DIY Invites & Stationery: Clip Art Resolution

If, like most couples, you’ve decided to create your own wedding invitations and stationery, pull up a chair because I’ve got some info to help you take your invites from pleasantly passable to OMGTheGreatestInvitesEvahr.

Since most of us aren’t graphic designers, turning to pre-designed images can be an easy way to add impact to invites, save-the-dates, table cards, websites, signs, and favors. The Web is chock full of free (or wonderfully cheap) gorgeous, clever, and on-trend images that will fit nearly any theme or style. You want two blue penguins holding hands for your save-the-dates? No problem. An intricate Moroccan-inspired geometric print for DIY letterpress drink coasters? Piece of cake. A lovely blue mason jar for your invites? Easy peasy. No need for custom graphics or enrolling yourself in art school; there’s probably something out there that’s perfect (or nearly so) for your needs.

The problem with using clip art is that most freebie and cheap-y graphics are designed for web use, not print. Graphics designed for use on the web are typically lower resolution than what is needed for printing. For computer monitors, 72 dpi (dots per inch) is perfect because it keeps the file size small for quick web loading while offering a clean, clear image for the user.  When using clip art for your printed projects, it’s important to use images that are 300 dpi or above otherwise the printed image will look pixelated (jagged), blurry, and muted.

Let’s take a look at how this translates to a real life project.

Here’s a screen shot of an MS Word document I’ve created with two versions of the same graphic. On the left is the higher print-friendly 300 dpi version of the graphic. On the right is the 72 dpi web-friendly version. On the screen you’ll see that they look identical: crisp, clear, vibrant.

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But when the page is printed (click image to see a larger version), what you see on the screen is not what you’ll get.



See the difference?

One of the most commonly asked questions we get about DIY invitations is “Why do my graphics look blurry?”.  This is why, my friends.

How do you know if an image you’re about to buy or download is print-ready? Ask the artist/person offering the graphic before you buy or download or, if it’s from a free download site, just download it and check the resolution in an photo editing program like Photoshop, PS Elements, or Paint Shop Pro.

So, what if you’ve found the perfect image but it’s a low-resolution 72 dpi graphic? Unfortunately, there’s no way to make a low-res graphic into a high-resolution print-perfect one. Sorry! If you have the choice to buy a high res or low res image, always get the higher-res one. You can always scale down for web use but you can’t scale up.

Also worth noting: not every graphic that appears on the web is free for personal use. Images on the web are not automatically public domain and the creator of the image always has copyright law on her or his side.

(BTW, this image used in this example is  Wedding Floral Clip Art, Wreath Heart by Graphic Market. Best $5 I spent this week. It’s so preeeetttty!)



Create A Custom Page Size In MS Word

Notes: These instructions were made for Microsoft Word for Mac, 2011 Edition. Instructions for the PC are similar, but, of course, not the same. Instructions for PC-based Word (2007 and later are in [brackets]) next to the corresponding Mac-based ones below. For specific operating system and MS Word version, please see Microsoft’s documentation.

Of all the tips I share about DIY invitations, one of my favorites is to cut your paper or card stock to the finished invitation size before you print. Printing one invitation per page – instead of printing multiple invitations on a page and cutting each invitation from the printed pages – ultimately saves a ton of time, guesswork, and waste from the DIY invitation experience. You don’t have to guess where the cut lines are and hope your cuts are not too close or too far from the margin. You don’t need to create printed borders that interfere with the design. If your printer loads the paper wonky or starts streaking, you only lose one invite instead of multiples on larger page.

Using pre-cut card stock often requires that you create a custom page size in MS Word since Word’s default size is 8.5″ x 11″ (in the US). It’s really easy to do and once you set it up, you won’t have to do it again.


From the FILE menu, go to PAGE SETUP.  [PC USERS: Select PAGE SETUP… from the FILE menu.]




A dialogue box will appear. Click the PAPER SIZE drop-down box and a list of available custom page sizes will appear. Scroll down and click MANAGE CUSTOM SIZES. [PC USERS: When the Page Setup dialog box appears, click on the Paper tab.]




Another dialogue box will appear with the custom page sizes (if any) you’ve already created. See the little + and – signs under the list of page sizes? They allow you to add or delete custom page sizes. Click the + sign to add a new one. [PC USERS: Under PAPER SIZE… select CUSTOM]




When you click the + button, a new page size “Untitled” will appear with the MS Word default measurements of 8.5 in width x 11 in height and margins of .25 in left, .25 in right, .25 in top, and .56 in on the bottom. Double-click on “Untitled” to change the name to whatever you want. I usually use the page dimensions so I can find them easily. You may want to use Invitation or RSVP card or STD or whatevah makes you happy.




For this example, we’re setting up a 5″ x 5″ invitation so I’ve labeled the page size 5×5. Clever!




The next step is to insert the intended paper size, in this case: 5 in by 5 in. I generally leave the margin sizes at the default and then manually manipulate them during the layout process. I use a lot of TEXT BOXES in my invite layouts so setting margins at this stage isn’t too important. If you know you want or need specific margins because your printer requires them, do set them now. Click ok and, voila!, you’ve just created a custom page size. You rule.

[PC USERS: Your dimensions will appear in the Width and Height selection boxes. Specify the dimensions by highlighting the entries in the boxes and typing the sizes in inches or by using the arrows to change the size using Word’s predetermined increments. Click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box.VOILA! You, too, rule.]





Now, to use the page size, go back to FILE –> PAGE SETUP and click PAPER SIZE. Your new page size will appear in the drop-down box. Click it.




Your snazzy new paper size will appear. Go forth and be creative, young grasshoppers!



Glittered Chevron Invitation Suite

The wonderful thing about running a DIY wedding blog is that I get to see the coolest, sweetest trends develop and spread throughout the weddingsphere. Like many of you, I watched and then fell in love with chevron a few seasons ago and, though it’s popularity is beginning to wane in the design world, I’m not ready to let it go. When our friends at offered us a sample pack of their papers and card stock, the perfect opportunity to give chevron a bit of different spin appeared. Using beautiful Stardream metallic card stocks, a rubber stamp, a glue pad, and glitter, I crafted this  modern and slightly blinged out invitation suite: layered invitation, self-mailer RSVP, seating card, and favor box.


The Supply List


1 piece of 4″ x 9″ Stardream Metallic card stock in silver from

1 piece of 3 9/16″ x 8 3/4″ Stardream Metallic card stock in violette from

1 piece of 3 5/16″ x 8 1/2″ card stock in white from

Chevron rubber stamp by Recollections

The Essential Glue Pad by Tsukineko

Martha Stewart Crafts glitter in sterling

Glue dots

#10 Envelope in silver

Small paint brush (like for watercolors)

Invitation Template



1 piece 4″ x 9″ Stardream Metallic card stock in silver from

1 piece of 4″ x 4″ Stardream Metallic card stock in violette from

1 piece of 3 3/4″ x 3 3/4″ white card stock

Chevron rubber stamp by Recollections

The Essential Glue Pad by Tsukineko

Martha Stewart Crafts glitter in sterling

Small paint brush (like for watercolors)

RSVP template

1/8″ wide red line double-sided tape (not shown)


Seating Card:

1 Cougar White place card from

1 piece of 1/2” x 5” Stardream card stock in violette

Chevron rubber stamp by Recollections

The Essential Glue Pad by Tsukineko

Martha Stewart Crafts glitter in sterling

Small paint brush (like for watercolors)

Glue Dots

White ink pen


Favor Box:

1 piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″  Stardream Metallic card stock in silver

1/2″ x 6 1/4″ piece of Stardream Metallic card stock in violette

Big Shot or similar manual die cutting machine

Sizzix Bigz XL Matchbox Bigz XL die

Chevron rubber stamp by Recollections

The Essential Glue Pad by Tsukineko

Martha Stewart Crafts glitter in sterling

Small paint brush (like for watercolors)


The Instructions


1. Using our invitation template as a guide, print out your invitation wording on the piece of 3 5/16″ x 8 1/2″ white card stock.

2. The next step is to apply glue to the chevron stamp. Gently tap the glue pad on the surface of the rubber stamp until the stamp is evenly covered in glue.


3. Position the stamp at the top of the invitation, ending just before the text of the invitation begins. Press the stamp firmly and evenly to the invitation. Lift the stamp up and set it aside.


4. While the glue is still damp, sprinkle a generous amount of glitter over the stamped area on the invitation. It’s best to do this over a scrap piece of paper so that you can catch the excess glitter and reuse it. And, heads up, friends: no matter how careful you are, glitter will get EVERYWHERE. Shake off excess glitter into a bowl so it’s somewhat contained.

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5. Set the invitation aside to dry, usually 10 – 15 minutes is sufficient for the glue to set. PRO TIP: Use a small paint brush to brush away excess glitter that doesn’t shake off.

6. Now, you’re on to the easiest step: assembling the layers. Using glue dots, adhere the printed invitation to the front of your piece of violette card stock, centering it top to bottom and left to right. Add this layered piece to the silver piece of card stock and, voila!, you’re done.

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1. Using our invitation template as a guide, print out your invitation wording on the piece of 4″ by 4″ white card stock.
2. The next step is to stamp the RSVP. Apply glue to the chevron stamp by gently tapping the glue pad on the surface of the rubber stamp until the stamp is evenly covered in glue.
3. Position the stamp at the top of the RSVP, ending just before the text of the RSVP begins. Press the stamp firmly and evenly to the RSVP. Lift the stamp up and set it aside.
4. While the glue is still damp, sprinkle a generous amount of glitter over the stamped area on the RSVP. Shake off excess glitter. Use a small paint brush to whisk away excess glitter that’s sticking to the non-stamped areas of the card stock.
5. Set the RSVP aside to dry, usually 10 – 15 minutes is sufficient for the glue to set.
6. Using a bone folder or stylus, score the 4″ x 9″ piece of silver cardstock 4 1/8″ down from the top (short side) of the card stock. Score again at 8 1/8″ from the top. When you fold the flaps up, you’ll have created an envelope that can be printed, sealed, and sent through the mail. Just address the outside, attach a stamp for return postage and your guest will just drop it in the mail when she’s ready to send in her RSVP.
7. Now, layer the printed RSVP on top of the piece of violette card stock, adhering it with red line double-sided tape. This is an ultra-strong tape that will help ensure that your RSVP pieces don’t slip out during it’s postal journey. Attach the purple and white layer to the 4″ x 4″ space in the silver mailer piece you made in step 6.
8. The last step is to attach a line of red line tape to the bottom edge of the inner flap of the mailer. Do not remove the red liner! Leave that intact. The person who sends the RVSP back will remove the liner to seal the mailer.

mailerclosed rsvpmailer


Seating Card:
1. The first step is to stamp the seating card with the chevron stamp and glue pad. Gently tap the glue pad on the surface of the rubber stamp until the stamp is evenly covered in glue.
2. Position the stamp at the top of the invitation and press the stamp firmly and evenly to the seating card. Lift the stamp up and set it aside.
3. While the glue is still damp, sprinkle a generous amount of glitter over the stamped area on the seating card. Shake off excess glitter. Set the seating card aside and let it dry.


4. Once the glitter has set, you may write the table number or seating assignment of the person to whom the card will go to.
5. Now it’s time to wrap the strip of violette card stock around the seating card to create a belly band. The ends will overlap a bit; secure them in place with a glue dot.
6. With a white ink pen write the name of the person to whom the card will go to on the front of the belly band. Done!


Favor Box:
1. Place silver Stardream card stock on matchbox portions of the die.
2. Per die cutting machine’s instructions, place die between die machine plates.
3. Run the die through the machine.
4. Fold the matchbox bottom along the scored lines.
5. Using the chevron stamp and the glue pad, apply glue to the top of the matchbox cover. Use a piece of scrap paper to mask portion of matchbox that you don’t want to stamp.
6. Add glitter, let it dry.
7. Once the glitter is set, fold the matchbox cover and secure it with tape.
8. Slide the cover over the bottom.
9. Insert your favors. Close the box. Add strip of 1/2″ x 6″ card stock around the box and secure it with tape on the back.
10. Attach tag. Easy-peasy!


The finished suite. Sweet!




1. If absolute perfect stamp placement is a must for you, do consider investing in a stamp positioner. It’s a nifty little gadget that’ll help you line up a stamp perfectly every time. They run about $10.00 online. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

2. The suite takes about 45 minutes of stamping, layout, and assembly time. If you’re doing 100 of these beauties, that’s 75 hours of work.

3. Always print your pieces before you stamp them!

4. Make peace with glitter. It’s going to be around your house, in your hair, and on your food for MONTHS.

5. There are fixative sprays that you can use over your glittered projects – and they do work in keeping your projects from bleeding sparkles. The problem is that they often dull the glittery part of your glitter. Where’s the fun in that? Fixative sprays can be found at craft and art stores, usually near the paints/chalks/pastels.

6. Cut and print extra pieces. It’s inevitable that a stamped image won’t turn out well or the printer will jam. A general rule: 10% more than what you think you’ll need.

7. All the pieces – except the favor box –  fit in a #10 envelope (not shown).

8. Glitter, glorious glitter, comes in a wide variety of colors and levels of chunkiness from ultra-fine to confetti-like. My favorite brand: Martha Stewart Crafts.

9. The Stardream card stocks printed remarkably well in my 3-year old Canon All-In-One inkjet printer. No smudges, streaks, or paper jams.


Of course, this post would not be possible without the generous sample pack of card stock and envelopes from our friends at

Lined Envelopes

Ready to get a little wild? Well throw caution to the wind, erode all boundaries, unleash your inner rock star, and let’s decorate some wedding envelopes!

Oh, not what you thought we were going to say? (And is that a bottle of tequila in your hand?). Perhaps it’s true — embellishing envelopes is not everybody’s idea of living life on the edge, but that’s only because they’re going about it all wrong.

Envelopes are the perfect way to add a pop of the unexpected to your wedding. After all, when your guests receive your wedding invites they’ll expect a modest envelope with a sensible background. But instead – POW! – you’ll give them a flash of color and intensity. Now you understand. Good. Let’s get started…



  • Envelopes
  • Thin craft paper (in or matching your wedding colours)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper or cardstock


Step 1: Measure the width


Using your ruler, measure the width of the envelope.

Step 2: Measure the depth



Starting just below the opening, measure the distance to the edge of the flap. In the example above this is 5 centimeters (or roughly 2 inches).

Step 3: Draw the base



Using the width and depth measurements that you just acquired, draw the base of the envelope on a piece of paper or cardstock.

Step 4: Draw the flap




Align the envelope with your drawing of the base, so that the top line is in line with the base of the flap and trace around it.

Step 5: Measure the border



Measure the width of the lickable part on the envelope flap. Using your ruler, and your envelope as a guide, draw this border onto your envelope pattern

Step 6: Cut out the template



Follow the inside border line to cut out your pattern. Trim either side of the envelope base so that it can easily slide inside your envelope. Test it out once you have cut it to ensure that it is the correct size.

Step 7: Trace onto pretty paper  


Using the cutout, draw the pattern onto the reverse side of your pretty paper and cut it out.

Step 8: Place in envelope



Slide the pretty paper pattern into the envelope and align it so that the flap has an even border. Once you’re happy, fold the flap down to form a crease in the pretty paper. This will act as a guide.

Step 9: Glue flap down





Paint a thin layer of glue on the flap of the envelope, then fold it over the pretty paper to stick it down. Using the back of the pencil, gently smooth it down and get rid of any air bubbles or creases.

Step 10: Repeat



Repeat with your other envelopes until they all pop with colour.

You’re not really limited by anything here, so exercise a bit of reckless abandon and get creative with the paper!



Printable Summer Invitation and Thank You Card from VanillaRetro

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It’s that time of year where thousands of brides and grooms are preparing to send their wedding invitations – in the northern hemisphere at least. For there is no more popular season to get hitched in than summer (although, there is an increasing number of fall weddings in the past couple of years).

Now, if you’re fortunate to live in a warm climate, (which pretty much rules out the northern UK where I’m from) you can almost guarantee perfectly warm, dry weather on your big day, which is the reason most couples opt for summertime nuptials. Every anniversary henceforth shall hopefully be spent sipping wine on a sun-soaked veranda somewhere, enjoying the prolonged sunlight and toasting to another year together as a happily married couple.

But I suppose there is a downside to a summer wedding. And that lies, in some part, with the invitations. January and February are not the most affluent months of the year, with many of us suffering the after-effects of a slight overspend during the Christmas holidays, and with invitations costing, on average, in excess of £200 (or $400), it can be quite an outlay for those on a tight budget.  But woe is the bride and groom who do not send their invitations in time, and risk losing a significant proportion of their guests to their annual family holiday. Yup, summertime isn’t just popular for weddings.

spring summer invite 1

So, here is a simple solution for you summertime brides-to-be: our FREE printable wedding invitation template designed by VanillaRetro, exclusively for DIY Bride.

The design is tastefully vintage, with floral attributes and a modern simplicity.  Simply download and print (using Windows Photo Viewer, select the option to print two to a page to get 5 x 7-in. printouts), carefully trim to size, then fill in your details by hand . All you need is a home printer and a good card stock. Combine with ivory, pink, peach, or lime envelopes to add a splash of color to your invitations, and you’re good to go. And, because we love giving you the full package, why not also download the matching Thank You cards too?

spring summer invite 2


If you have any questions or feedback on the design for VanillaRetro, please let us know below in the comments!  Thanks, and enjoy the free download!

Download the Free Templates:


Thank you card