DIY Invitations

I’ve mentioned before that long before fabric + sewing came into my life, I had paper + graphic design filling up my creative cup.

I graduated with a BA in Graphic Design and never chose to go into that field professionally.
Instead my days were filled with spreadsheets + compliance as I worked for a national bank until the day I turned in my resignation to start my greatest career as a mama. During those years of spreadsheets, I did keep my hand in the design field creating custom invitations for individuals and non-profits.

As my creative passions moved toward fabric + sewing, the custom invitation jobs fizzled out, but I’ve continued to do them for family, friends and of course, my Little.

So, I thought I’d share a little set of invitations I’ve created for my great-niece over the last three years of her sweet little life.

All of these designs were inspired by idea boards my niece made on Pinterest.



First Birthday Invitations ::
Pinwheel Theme



Second Birthday Invitations::
Confetti Theme



Third Birthday Invitations::
“Spicy Water” {aka Sparkling Water} Theme

I love each of these sweet invitations and the memories they bring back.
In a day and age that is technically driven, it’s refreshing to continue to hold onto traditions such as paper invitations. While technology is very useful in party planning and getting the word out quickly, an actual invitation sets the tone of the event.

However, invitations are expensive!
They are expensive to buy and can be just as expensive to create.

Here’s a few tips for making unique professional looking invitations at home for a fraction of the cost:

  • Maximize resources. Design your invitations with little waste. For example, I typically create a design that will fit (4) to a standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper. This means I can print at home (more on that) and only have to trim margins, wasting little paper. Choose a standard size design that will fit in a common envelope (A4 is what I typically use) and will require standard postage (unless hand delivering).
  • Printing at home. HOWEVER, only if you have a decent printer. Not necessarily a fancy printer, but one that will print nicely on a heavier, textured cardstock with fine detail. We just had to upgrade our Canon printer (which I printed on for almost TEN years) as the drivers no longer communicated with our operating system. We purchased the Canon Pixma iP8720 and so far I love it. If you can’t print at home, upload to your local print center. The last invitations were created when I was between printers and were printed on a matte cardstock at FedEx. Not my favorite ‘look’ but in a pinch it works, especially when you dress it up (more on that).
  • Print on nice paper. My favorite paper is Neenah Classic Linen Solar White in 80# coverstock. It makes a huge difference in the look + feel (literally) of your invitation. You can see the texture in the first invitation which were printed on the linen cardstock. Nice paper does cost a bit more, but when you can get (4) invitations to one sheet, the cost is not huge in your overall budget.
  • Mount your wording. If you’re printing at home, it’s best to stick with printing on white or a very light colored paper. I know this limits design choices, but get creative. One way to bring in more color and add more ‘umph’ to your invitation is to mount the wording to a colored/textured piece of cardstock slightly larger than the wording (I usually have a 1/4in border, but play with it, 1/2in would look great too). Again, colored cardstock is not that expensive when divided resourcefully.
  • Add some dimension. When you take the time to add a little something to your paper invitation, it sets it apart, both with a custom look and a handmade (not homemade) feel … because it’s clear that those were hand created elements. A printer can’t create that adorable little paper pinwheel / gold sequins / ribbon + glitter accent … YOU had to create that and that makes your guest feel special.

For the wording, all of my invitations start in Adobe Illustrator {I have CS4}. I know that most people probably don’t have Illustrator on their computer, but it is becoming increasingly popular and if you find yourself doing a lot of paper designing, this may be a tool to add to your chest (you can try it free for 30 days). Of course, this isn’t the only option. While a little more limited, you can create classic invitation wording in a standard word processing program.

** You can see other examples of handmade invitations under my tutorials page / Celebrations. **

I started using Illustrator way back in my college days and while it’s the best tool I have for design, I really haven’t progressed past my college knowledge.  I purchased an Illustrator 100: Essentials class through MONTHS ago that I need to schedule into my week. After I master some of the illustrating functions, I’m excited to take a class about designing surface patterns through CreativeLive. I don’t know that fabric/textile design is in my future, but as long as I’m feeling passionate about this field of study, I want to keep learning!


  1. These are beautiful! In addition to sewing and knitting I LOVE to make cards and paper goods. I actually made my own wedding invites! Your tips are great, too. I’ll definitely be using them in the future!

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