I’m not typically one to attempt arts and crafts at home for no good reason. However, when my grandmother contacted me and asked me to create invitations for a holiday lunch she’s hosting, how could I say no? It was also the perfect excuse to run amok in Paper Source and buy some fun things I’ve been eyeing for a while.
I’m glad I said yes, because in the end, I am so pleased with how these invites turned out! Today, I wanted to share some tips and tricks for what I did, in case you’d like to create anything similar for your own holiday party or for greeting cards any time of year.
Here’s what I purchased from Paper Source:
+ 1 package A6 notecards in pure white
+ 1 package A6 envelopes in antique gold
+ 2 snowflake stamps, in various sizes (here and here)
+ Embossing powders in Queen’s gold and Bridal (which appears sparkly)
+ VersaMark stamp pad (you must use a stamp pad that will allow you to emboss!)
+ 1 embossing heat tool
+ 1 package red decorative mailing labels
+ 1 sheet of grey houndstooth specialty paper, for lining the envelopes
+ Tape Runner XL, or you could use your own double sided tape
While this might sound like a lot, I only had to create 6 invites, so I ended up with plenty of leftover supplies. I plan on using these in the future either to make my own holiday cards, or for another project.
First, I created the lining for the envelopes. Using a template (which is available for purchase, but luckily, the very sweet girl at Paper Source just cut me one out of card stock), I traced along the edges on the back of the houndstooth paper in pencil. I made sure to trace each lining as close as I could to another, just like when you’re cutting cookies out of dough. I was hoping I could save some of the paper for something else! After everything was traced, I carefully cut each liner out with regular scissors. Paper Source had recommended an X-acto knife, but in the past, I’ve had terrible results with those — I always end up ruining the cut somehow.
The liners were inserted into each envelope. I made sure to fold the envelope flap closed to create a good crease, then applied the tape runner just under the adhesive strip and pressed the liner into place. VoilÃ ! Pretty, lined envelopes. So easy. This is definitely the easiest, most affordable thing one could do to jazz up cards of any variety.
On the front of each envelope, I stamped out a few snowflakes and embossed them with the Bridal powder for a sparkly finish (see more on embossing below). I made sure to leave plenty of room for the decorative address label.
In Photoshop, I created a simple invitation to print on the notecards (I kept things pretty traditional…they are being sent to a group of women aged 65+!). Once my grandmother approved the copy, I printed them out, being sure to leave room along the side borders for more embossing. I stamped out more snowflakes, choosing to make the larger snowflakes gold and the smaller ones sparkly. Then, I addressed the envelopes, loaded in the cards, and they were ready to go!
So you might be wondering, what the heck is embossing? It’s a very fun craft technique with results that make your items look very professional! The embossing powder has plastic in it, so when you heat it up with the heat tool, it melts and results in this pretty, raised effect. In the case of the gold powder, the effect is almost like foil. The heat tool is basically like a concentrated, super charged, high heat blow dryer. It gets extremely HOT, so be careful. You’ll notice that the heat can warp your cards a little at first, but if you let them hang out overnight, this goes away. I imagine on thinner, finer papers, the heat would probably damage them. And if you’re wondering if you can use a blow dryer in place of a heat tool, the answer is no. They don’t get hot enough, and they end up blowing the powder everywhere. Disaster.
This was my first time embossing at home, and while it was a bit messy, I picked up a few tricks to prevent glitter from getting all over everything. One, it’s SUPER helpful to have a couple shoebox lids lying around. This way, you can pour the embossing powder onto the card while holding it over the lid, catching any excess. Shake off the card into the lid too (I also like to blow on the card to make sure there’s no extra powder). Once you get enough excess in the lid, you can pour it back into the powder jar. I used a different shoe box lid for each different color so things weren’t mixed up. I’m glad I had enough lids lying around. For once, my pack rat and shopaholic tendencies worked in my favor.
When embossing, be sure to stamp out everything for one color first. It would be next to impossible to not accidentally mix the powder colors if you don’t! So plan ahead on where you want which colors and shapes. And be sure to make a few extra of everything, because inevitably, you’re going to mess up a stamp or accidentally smudge some powder. It’s just the way it is.
Stamps are very fun to play around with, but they’re hard to get identical results from one card to the next. So select stamps that won’t require you to be extremely precise! (Example: Stamps with straight lines in them, or individual letters and numbers that require you to line things up are beyond annoying.)
This was a fun, creative project and was surprisingly straight forward once I got organized (read: figured out the shoe box trick and vacuumed up the powder all over the floor)! I was horrible at arts and crafts when I was a kid…20 years later, I’m starting to get a little better.