Choosing The Right Invitation For Your Event – Part III – Digital Printing and Hot Stamping

Digital Printing

Full Color Digital Invitations with Thermography Printing

Full Color Digital Invitations with Thermography Printing

Most people are familiar with digital printing, the process is basically the same as any ink-jet or laser home office printer. The biggest difference between home printers and professional printers is that most professional printers have a higher resolution allowing for brighter colors and crisper images. Digital printing offers the largest variety of color and quickest production time when compared to Thermography, Letterpress, and Hot Stamping  Since all the colors are printed in one pass directly onto the paper and there are no plate costs, digital printing is often the least expensive print method. With digital printing your design will be printed in full color, allowing the use of photos or custom artwork created specifically for your event.  For a more elegant look, the background design of your invitation can be printed digitally and the copy printed with thermography.

Full Color Digital Invitations

Full color single layer digitally printed invitations

A variety of papers can be used, from plain white vellum to specialty sparkle papers.  Different papers will result in a different look to the printing even though the same inks and method is used.  Colored paper layers can be added too for a more customized look.

Full color digitally printed double layer invitation with accessories

Full color digitally printed double layer invitation with accessories

Digital printing can also be combined with hot stamping for a premium look.  Metallic silver foil is used in the example below to accent the design, but all or a portion of the copy can also be hot stamped.

Full color digitally printed invitation with hot stamped accents

Full color digitally printed invitation with hot stamped accents

Hot Stamping

The last printing method we will be looking at it hot stamping.  This process requires a plate combined with heat and pressure to adhere a thin foil onto paper or other substrates. Hot stamping is most often used on invitations as an accent, either to highlight areas of text or add dimension to a design element.

Formal invitation hot stamp printed with two metallic foil colors.

Formal invitation hot stamp printed with two metallic foil colors.

If more than one color is used, each color is applied separately.  In the example above the chandelier in the background is printed first in satin silver on a specialty silver paper stock, then the text is applied in a metallic purple.  Hot stamp foils are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes allowing for endless combinations.  Below you can see the difference between matte, metallic and satin finishes in the same color.

Matte red foil looks similar to ink.

Matte red foil looks similar to ink.

Satin red foil has a brushed metallic look.

Satin red foil has a brushed metallic look.

Metallic red foil has a shinny metal look.

Metallic red foil has a shinny metal look.

Now compare metallic gold with satin gold.

Satin gold

Satin gold

Metallic Gold

Metallic Gold

Choose your foil color and finish based on the look you are trying to achieve.  An advantage of hot stamping instead of printing with ink is getting exactly the print color you want. For example, when printing ink on a colored paper stock, the ink absorbs into the paper slightly sometimes affecting the inks appearance. Imagine gray paper printed with a bright yellow ink, the ink will absorb into the paper and the paper color will show through the ink somewhat, the result will be a slightly muddy yellow print color.  If you hot stamp the same gray paper with bright yellow foil, you will get a bright yellow print, since the paper will not show through the foil. This allows you to use a colored paper for your invitation for a truly custom look.

May 8, 2013 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Choosing The Right Invitation For Your Event – Part II – Thermography and Letterpress Printing

There are four main types of printing used for formal invitations – Thermography, Letterpress, Hot Stamping, and Digital.  Generally speaking digital printing will be the lowest cost and since letterpress and hot stamping require plates, they will be the highest.  Keep in mind though, the method of printing is only one factor in the final price of your invitations. Complexity of the design and the number of colors will also affect pricing, as will the type of paper used.

Thermography Printing

Thermography Invitation With Accessories

A thermography printed wedding Invitation with matching accessories
(respond card, reception card, and direction card)

Often referred to as thermographic printing, offset printing or raised printing, thermography printing is one of the more popular printing methods used for formal invitations. The process involves adding a resin like power to the wet ink and then heating it, resulting in a raised effect.

More Thermography Invitation

Thermography printed invitations and accessories

This method of printing is most often used for text or small graphic images, since areas of large coverage will have a dimpled, uneven look (similar to the surface of an orange peel) and are not recommended.  It is hard to see the texture in a photo, but if you click on the image below to enlarge it, then look closely at the ‘and’, you will see a slight dimpling in the letters.

Thermographic printing up close

Thermographic printing up close

One or two colors is most common and thermography is not suitable for two sided printing. (The heat from printing the second side would ruin the first side.)  Also, you should not use thermographic printing over areas that are to be folded, as the printing will crack when folded.

Two Color Thermography

Invitations with two color thermographic printing

Combine thermography printing with other methods for a customized and dramatic effect.  A full color digitally printed design can be combined with text done in thermography or both thermography and hot stamping can be combined to accent a design or portions of the text.

Thermography Invitation

Thermography with Hot Stamping

Gold foil hot stamping is used as an accent

Metallic gold foil used as an accent

Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing is a very popular trend right now.  Modern letterpress printing is really a revival of the methods developed by Johannes Gutenberg back in the 1400’s. The methods and process have changed slightly, but the concept is still the same; plates, engravings or blocks are arranged onto a bed and coated with ink, the inked image is then pressed into the paper using special machinery.  The result is a distinct impression in the paper where the image is.

Letterpress Invitations

Letterpress Invitations using both inks and metallic foil

A variety of papers can be used for letterpress printing, resulting in a different look to the impression. The printing can also be done with metallic foils instead of inks, using a slightly different process.

Letterpress design and text in two colors

Letterpress design and text in two colors

By combining two print colors and a choice of designs, letterpress is easy to customize to fit your event style and colors.

Letterpress invitation shown with accessories

Letterpress invitation shown with accessories

…coming soon, digital printing and hot stamping.

April 24, 2013 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Choosing The Right Invitation For Your Event-Part I

Seaside Wedding

With a large variety of papers, printing methods and designs available, choosing an invitation for your wedding or other special occasion can be a daunting task. The next couple of weeks are dedicated to helping you understand the difference between paper types, how different printing methods look and feel, how to get the perfect invitation but stay within your budget, and how to personalize a “standard” invitation to fit your event theme and colors.

Let’s first take a look at the overall cost, depending on what type of invitation you like and how many you need you can expect to spend anywhere from $1.50 per invite to $10.00 or more, with the average being around $4.00 – $5.00 per invitation.  Almost every decision you make will affect the price of the invitation – paper type, number of paper layers, printing method and sometimes even the design can change the cost, this will be discussed this in more detail when I write about the specific invitation options available.   Make sure to include all the matching accessories when calculating a total cost. Reception cards, respond cards and direction cards are the most common enclosures when sending a formal invitation, but you may also want to order matching thank you (sometimes called informal) cards or place cards for your reception.

In the next post I will be discussing printing methods.  Do you know the difference between digital printing, thermography and letterpress printing?

April 10, 2013 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

How To Plan a Bridal Shower

  Personalized Bridal Shower Supplies So your best friend is engaged and she asked you to be her Maid of Honor. You accept, but then realize among your other duties, you’ll be expected to host her bridal shower.  Don’t worry, we have some tips to help you throw the perfect shower.

The Host:

The job of hosting the event usually falls on the maid of honor, but one or all of the bridesmaids or anyone else that would like to bestow the party as a gift also may put it together.  Some believe it is unacceptable for a family member to host a shower, but modern etiquette has shown a relaxation of this rule and many showers are now hosted by a mom or sister of the bride or groom.  Of course, a bride should never host her own party.  One big shower can be held for both sides of the family (bride’s and groom’s) or, if it’s easier to throw smaller, separate showers, that’s OK as well.

The Expenses:

The person or persons who are hosting the shower are responsible for the expenses. It is not proper to ask the guests for contributions, even if it is being held at a restaurant. Many times the bride or groom’s mother grandmother will also help out with the cost. Set a budget before you start planning the party, you don’t want to put a non-refundable deposit down on something, only to find out later you won’t have enough money to pay for it.

The Date:

Traditionally a bridal shower is held approximately one month before the wedding, but you have lots of flexibility here, anywhere from 2 months before to one week before is generally acceptable.  Talk to the bride-to-be about what her schedule is and find out if any of the other brides maids or guests will be coming from out of town.  Most showers are held on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but depending on the guest list and the theme of the shower that is also flexible.

The Location:

Should you have the shower at someone’s home, a banquet hall or at a restaurant?  When choosing a location you will need to keep two main factors in mind: What is your budget? And how many people will be invited? If there are 50 people on the guest list, then you will not want to plan the shower at Grandma’s house in December, when everyone will be crammed into one small room.  However, if the shower is planned for sometime in the late spring or summer, an outside party in someone’s backyard may be the perfect solution. Budget definitely plays into this decision, showers held at a restaurant generally are more expensive. If your are set on having the shower at a restaurant but have a limited budget, consider a tea party, or a buffet table of assorted appetizers rather than a full sit down luncheon.  Another option to consider: some banquet halls may allow you to bring your own food rather than hire a caterer.  If you have a lot of helpers and everyone is willing to prepare some of the food, this can help keep you within your budget.

The Invitations:

There are lots of great invitations on the market now and the possibilities are endless, from formal to casual, cute to sophisticated, even humorous. Try to find an invitation that suits the theme and style of your party, it will give your guests an idea of what to expect at the shower. A formal invitation to a casual afternoon tea at someone’s house doesn’t make sense.  Plan on sending the invitations, by snail mail – no email please, 4-6 weeks before the party and include a phone number, email or a respond card, so your invited guests can R.S.V.P. You will need to know how many quests to expect when planning the food. While it is not acceptable to put registry information on a wedding invitation, you can include it on the bridal shower invite or on an insert sent with the invitation. Now is also a good time to order thank you notes for the bride-to-be.

Personalized Bridal Shower Invitations and Thank You Cards

Rosy Border Invitation and Thank You Card,
from The Cancer Cures Collection

 The Guest List:

Traditionally, the Bridal Shower is supposed to be a party for the women closest to the Bride including her mother and the groom’s mother, any close female friends and relatives.  Traditions aside, there are many couple showers being thrown now as well.  Just make sure that the groom is happy and willing to attend.  One rule you must follow is make certain that the people invited to the Bridal Shower are also invited to the Wedding. Also, if the bride is having more than one shower, maybe her fiance’s family is mostly located in another town and hosting a second shower, each guest should only be invited to one of the showers, not all. The only exception to this rule is for the immediate family of the bride and groom (moms, grandmothers, and sisters). These family members should be invited to every bridal shower, but have the option to attend one or all as they choose.

Themes and Decorations:

You may want to choose a theme for your bridal shower. Popular themes include:

Kitchen/Cooking – for brides who love to cook and this is a great way to help them stock their future kitchen, you can ask guests to bring there favorite recipe and a special tool or ingredient to make the dish as a gift for the bride.

Garden Party – if your bride is the outdoor type and the shower will be held during a season with nice weather, you can host it in someones backyard, decorate with flowers, and use small potted flowers, seeds and gardening supplies as favors and prizes.

Travel – for a bride who loves to travel, this can be a fun theme for a shower.  Send invitations that look like airline tickets or passports and serve foods from different countries.

Lingerie – keep in mind your guest list if you choose this as an option. It is a fun alternative for a gathering of the brides friends, but including co-workers and grandmothers may not be appropriate.

Whatever you choose have fun and be creative. Even if you don’t choose a special theme for the bridal shower, choose a color and coordinate your tableware, decorations and cake with that color. Check out this previous post for a simple floral centerpiece or that can be used as a centerpiece or to decorate gift and food tables.

Personalized cocktail and luncheon napkins for a Bridal Shower

Personalized Bridal Shower beverage and luncheon napkins

Games:

Shower games are a good way to break the ice and get your guest to mingle, keep in mind some of your guest may only know the bride, but not anyone else in attendance. Some popular games include:

trivia – Ask 10 questions about the bride and/or groom, have the guests write down their answers and whoever gets the most correct wins a prize, you can also give a prize for the least correct.

create a word –  write out the full name of the married couple, ie Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Carpellini, on the top of a piece of paper for each guest.  Have the guests come up with as many words as they can using the letters.  The guest with the  most words wins a prize.

word scramble – choose a list of popular words associated with weddings, scramble the letters and have your guests try to unscramble them.  Set a time limit. The first person to unscramble all the words correctly wins, or if time runs out the guest with the most correct words wins.

shower gift bingo –  before the shower create the bingo boards, instead of numbers fill in the squares with different items from the brides registry or items you think might be given as gifts at the shower. Make sure the boards are all different, so you don’t have too many winners at one time. An alternative for creating the boards yourself is to make the bingo grids and provide the guests with a list of gifts, have them fill in each square on the grid with one of the items on the list.  As the bride opens the gifts have the guests mark the square on their board that corresponds. Once someone completes a line across down or diagonal they win a prize.  Continue playing until all the gifts are opened.

Personalized Bridal Shower Games Placemat from PartyBasics

Personalized Bridal Shower Games Placemat

Prizes and Favors:

The prizes and favors you choose for you guest can be almost anything, from small trinkets to themed gift baskets. Some ideas include, small floral plants, gourmet food mixes, kitchen utensils, scented lotions and candles, note cards, holiday ornaments or other seasonal decorations, and, of course, chocolate. Whatever you choose, make sure to have a favor for each guest to take home an enough prizes to cover all your games, plus a couple extra in case of a tie, if there are extra prizes left over at the end, you can send them home with the bride or raffle them like door prizes.

Personalized Bridal Shower Favor Boxes

Personalized Bridal Shower Favor and Cupcake Boxes

Personalized Bridal Shower favor boxes and gift bags

Personalized Bridal Shower Gift and Favor Bags

Remember to relax and have fun! You’re guests will follow your lead, if you are stressed and uncomfortable, they will be also. Please post a comment if you have questions or other ideas you would like to share.

January 30, 2013 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

Peppermint Candy Holiday Decorations

Peppermints

The Christmas season is upon us and I wanted to share this easy holiday decorating idea with you.  I first saw these hanging as decorations over the deli counter at my local supermarket, so I don’t take credit for the concept, but here is my method for creating mint candy holiday decorations.  The only supplies needed are some paper plates (any size), markers, paint, or paper for the red stripes, and some cellophane and ribbon for wrapping the “candies”Glue two paper plates together, insides facing, to from the candy shape

Add a line of glue to the outer rim of one paper plate, place a second plate over top and press to stick the two plates together.  Make sure you are gluing the plates with the insides facing each other, you want the result to have a 3-dimensional  disk shape.

decorate paper plate with candy stripes using markers, paint or strips of paper

Allow the glued plates to dry.  Add stripes to both sides of the finished form with paint, markers or even cut shapes out of red paper or felt and attach with glue.  I used a permanent marker for the ones shown in the photo.

finished paper plate mint candy decorationsOnce you have all your candies decorated, for a truly authentic look, it’s time to add some wrapping.  Simply cut a piece of clear cellophane large enough to wrap around your candy. Twist the ends and secure with red holiday ribbon.

December 13, 2012 at 11:17 am 1 comment

Let it Snow! Snowman Favor Boxes For The Holidays

Are you planning a holiday get-together? These cute snowmen favor boxes work great for any winter themed party, as an individual favor for each of your guests or as a wimsical table decoration.

White truffle favor boxes in 3 sizes
You will need small white square favor boxes in three different sizes. I am using the small (1-5/16″ x 1-5/16″ x 1-5/16″), medium (1-5/8″ x 1-5/8″ x 1-5/8″), and large (2″ x 2 ” x 2″) truffle boxes available at www.PartyBasics.com

3 sizes of white truffle favor boxes filled with an assortment of yummy treats or party favors
If you are using the boxes as a party favor, fill with assorted sweet treats or small trinkets, before starting to assemble the snow people.

Stacks of different size truffle boxes make a snowman for a winter party favor
Stack the boxes by size and attach together with either hot glue or sticky glue dots. I prefer the glue dots, which can be found at most craft and office supply stores, since you will be able to unstack and open the boxes to retrieve the treats without destroying the snowman.

Add your favorite decorations to the stacked truffle favor boxes to create cute snowpeople winter party favors
Now comes the fun part, adding some life to your stack of boxes. Add satin ribbon for a scarf, sequins for eyes, nose and mouth, and holiday foam shapes for accessories. Small black pom poms can be glued on to look like coal buttons. Use your imagination, be creative and have fun!

Here is an assortment of the snowman favor boxes I created. Be creative with your snow family design using pom poms, foam shapes, sequins, and ribbon.

December 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

The Paint Box Project® Holiday Cards

OK, so it is the beginning of November and I should be giving you great ideas for Thanksgiving, but I can’t wait to share with you the 2012 line of Cancer Cures Collection Holiday Cards, with artwork created by cancer patients and their families. If you have been following this blog for a while, you may already know that PartyBasics has partnered with The Paint Box Project® to create The Cancer Cures Collection, a line of wedding and party invitations and accessories.  Included in this collection each year are one-of-a-kind holiday cards. Each design also has a line of matching personalized gifts and party accessories, from glassware to gift bags and tags to napkins and paper placemats. This year we also have a limited edition ceramic holiday ornament.

View the entire holiday collection here. As always, for any item ordered from The Cancer Cures Collection, 20% of the product sale will be donated to help fund cancer patient support programs. Join us in spreading some holiday cheer and helping a great cause.

Christmas Eve

The Magic of Christmas

Let It Snow!

Buffalo Skyline – SOLD OUT!

Holiday Wreath

Buffalo Carriage Ride

Christmas Village

Festive Flamingos

Let’s Celebrate

The Season of Giving

Holiday Time

Rudy, The Red-Nosed Buffalo

Oh, Christmas Tree

Holiday Wishes

Dove

Tree Lights

November 2, 2012 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Turkey Decoration

With Thanksgiving just a little over four weeks away and a flock of wild turkeys walking across my yard, I was inspired to create these holiday decorations and share them with you.

Supplies for each turkey:

1 luncheon/dessert sized (6-3/4″) paper plate in your favorite fall color for the body.

1 cocktail size (5″ x 5″) paper napkin in a coordinating color for the turkey’s neck and head.

2 luncheon size (6-3/4″ x 6-3/4″) paper napkins for the tail and wing “feathers”.

2 5″ craft pipe cleaners for the turkey’s feet

craft foam shapes in assorted colors


Directions:

1.  Take one of the luncheon napkins and open it one fold so you have a rectangle.  Accordion fold the length of the rectangle until you have a fan shape. Secure at one end and glue to the back of the paper plate. This will be the turkey’s tail.

2.  For each foot cut one craft pipe cleaner in half.  Wrap one half around the other at the middle and form the talons of the foot.  Glue both feet to the back of the paper plate.

3.  Now this turkey needs wings.  Take the second luncheon napkin and cut it in half, the fold accordion style diagonally, starting at one of the corners. Fasten in the center with a piece of tape to form a bow-tie shape.  Glue onto the paper plate.

4.  It is time to give your turkey some personality.  Take the cocktail size napkin and fold it in half and then in half again in the same direction forming a thin rectangle.  Glue onto the paper plate, over the wings.  Finally, glue on pieces of craft foam for eyes, a beak and a waddle.  Gobble. Gobble.

October 23, 2012 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

Halloween Party Time – Party IV – Ghosts

Here it is, the fourth and final post in this years series of Halloween party ideas.  This week’s theme is ghosts, because you can’t have a spooky Halloween party without them.

Boo-rific Favor Boxes

A small white tote bag style box works as a great base for a simple ghostly favor holder. The boxes I used for this project measure 3-1/2 inches x 1-3/4 inches x 5 inches. You will also need some white card stock and a black marker.

White tote bag style favor boxes make great bases for a ghost favor

To turn these boxes into ghosts, first assemble the box as shown. Then cut some arms or hands from the white card stock and attach with glue (I use hot melt glue because it adheres quickly). Next, draw on a face with the black marker. Finally, fill with some ghostly treats.

White tote bag boxes, decorated to be ghosts for Halloween

Halloween Ghost Treat Boxes

Fill the room with ghosts

It started with a cookie cutter, As I was making the cookies and trying to think about how to make some ghost decorations for the party, I thought “why not use the cutter as a template for the decorations?”  So that is just what I did. The cookies are simple rolled sugar cookies, frosted with vanilla frosting and decorated with melted chocolate.

Halloween ghost sugar cookies decorated with vanilla frosting and melted chocolate

After finishing the cookies, I washed my cookie cutter and found some stiff translucent paper that I had on hand.  I wanted to use the translucent paper because some light would shine through the ghost when place on a window.  If you can not find translucent paper stock, try wax or parchment paper, just work carefully since it can tear easily. Of course  plain white card stock will work, too.

Trasnlucent paper and a ghost cookie cutter for a template to make Halloween decorations

If you are good at free hand drawing then go ahead and draw the ghost straight on the paper using the cookie cutter as a guide.  I am not good at free hand drawing, so what I did was trace the cookie cutter on a separate sheet of paper and made an enlarged copy using my computer printer/copier. Now that I had a larger version, I traced that onto the translucent paper and cut out the shape.

Cut out the shape of the ghost cookie cutter with translucent paper

Add a face with a black permanent marker and your ghosts are ready to hang.

Finish the ghost decorations by adding a face with a black permanent marker

By using translucent paper you can see how light shines through the ghosts when they are taped to the inside the window. (I hid the tape behind the mouth on the back side of the ghost.)

Halloween party window decorations - bats and ghosts

There you have it, bats, spiders, pumpkins and ghosts, choose your favorites, or mix and match for a fun holiday party.

Ghosts, spiders, bats, and pumpkins.  mix and match your favorite Halloween favor boxes

fun Halloween party decorations and party treats

Halloween party decorations and favor boxes - ghosts, spiders, bats, and pumpkins

October 10, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Halloween Party Time – Part III – Pumpkin Goodies

Welcome to Halloween party ideas post number three.  This weeks theme is pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.  I am a huge fan of the annual trek through the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin for carving.  You know the one, it’s just the right size and shape, the one with the stem curved in the perfect direction, the one with the bump in just the right spot.  OK, so maybe I put a little more thought into it than most of you, and that is not what I want to write about today anyway.  You probably already know all about carving a pumpkin, my job is to help you plan a party.

Paper Pumpkins

Let’s start with a simple pumpkin decoration.  The only supplies you will need are a few old newspapers, orange paper treat bags and some green ribbon.

orange paper treat bags and dyna satin ribbon to make pumpkin shaped table decorations for Halloween

Crumple some newspaper in to a ball and stuff it inside an open paper bag, then just twist the top of the bag to hold it closed.  If you are not happy with the shape of your pumpkin, add (or remove) newspaper and re-crumple until you get the shape desired.

step 1, stuff orange paper treat bag with news paper and twist the top closed

Once you are happy with the shape, wrap the green ribbon around the twisted top to form a stem.  Tie securely and fray one end of the ribbon to resemble vine-like tendrils hanging on the stem. Push “the stem” down into the top of the pumpkin slightly to give it a more natural shape.

Finished pumpkin decoration

Now did someone say snacks?

Of course your pumpkin themed party will need snacks.  I stuck to the basics this time, simple pumpkin shaped cookies and popcorn balls.  If your feeling adventurous you can turn the popcorn balls into jack-o-lanterns using a little melted chocolate to draw the faces and a gumdrop for a stem.

Popcorn Balls

Jack-o-lantern Treat Bags
It’s simple to turn these plain paper bags into a festive party decoration or treat bag. For this project you will need yellow tissue paper and small orange paper treat bags.

Orange kraft paper bags and yellow tissue paper to make a jack-o-latern treat bag

Start by drawing a face on one side of the bag and then carefully cut out the shapes. Place a sheet of tissue paper inside the bag, over the holes, and attach with tape or glue. You could can draw a face or attach foam shapes for a face instead, but I think this method gives a more authentic candle lit jack-o-lantern look.  Try using a small battery operated light inside for a glowing look, but please check to make sure they are cool to the touch after being on for a while and do NOT put regular lit candles inside a paper bag, it will easily catch fire!

Add some jack-o-latern cookies for a sweet treata plate of treats to go with the pumpkin decorations

 

Don’t forget to check back next week for the last post in this series of Halloween party ideas. Even though it is October already, if you haven’t sent out your party invitations there is still time. Check out the selection at PartyBasics.com, most orders ship within 3-5 business days.

Halloween party ideas, pumpkin treat bags

October 3, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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