The Best of 2010, Part II
Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 6:00AM
Louise in Best of 2010, DIY, Favors, The Graphics Fairy

For all you DIY junkies, here's another Best of The Thirty-Something Bride 2010!

THe Graphics Fairy Rocks! Or a DIY Tutorial.

For all you DIY brides out in Wedding Planning Land (it's a magical, mysterious land), there are an incredible amount of resources out there to be inspired by. Please don't be limited to wedding only sites. The Graphics Fairy is just such an example of a go-to place for all craft-inspired beings, not just brides. She basically offers up freebies and tutorials. We likey! She shares mostly vintage artwork with very few limitations or copyright issues. Hell to the yeah. We likey even more!

I used one of her freebies for my match boxes and while I mentioned the project during my wedding planning, I really didn't give a great tutorial on it. I've decided to do that now, mostly because my match boxes got featured on The Graphic Fairy's Brag Monday yesterday! Woo! Hoo!

So here we go! First of all, there are lots and lots of templates out there for match boxes and match books. I printed out several different versions on-line and none of them quite fit. Most were too small. I found that odd and annoying. Maybe because I bought my matches in bulk at The Dollar Store? Did I have defective match boxes? Who knows. They were a buck so I adapted! I decided to make my own template. If you would like to use my blank Word template, you can find it here.

Do you not know how to make your own template? Well, I'm here to help. This is the way I set up templates. It might not be the best, fastest or easiest way, but for those of us who are PC users, who are NOT graphic designers and who don't feel like becoming proficient in Photoshop for stupid match boxes that for some reason you just have to have, this pretty much works. Here is a how-to on how to set up a template for custom labels in Word. Go here.

The original artwork that I used from The Graphics Fairy was this Sheet Music Frame:

 I do not know how to use Photoshop. I do know how to use ACDSee, which is like a watered down Photoshop. It's similar but slightly better than the dreaded and lame Paint application. I could probably have done this in Paint, but I might have had to drive nails under my eyelids since it's not the most user-friendly application. I basically used the following tools to re-create this label: Cut, Copy, Paste, Text Box, Clone.

Once I had this formatted as a jpg, I dumped it into my Word template (INSERT→PICTURE→FROM FILE), sized and centered  it the best I could (it was NOT an exact fit) and copy and pasted it into all the cells on the template. In order to account for the fact that it was not a perfect fit, I added shading to the background of the label (see tutorial) to fill in the white space. This ended up being a really good thing when I was putting these together!

Once I had them ready to print, it looked like this:

 I printed these out on regular 'ol paper. Nothing fancy needed. Then, I cut along the black lines to create the individual labels. You might be able to do this with a really sharp and accurate paper cutter (I don't have one of these). I used super-sharp, small scissors. Once I had all my labels cut out, it was time to glue. Oh, what fun! Here's what you'll need:

Take a label and lay it on the wax paper. Run your glue stick along the outer edges of the label, overlapping onto the wax paper to make sure you get the edges good and covered. You don't need to worry about adding glue to the center of the label. In fact, you'll want to hold the label down in the center while you glue stick the edges.

Take the glue stick and add adhesive to the center of the box body, along ONE of the striking strips and then on the opposite side of the box.

Place the label on the top of the box, with the top edge lining up next to the striking strip that does NOT have the glue. Carefully wrap the label around, smoothing it as you go, and lining up the edges. This is totally annoying and you'll mess up a few before you get into a groove. If you lay it wrong, gently lift it up as soon as you can and realign. The glue doesn't dry super-duper fast, but you don't want to let it set either.

Did you cut your label a little goofy? Is it a little too big? No matter. Once the labels are dry, go back with your super sharp scissors and just trim the edges up against the edge of the box. Because I had the darker background, any unsightly mistakes were hidden. Because I had an antique-y style label, my mistakes were well hidden. I'm not sure I could have done this if I wanted everything to be pristine and perfect!

This was a great project for sitting in front of the TV, watching House or American Idol or Desperate Housewives (God, I love those NY and NJ bitches-they actually make me feel totally sane and normal) or The Dog Whisperer - whatever your tele-poison is. Here's how mine turned out:

 

 Photos by Jonathon Campbell Photography.

Many thanks to Karen over at The Graphics Fairy for both the inspiration and the feature! Where have you found your inspiration? Share it - every bride needs a little help!

Article originally appeared on The Thirty-Something Bride Wedding Blog (http://thethirtysomethingbride.com/).
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