Posts Tagged ‘wedding invitations’

The Invitation Guide: Part III A Practical Guide to Using Decorative Paper

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The time is nigh, the pressure is mounting, you are freaking out, but never fear, it’s time for another installment of The Paper Place Guide to:


Now for the part of the series you’ve all been waiting for: how to actually use the decorative papers (outlined in the last installment) in your invitation.

Decorative papers are beautiful on their own as prints, or when used in home accents, but in invitations, they bring in an element of design and interest that otherwise might be lacking in the typography or illustrative graphics, which means it’s a great material for people who don’t have advanced skills in that type of visual art.

And that is okay, not all of us are artists or Martha-crafty, instead you may have better social skills, less angst and have never needed to knit a poncho in prison! So for you, we have beautiful patterned papers.

I’ve made some layout examples using photoshop (real life examples will follow below) when making the print file of your design, it’s important to visualize in this way where your decorative paper will go, and allow space for it.




a 5×7″ invitation with decorative paper band

double band

a 5×7″ invitation with double decorative paper band, or paper and washi tape

BANDS Strips of decorative paper cut to the size of your invitation can be placed in a number of ways: as a header flush with the top of your card, as a break between the title and body text of your invitation, as a side embellishment or as a loop tying multiple cards together. There are some very good reasons why bands are a traditional look, they’re pretty simple, and will give you maximum yield (how many small pieces you get out of your big piece) from your sheets of paper.

Adding another layer of paper can change up that traditional look, or adding semi-transparent patterned washi tape instead can help transition between opaque cardstock and opaque decorative paper layer.

a 5x7" invitation with decorative paper triangle accent

a 5×7″ invitation with decorative paper triangle accent

a 5x7" invitation with an inverted triangle shape

a 5×7″ invitation with an inverted triangle shape

TRIANGLES A dynamic shape that adds interest to the card, directing the eye to the body text. The impact can vary by the sharpness of the angle. Pro tip: when doing triangles, first cut strips the desired length of your card, and the width, plus .5″ of the triangle pitch, use both positive and negative pieces in your designs.

a 5x7" invitation with diagonal band of decorative paper

a 5×7″ invitation with diagonal band of decorative paper

DIAGONAL not just for your bangs anymore! Asymmetry is interesting and really easy. You can also add a small layer underneath, like a an origami fold. Suggestion: Try a different pattern for that small under layer, and pick it up as your featured paper in the reply card.

Different shapes and configurations can completely change your card and make it pop in a way you hadn’t expected. Purchase a few sample sheets and experiment!



a 5×7″ ivory invitation with Nepalese Petite Damask paper band

flat cards

5×7″ invitations left to right: Ivory Floral Sukashi band on Paper Bag, narrow Nepalese Petite Damask triangle on Ivory, Chiyogami 785 wide inverted triangle on Ivory


Our envelopes are all unlined, this is by design; some people don’t like a lined envelope, others like the custom look, so these suit both groups. We have a template pack that contains liner templates for every envelope we carry. If you are ordering envelopes with us through Envelopments, they carry papers specifically for liners and will cut them to size for you.

Decorative envelope liners are a great way to carry through and showcase the paper used in your invitation. It’s a special touch that makes for a cohesive and impressive package.


4bar Paper Bag Envelopes lined in Chiyogami 785, Nepalese Petite Damask, Ivory Floral Sukashi



Another way to use our decorative papers is to make your own envelopes from them. Depending on the paper you use, the effect can range from rustic or contemporary (ex: Nepalese) to stunningly sophisticated (ex: Japanese decorative, Chiyo) . This is a great idea for someone having a small wedding or party, or looking to set some special guests apart, it’s really easy with our templates, and when just doing a few it’s not that time consuming. If you are having a wedding of 100? I would not suggest this level of customization unless you have an assembly line of friends and family backing you up because they love you that much… or because you have amassed blackmail material over the years for just this occasion. Props on your foresight.



CUTTING When cutting your decorative papers, precision is important, as is making a neat cut–which can be especially difficult on delicate tissue or really thick card stock. I would suggest investing in a cutterpede–a device we carry that comes with a rulered board on which your paper rests (providing you with precise measurements), and a notched ruler that goes overtop of your desired cut line on which a razor device safely fits and runs along. Aside from this, a guillotine cutter may also work, small versions of the traditionally large steel-armed cutter are available at arts and craft stores. You can also used a cutting mat (self-healing is the best) and a ruler with an x-acto knife. Depending on what you are doing, this could either be really tedious, or just what you need. If you are cutting tissue, depending on your method, it might be best to place a sheet of plain printer paper on top, just to apply pressure uniformly and prevent tearing. Alternately, if you are doing a mass of straight cuts, we can send out your paper for custom cutting,

If you’re unsure, you can ask any staff member for advice on what might best work for you.

FOLDING When making a folded card, you will get a precise crisp line if you use a bone folder to score and then press your fold. Just… get one. I’ve recently given in and bought my own and I loves it! I loves it like it were me own bony child!

ADHESIVES We carry a wide array of adhesives perfect for gluing paper to paper or paper to cardstock. The product we recommend most for wedding invitations is the glue runner ($10.95 for the glue and dispenser, $4.95 for refills). It’s a Japanese product that dispenses glue in a thin line like correction tape, and acts like double-sided tape. It’s the best thing ever. It doesn’t have the moisture level of white glue or glue sticks–which means it won’t warp and ripple your paper. It will sit perfectly flat and comes out in a precisely straight line, you can even use a ruler as a guide when trying to get the very edge of paper or card stock. The only material I would not suggest using it with are the sukashi papers and tissues. When doing samples with it, I found that the glue oxidizes slightly–changing colour in a way that only reacts with tissue materials. When using tissues and Sukashi, and light amount of a glue stick, Uhu or the  Yamato rice paste glue stick, or, depending on the use, double-sided tape may prove appropriate. Again, let us know what you’re doing and we will do our very best to guide you!



After cutting your expected numbers by remembering couples and families, It’s prudent to overbuy by 10% so that you have extra in case anything goes wrong. It can totally break your schedule and flow, wasting time if you have to run back to the store for one more thing. You have to put your pants back on and everything (look you guys, I… really hate pants.) More card stock, envelopes, an extra quarter sheet of chiyo, and more glue won’t go to waste if you are doing place cards, menus and thank yous, you will use it. Unused and unopened items like glue and twine can be returned if you really have no use for it and you kept your receipt. it’s best to make your sample, ensure all your measurements are correct, print your invitations and then have all of your separate elements ready to go so that you can take your horrible pants off, put the Parks & Rec marathon on and get to work.*


GUIDES TO COME: Using Stamps & Punches for Invitations, Embellishments (washi tape, ribbon, twines, stickers, etc)

Additionally, if there is something that has not yet been covered and you would like to see a guide on the subject, leave a comment! The same goes for any questions about the items covered in these guides so far.




*I have gotten through every major project by watching television. I completed my thesis to Veronica Mars, I got an A+ so I recommend my method to everyone.


The Invitation Guide: Part I

Friday, March 8th, 2013

So, you’re getting married, congratulations! I’m so excited for you! But I think this means it’s time to have the talk… no, not The Talk, we’re a paper store, not your parents circa your early teens. It’s time to have the talk about…invitationsbYou just got engaged! Over brunch! You know what you should do? Start making wedding invitations! Look, there’s the paper store! NOPE. Back it up, you crazy kids. We know you’re excited; you should be! But go home and bask in it a little bit– indulge in some fantasies about the perfect wedding. Then remember your actual friends and family. Indulge in some fantasies of eloping! Breathe.

Now it’s time to think about invitations.

In this series of blog entries, I will be going over different steps and techniques for creating wedding invitations.*




-What is our style? Look around you, at your homes, your clothes, the films you enjoy. You will find aesthetic choices everywhere. Vintage, antique, deco, whimsical, rustic, minimalist, maximalist, modern, contemporary. Etc. Use this as a reference point. It defeats the purpose of making your own wedding invitations if you make them look like someone else’s. It’s for you. Put yourselves in it!

-What colours reflect our style, choice of venue, the season of the wedding, our personalities? Put together a palette, use paint swatches (convenient and free) this is a great way to build a base for your invites. That said, do not get completely set on these exact shades for envelopes and cardstocks, instead keep it as a reference, a way to layer and arrange colour that can come from other elements—like decorative paper, ribbon or washi tape accents.

-How many invitations are we actually making? This is not how many people you expect at your wedding, take into consideration couples and families, this will cut your number considerably.

-Are we printing at home or with a print shop? There are pros and cons to doing either. I will go into this a little further down.

You should also prepare a list of questions you would like to ask our staff, we would be more than happy to calculate yield for you, make notes, and help you with your estimates.


-Look at style blogs, I would suggest avoiding wedding blogs at first—don’t be influenced from the get-go by someone else’s personal design, get an idea in mind of what you want to say about yourselves first, then look at wedding blogs for suggestions on how to translate your ideas into something concrete.

-In terms of constructing your invitations, work backwards when it comes to size. Be clear on the sizes of envelopes we carry, and make your cards to fit them (in the case of our A7 and #10 envelopes, we have cardstock cut to those specific sizes 5×7 and 3.875×9.25 respectively.

-If you are designing your own print file, and are stuck on the basics, first things first: Pick a program. I use Photoshop because it’s part of my trade, but you can use Adobe InDesign which is a little more friendly to first-time users in terms of setting up a file and placing text and images.

- Look at fonts, websites with a thousand fonts can be overwhelming, first do a search of designers top lists. You’ll find fantastic typefaces tried and tested by design professionals.

-Know your skill level, if you can’t get graphically creative in a digital way, look at decorative papers as an alternative. This way you just do the text work, and leave space to accomodate your layered paper.

-Consider incorporating patterned paper to pick up your palette, we have hundreds of prints that may reflect you and your aesthetic; they can be used as band accents on your invite, envelope liners, and as elements in your place cards, menus and favours.

-If you are doing a pocket fold, know that you will need an envelope. They would seem to perfectly encapsulate all your elements, like an envelope, ready to mail. But I’m afraid not. They’re not sealed on all sides, and so cannot be mailed. Knowing this, if you still would like a pocket fold invitation because they are pretty and nicely cohesive, of course we would be more than happy to help you make one (if you have the time) or order pocket folds and corresponding envelopes from a line we frequently work with: Envelopments.

-If you are printing at home, or with a print shop, find out whether your printers can print borderless, meaning right to the edge. If you/they can, it will make the most of your paper/cardstock, if not, it will change your yield and how you will lay out your print file (borderless: move your images right to the edge, less cutting. Bleed edge: move images to the center)




width of paper/cardstock = W
length of paper/cardstock=X
width of invitation=Y
length of invitation=Z

W ÷ Y = V
X ÷ Z = U

Algebra, you guys, I just did ALGEBRA for you, that is how much I care! That said, if you didn’t follow… because it’s been a long time since senior advanced math, which I barely passed (I’m more of a biology/art kind of person) you can always ask one of our associates to work this out for you. In the meantime, here are some visual representations of the most common invitation and reply sizes when working with the most common cardstock sizes:

example 5x7




reply example


square exampleb

example square 2




WE DO NOT PRINT! AT ALL! Sorry, it’s just not what we do, that said, here are tips for choosing your print shop/or home printer:


-Research different local print shops: they must be able to take outside stock. Look around for any special services you may want, not all print shops can do work with metallic or white inks.

-Ask them if they will print on large sheets of paper or cardstock and cut it down for you.

Reasons to go with a print shop: They will do most of the work for you. This alone might be the best reason to do anything.


What to look for in a home printer–whether it’s things you need to know about the one you have, the one your friend has, or the one you are going to buy so you can print your invitations in the comfort of your living room while sitting in your underpants and watching Law & Order reruns.

-Can it print borderless? This will potentially save you time and effort, or, if it can’t print borderless, effect your yield and how much time you need to set aside for cutting.

-Can it print on custom sizes? 5×7? Smaller? On envelopes? If yours can take a 5×7” card, you are SET. And likely if it does, it will allow you to print on envelopes. Life. Saver. Especially true if your penmanship is atrocious.

-Can it print on a shimmer or textured surface? Shimmer papers are not porous, so they don’t dry very fast, it’s important to do a couple of tests or ask a salesperson (not us, a printer sales person, there are hundreds of printers, we… don’t know. Sorry!)

Printers these days are ridiculously cheap. They are also annoying and ink is expensive and blah, blah. I know, I hate obsolescence as much as the next person who has gone through four iPods, but here are the reasons I would suggest working on a home printer:

-You are the type of person who measures twice and cuts once. Or designs twice and prints once. And then figures out you measured/designed wrong both times and just wrecked a dozen invites. Home printers mean you can fix that and no one has to know.

-You’ve come to understand that invites are not all you need– there will be place cards, menus, thank yous and possibly baby shower things in future. It… might be best to invest in a home printer. I swear I am not sponsored by Best Buy. But I would not turn down a free printer if they were maybe reading this. (Canon, plz!)


    1. Lighten your image! Your display is bright, and glowy. Paper can be bright, glowy? Not so much. So lighten your image, including your text. Want a nice bright blue? Go brighter than you think and do test prints. Your paper choice will likewise change the look of your design and colours a fair bit– a vibrant orange will hold on a bright white card, but on ivory will go a little more harvest-rust.
    2. TEST. TEST. Oh, also, TEST. Look, I know it’s a pain coming and going from home to the shop, and adjusting your file, again I am in favour of staying home, but test prints tell you so much about the materials you’re working with. You will not regret it. Or, if you have a home printer… no excuse, test-law-and-order-test-test.
    3. If you’re printing at home, make sure to adjust all your media settings for optimal printing. Check your instructions! (I can’t believe I just wrote that, I have never made it past “Congratulations on your purchase…” of anything, ever. But then I just play with things until I make them go… or break them. Normal people, sane people, read instructions.)


The Screen Alternative. You guys, you can have custom stamps made, not with us, but check Google! But before you commit, you better make sure ALL of your information is correct. Essentially the basics are the same—scale your stamp to fit your invite size—which should already be scaled for your envelope.


How to make invitations with our decorative papers!


*All of these designs were created by me. In my spare time. Probably while watching television. I tried to make them examples of attainable results. Full Disclosure: I have over ten years experience with Photoshop and a visual arts degree. Also: I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.



Invitation Inspiration – 3 Ways

Friday, February 10th, 2012

As the season for sending and receiving wedding invitations draws nearer, I thought it would be nice to create some invitation inspiration based on this year’s styles, colours, and trends.

There is often a desire for consistency in the overall feel of a wedding, from the invitations to the cake.  Many couples want to make sure that their personalities and unique sense of style are well-represented in every aspect of their special day.

Bearing this in mind, I started by making mini inspiration boards to try and get a feel of what the event would look like.  The mini-board helped me create an invitation with a look and feel that would contribute the guests’ experience.

I created invitations for three (imaginary) events based on colours and fashion trends that are up and coming for Spring 2012: pastels for a Marie Antoinette-inspired wedding shower, an architecturally-informed Art Deco style invite for a formal wedding, and a more casual invite for a country wedding with a vintage feel. I used #10 Cards and Envelopes–a popular size so far this season–to give the invites a more unique shape.

(Detail of the back and envelope of the last one, with a surprise bow to add interest to the back!)

With the array of patterns and colours at The Paper Place, the sky is the limit in terms of the style you can express through the most basic of invitation designs!

Materials available at The Paper Place:

Marie Antoinette Shower: #10 card in Pool and # 10 envelope in Luxe Cream, Ivory cardstock (printed portion), gold and white patterned Chiyogami paper, magenta satin ribbon.

Art Deco Wedding Invite: #10 card and #10 envelope in Black, cardstock in White (printed portion), black and gold Chiyogami paper, black satin ribbon.

Crafty Country Wedding: #10 card in Paper Bag and #10 envelope in Moss, cardstock in Ivory (printed portion), Hempflower Watermark tissue in White (overlay), cream satin ribbon.


We Love Unique Invitation Ideas – When 2 Photogs Plan A Wedding

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Many of our customers ask us about unique ways of sending out invitations.  And so, we are always on the hunt for inspiration.  This link was sent to me by a friend and I think it is just fantastic!  A testament to what is possible with a bit of paper and a whole lot of artistic ingenuity!


– Judith


We’ve Got Big News!!

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

After years of assisting our DIY customers design their own wedding stationery we began toying with the idea of offering full service design and printing at the store. At the same time we become aware of a new movement in wedding stationery – companies that combined gorgeous innovative design with traditional printing methods. We were so inspired and felt like there was a whole wondrous part of the stationery world we were missing out on. Hmmm, but how could we offer custom design and stationery catalogs in the store without stepping on the toes of our mandate to encourage customers to find their own creativity?

Simple, we couldn’t! So we decided to open up a custom by appointment stationery studio around the corner that we have called Paper & Poste. Clients will have the option of choosing from our collection of some of the beautiful and memorable stationery available or have something unique created just for them. The Paper Place on Queen St. will continue to offer exceptional advice and guidance for our customers who wish to create their own invitations.

We are just putting the final touches on the studio, it has been so much fun! Here are a few teaser pictures to satisfy you until our website is up and running (which will be soon!). In the meantime you can contact us at or 416.703.0004 if you would like to make an appointment!