|DIY Wedding Invitations|
Madigan here, one of the Community Coordinators at Goulet Pens. If you’ve been following our company you might know that in the past year, five team members have gotten engaged, including me. For those of you counting, that is 1/6 of our company! This had led to a lot of wedding talk around the lunch table and the requisite DIY vs. purchasing discussions.
For me, DIYing my invitations was a no-brainer. Not only is it less expensive, but it makes the invitations a reflection of my fiancé, Shane, and I. I fell in love with flex pens and ink my very first week of working here and I really wanted to incorporate that enthusiasm into the necessary wedding correspondence. Additionally, I love the idea of using my handwriting to invite my guests… call me sentimental but handwriting is such a personal and unique expression of who we are as people. It seemed entirely fitting to use it for this very personal life event.
|Handwriting makes it more personal!|
Through a few ink spills, a lot of letter practicing, and a couple of failed attempts, I've come up with what I think will be a very doable and satisfying way to bring a personal touch (literally!) to wedding invitations. My wedding will be pretty casual but these techniques can translate into any number of formal or informal invitations and don’t only apply to weddings. In fact, Jeremy from our Customer Care team is using one of these techniques for his daughter’s birthday invitations!
So while reading through the rest of the blog keep in mind that these are just suggested techniques. You can incorporate one or all of them into your invites. You’ll be creating the ink washes, using your flex pen techniques, and bringing your own unique perspective to your event. Experiment and have fun!
|Bring a completely unique perspective to your wedding invitations!|
For most weddings, there are four types of letters that are involved
- Save the Date (post card)- sent out a few months before to let your guest know the date
- Invitation- the most essential and information filled item
- RSVP (post card)- for guest responses
- Thank you- to thank them for coming and for the sweet swag they donated to you and your partner
- Rhodia Dot Pad for practicing your writing- $9
- Flex Fountain Pen (I used a Noodler’s Konrad)- $20
- Bottles of ink (color of your choice, I used J. Herbin Diablo Menthe and Gris Nuage)- $9 to $30 depending on your ink choice
- Watercolor Paper (cut to size)- $15
- Paint Brushes (small but nice ones)- $5
- Water and cup- free!
|Pick an ink that matches your wedding colors|
First, you have to pick your colors; then you have to find the perfect shade to match your vision. The awesome part about using fountain pen ink is that you have hundreds of shades to choose from. We've got some great comparison tools on our website to make it easy to find that perfect shade. Word of the wise when choosing your ink- make sure it isn’t water resistant. You want an ink that will spread on the paper when additional water is applied.
Check out the Swab Shop to find your perfect color. Keep in mind that you will be adding additional water to the ink, so it could change the potency of the hue. If you are torn between two (or several!) colors, you can always order Ink Samples to do tests before purchasing the full bottle. I do suggest eventually purchasing a full bottle as I went through a lot of ink in the experimentation phase. :)
|Practice, practice, practice!|
The second stage in planning is writing practice. Maybe your writing is already amazing, in which case, congratulations! You can skip this step. If it isn't, do not despair. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect! To make your very own "calligraphy" or just get a little line variation grab one of our Noodler's Konrads, Ahabs, or Nib Creapers (you can use several other brands of pen, but for the writing experience and price, Noodler's pens are tough to beat). Fill it with your black ink of choice (I used Noodler's X-Feather because it's a rich black and has anti-feathering properties). A Rhodia No. 18 Dot Pad is great for this because you can try different size fonts and have a large page space to practice on.
|Pick the trickiest letters to practice first|
You are going to write your names A LOT, so get these down first. If you have a crazy long name like me, pick out the letters you think will be problematic and practice those first. I picked the capital letters of each of our names along with a couple of other more difficult lower case letters. Pick out the major words on all of your correspondence and do this for all of them.
|Don't be afraid to take your time|
Some tips for flex writing:
- Go slow! Find a quiet time you can concentrate on forming your letters
- Press lightly on the up strokes and apply pressure on the down strokes. This will flex the tines and give you a broader line
- Make sure your hand position allows for flexing. Pressing straight down will give you the widest line
- In my experience, if you are writing for awhile you will eventually get some railroading. It’s not a big deal, just go back and fill it in afterwards
- If you want more of a calligraphy look, go over the down strokes again for even thicker lines
- If your pen is being fussy, check out this video on Heat-Setting
|Apply pressure on the down stroke, don't worry about railroading- just fill it in after|
|For naturally thicker lines, go over the down strokes again|
You’ll be doing four different correspondence pieces so make sure to practice all of them. The invitation will be the most difficult (since it has the most writing), so choose your wording wisely. A practical wedding has a great blog on Wedding Invitation Wording. Now on to the fun part…
|Ink wash techniques|
Since I did four different items in the wedding correspondence set, I’m going to show you four different ways of using ink to make a whimsical and gorgeous design. As you can see above, I did several different versions and I’d advise you to as well. You are going to want the most beautiful ink wash along with your most beautiful handwriting as the prototype for your invitation. This could take a few tries so don’t get discouraged!
|One- Ink Wash|
The first method (and arguably the easiest) is to do a one-color ink wash. I used this for the Save the Date. You will need your watercolor paper cut to postcard size, the ink of your choice, two paintbrushes and a cup of water.
Take the bigger paintbrush and spread a light coating of water on the paper. You can make whatever shape you’d like (mine was a rectangle-ish). Dip your second paint brush into the ink and then lightly tap it to the already wet paper. It will spread out beautifully. Once you’ve gotten it to the color you’d like spread it around on the page using the ink paintbrush. Set it aside and repeat the process until you have a comfortable amount.
|1.Brush with water 2.Tap page with ink 3.Brush with ink 4.Let Dry|
|Two-Color Ink Wash|
For the second method, I did a two-color ink wash. This is a little trickier and you need help from a friend (or your fiancé!). I did these on slightly smaller paper since it would appear on the front side of a Thank You card. Grab your paper, two different inks, three paint brushes, and a cup of water.
Just like in the first ink wash method, you are going to use your bigger paintbrush to lay out a light layer of water on top of the page. You and your friend each take a paint brush and starting at opposite ends of the paper, gently dab your color. Keep going until you have about a centimeter of space in between the two shades. Gently pick up card and tilt it side to side to subtly combine the ink colors. Set it aside to dry and repeat.
|1.Brush lightly with water 2.Tap with color on opposite sides 3.Leave a centimeter between colors 4.Tilt to swirl|
|Doing this with a friend makes it more fun!|
This time, start with the smaller paintbrush and apply it directly to the paper. Don’t go as far up the page as you’d think- you are going to use the water to spread the ink. Once you’ve gotten the ink down, take the larger paintbrush dip it in water and spread it in one direction. Go back and forth spreading the color up the page as far as you'd like. Set aside to dry and repeat the process.
|1.Brush ink directly onto paper 2.Go up the page as far as desired 3.Brush water over the ink in one direction 4.Continue past where the ink stops|
The final method is simply using two colors with the gradient method shown above. You’ll need your paper cut to size, four paintbrushes, and some water in the cup.
On opposite sides of the paper apply the ink directly in a thin line. Go over the ink with separate paintbrushes in opposite directions. Set aside and allow to dry while repeating the process.
|1. Paint ink directly on the paper on opposite sides 2.In one direction, go over the ink is opposite directions|
Remember when you practiced all your writing? Now it’s time to apply it to the page! The final step in producing your Wedding Correspondence Set is to write your words onto the beautiful ink washes you’ve completed. Since you’ve practiced your writing, and made a few different ink washes, you will definitely make at least one you love.
|It was all worth it|
If you are really ambitious you could make an individual invitation for all your guests. I chose to get mine printed. A Practical Wedding has an awesome blog walking you through the different printing methods so give that a look.
Thanks for reading and be sure to leave your questions and comments below! I'd love to hear from you. :)