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How to Create Fun Invitations: Layering

You can take a few found items or handmade papers and create unique layered invitations

Hosting a party means sending out invitations in advance. If your party is casual, then you have plenty of leeway to come up with a few one-of-a-kind invitations that will get your guests in a festive mood.

The envelope is the first thing your guests will see prior to a party. Try to locate oversized or odd-sized envelopes that will stand out in the mail - and in their hands. You'll need additional postage for non-standard sizes, but if you can afford it, take the plunge.

While you can't glue items on the envelope itself, you can add some special touches. Stamps are nice if you can locate those with an appropriate theme. Don't get carried away, or it will look cluttered. You can also use a paintbrush or marker pen and make a casual "swoosh" across the flap or underneath the return address to add a bit of color.

Be careful about placing any type of art or copy below the sender's name. Postage readers need a clear shot of the address as the envelope slides through. If art on either side of the address line confuses the automated equipment, it will be spit out for human handling, which could take longer to get to its destination.

The insides are where you can really go as far as you want with design. Again, use a little caution and avoid too many graphics, stamps, or clipart, and don't use more than three font styles. Always be sure that the font is readable and does not get lost in the background.

For layering you can shop at stationery and craft stores for handmade papers. They should be available by the sheet rather than sold in a package. You can also use glue, ribbon, foam cutouts or sheets, and whatever other embellishments you choose to make your layered cards. Paper edger scissors that will make a variety of stylish cuts are also useful.

You'll need a base invitation or card that fits the envelope. If you're making a foldover, you will probably need to trim it down, depending on size. You can use shears or craft scissors to make a unique cut along the front bottom edge. You can even trim all the way around the card with an interesting cut.

If part of the invitation will have printing, be sure to run it through the printer first. You can add hand-lettering at any stage. You don't have to be an expert to use a calligraphy pen, especially for casual parties. Use your own personal penmanship style as long as it is readable.

Set out your papers and other embellishments to determine the order and style. It is perfectly fine if the papers do not lie flat; a bit of crinkling or warping will add depth. The first paper layer should be just a little smaller than the front side of the folded invitation. From this point, you can add more paper layers, trim, or any type of embellishments. They should not be very knobby or very thick, however. Use plenty of glue to make sure they can survive the trip through the postal system. On top of the paper layers, you can add round foam cutouts and attach a string to look like balloons. Foam accepts paint well, so you can decorate the cutouts or even spell out words. Use your imagination with foam and you'll be able to come up with all sorts of shapes.

Use glue and glitter to spell out words. Found items such as leaves and twigs can be used in a variety of ways.

Make a booklet invitation with card stock. Punch two holes along the side. Position a twig over the holes and attached with a rubber band (bring it up through the back side and snap over the twig). You can also purchase peacock feathers for the same booklet effect.

Your local craft store will have a large inventory of interesting items that will make up a fun invitation.

Make one complete invitation first and test it in the envelope to make sure it will fit. Then you can begin an assembly line. If you are in doubt about how much it will cost to mail, take it to the post office and ask to have it weighed. The postal clerks can also confirm that your invitation is suitable to go through the mailing system.

You can make any party special with the personal touch of a one-of-a-kind invitation!


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