How to Print Your Own Wedding Invitations: 14 Things to Know

Posted by harry on February 4th, 2020

It’s more affordable than having your invitations printed by a pro, but that doesn’t mean printing your wedding invitations at home will be faster. “Give yourselves plenty of time,” says Lea Poppy of Lady Poppy Designs. "Be patient when printing at home, because sometimes the process can be complicated.” Count back from your wedding date to see when you’ll need to start printing and assembling. “Invitations should be mailed eight weeks before your wedding date, and you’ll need at least a month to print and assemble each invite, Document Scanning which means you’ll need all of the pieces in hand at least three months before your wedding. Even if you are printing at home, the cost of ink and paper will still set you back a bit, especially if you spring for high-quality paper stock or heavily saturated inks. Lindsey Winkelman, the owner of Splash of Silver, recommends keeping these questions in mind: What size will your invitations be? What kind of paper or card stock will you be printing on? Will your invitations be flat or folded? Are you adding embellishments, like a belly band or wrap? “These answers will help you determine the cost per invitation, which leads to your total spend on invitations,” she says. And don’t forget postage and envelopes.

Sure, you can print just about any design at home, but some are better suited to home printing than others. “Designs with more white space and lighter color backgrounds will look better on home printers and save on your printer ink bill,” says Lia Griffith, designer, maker, and DIY lifestyle guru. “If you want a pop of color, we suggest printing on colored paper instead. We personally love the look of frosted card stock.”

Even though you’re skipping the traditional stationery, you still want your invitations to look hot off the professional press. Susy Fontaine, co-owner of online wedding shop Invys, has a trick for every DIY bride and groom: Use a design that “bleeds.” “The trick to getting the most professional look is having a design that reaches the edge of the paper, with no white margins,” Fontaine says. “This effect, called a full-bleed in the printing industry, is achieved by creating a design slightly larger than the final cut size. The extra will be trimmed off and discarded. For example, a 5x7-inch standard invitation design would actually be 5.25x7.25 inches, and an eighth of an inch will be trimmed from each side to ensure it goes right to the edge.” This means your best bet is to center the design on even larger stock, giving you plenty of space for margins and lots of room to trim neatly. Adds Fontaine, “If you are using pre-cut invitation panels, it is best to avoid the edge areas entirely and only put text and artwork in the center. Most home printers can’t print all the way to the edge, which can make it look like your design was cut off.”

If you’re printing at home, it’s important to make sure all of your equipment is working properly. “Every printer and monitor are calibrated differently, meaning the color may vary slightly from what’s on your screen,” says Poppy. Katie Weber of West Pine concurs. “Your computer screen may not give you a great depiction of how the design will actually print. Home printers tend to be a shade or two darker, while cost-effective web or local printers are usually a bit lighter.” Spend time printing tests and adjusting the settings on your printer to get the colors you want, and invest in a sample or two if you’re having your print shop do the heavy lifting so you can get the color balance just so.

Finding the right combination of printer and paper is key. The way your printer loads paper, as well as the type of ink you use, will play a big role in the paper you choose. “If you’re planning on using cover stock, especially stock that is heavier than 80 lb., you’ll have much better luck with a rear-feed printer,” says Julie Green, designer of Up Up Creative. “Printers with front feeds have a harder time with thick paper because, instead of loading the paper down and through, they have to turn and flip the paper inside the printer.” This can lead to jams, which will not make the process easier. You will also have better luck with an inkjet printer than a laser printer, which can give ink a strange, shiny finish. If your home printer is a whiz with photos, you’re in luck. “Choose the highest quality settings, often labeled ‘high quality’ or ‘photo quality’ in the print dialogue box,” says Green. “And make sure it’s set to print ‘actual size’ and not scaled to fit the page.”

The thickness (or weight) of the paper is what will give your invitations that formal, professional feel. Look for paper that is at least 80 lb. or 12 pt. stock. Linen and felt weave papers can also give the design more visual interest and texture. Head to specialty stationery stores to find a range of options that you can touch in person, or order samples if you’re buying online. “Before you commit to buying all of the paper you need, you should get some samples and do a few tests to see what size and type of paper is going to give you the best results on the printer that you’re using,” says Natasha Lawler, a PR expert and event planner at Natasha M. Lawler. “Some papers may be too thick for your home printer. Your design might look better on one paper over another. Review your printer’s settings to look for options related to print quality. Experiment to see what looks best.”

You’ve thought about how much the paper will cost, but ink costs money, too. “If you have a colored background, you’ll use a lot of ink, which can really affect the cost of your invitations," Fontaine says. "Also, a less-than-brand-new printer can show imperfections in large fields of color. Letting the paper show through, while including the colorful touches in the design, may be the way to go when printing at home. Adds Lawler, “If you’re using an inkjet printer, don’t forget to include drying time before you handle the printed cards.”

As appealing as the idea sounds, Weber says it almost never works. “We get asked all the time to create DIY designs that print white text,” she states. “The bottom line is, there are very few printers that actually print white ink. And we can almost guarantee you don’t have one sitting at home.” If you love the look of white lettering, that means you’ll be printing colored ink onto white paper, allowing the white to show through—which can mean using a lot of ink. Elisa Hardy of Designed with Amore echoes Weber’s sentiment. “We have had a lot of requests about printing white artwork on dark card stock. White ink cartridges do indeed exist, but they are not included in the default ink cartridges of home printers.” If you look at a design on your monitor, any “white” parts are actually “unprinted” when using a home printer. “So if you print it on a card stock that is a color other than white, the ‘white’ parts will be the color of the paper you’re printing on,” Hardy concludes. Set on having a design with a colored background and white lettering? You’re best off bringing the design to a print shop, where the cost of using all that ink won’t blow up your wedding budget.

Whether you’re purchasing the final design or will be editing the wording of the invite yourself, run it past multiple sets of eyes before you print. “Have several different friends or family members proofread the files, just in case.


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Joined: January 31st, 2020
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