With the holidays (and soon Valentine’s Day) behind us, I know that there are many of you who are newly engaged (Congratulations!).
Statistics tells us that 2.3 million couples get engaged every year in the US; 19% of all those engagements take place during the month of December and 10% on Valentine’s Day.
With those facts in mind, I thought this would be a good time to do a tutorial on DIY engagement party invitations.
I call today’s invite “Damask Engagement Invitation” and we are using free vector art (x 2) and Illustrator. As always, if you get stuck or are unsure of where to find a tool, read through a previous tutorial, and look at my posts about the tools and Illustrator notes and problem solvers. For font issues, see “How to add fonts to your computer“.
Now, let’s make the invitation:
1. Download the free vector file “seamless pattern” from seamless megapack 2 at designious.com.
2. Download the free vector file “framedoodle” from Pixels & Ice Cream.
3. Unzip the files and open them in Illustrator.
4. Create a new document, any size you want, I made mine 6.25 wide x 4.5 high (a size A6).
5. Go to the seamless pattern document. Select the background and damask pattern (not the text). Copy and paste into your new document. Size it to fit by typing in your document’s dimensions in the transform palette (with the entire design still selected). You may need to click the “constrain proportions” to make it work properly.
6. Select the background only (by clicking somewhere in between the damask pattern). Cut it and paste in place on a new layer (CNTRL + F will paste it in the exact same location on the new layer). If the new layer is on top of the pattern, pull it below.
7. Lock the layer with the damask pattern; we won’t be touching that again.
8. If you want to change the color of the background like I did, select it and pick any color you want (I used R207 G235 B242).
9. Lock that layer and create a new one on top of both layers. Select the Rectangle tool and click once on the artboard. A window will pop up where you can put in the desired dimensions of your box. I made mine 6.25 x .05″ and filled it with the same color as the background. Pull the colored bar to the middle of the card.
10. Go to the document with the framedoodle. Select the entire design, copy it and paste it in a new layer in your document. We only want the outer part of this frame, so with your white arrow, select and delete the inner part (the dots).
11. Once you have just the outer portion of the frame left, select it and group it. I wanted it to match the color of the damask pattern on the bottom of the card, so I selected it and picked a matching brown. Even though it seems like it is the stroke color that should be changed, it is actually the fill color.
12. As you can see, the frame is transparent, and we want a white background. Select the frame and look at the Fill and Stroke section of the toolbar. You’ll see that it has a brown fill and no stroke (even though it doesn’t look that way). Click the Swap arrow to reverse that. Then, select the paint bucket, set the fill color to white (either in the colors palette or in the fill and stroke part of the toolbar) and as you hover over the frame, you’ll see a text that says “click to make a live paint group”. Click and the frame will be filled with white.
13. Re-size it if needed (I made mine a bit larger) and place it where you want it on the card.
14. Create a new layer and add the text. I used Carleton 12pt for the top and third row, Carleton 9pt for the fourth and fifth row, and Ribbon 131 Bold at 24pt for the names.
Voila! Your own homemade engagement invites! If you want to be really budget-minded when printing these invitations, you could make them smaller, and put four on a page. I suggest making them 5.25×4 – that way you can fit four of them on a standard letter sized page with a little bit of a margin around the edges (since many printers don’t print all the way to the edge). Print on nice heavy cardstock and cut to size. They will fit in a size A2 envelope.
If you don’t want to or can’t print them yourself, ask at a local print shop or office store – they will most likely be able to help you.