Handmade Party Invitations Provide Pizzazz

Planning a party requires several steps, the most important of which might be inviting the guests. The standard protocol is sending out invitations to announce the event.

Many people turn to store-bought invitations. However, sometimes these invites fail to capture the mood or the wording a host is hoping for. Homemade invitations can enhance the party with the right theme.

Party invitations that are handmade can be just as attractive as store-bought cards -- or even more so. Plus, guests will recognize the thought and effort put into the invitations, which might just carry over to the festivities. Depending on the items used to fashion the invitations, they also can be less expensive than commercial cards.

When thinking about homemade invitations, consider the theme of the party and the guest or guests of honor. Homemade invitations are ideal for personalization. For example, one can use a picture of the birthday girl or boy or use the favorite colors of the school graduate. An anniversary party invitation can be made more special by showing the couple "then" and "now."

Children's birthday parties and handmade invitations go together quite well. Perhaps the child has a favorite cartoon character or movie star who can be incorporated into the invitations. It will be easier to craft something than search for the perfect mass-produced invitation.

When creating homemade invitations, keep these tips in mind.

* Simple is better. Remember, it will take time to cut, paste and assemble the invitations. Don't spend too many hours creating an invitation that will eventually be thrown away.

* Keep the theme consistent from the invitation through the party decor. If the theme is butterflies, for example, create a butterfly invitation and decorate with delicate paper butterflies and silk flowers.

* Gather materials that may already be on hand to avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Pipe cleaners, scissors, glue, tissue paper, card stock -- these are all items that may already be stored in home craft containers. Buy only what is needed to save money.

* Think about recycled materials. Instead of crafting the invitations from all new materials, think about items around the house that can be turned into invites. For example, why not roll a piece of scrap fabric imprinted with party information into a painted toilet paper tube to serve as the pirate treasure map to a pirate-themed party?

* Get some help. For elaborate invitations, it may be a good idea to set up an assembly line with friends and family so the invitations can be put together in bits and pieces. This will save time, especially when the guest list is long.

* Consider the budget. If a person is spending a lot of money on handmade invitations, it may be more cost-effective to simply purchase pre-made invitations and then embellish them a little.

* Use a home printer. One of the simplest homemade invitations to make is created by using the computer and a printer to make the design. Remember to run a test sheet through the printer beforehand to make sure the invitations are properly aligned before printing on card stock or more expensive paper.

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