Introduction: Papercut Forest Wedding Invitation

After seeing the Hari & Deepti stuff about a month ago I knew I wanted to make something in that style. When the wedding contest came up I spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways to reconcile the shadowbox style with an invitation.

The problem was always, where do you put the text? It seems simple now, but I was so focused on the silhouettes that it took me some time to realize I didn't have to cut the whole area of the card out :) One of my ideas was to write sideways on the backs of the trees, now that I say it I feel like that could work... I wonder why I scrapped it?

This is an invitation for a feigned wedding, I am already married and thought this would be fun to make. When trying to come up with a design for it I knew I wanted something intimate but not ostentatiously wedding themed. I settled on a clearing in a forest and then ran through the possibilities of things to put in the clearing. I think an empty table for two conveys the things I am looking for.

When setting out to make this, I knew I had a Cricut in the mail, so I thought I would try it out with this project. It ended up arriving just in time for me to submit this to the wedding contest :)

Working on the computer to create the design was new for me, I found it oddly distancing and missed the slow tactile experience of cutting paper. Computer design work is absolutely technically superior. The ability to undo and tweak at will is a huge amount of freedom. I wasn't feeling that enamored with the digital design stuff until I sent it through the Cricut. Watching it cut out my design with very good technical execution was surprisingly satisfying.

Step 1: Materials

Materials were steep for this project. A Cricut is around $300 I think. You also need a computer to do the design work, but you may already have one if you are reading this.

  • Ivory Cardstock
  • Pen + Paper
  • Cricut
  • Inkscape

The pen and paper are for writing out some text because I wanted the invitations in my writing. Inkscape costs zero dollars and is a respectable vector graphics editor.

Step 2: Panel 1

I started off with just an idea in my head of what I wanted the card to look like. To make the first panel I divided the sheet up into sections so I could be sure I was colouring in the lines.

To make the trees I just started dropping line waypoints where I thought they would go and moving them as needed. You can see from the closeup it looks pretty angular. That's because at this point I hadn't done any smoothing yet.

Once all the line were laid down I went back over them and adjusted each waypoint so its line flowed smoothly. The last image is the finished first panel.

Step 3: Design Panels 2 + 3

At this point I was coming up against my lack of a design. So I sketched the other 2 panels on top of the first one. Blue is middleground and red is background. You can see the table setting lacks a vase or tablecloth at this point, how uncouth.

Step 4: Panel 2

Panel two needs to be designed as a mirror image because it folds the opposite way to the other two. This is easy enough in inkscape, you just layout everything like normal, and then at the end select it all and flip across the vertical.

The process of creating this panel was much the same as the first, except now I had a sketch to look at. Drop waypoints for outline, cleanup with smoothing.

Step 5: Panel 3

Drop waypoints for outline, cleanup with smoothing. The only tricky part was designing one half of the table and cloning + flipping it to create the other half. I am happy with this panel.

Step 6: Text

I printed out a rough copy to get an idea for the text. After looking at the card all that was coming up was that teddy bear picnic rhyme. It required some coercion to fit it for a wedding, and whenever I show it to someone it requires an explanation, not optimal :(

The first text block says don't go today, because the wedding is happening later on. The details are purposefully sparse. I am keeping this (imaginary) wedding (very) small and anyone receiving an invite is close enough that I talk to them regularly, and they can get any other pertinent details in person.

Step 7: Cricut!

Cricut! It cuts!

I had a small headache setting up their web software, but was able to get it to play nicely with my .svg file. Cricut seems to focus more heavily on the purchasing of stock images rather than generating your own vector graphics. To each their own. Did I include the vector file? I didn't :( I'll put it down below.

You can upload svg file for your Cricut machine to cut at no cost to you, or you can purchase stock graphics to cut out at some non-zero cost. Feel free to use the attached file for all your forest/dining needs.

Like I mentioned in the intro, watching the Cricut realize my design work was fun, and I was impressed with how well it did the cutting. There were a few lifted/frayed corners on some of the very tight cuts, but it did a great job otherwise. If you are producing more than one invitation a cutting machine is very nice to have :)

Step 8: Peel + Flatten

I had to use the little spatula to help me get the invite off the sticky backing without tearing any of the little branches off. It came up pretty well, but ended up being curled a bit. I folded it up and left it under a book for a hour to flatten.

Step 9: Send Away


Put it in an envelope and into the mail.

Wedding Contest

Second Prize in the
Wedding Contest