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Personalized Wedding Thank You Cards!

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In a recent issue of the CardMaker update we discussed wedding and shower cards. As the summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the first day of summer. Because summer is one of the most popular times of the year for weddings, it is only fitting that we should discuss wedding thank you cards in this issue!

There is that quote that says, "It a takes a village to raise a child"; well, the same can be said for weddings -- it takes a village to plan and implement a wedding. Aside from the honored guests and wedding party, there are usually a multitude of people who play a role in making this day extraordinary and who deserve heartfelt thanks! Some of these people may include the wedding planner, the officiate, the florist, the cake decorator, the caterer, the seamstress, the disc jockey, the printer and even dear old Mom and Dad. You will surely want to include them on your thank you list!

So let's discuss how to create simple one-of-a-kind wedding thank you notes and cards with a focus on words and a few watercolor effects. Words are one of the first things that come to mind when I think of thank you notes and cards. There are many methods of putting words on paper, such as by hand, computer-generated, embossing and die templates and, of course, stamps. No matter which method you choose, it is always nice to reserve a small section in order to include a few handwritten words. So how does one go about customizing or personalizing these special cards?

If stamping is your preference, a great way to personalize a card is to create your own stamp. This allows you to create it just the way you want it. The stamp may be made up entirely of words of appreciation, or, perhaps, a favorite quotation or a photo. Or you may wish to use a combination of words with an image accent.

Our very own Tanya Fox (executive editor of CardMaker magazine) did exactly that for the recent newlyweds in her family. Accompanied by her youngest daughter, Audra, who is 10 years old, they set out on this creative journey. The first step was to create their custom stamp. They accomplished this through a company called Design Your Mark (DYM), which allows the designer/customer the ability to make, modify and order the stamp, all online. The stamps are clear photopolymer stamps available in a 3-inch square sheet or 4 x 6-inch sheet. You can put as many words or images on a sheet as you desire; just remember to leave space to allow for trimming around the images, which the customer completes upon receiving the stamp. I encourage you to take a peek for yourself and visit the website for Design Your Mark to explore your options.

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Stamp by Design Your Mark

Now that we have the stamp, let's get going on making the card! Since Tanya and Audra chose to add some watercolor touches to their thank you cards, it was important for them to use the correct ink, as it is for every project. To get the best look, an ink that would not smear once the watercolor was applied was needed. They chose to use Memento ink, which, oddly enough, is a water-based ink. Tanya relayed to me that they just allowed their stamped pieces to air-dry, and it worked great! Please note, however, that the manufacturer does state that the product is water-resistant once it is heat set. Memento ink is known to be great for use when using alcohol-base markers however with too much water it may smear. It might be wise to do a test piece first. My preference of ink for use with watercolor techniques is Ranger Archival ink which is waterproof and permanent on matte and glossy papers; however, it should be heat-set on glossy papers.

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Audra in action

After you have chosen the correct ink for the project, have stamped the image onto watercolor paper, and have heat-set the ink with a heat tool, then it's time to add a bit of color. A watercolor pencil, paired with an aqua brush is the medium of choice. There are a couple of methods that may be used here. One way is to use a plastic lid as a palette, and then to scribble color from the watercolor pencil and apply the aqua brush to this. Continue to add water and mix the color to the desired shade and thickness using the aqua brush. Then just color in the image. Another method is to apply color directly to the image using a watercolor pencil and then blend using the aqua brush. It is also possible to pick up color directly from the pencil tip using the aqua brush or a paintbrush. To accent words, a fun watercolor effect is to create a brushstroke wash by picking up color from your palette or pencil, and then washing over the text with the aqua brush.

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Once the watercolor panel is dry, either let it air dry or heat-set it with a heat tool. Next layer it on a solid panel and then on a printed paper panel. The final step is to attach it to the card front.

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Project 1 designed by Tanya & Audra

I know some of us, including myself, often work at the last minute to finish up some projects. In case this is your situation, and you do not have time to order a custom stamp but would still like to personalize your thank you card, we have two additional inspiration projects for you.

Project 2 is a great way to add a personal touch using die-cut initials of the bride and groom. The words on this card have been stamped multiple times with Ranger black archival ink. After the words have been stamped multiple times filling the 3-inch square of watercolor paper, heat-set the ink using a heat tool. The background has been created by scribbling Tombow brush markers in the desired colors onto an acrylic block that is larger than the word panel. Lightly mist it with water and then stamp repeatedly onto the word-stamped watercolor panel. Continue until the desired effect is achieved. Prior to final assembly, dry the panel using a heat tool.

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Project 2 by Sharon M. Reinhart

Our third inspiration piece continues the theme with a watercolor background and a collage effect of various elements to personalize the thank you card. This watercolor background has been created by tracing various size circles onto watercolor paper using three different colors of Tombow markers. The panel is then misted with water, allowing the colored circles to feather out. Dry the panel using a heat tool and finish the panel by stamping it with a splatter stamp and ink. The elements contained on this card consist of a die-cut thank you image, stamped alphabet circles, and a stamped "Mr. & Mrs." banner piece. The words "from the" were created by stamping a word sentiment stamp that said "Hello from the Heart" and trimming out only the desired words. That's another way to get more mileage from your supplies!

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Project 3 by Sharon M. Reinhart

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to customize your thank you cards! I hope you will try some of these techniques and that you have been inspired to create something today!