Monday, July 13, 2009

DIY Invitation Addressing With a Twist!

I've posted about the in's and out's of our invitations...we've had them in our house since about February, but actually taking the final step - addressing these suckers - took some planning. We have these fabulous outer envelopes, but I just didn't know what to do in order to stay in line with the integrity of the design. Oh yeah, and in line with that pesky budget.

Source: Plush Paper

Along with many others, I fell in love with this easy way to mimic calligraphy, as posted on Project Wedding. I'm sure many others have hopped on board with this great project, including Miss Piglet (her invitations are fabulous!).

I liked this idea, but having done many a mail merge at work, I absolutely hate running envelopes through the printer because I've been witness to far too many fatalities - jamming, crookedness, black marks, you name it. I just couldn't subject my precious invitations to a chancy procedure. But since the whole project just boiled down to tracing, I decided there had to be a way to piggyback on this project.

I present to you my makeshift light box:

Taking one of the little click lights that we have on the underside of our kitchen cabinets, I took the glass out of a picture frame and propped it up on two books, sliding the light underneath. Voila! This setup was perfect for illuminating the addresses (of course, if I had dark envelopes this project would not work).

Here's a sample of a finished envelope (don't mind the messy blurring that I did to hide the full address):

It's not perfect, but it fits with our design exactly. The rest of the invitation was done in a typewriter font, so I used that for the addresses. This font also tends to be a little irregular, which lends itself perfectly to tracing! It would be fun to try this out with a more calligraphy font, but that's another project for another day.

If you're thinking of going this route because you can't stand the thought of running your envelopes through the printer, here's what I did:
  1. Set up a labels mail merge through Microsoft Word
  2. Use Avery Label 5168 (5" x 3.5")
  3. Set up your font, centering and spacing preferences, and set your address text toward the bottom of the label (you'll need to experiment to find the right place; the first line of mine started at the 3" mark on the label)
  4. Before completing the merge, also make all borders thick black lines
  5. Complete the merge and go through the individual "labels" to make any adjustments, check for errors, etc*
  6. Print your "labels" onto regular printer paper
  7. Use a paper cutter to cut out the "labels" - the black lines at the bottoms of the rectangles can be used as guides when you're cutting them to ensure a straight line, especially if you don't have a paper cutter and are using scissors
  8. What are intended to be labels are actually perfect for slipping right into your envelopes to then trace
*You will probably want to go through a couple of trial runs before you complete the merge to get the address located on the right part of the "label" so that it falls on the right place on your envelope.

For me, this was such a painless process, except for the pain in my hand as I addressed away! The mail merge makes it incredibly seamless, allowing you to pull straight from the Excel list you're maintaining.

Of the 73 invitations I have to address, all but six are done! And, I didn't mess up on a single invitation thus far...I think it's safe to call this project a success.

How did you choose to address your invitations?


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