My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

Making Invitations: The Final Product

on May 24, 2012

As my wedding date approaches, I am finding that I wish to add more do-it-yourself elements.  My post “Do-It-Yourself Invitations” described some of my brainstorming process.  I attended a Cardmaking workshop at the Paper Place in which the host did not instruct us but gave us access of a lot of materials.  I tried a number of ideas out but one won out.  This colourful chiyugami paper, which features the red, yellow, and green of our wedding colours, was the inspiration.

It started with an Exacto-knife and a detail scissors. This handcut hummingbird was my inspiration.

In the last half hour of the workshop, I thought about the national bird of Jamaica, the doctor bird, which is a humming bird and searched for its image on my phone.

Doctor Bud’s a cunning bud, hard bud fe dead.

Sketching freehand with a pencil, I copied the bird onto the thick cards.  Then I used an Exacto-knife to cut it out and then a detailed scissors to clean it all up.  The result was a beautiful card which would be the prototype for our invitation.

The hummingbird was cut out of the card. Then colourful Japanese chiyogami paper was glued behind and then coloured paper glued on top of that to the inside of the card.

Kitchen twine was used to bind the card with the use of a darning needle.

Our initials were hand-stamped using two different ink pads.

Given the time constraints (by the time of production, I needed to get 100 handmade invitations completed within one week), the embossed handcut  doctor birds were too time consuming.  It took about 15 minutes to cut out the bird but that did not include the additional work required to “clean it up”.  A solution had to be found.  Cutting out the birds individually took only 5 minutes each.  By sticking three of these papers together, you can “kill two birds (or three birds) with one stone” or scissors.  (The hummingbird was traced from an image on line, traced with a black finetip pen, scanned into my computer, and printed on each sheet of chiyogami paper.  The chiyogami paper had been professionally cut down into smaller rectangles from a huge sheet.)  My future mother-in-law Mary-Ellen did the honours of delicately cutting them out.  (Thanks, Mel.)

One hundred chiyogami paper doctor humming birds were cut out by hand.

There were also a lot of other steps.  In all, the cards took about 60 hours to complete.  (More if you include preparation for postage.)  It is a bit onerous to go through all of the steps but I’ll try to describe a few of the following pictures.  In all, the cost of these cards was just under $ 400 which I consider to be a great savings especially considering the detail we wanted.  I think the cards would have cost less if I didn’t have to buy some supplies like an inkpad, letter stamps, or cutting mat.  (I also include the cardmaking workshop in that price.)  I printed the envelopes, text inside the card, and inserts using my Hewlett-Packard desktop inkjet printer which cost me about $ 50 three years ago.  The kitchen twine was purchased at Dollarama for $ 1.  The result of these finished cards is priceless.  The cards look expensive and we have received wonderful feedback from our guests.  Thanks to trial and error, persistence, and creativity, we got the look we want.

The chiyugami paper was professionally cut down to size at the Paper Ideas Creative Group. All of the paper was cut professionally for $ 25. The chiyugami was cut manually using this paper cutter.

This coloured paper was also cut professionally with a digital cutter.

Here are the basic raw materials. That is a boxed set of blank cards.

Photocopied birds on my home printer. 

Paper digitally cut to precision.

Card making workshop.

Close inspection.

Tidying up. My mother-in-law is taking this photo from my cell phone camera. Haven’t figured out how to get the image off of my phone yet. She is a little camera shy.

Food-selection and RSVP cards feature our colours of red, yellow, and green.

Adam loves to do the finishing touches so he took on the stamping of the letters. Very early on, Mel and I decided to put them on the back as to not take away from the beautiful hummingbird on the front. I developed this template with a piece of cardboard to ensure that the letters would align properly.

Personal print shop

The binding job

My favourite picture. The eye of the needle with twine.

We decided to do a seal on a few invitations since we found it to be a very time consuming process and we needed to get these invitations in the mail like yesterday. Good thing we did. The seals added something like 50 cents in postage to each envelope due to added weight and dimension of the envelope. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it can make a huge difference. This was a “finishing touch” so you know Adam got all up in that.

Signed, sealed, delivered,…





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