Working with a laser cutter makes delicate paper projects really, really easy!
For a family member's baby shower I wanted to create a unique invitation and decided to go with a turn of the century flair for the theme. The resulting cards were were probably less than $30 in materials to make and print (black and white xerox was chosen for the halftone look) not accounting, of course, for the cost of access to a laser cutter. A more affordable device, like a tabletop digital vinyl/paper cutter would probably also work great.
If you wanted to cut these by hand I would recommend ditching or simplifying the floral design around the frame and the diamond perforations along the fold-lines, as the template outline is quite simple otherwise and could definitely be cut out by hand.
Step 1: Supplies
For the invitation inserts, I used generic manilla tagboard which I cut down to 8.5x11 for xeroxing and then trimmed to size.
For the laser-cut envelopes I used a 12x16 pad of Canson "Mi-Tientes Pastel" drawing paper which is thick (98lb weight), has a nice rough texture and came in a handful of subdued colors.
While I also tried cutting envelopes out of larger sheets of Canson paper, the template I made fits exactly onto a 12x16 sheet, so this pad is a pretty economical choice if you like the paper.
Step 2: Laser-cutting the Envelopes
Since singing the paper or leaving smoke-lines is an issue when laser-cutting paper, be sure to do a few tests to get the perfect settings that will give you the cleanest results.
With a detailed paper design such as this you'll need to balance between cutting through the paper (so that the pieces fall out on their own and don't need to be picked out by hand) and not going too slowly or with so high of a power setting that it leaves burn marks on the paper.
In the image above you can see the Epilog settings that I found to be the best for this paper and this design, which was 100% power, 7% speed and 1388 Hz. I also included a couple pictures of tests I did of different settings that worked (the green and gray envelopes) and that resulted in burned paper (the orange envelope).
Once your envelopes are lasercut you are ready to assemble your cards!
Step 3: Fold Them Up
Folding the envelops up is easy because of the diamond patten cut into their edge which act like perforation marks, however I would recommend putting your invitation inside the envelope to use as a guide when folding.
- Start by folding the frame flap down over the card
- Then fold the bottom flap upwards and use the tab-closure to lock it into place underneath the frame.
- Finally, fold in two sides to close the envelope and lock them together using the tabs.
- If you turn the envelope over there is now a frame for adding a mailing address on the front.
Step 4: Send Them Out!
Your cards should now be ready to share with friends and family and can serve double duty as invitations and decorations!
Consider making your birth announcements a similar size and maybe the paper frame can make a comeback as a handy frame for your relative's first pictures of the new baby!