Oh, how I love a good invitation. I truly believe it sets the stage for your event. A good invitation will let people know what to expect and will get them excited for your party! Ironically, even though I design custom wedding invitations for my business, I rarely make invitations for my own parties. I hate wasting the paper...LOL! (Freak!) That said, I did enjoy putting these invites together for my daughter's preschool graduation.
I shared some "Oh, The Places You'll Go" party inspiration in my last post, which included using real balloons for the invitations. The invites were going to be given to the children at school to take home at the end of the day, so there were several ways to approach it...
1. The balloon is packaged in a box to float out when the box opens...invite is somehow integrated...it's the "shock and awe" of invites....totally cute, but boxes can get expensive and the extra packaging bothers me.
2. The invitation is rolled up and stuffed inside the balloon...which then needs to be popped to get the invite out. We'll call this the "audience participation" invite...super fun idea, but we're talking about asking 5 year-olds to pop their balloons...probably not gonna work.
3. The invitation is actually printed on the balloon, which is then presented either fully blown up or attached to a card for the guest to blow up upon receipt...another adorable variation of the "audience participation" invite if the guest has to blow it up...requires more lead-time and $$ for this approach.
So, what's a balloon-challenged designer to do? After much deliberation, I went back to my retail roots and decided a layered hang-tag on the end of the balloon's string would be the way to go. No need to pop the balloon and the invitation could still be snipped off and stuck in a scrapbook. I combined the simplicity of a flat card with the drama of a helium balloon and tied it all together with a cute graphic. Oh, and did I mention the transparencies?? (Yes, I actually had a box on-hand. Can you tell I used to be a scrapbooker??) I loved the idea of having a see-through top layer with the invite peeking out from behind.
Step 1: Scan an image that you like. I chose an illustration from "Oh, The Places You'll Go" to go with the theme of the party.
STEP 2: Adjust your image as needed in a photo editing program. I brightened my colors and cropped the image to a size that I liked. My current go-to online photo editing program is PicMonkey. It is totally free and has tons of fun, simple tools...so easy a monkey could do it. ;)
STEP 3: Open a new word document and insert your image...squeezing it onto the page as many times as it will fit. Mine were arranged four per page on an 8.5 x 11" sheet. (If you are a more advanced graphics person, feel free to use whatever program you like. I just figured that everyone has a word program.)
STEP 4: Print your document on transparency paper per the manufacturer's directions. You may need to reverse the image in your printer to have it print correctly. (Consult your manual if you don't know how to do this - there is usually an option in your printer settings.)
STEP 5: Cut out your images. I have an Exacto paper cutter with a laser beam that helps me line up my cuts exactly where I want them. (I know! How cool is that??) If you don't have one of these, you can easily use scissors or a ruler and box cutter.
STEP 6: Create the text portion of your invitation in word by creating a text box the same size as your transparency image. I found this great free Dr. Soos Font from FontSpace and used it to add authenticity to my design. When you've got the text formatted just the way you want it, copy the box as many times as you need to fill the page. Then print on cardstock and cut out your cards.
STEP 7: To assemble your tags, you will need to stack the two layers and punch a hole in the top. I found that my traditional hole punch would not punch through the transparency, so I used my trusty old scrapbooking "anywhere punch"...it worked perfectly. You could also use a nail or awl and hammer (or shoe, which is what I used with my punch!)
I would love to hear what you think of these invites, so please feel free to leave some comments! If you end up making balloon invites or anything related to "Oh, The Places You'll Go" feel free to send me links to photos and I'll be happy to share what you're doing at the end of this post. Next week I'll share some of the decorations I'm working on and a more detailed party food post.
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