Friday, September 27, 2013

How to make your own invitations!

I play around a lot with graphic design in my projects, especially since I've started doing things with weddings. I didn't think I wanted to include graphic stuff on this blog since I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had a couple of people ask so here goes.

I was thinking about buying a printable invitation from Etsy for my sister's bridal shower so I looked and looked and I found one I really liked! Being as cheap as I am I decided to attempt to make it myself before committing, since it was mostly just made out of cool fonts and clever spacing.

This is how it turned out.... Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Last night I also made up her Bachelorette party invitations. I decided I would make them again myself because, again, the one I really liked wasn't all that complicated.
Don't get me wrong, if you want to do anything more complicated than clipart, lines, and cool fonts you should probably just go ahead and spend the extra $15-20 dollars a personalized digital file would cost, after all its still cheaper than ordering them out. I have friends that are graphic designers and they can do amazing things that I couldn't come close to recreating.

ANYWAYS I neglected to take screen shots when I was making this invite so I decided to throw together a little sample invite so you all can see the basic idea behind it. This was my inspiration.
 Things you'll need:

All you really need is a computer and access to the internet. Having a ruler handy also doesn't hurt so you can glance at it and see how big things are on a real life scale, not just on the screen.

In order to actually produce the invitations you'll also need a printer, cardstock (I like 5 x 7, but you can play around with size if you want), and envelopes (whatever size your cardstock is make sure you get envelopes that are just a bit bigger so the invites can fit without folding them).

Here is what I use all the time
5 x 7 Cardstock (its a little textured which I like, I usually use white but there are different color options)

Envelopes that fit the 5 x 7 cardstock

Step 1: Open up Publisher (I know there are tons of other programs out there that are probably wayyyy better but this is what I use so you'll have to deal with it!) and create a custom page size equal to the size of your cardstock (in this case 5 x 7).

Step 2: Look on Etsy, Pinterest, Google Image, whatever floats your boat until you find something (relatively simple) that you like. Then minimize your screen and put your Publisher program and your "inspiration" side by side for reference.

Step 3: Do the background details first. For the bachelorette invitation I started with the big pink background, for this invitation you'll want to make the chevrons first. (I didn't show it but both of the invites I did for my sister had different types of chevrons on the back......needless to say I love a good chevron). The way to make a chevron pattern is to use the rectangle tool and make a rectangle about the relative size you need. Then copy and paste that rectangle and angle it so that it forms a 90 degree angle like the picture below. Then you're going to highlight both items (use your cursor to make a box around them) and then group them (there should be a shortcut that pops up once you highlight them both, if not you can go to Arrange > Group or hit ctl, shift, and G at the same time).

Once you've grouped the rectangles you'll want to copy and paste again and connect the single chevron at the bottom. (when connecting the shapes you may want to use your arrow keys and "nudge" them rather than just moving them with a cursor)
Rinse and repeat until you have a line long enough to cover the distance you need.
Next you're going to want to group this whole line together, copy it, paste it, and arrange the new line right below the first so it starts the pattern.
Keep grouping, copying, and pasting until you have what you need (its ok if it hangs off of the page like this, it wont print the extra).
Step 2: Time to make the green line. I just went into the basic shapes tool and found something that looks like it would make a similar line. I made the shape and, like with the chevron copied and pasted it until it made a full page line.

Then I just grouped the whole thing together and moved it up so it just barely cut off the bottom chevron line.

Step 3: Next you'll need some clipart to add. This is where things can get tricky. Sometimes I find cute, good, free clipart I can use on google images but you have to be careful about what you pick, you want the background surrounding your image to be transparent, not white (unless you're doing a while background in which case, go for it).

For example, if you go to any old google image, copy it, and past it onto your document its going to look like this
And that's no good. You want the background of the image to be transparent. Look for images that have checker boards in the background, that means that the image background is transparent.

It might take you a while to find what you're looking for, or you might find it and you have to pay some ridiculous membership fee to get it. In that case I suggest going to Etsy and searching for clipart there. Most files are $5.00, you can keep it forever, and the background is transparent like you need. Just as an example I found the kids in costumes on there, it was $5 and it downloads instantly, no wait at all.
Since this was just an example I didn't actually buy the clipart, but you'll get the general idea with the pumpkin. (If you DO use downloaded clipart make sure you go to Insert > Picture > From File and bring your clipart in that way, don't copy and paste or else you'll get that white background).

Step 4: Look around for fonts you want to use. Pinterest is a good place to search for cool fonts but Google is also pretty effective. I just googled Halloween Fonts under Google Image and it came back with these

I googled the font name, downloaded it to my computer, added it to my fonts (under control panel > Fonts....just drag and drop) and there you go! (You may need to save your document and re-open it in order for new fonts to show up).

Then its just a matter of word placement and color!

This was my final product, I did it in about 15 minutes (even with all the screen shots)

Its not the greatest, but you get the general idea.

All that's left is to print them onto the cardstock (change the paper option from letter to 5 x 7 borderless under print options). If you want a back, just open up a new 5 x 7 document and create whatever you want on the back, whether it just be a solid color, polka dots, chevrons, stripes, whatever you want and just flip the originals over and print on the back (I would suggest paying attention to how your printer feeds the paper so you don't print over your hard work!)

That's it! I know that was kind of long winded, but its really easy once you get the hang of it!

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