I like to think of myself as the Sandra Lee of Wedding DIY. I kinda DIY'd my invitations. I kinda DIY'd my OOT bags. I definitely made my own favors, but kinda DIY'd the packaging. Trust me, if I could have made the time to do every single fold, crease and tag punch-out myself, I would have. The reality is that I'm a working girl and did not have the time, so I DIY'd based on what I had available to me. You should too - whether it's from scratch or with a lot of help from planners, friends, family or Michaels. Just make it your own! This is the place for all things DIY!


Cool-Ass DIY Invites

OK, so y'all know that I'm like, in love with My Hands Made It, right? Like, she's DIYing everything for her wedding. And it's all really cool. I already blogged about it here. Check her out. You'll just drool with craft-envy. I know I do. I hate her just a little bit, but it's only jealousy based - so it's not like a real hate. Currently, I'm reserving that emotion for insurance adjusters.


Anyway, when I saw Veronica's completed invites, I was so jealous. I had total post-wedding invitation regret. Like, "What was I thinking!" kind of regret. I hate when that happens. It's the one down-side to being all into weddings now. I totally kick myself over my own lack of imagination. But then again, I loved my wedding to death. And when you're planning a wedding, you totally don't have time for all the envy. You just gotta do your own thing and make it yours, right? And that is what this chick is doing - making it her own - quite literally!

So now I stalk her blog and her Etsy shop and her website and want to be her when I grow up. I figured the next best thing to divorcing The Candyman and remarrying him, all so I can have "The Wedding I'd Have If Hindsight Was 20/20" chance to do invites one more time, these might possibly be it. Either these or the those letterpress numbers I found that cost $4000 for 100 invites. With envelopes. No RSVP card. No cute map. Or directions. Or even a tissue paper liner (so stupid). $4000. Yeah - those invites? Those I'll save for The Wedding I'd Have If Money Were No Object. The only constant I'd have in those weddings would be the people we invited and the tall guy in the tux. Those would stay the same. And my dress would be involved at some point. I really liked my dress. And my bolero. And my jewelry. See, told you I loved my wedding.

Miss V was kind enough to share her invitation tutorial with me so I could share with you! I added some of my own comments in 'cuz this is my blog and I get to add comments, dammit!



Okay so Keith, my fiance, and I both really wanted our wedding invitations to read more like letters than formal announcements.  Something sweet and personal and old-fashioned, but obviously we weren't going to hand-write letters to a bajillion people.  Then I started thinking about super old-fashioned letters - I'm talking Medieval - that were folded and sealed with wax.  Those are cool.  And if we did that, we would be cool too, right?  Yes.  Our guests went NUTS for them, and your guests will too - here's how you do it . . .

11 x 17" paper  (I used Cranes - PEARL WHITE - 100% Cotton - 32/80 Text)
Japanese Washi Masking Tape, 15mm wide (1 roll will likely do 150+ invitations) Louise: You can find the tape here (CuteTape.com). There are a few other online sources, but this looked like the best deal to me.
1.25" round printable labels (Paper Source has them in great colors) Louise: You can find these just about anywhere that has labels, although Paper Source does have them in fab colors.

We replaced the wax seal with a printable sticker.  Keith thought it would be hilarious if our guests used letter openers on their invites, which would of course, cut everything in half and make a complete mess.  I thought it was less hilarious and more terrifying, so I printed instructions onto the labels.  Crisis averted.   Anyway, here we go . . . Louise: Total paranoia after my own heart.

Design your invitation (you're on your own here) using this handy guide I made just for you.  Feel free to mess with the margins on the letter side, but stick to the margins on the address side.   Send your files to a local print shop or, if you're lucky enough to have a printer that can hold 11 x 17" paper, print at home.

Click here for the pdf format file.


Most home printers do not have this printing capability. However, if you want to use your work printer, I say do it. Most larger machines can manage the 11x17 paper. Yes, I'm condoning using office ink. GASP! Get over it. At least test the damn formatting there. After hours. With permission. Happy now? If you don't have an office printer to mooch off of, go to Kinkos or another local print shop. I called Kinkos (now known as FedEx Office - it's like suddenly telling me that I have to call Kleenex by the name Windex. Or Spaghetti-O's. It just doesn't work like that with me) and got some info for you. It costs $.20 to print in single color ink on  11x17 paper. If you print over 100, you save $.02 per page. To print in 4-color costs $1.78 per page (ow!). Discount for over 100 here too.I would suggest checking some local print shops to compare prices.

Veronica used Rogers Marketing & Printing, Inc. for her invitations and OvernightPrints for the inserts.

If you are hand-addressing, I recommend you do this now before folding anything.  Tip: If you cut out the inner square of my guide, you will have a window showing you the surface of your "envelope" after it's been folded, so you know how much space you have for addressing.  If you don't have access to an 11 x 17" printer, you can either transfer the markings on your own or ask your print shop to print one of these for you as well.

Now we're going to fold everything using the Fern letter-folding technique. 

Step 1: With your invitation letter side up, fold the top and bottom together, meeting in the middle.
Step 2: On the left side only, fold the corners down until they meet in the center, forming a triangle.

 Louise: I love the pink arrow.

Step 3: Crease your triangle down, forming a flap.
Step 4: Fold the opposite end towards the center creating a flap about 2.25" deep.

Step 5: Insert your RSVP cards, etc in between the two flaps.
Step 6: Fold the corners of your bottom flap in until they meet the crease.

Louise: Um, hello! CUTE bow ring!


Step 7: Insert the large triangle flap into the bottom flap - you've created an envelope!

It seems kinda complicated and crazy, but you'll start to breeze right through them once you get the hang of it. Seal your letter with approximately 4.25" of masking tape.  Slap a round seal on top of that and you're finished!

What makes this project even more awesome and satisfying is the cost - $170 for 100 invitations, tape and labels (doesn't include entire suite).  Oh and even with three inserts, I was able to get away with one first class stamp. 

Louise: Thrifty AND Nifty. Me likey.

Here's her whole invitation suite:

RSVP Card Front

RSVP Card Back

Small insert.

Thanks Veronica!

I know you guys are freaking out at this, thinking you could never make invites like this. Well, you can. It's not THAT hard. It does take time, but it isn't hard.

Here, I'll help:

The RSVP post card? Easy. Veronica manipulated an empty label format from The Graphics Fairy. The Fairy is an awesome resource for cool vintage-y stuff. You can also check out iDIY as they have a TON of freebies and tutorials, labels, formats, etc. And for goodness sake, don't forget The Martha. Click on this link, or go to her site and search "templates" and you'll find all sorts of DIY goodies.

Don't have all the groovy fonts you want to use? Well, there are a bajillion sites out there that you can download FREE fonts from. I personally like DaFont, 1001 Free Fonts and Urban Fonts. Not sure how to download fonts? This is a pretty good tutorial. For her invitation Veronica used Chopin Script and JFRingmaster. She used CasablancaAntique for the inserts, both from DaFont.

There are also LOTs of pre-cut, ready to print papers out there that can make this process really easy. You don't have to buy a paper cutter. You can buy lots of white background formats at Office Depot or Staples and print away to your hearts desire!

My point is that you can make something quite lovely and unique to you with just a little effort and time! Think you can do it? What else do you need when you read tutorials like this that would help? Good luck! Happy DIYing!



For the Uncrafty on a Budget

I'm getting a little giddy. I've got that little creative flutter of excitement/anticipation going on somewhere behind my sternum. It's coming. On Sunday, I'm having a Craft-a-Thon with Sharon. We're making goodies for the Swag Bag for the SATC2 Party, hosted by Ashley's Bride Guide. I can't wait! Apparently Sharon has some contraption that is like a favor making machine. It makes pillow boxes and labels and all sorts of crafty goodness. I'm looking for a particular type of hang tag to make and I was searching for a picture on-line to send to Sharon to see if her die-cutting thing-a-ma-bob would do what I wanted. 

In that search I found the coolest website! The company is called Creative Label Concepts. They have several different web sites for paper related products - some seem a tad on the expensive side. However, I think this particular group of products is pretty affordable, time saving and EASY, especially if you're not the crafty type.

D.I.Y hang tags. Be still my heart. Here's the word on what they offer, straight from their website.

Die-cut hang tags are manufactured in a bright white paper card stock material with a 65# (8 pt.) cover weight (smaller tags) or a 125# (9.5 pt) cover weight (larger tags). Die-cut hang tags are held in place with a liner and are printable on one side. The cardstock is not micro-perforated but actually die-cut like labels on a sheet with NO ROUGH EDGES from perforations. We also offer micro-nikked tags that allow for two-sided printing. Both versions come flat on a sheet, printable on your inkjet or laser printer. Simply lift the die-cut tag from the sheet after printing, or bend twice to release the micro-nikked version. Print quality is excellent on heavy or cardstock printer settings. 


You can buy these by the sheet (!) or in bulk and per label it's pretty affordable, especially if you don't own any sort of crafting tools. I spent about $12 on a big 'ol pile of cardstock, about $12 for a plain round punch out and about $5 for a hole punch. I used all that stuff for several projects and will continue to use them. However, if you just don't care about a future in craft production, why waste the money? Just want some cute wedding label stuff to print and be done with it? Here you go. I think this is perfect.

And you know what else is cool about it? You can download a template of ANY of their hang tags for FREE. If you're crazy and want to cut stuff out, or already have a similar tag punch on hand, you can just scoop up the template (in either Word or a pdf!) and get started!

I'm kinda loving this product a whole lot! One of their other web sites has water bottle labels that you can custom design on line and ship straight to your door. Very cool. I totally wanted to do that for my OOT Bags, but that was one project I just could not get done. Or even start, for that matter. If you're buying larger quantities, this is a great option.And again, you don't have to be a Craftaholic to enjoy a little easy-peasy DIY!

Check it out and let me know what you think! Are you uncrafty? Would you use this product?

I can't wait to DIY on Sunday. Total girl-time activity! I. Can't. Wait.

Oh and don't forget! Go here and vote for me!




This Ain't Your Granny's Doily, Yo.

I've been thinking about some DIY ideas that might be helpful to the pocket book (and who calls it a pocket book any more? I mean purse. Or just bag. Pocket book is so....grandma). I was thinking primarily about cupcakes. I made some last week. You know, the ugly ones. Then I started thinking about the really really really pretty cupcake wrappers. You know the ones...

These are from The Wedding Channel Store and cost $13.00 for 12! Add in tax and shipping and these are like $1.30 each! WTF? I don't think so. Most other laser-cut designs that I found were all around $.90-$1.15 each, which I think is high.

So I was thinking about what else you could use in place of these expensive laser-cut things. I thought about doilies. I thought that by some stroke of amazing luck I had come up with an original idea.


Pffft. I should have known better. I hit up Google and found a few cool things. First, if you're not suddenly overcome and obsessed with doilies like I am, you can still download a free cupcake wrapper template here from Skip to My Lou. Use pretty paper from a craft store. OR, if you want to get funky, use random wallpaper scraps. How? Here's what you do: call or go to a paint place that also has wallpaper books. Ask if they have any old books they want to get rid of. If so, take them and use the wall paper for a mixed palette. You might laugh, but when I was young and poor and all I had was a 1965 avocado green Sears sewing machine to my name, I'd do the same with furniture stores and their fabric swatch books. I took all sorts of crazy tapestry fabrics and patched them together into big pieces of fabric that I made into throw pillows and curtains. I actually sold a few "designer decorative pillows" for extra cash. It can never hurt to ask, folks.


Then I found these cute ideas. But then I realized I was getting away from the laser-cut thing and back tracked. I found the doily DIY action here. Basically, you just cut a 12" doily in half, cut out the center and wrap it around a cupcake with double-sided sticky tape. Booya, done.

Then I found all sort of doily ideas. Lookie.

 Doily garland from Elizabeth Anne Designs.


More doily garlands from The Martha.


Doily place card holders? Apparently so. Only from The Martha.


Reception doily decor from The Knot. I'm not really loving this color combo, but the idea is cute.


 Aw! Wrap your favors or bridesmaids gifts in doilies! From Elizabeth Anne designs.




Super pretty times two from The Martha.

Doily wrapped everything from The Martha. Here's the rub though: you need to make sure that you use doilies that are WAXED if you're going to be fancy with them. I was playing with the super cheap kind from Wal-Mart and they tend to shed and then kind of fall apart. I don't think you could do those wrapped numbers with the super-cheap kind.

So I did a little research for you and here's where I found some cute (and cheap) doilies.

Oriental Trading Company $5.99 for 100 That's still $.06 a piece and this is a limited use type of item.   

Then I found THESE:

$18.95 for 1000 on MyPaperShop.com. These are 5" diameter, so a little small but are $.19 each! 

   $52.95 for 1000 - back up to $.53 each, but these are big and you could cut them in half. Also from My Paper Shop.

$96.95 for 500 or .19 each! These are 12" diameter. You could actually use these as pretty place settings with the right decor. You totally could. I would. Again, from My Paper Shop.

 But then I was thinking I had to do something to make this a little DIY, right? Like my own Thirty-Something Bride twist? Well, I am not a fan of bright white. It's a little institutional for me and I certainly wasn't able to find paper doilies in cool colors (at least not yet, lemme know if you find any!). Doilies are antique-y, right? So maybe they should be antique looking? How does one do that? Tea staining. It's the best trick ever.  You can generally tea stain just about any old, non-coated paper (like cheap-ass Wal-mart doilies) or even cotton fabric.

Boil yourself some water and bust out your Lipton cheapy tea bags. Poor the boiling water into a shallow pan that's big enough to hold whatever size paper you've got. Let the tea steep until you think the water is dark enough. The darker the tea, the darker the paper. The longer the paper sits in the water, the darker it will get. Cheaper, thinner paper shouldn't be soaked for more than 10 minutes or so as it will start to compromise the integrity of the paper. Parchment paper is super cool because you can PRINT on it, then tea stain it and it looks sooooooo cool. I've made labels for bottles using this technique and it turns out super-groovy.


 Here's my steeping doily. Don't you love my Kmart Pyrex? For reals, it's Kmart. I got a set there for $20 when I was like 19. I still have all but one piece. And here's a little bit of kitchen safety for all you newbie cooks: Pyrex is NOT suitable for the stove top. You know what it will do? It will fucking explode. It will, and then the stuff that was in that pan will pour through all the nooks and crannies of your old old old gas stove and will douse the pilot lights in all the eyes AND the oven AND the broiler and then you will have to clean it all up and then light all those pilot lights with matches and scary invisible gas, hoping you don't blow yourself to kingdom-come all because The Martha told you that boiling water and dish soap together in a dirty pan would clean off the baked-on crud once and for all. It might clean that pan, as long as that pan isn't PYREX. The Martha failed to inform me of that part.

So I left my paper hang out in the tea for about 5 minutes, maybe less. Then I laid it on a paper towel to dry.

 Once it's dry (thinner paper dries quicker), start cutting!

You could totally use the center to punch or cut out something. A hang tag or something cute, right? We're all out of cupcakes, so I totally had to use something else, so I used an apple.

 Now this was using a mini-doily. If you use the 12" doilies, it will fit your cupcake (or your apple) much better. And don't diss on the apple idea. Look at this cuteness:

From here. How cute would these be for favors? Or what about using pomegranates for a  fall wedding? Or oranges for a Florida wedding?

So, here's the point: DIY can really be fun and affordable. My apple doily took all of 15 minutes for me to do and it's okay. However, with a little thought, a little preparation and slightly more time, you could totally make our own cuteness, which is what DIY is all about! Right? Right.


DIY Centerpieces

Unless you plan to channel this bride (thank you Another Damn Wedding for your Deviance series that keeps us screaming back into reality), you might want to consider your centerpieces. And here's the great thing, you don't have to do flowers. You can do candles, plants, rocks, books, whatever it is that you think might be cool. I did a mixture of inexpensive flowers in bud vases with tea lights.Without really meaning to, I felt like it created sort of a random casualness that was still elegant and pretty.

I stumbled across what I thought was a really awesome idea for centerpieces that you could DIY on the cheap.


 Love that they used a toothbrush holder to hold four pretty stems! Now, I don't know about you guys, but toothbrush holders can be really effin' expensive. I did a little leg work and some of these stainless steel numbers can be $20 at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond! While I think this is a groovy idea, it doesn't really save you at the bank, now does it? So I did a little searching online and here's what I found.

Ikea has a stainless steel version for $5.99


They also have this little ceramic cup for $3.99.


I also found this cool modern thing at CB2 for $7.95. I can totally see some big, fat hydrangeas in this one.


 I also looked around on Wal-Mart's site and they sell mostly bathroom sets on-line, but I'm betting you can get some individually at the store. They had some pretty cute styles too - little retro looking ceramic ones with pretty floral patterns, groovy colored acrylic and rattan wrapped versions.  Don't forget to hit up your dollar stores for this kind of thing too. Floral containers for a buck cannot be beat! You might also check out Goodwill or thrift shops for a cool miss-matched look that would rival the stylists at SMP any damn day.

*We interrupt this post for Sunday errands with The Candyman!*

OK, so in our errands, The Candyman and I went to Wal-Mart. God, I hate that place, but who can afford NOT to go there these days? So frustrating. Anyway, I checked out their toothbrush holders and while some would actually be really cute, they were all $8.00, which I think is too pricey. However, keep reading and I'll show you what I did find.

Another idea I found was this one:


The gist? Holding together a bunch of flowers using those clear hair bands! Goody makes the Ouchless ones you can pick up at your local Walgreen's or Duane Reade, depending on your locale. But what about the vases? Ladies, that's where Wal-Mart comes back into play - the place you love to hate. Look at what I saw when we were there. I happened to have my camera on me!

So Wal-Mart totally has some big vases, cylinder style and ginger jar style for only $5! Trust me, these are a really good price and if you are contemplating a DIY on your flowers, or want to provide vessels to your florist like I did, then I would RUN to Wal-Mart and clear these suckers out. These jars are significant in size and a real steal. I would say they are about 5-6" in diameter and maybe 7" high (I would say about the same size as the pretty pic above holding the ranunculus flowers). The ginger jars were bigger.

I'm tempted to try my hand at the above DIY just to see how cheaply I can make some lovely arrangements. Anyone interested to see if I can pull off a centerpiece arrangement? Hm, I wonder. If those jars are $5.00, then I bet I can make a kick-ass arrangement for under $20. Any takers? Who wants to see me try?



DIY Flower Pots? 

I saw these today in a catalog and thought that it was the coolest thing! I imagine them in a country chic sort of retro table setting - maybe filled with herbs or wild flowers. You could probably use any kind of paper that was thin enough to fold easily. I can't imagine a card stock being useful. I also can't imagine exactly how this thing works.


It's a cute little newspaper flower pot! You can use them to plant seedlings and then transfer the whole thing into the ground if you want since the newspaper will just become one with the dirt.

Here's the little contraption you buy to make the little pot. I found it here at Gardeners.com.

You know you could grow your own little seedling favors! Ah! How cute is that? And so eco-chic, darling!

Here's the verbiage from the website:

The Paper Pot Maker is a simple, time-tested tool that transforms ordinary newspaper into a limitless supply of 3" pots, perfect for seedstarting. Simply wrap a strip of newspaper around the solid oak press, fold it under, and twist into the base. Presto! It only takes a few seconds and you can get several pots from one newspaper page. Most of the time, you can plant pot and all right into the ground, with no repotting necessary.

Again, I'm not real sure how the twisting accomplishes the base of the pot, but it's super cool. I might just get one because I now have this burning desire to make newspaper pots. What for? I'm not sure, but I'll figure it out. It costs $19.95. It might be worth that much just to satisfy my own curiosity!


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