I wanted to make clever and simple “save-the-dates” once we decided we were even going to do them in the first place. I wasn’t intending to, assuming that the word-of-mouth would be easier, until my father sat down with me and really reminded me that a lot of my family doesn’t “do” the internet or email, so it would be best to make a paper trail of our wedding plans.
So of course, my first thought was how to do it myself and make it cheap (and cute). Since Zack and I both happen to possess an iconic image about ourselves by way of personality, I figured I could use that to our advantage and keep it simple. Zack=Mustache, Shelby=Glasses. Easy enough right? I just had to add the save-the-date wording, the date itself, and a stamp.
I figured the first step would be to minimize paper. So that meant using a postcard with cheap postcard postage. I purchased 4 packs of Strathmore 140lb. cold-pressed watercolor postcards with pre-printed address lines to keep it clean.
Secondly, I would need to put an image on the postcard, several times over…and over again. This meant I needed a personalized stamp. For this, I used a postcard sized (4×6) linoleum mounted wood block to carve the stamp in. Granted, my only practice carving stamps with my little carving kit was on a floppy piece of eraser, but I figured it would be about the same idea (it was…sort of).
I sketched the inverted image with pencil onto the block, then started carving away. And carving…and carving…and carving. It took a lot more muscle and elbow grease than first thought, but in about two hours or so (I lost count) I had the finished piece. The only trouble I encountered was about two thirds of the way in I realized that I had sketched the date correctly (meaning: not inverted) and it was too late to fix it, so I just skipped it. I realized that I would just have to put the date on some other way, and thankfully I already had number stamps in my craft collection.
Here is the finished block after we had used it and cleaned it.
As you can see, the “T” kept getting a little too inky, as did the two hearts, but the more inky they got, the more the whole stamp became one image, rather than words and images. It was a strange and very much liked transition.
Next we started the inking and stamping process. We glopped on some black ink onto a piece of cardboard (I should have used a nicer surface, but I was excitedly working with what we had, as is my tendency) and used a mini-roller to ink the stamp. We then laid the postcard face down, flipped the stamp, and the PRESSED…HARD. Zack ended up doing most of this work, because I began the process of individually stamping “7” “1” “0” “1” “0” onto every single one with an individual number stamp. Very, very, tedious and somewhat hypnotizing. During this process I was seriously regretting that I hadn’t sketched the date correctly in the first place (but this would have eventually been a huge problem later – read on).
The first few were a bit splotchy until we finally got the right feel. I actually ended up liking a lot of the spotty ones more than the perfectly stamped cards because they felt a bit more real and nitty gritty and extra stampy or something. Here is splotchy one:
And a nicely pressed one (although not the best picture…I’m afraid my hands were a bit shaky at this point):
We had a veritable factory line going, and they spilled out all over the whole kitchen table, countertops, stove, and on top of drying dishes.
Here you can see that I tried several different styles of dates. A combination of slashes, dots, blues & reds. I ended up preferring the cleanliness of just a dot in between the numbers, and later changed most of them.
One note to add here, is that on the inside of the postcard there was a small piece of colored paper which had a few more details, and an artsy high-contrast photo of us printed off my home printer. That way, if the guest just couldn’t remember which friends of theirs were engaged (with a mustache and glasses to hint)…then they could figure it out when they flipped the postcard over. Apparently, as I later found out, the mailing process did rip some of these cool explanatory pictures off, but all is well; people got the idea (though, some family members still had to make a few phone calls to make sure it was us mailing the cryptic postcard).
There was one last hiccup: about two weeks after making them, we changed-the-date.
Solution? Dry-line white-out, my number stamps, and about one more hour of work. PHEW! This is why I’m glad I didn’t correctly make the date as part of the complete stamp in the first place, or else the whole project would have been a do-over and not quite such a quick-fix.
I can’t even think about the handmade invitations right now, even as excited as I am!