Book Invite Reveal!

Well, hive, the RSVPs are rolling in and I’m ready to show you the goods. Mr. S and I truly poured our hearts (sweat, splintered fingers, and burned hands) into this project. We started out with some grand ideas. With Mr. S’s background in graphic design, we both knew we wanted our invites to be show stoppers.  We spent the early months playing around with designs and not thinking through logistics. Since all of our guests would be coming from out of town, we knew we had to really entice them with the invite and make it so appealing that they just had to come. This is a long post because I want to walk you through the whole process. And today I am only talking about the outside…

Here is how we went from this:

IMG_01506

Five 8 x 4s loaded up into my dad’s truck

To this:

_MG_149

Our invite

Yes, we are ridiculous and decided to make a book from scratch. For around 200 of our closest friends and family ( =110 books).

As we planned the book, we considered many different materials for the outside. Mr. S was feeling a modern metal. I was pushing for authentic book binding with fabric. As we compared costs and effort, we realized wood would be the best option. It is inexpensive, easy to cut/drill through, and matched our theme perfectly.

So Papa Squirrel and I got to work over the holidays.

IMG_02506

He obviously is the professional here.

IMG_02507

My job was was “guide” the wood. We took those 8 x 4 huge pieces of wood and first cut them lengthwise into long strips.

IMG_02508

We cut the strips into smaller rectangles that measured 6 x 8 inches. The cutting itself was easy. (Or so I hear. Again, just call me the “guide master.”) We have a good tag-team thing going…

We drove the wood back to Tampa, and I proceeded to leave all 220 pieces (we needed two per book) on my couch for a couple weeks while I stubbornly refused to acknowledge the next step that awaited me.

IMG_03503

SANDING. Ugh.

IMG_03504

That’s right—we hand sanded 220 pieces of wood. This took not hours, but days. I found myself constantly asking myself, “Would it be that big of a deal if a guest or two got a splinter when opening up our invites?”

We had even thought ahead and added an electric sander to our registry for this purpose. Unfortunately, we had chosen wood that was thin and light because we knew shipping would be expensive. The electric sander was too intense, and the wood either splintered or became rougher. I’m sure there are some sanding gurus out there who are going to rock my world and comment with a really easy way to do this. :)

After watching Jennifer Garner save the world again and again as I sanded though many seasons of Alias (old school goodness), I was finally able to kick back and enjoy my handiwork:

IMG_03503

Oh wait…it looked exactly the same. Talk about delayed gratification.

But that’s OK—the fun was about to begin. I started by gluing the two pieces of wood together with a strip of fabric. We found fabric that was sort of like burlap except woven much tighter, which is important because otherwise the glue would have soaked right though. We found the fabric for about three dollars in the scrap bin at JoAnn.

IMG_03902

IMG_03903

It felt good to have it start looking like a book.

IMG_03002

Mr. S and I had many dates at the self-serve station at Office Depot. We had a little system down. He would cut (he is much better at straight lines), and I would staple.

IMG_03904

IMG_037

(Teaser for my next post…the inside is pretty amazing.)

I then tacky glued the shiz out of the paper and stuck it in the fabric. I took this picture to show how the paper fit inside the covers. The paper stuck out farther than the wood on the bound side of the book. The goal was to hide the staples in the fabric.

IMG_03905

I found lots of heavy things around my apartment. And prayed that five bottles of cheap tacky glue would do the trick.

IMG_03802

Thankful, tacky glue is amazing and it worked great! Next, we played around with many cover designs. I was originally hoping to do a wax paper transfer so we could design our own cover image and then transfer it onto the books.

Attempt #1:

IMG_03101

Obviously this was not going to work. This is more like Attempt #5, because the wax paper kept getting stuck in the printer and then, when we finally got it to print out perfectly, I had put too much water on the wood. Cue hot mess.

Attempt #2

IMG_03102

Another wax transfer. I love the simplistic design because, as you’ll soon see, the inside of the invite has a lot going on. As much as I loved this, I informed Mr. S that in order to keep whatever sanity I had left (after sanding 220 pieces of wood) I refused to do wax transfers because the printer was miserable. Thankfully, he agreed.

Attempt #3

IMG_03003

Random doodling with the wood-burning pen. Everything just felt too chaotic. No go.

Attempt #4

IMG_033

We loved the simple tree from Attempt #2, so we scoured craft stores until we found a tree stamp we liked. I really liked this option. We even added a knob and gold elastic on the right side so the book would be held shut. I thought we had a winner on our hands. Then my mom pointed out that the knob meant the book wouldn’t be flat and that would complicate shipping. Without the knob, things felt a little off balance.

Attempt #5: The Winner

It was time to pull out that wood-burning pen.

IMG_04409

Move the tree stamp to the middle.

IMG_04606

And end up with this gorgeousness.

_MG_148

We wrapped each book up in butcher paper.

IMG_044010

We decided to bite the bullet and print out labels using the font Mishka. At this point in the project, just the thought of hand writing the addresses exhausted me. I wrapped each book in baker’s twine and added a heart stamp. When Mr. S brought the first batch to the post office, we learned that twine on the outside of packages was a no go. So Mr. S waited until the next day and went to a different post office…isn’t he the best? Unfortunately, they told him the same thing. :)

It all worked out because we just used clear packing tape to cover the twine. I think it was for the best because it made the wrapping more secure, but they still looked cute.

invite

We budgeted a nice chunk for our invites because we knew shipping would be expensive. The invites themselves were actually very affordable:

  • Wood: $40 at Home Depot
  • Paper and printing: Free-–my bridesmaid hooked me up at her work and printed them out in batches.
  • Roll of butcher paper: $10 at Home Depot
  • Tree and heart stamps: $ 7 at Michaels
  • Baker’s twine: $7 at Michaels
  • Shipping: ~$300 (Each package cost between $2.82 and $3.09 to ship. I must’ve really varied my tacky glue application or something.)
  • Total cost without shipping: $64 or $0.58 per invite
  • Total cost with shipping: $364 or $3.31 per invite

Overall we are really happy with how they turned out! It definitely evolved over time and it was a great project to work on together. By the end, I was so ready for them to be gone…

Did you DIY your invites? Did you save on money but sacrifice time?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Squirrel

Location:
Tampa, FL
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Add a comment

comments

  1. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 4:00 pm

    These are AMAZING! Your work with your dad totally reminds me of working on the Scrabble letters with my Dad… except I’m lucky, he did all the sanding for me and even varnished them ;) Of course I had less but I know how big of a project it is!

    In the end it even ended up being super affordable all things considered! And your guests will be wowed. That’s so awesome! I’d be thrilled to get an invite like that in the mail :)

  2. Member
    seabeeny 68 posts, Worker bee @ 4:04 pm

    Wow. I am so impressed by how much work went in to these!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Therese, Guest @ 4:14 pm

    LOVE these!!!!

  4. Member
    superduperbrit 2466 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:15 pm

    Amazing. I’m really impressed!

  5. Member
    wahine777 456 posts, Helper bee @ 4:16 pm

    Very cool! Can we see the insides??

  6. Member
    mkelove 666 posts, Busy bee @ 4:26 pm

    Wow these are awesome, GREAT job!

  7. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:37 pm

    Oh wow! I am so impressed by your dedication. Can’t wait to see the inside!

  8. Member
    pasleymoo 43 posts, Newbee @ 4:39 pm

    They look great! Very creative!

  9. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 5:11 pm

    You are insane. For realz. These look amazing, but I’m pretty sure Mr. Whale would have impaled me with a splinter to the heart before we tried something this ambitious. But you wanted a show stopper. And that’s what you got :)

  10. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 5:43 pm

    Holy cow! Amazing and so unique! I can’t imagine what your guests must have thought opening such a cool, handmade invitation!

  11. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:59 pm

    These are incredible! You put a lot of time and effort into these, and it clearly shows! Can’t wait to see the inside, too.

  12. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:05 pm

    For the kind of invite they are, they were really affordable, even after shipping. They are breathtaking!

  13. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:10 pm

    oh they are beautiful! love it!

  14. Member
    mascott25 96 posts, Worker bee @ 6:18 pm

    I love the invitation reveals. Those are great.

  15. Member
    nativedesires 4374 posts, Honey bee @ 6:52 pm

    Wow!!!! These are incredible!!!! AMAZING!!! I hope all your guests keep them for a long long time

  16. Member
    LittleDove 1091 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:05 pm

    Oh my gosh. These are SO COOL! They look amazing!!

  17. Member
    flying_hearts 801 posts, Busy bee @ 7:29 pm

    These are so amazing! Even the packing looks fantastic. I would have loved coming home to one of these in my mailbox. I especially love the teamwork. Great job!

  18. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 7:34 pm

    @Miss Blue Whale: Ahh no splinter jokes…too soon!! :)
    @Miss Lemur: I was thinking the same thing when I saw your Scrabble letters! All I can say is you best appreciate your papa and his sanding skills!!
    @Mrs. Toadstool: I had never actually done the math until I was writing this post, but I was shocked at how inexpensive they were!

  19. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 7:35 pm

    @wahine777: Yes! Stay tuned! That’ll be in my next post.

  20. Member
    Punkin25 1463 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:42 pm

    Holy Moly, these are so beautiful and so original!! Congrats on the hard work; it really paid off!!

  21. Member
    jennifermm 627 posts, Busy bee @ 7:56 pm

    These are hands down, by a mile, the best invitations I have EVER seen. I am so so so impressed with your handiwork. So jealous.

  22. Member
    notbridey 721 posts, Busy bee @ 8:28 pm

    HOLY BALLS.

    I need a minute.

    HOLY BALLS!!!!

    I actually truly really want one of these invites. I swear I won’t show and I’ll make sure to RSVP. WOW! These are amaaaazing! When I saw the wood I stopped breathing and kept thinking man these are going to be expensive and when I got to the bottom I let a long exhale…DANG GIRL! You did good!

  23. Member
    Lisushi 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:45 pm

    I think a good alternative to hand sanding might be a small bit sander. You know, those little ones with interchangeable tips for small spaces? I’m not positive, but it might be gentle enough for such thin wood.

  24. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:52 pm

    Your invitation is simply gorgeous!

  25. Member
    funnelcake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:06 am

    Oh man… i can’t believe you guys did this. Bravo! I am tired just reading about it. So impressive!

  26. Member
    4evaurs 71 posts, Worker bee @ 1:14 am

    WOWzers!!! All I can say. Can’t wait to see the inside! U guys labored hard, but even though shipping whooped your behinds, you still saved a ton. I don’t think You could get someone to make these for that price. Very great job

  27. Member
    lisaelanna 528 posts, Busy bee @ 5:30 am

    WOW!!! These are the most amazing invites I’ve ever seen!

  28. Member
    mswallaby 2066 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:32 am

    Holy wow. Great job girl!! And dad and FI!! I even love the packaging – I am mildly obsessed with kraft paper and baker’s twine :) Awesome job at making incredibly creative invites on a budget!

  29. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 6:03 am

    @JenniferMm: Thanks!! :)
    @notbridey:Haha you are hilarious!! I would, but Mr. S would probably kill me if I spent another cent towards shipping….

  30. Member
    DBS5127 220 posts, Helper bee @ 6:20 am

    Wow! Those are AMAZING! FI isn’t going to like me reading these, though. He keeps saying “Just keep it simple, dear. Don’t make too much work for yourself.”

  31. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 6:37 am

    Holy crap. These are fantastic!! I can’t wait to see the inside!! :D

  32. Member
    xjamiem 26 posts, Newbee @ 8:33 am

    GREAT job!

  33. Member
    buffalo 178 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:34 am

    I’m seriously impressed by these!! I would NEVER have had the patience to accomplish something like this!

  34. Member
    xjamiem 26 posts, Newbee @ 8:35 am

    Your invitation is simply gorgeous!went in to these!

  35. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:17 am

    Those are ridiculous….in a totally awesome way! My invitations pale in comparison…I can only hope none of my guests read the blogs on the Bee!

  36. Member
    MrsF13 185 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:59 am

    Holy hell, these are amazing!! Congrats for all of your hard work, because it paid off and if I received these for a wedding invite i would be so stoked!!

  37. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 1:18 pm

    Your invites are incredible! You guys really put so much love and hard work into this project–your guests will be absolutely floored!

  38. Member
    In the media 1722 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:42 pm

    These are fantastic!

    I shall hire you for all wood guiding needs in my future.

  39. Guest Icon Guest
    tina, Guest @ 5:19 pm

    LOVE your originality!!! These are awesome!

  40. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:13 am

    These are mindblowing, SERIOUSLY.

    They remind me of the shower invitation on Bridesmaids that is just so amazing and over-the-top cray cray.

    All joking aside though, these are amazing and I hope your guests enjoy receiving them; I know I would!

  41. Member
    futuremrsdino 73 posts, Worker bee @ 12:51 am

    These are AMAZING. I am currently at my desk in work gawping at the gorgeousness!
    I know you must have put so much effort into these and if your guests are as in awe as I am then it’s totally worth it!
    Just. Wow.

  42. Member
    Ms Tee-Off 57 posts, Worker bee @ 6:27 am

    Your guests are lucky … you cared enough to make these for each and every one of them. They are darling! If they aren’t enticed to come … nothing would do the trick!

  43. Member
    jordyanna 476 posts, Helper bee @ 9:49 pm

    Way to put everyone else’s invites to shame!! These are fantaaastic!

add a comment

Find Amazing Vendors