Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crafting the Invitations -- Envelopes

Once the invitations were all printed, it was time to get the envelopes ready. I ordered samples from,, and checked out every other envelope website I could find via Google. I also looked at the envelopes stocked at Arvey, my local awesome paper supply store. One of the frustrating things was that a lot of places only sold envelopes in large quantities, like hundreds, and I only needed about 125. In the end, we went with ActionEnvelope's 70-lb Bright White A8 envelopes, sold in packs of 50. They also have an 80-lb envelope, which feels nicer when compared to the 70-lb one, but I really wanted to stay within the 1-oz mark for weight, so I went with the lighter one. In the end, you can't tell.

The envelopes were the most expensive per-envelope that I looked at, but we ended up using them because they were the closest brightness to the cardstock we were using and they were the only ones I could buy in a pack of 150, rather than 200. If I had gone with a pack of 200, I guess I could have tried to resell them, but I feel better not having to rely on that. Sometimes it's worth it to spend a little more if it means you'll have less waste in the end.

I laid out our return address to print on the back flap (in the same purple color, of course), bought a new color ink cartridge for my very old HP Deskjet 810C (I got it in 1999!), and started printing. I had to play around with things a little bit, but it turned out if I printed them in batches of no more than 6, the printer stayed happy. So one afternoon I fed envelopes through the printer while catching up on my Google Reader reading.

The printer had a brain fart and only printed this much on one of the envelopes. Poor thing, I hope it lasts another two months through the rest of my wedding printing projects...

Running the envelopes through the printer made them all a little wrinkly, but I figured no one would notice by the time they got delivered and had all other sorts of marks and blemishes from the postal service:
Wrinkly, crinkly.

And here's the final product:

Next up was addressing and lining. I read a trick somewhere, at some point during the last almost two years of planning, that it's easier to address the envelopes first, and line them second. This allows you to use a wonderful tracing trick for guide lines. What you do is you take a piece of cardstock and draw straight lines across it. Place it inside the envelope, lines facing out, and you have guide lines to help you write straight!

Now, at what intervals should I make the guides? This is just one example of why I'm so happy I've saved every wedding invitation (and accompanying paper paraphernalia) I've ever received. I was able to pull out all the outer envelopes and do a little bit of measuring, and it turns out that 1/2" increments are pretty standard and look good:
Left to right: Bridesmaid Karen's invitation (2004), bridesmaid Paula's invitation (2007), bridesmaid Jamie's invitation (2008), longtime friend and penpal from the 3rd grade Becky's invitation (2007). Other invitations I've amassed over the last five years not shown.

Seriously, I'm so glad I save all of these, because I was constantly able to go back and look at what other people's invitations looked like, to make sure I wasn't doing anything weird.

Here's my guide card:

Using the guide card, I was easily able to address all my envelopes using my handy dandy purple calligraphy marker. I know I've talked about my handwriting before, but I can't resist showing it off just a little bit more...

Once all the envelopes were addressed, I lined them. I used Unryu Thread Paper in aubergine from It's a gorgeous deep purple color, and has a very organic look to it.

First, I cut all the sheets to the right size:

Next, I lined the envelopes. Since my envelopes have square flaps, it was really easy to cut the liners, because I just made them all rectangular. No cutting rounded/pointed flaps out! I adhered the liners with repositionable sticky tape. I initially was going to use Glue Dots or Zots, but I found a roll of sticko brand refill tape at Archiver's for 75% off! It was a little annoying to work with an open roll of very sticky tape, but it was worth it. I wanted to use repositionable tape so that I could move the liners in case I made any mistakes, and I'm glad I did, because there were a few mistakes. At that point, with the envelopes already addressed, I really didn't want to have to start completely over if I screwed up the liner.

Put the tape down, position the liner:

Peel the tape backing up, attach the liner:

And voila!

Beautiful purple-lined envelopes, ready for stuffing!