had three so we could keep going with the next cut while we took our time to remove the cut card form the previous matt.
Re-sticking spray for the matts – we used 3M ReMount Spray Adhesive.
Some form of poker to remove the fiddly bits from the cut – You will probably have something around the house you can use like a skewer, I used a cake tester.
Scoring pen (comes with Cricut)
Envelopes (size 15.5 square envelopes, we used these)
Glue (any transparent glue, we started off with Pritt Stick and moved on to craft glue, which was better)
Ribbon (we used this)
- Log into the Cricut Design Space and design your invitation. If you want to use my design just click here and edit to your heart’s desire, in which case you can skip steps 2 to 6 below.
- Create your canvas and design. You can import various files if you want to use your own designs, as I did. You can also use the Cricut Image Library for your designs. Or, you can use a bit of both! This page gives the tutorials you’ll need to get started, or look at one of the many blogs/YouTube tutorials.
- My design is a cutout only but if you want to add text at this stage, use the ‘Add Text’ tool from the left hand menu. If you want Cricut to draw this, rather than print or cut, go to the right hand menu and ‘Edit’ in the box below where it says ‘All Fonts’ select ‘Has a Writing Style’ and then choose your font from the menu below that. You can import your own fonts from various online sites for free.
- Add score lines if you are folding your project.
- One of the tricks of Cricut that you need to master early on is how to attach and detach your layers. If you want to keep all the elements of your design in their current position and for Cricut to cut and write them in one go then you’ll need to attach the layers. Cricut will prompt you when you need to change the tools it is using when you are in the create stage.
- I used one whole A4 page per invitation but if you want to make a smaller project, select the attached item and adjust as necessary.
- Start cutting.
- If you want to create a separate insert for your invitation, create a new project on the Cricut Design Space and follow instructions 1 to 3 above.
- If you want to copy mine just click here, detach the grouped layers and edit your information.
- Gently pull the main design away from the Cricut matt and use your poking tool to carefully free the invitation – be gentle as there may be bits that haven’t cut properly and you don’t want to tear the card. If you have a Stanley knife, or something similar, use it to cut off any excess card, if necessary.
- Fold the invitation use the score marks. If you’re using my design then fold the score marks against a ruler as these are very delicate.
- Put a fine line of glue around the outside of the main design and attach the insert. Leave to dry overnight.
- When dry, tie the ribbon into a bow around the invitation. This sounds easy but it can be so difficult to tie a perfect bow over and over again, I’d encourage you to this with a glass of something bubbly in your hand. It also helps to have your other half hold their finger on the knot while you tie the bow.
- Write your envelope addresses, or if you don’t want to handwrite them then print address labels off, pop your invitations inside, seal and post.
- Breathe a sigh of relief and hope you haven’t missed anyone too important off the invitation list.