To set the tone for our entire DIY wedding {and the rest of our forever} our first foot forward as a couple was our invitation.  We designed it to resemble a packet of items one might find buried amongst the family heirlooms in their grandmother's attic.  It had all the necessary makings of a modern invitation: date, time, {our venue wasn't yet secured}, URL of our wedding website for RSVP purposes, dress code, etc. but was striking in its delivery of this information.

Everything was created from found materials, items destined for landfills, and otherwise inexpensive goodies salvaged from thrift shops, flea markets, and Craigslist in an effort to be more sustainable.  We were very adamant about making our own decisions on every detail of our wedding and not relying on conventions to dictate what would become our traditions.  In fact, we bucked a few traditions entirely, opting to buy a full-sized Frogger arcade cabinet in lieu of fancy napkins.

Our invitation "artifacts" garnered such responses from friends, family, and even strangers on the internet that were simply remarkable and we are proud to share them with the world.

Entering this contest will be our first Instructable and we take it as a good sign that the contest wraps up on our anniversary. :)

Good luck to everyone who enters and congratulations to all the couples, new and old!

{to replicate ours, but should be adjusted according to the contents of your packet}

*access to a copy machine or laser printer
*recycled paper
*recycled cardstock
*ample amounts of tea and coffee
*iron and ironing board
*digital camera or scanned photographs of yourself
*photo editing software {free & online :: pixlr.com and picnik.com }
*airmail envelopes
*old stamps
*vintage pinochle decks
*45 singles
*rubber craft stamp of a postmark
*rubber craft stamp of a decorative border
*brown ink pad
*black ink pad
*glue stick
*brown paper
*hemp twine

Step 1: Dying in Tea - Quick Overview

Many of the items in the invitations were dyed with tea or coffee.  If you are going to be dyeing printed material, only laser printing will survive the dyeing process because other inks will run, bleed, or wash off entirely.  Everything we printed for this purpose was printed on a copy machine and dyed after printing {we didn't try dyeing before printing, but judging from how paper reacts to being saturated and dried, it doesn't seem like an optimal process}.

10 or so teabags or about 2 cups of coffee grounds were added to 4 or 5 inches of extremely hot water in a big Rubbermaid tub.  We added papers one at a time to make sure each side was covered by the tea, then waited for about ten minutes, depending on the material dyed at the time - some take longer to get a great color.  Do some experimenting with each new material.  We used green tea for just about everything. 

Being very careful, we reached in to grab the papers and let them stick to the side walls of the tub to drip dry a bit.  If you want a more speckled look, sprinkle some instant coffee granules on the wet paper at this point. It will absorb into little blotches that dry beautifully! Then, using an old towel to avoid staining our ironing board, we ironed them completely dry and mostly flat.  We found that if you let them dry on their own, they get too wrinkly.

It is a good idea to get a big dictionary and press the items overnight to finish the look.

(PearlZenith also has an Instructable for a more detailed look at this type of dying process - http://www.instructables.com/id/Tea-dying/ )
This is a super awesome idea.
Very unique way to do an invitation. I really love this!<br>