Hand-painted touches, watercolor effects, and printing with metallics are some of the hottest trends in invitations. Artisan techniques like letterpress and the ethereal quality of watercolor are making their way back into the forefront of the print industry, but with a contemporary vibe that combines the traditional artistry of old world methods with more modern, edgy design themes. Katie Gaines of Love Paper Paint guides us through a Modern Masters DIY project that brings these chic trends right to your event.
As a decorative artist who also designs stationery and ensembles for the wedding industry, I’m always looking for unique ways to merge my passion for paper and paint to create unique invitations for my clients that set the tone for their special events.
Some printing processes that incorporate metallic inks can get quite expensive, especially if only a small quantity is required. Using the Metallic Paint Collection, I created a few variations of an abstractly hand-painted invitation ensemble with a modern coastal-boho vibe that would be perfect for a small fall wedding, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, engagement party, and more.
- Modern Masters Metallic Paint in the colors Sapphire, Copper Penny, and Pale Gold
- Invitations, menus, and place cards printed on thick card stock. I used Avon Brilliant White card-stock by Neenah Classic Crest in 110 lb. cover. These invitations and paper elements were printed digitally (color laser), but inkjet printing works just as well, although you may have to go with a lighter card-stock such as a 65 lb. or 80 lb. cover. Check with your printer’s capabilities before running card-stock through
- Accent card-stock in Lapiz Lazuli metallic blue by Stardream, along with assorted pocket-fold enclosures, envelopes, envelope liners, by Envelopments, and craft paper boxes
- Plastic bowls or food storage containers for mixing paints. It’s best if the containers have a lid so you can custom mix the colors in a larger quantity and use them later for other items such as menus, place-cards, etc.
- Assorted paint brushes (I prefer inexpensive nylon brushes available in sets at craft stores and a few 2” chip brushes)
- Craft paper or a drop cloth for your work surface
Prep your work space with craft paper or a drop cloth. Design and print your invitation, menus, place-cards allowing enough space on the top/bottom or sides to paint. I chose a simple layout with a clean san-serif font (Gill Sans) for all the main invitation wording, with a handwriting style font (Adelicia Script) to make the bride and groom’s names stand out. Set up the print with crop marks so you know how to trim the stock down after the paint has dried. I tried a few different sizes, shapes, and layouts: landscape/portrait/hexagon in sizes to fit standard envelope or enclosure sizes: 5” X 7”, 6” X 9” and 7” X 7”. The color scheme for this ensemble was rose gold, dark blue, off-white, with touches of copper, gold, and ivory.
Dilute a few tablespoons of Sapphire with water in the plastic container. The consistency should be watery and thin, like mixing watercolor pigments. You can experiment with the consistency and test out your brushing technique on the craft paper work surface before painting directly onto the invitation papers.
Go through and paint the Sapphire watercolor on all other cards and components, such as the menus, insert cards (reply card, map/directions card), and the place-cards (if you have the names of the guests attending). Allow the paint to dry completely. If you notice that the moisture of the paint makes the paper curl or warp, you can lay a heavy book or blocks over the stack of cards (once they’re close to dry) to flatten the cards out. You can also slip scrap paper, paper towels or craft paper in between each card to prevent the paint from transferring to the back of the other cards when stacked.
Using a 2” chip brush, dip it lightly into the Sapphire watercolor mixture and then drag the brush across the paper to create a brushstroke effect. The beauty of using Metallic Paint is that even though the effect looks like watercolor, you can see shimmer and sparkle in the areas with a higher saturation of the paint. It makes each and every card that’s hand-painted uniquely one-of-a-kind.
Mix equal parts Copper Penny with Pale Gold in a plastic container to create a custom mix shade of Rose Gold. Set up a production line and paint all the accents with the Rose Gold custom mix over the dried Sapphire watercolor. This should go very quickly since it’s just a quick, light brushstroke per card. The goal is to make it look natural and gestural, and not overworked or contrived. These images show the different formats and sizes I tried out for the invitation cards, as well as the menus and place-cards.
While the invitation cards and other components are drying, you can work on the envelope liners and accent stock. Using the Sapphire paint (not diluted, just straight from the jar), lightly dry brush over the envelope liner paper. After it dries, dry brush the Rose Gold custom mix. Dry Brush the Rose Gold mix over the Lapiz metallic card stock. I also painted some craft boxes with the Rose Gold paint as an option for mailing the invitations. Once these are dry, the envelope liners can be used to line the mailing envelopes and the Lapiz card stock can be cut to use as an accent layer behind the invite card and response card.
Once the papers are dry, trim according to crop marks and assemble for mailing. The Modern Masters Metallic Paints are brilliant and shimmery, and are sure to grab attention when your guests unveil the invitation from the envelope or box.
Once you start receiving responses and have a head count of attendees, you can use the Sapphire and Rose Gold mixture to embellish items for your table décor. For instance, I drybrushed the Rose Gold metallic mixture on the wooden charger plates and brushed Sapphire Metallic Paint on the table napkins. Modern Masters Metallic Paints are fantastic to use for any event DIY!
The Event Invites and Paper Elements DIY is by Katie Gaines of Love Paper Paint. She is a Southern California Decorative Painter, Muralist and Artist, who also designs gorgeous custom stationery and invitations. In addition to their foodie adventures, Katie’s family (including her creative husband and two artsy boys), are Star Wars & comic-book enthusiasts who dabble in cosplay, love to visit art museums and cultural events, as well as run races and explore San Diego’s many scenic trails and beaches.