Monday, February 25, 2013

Fan Me Down

For some strange reason that I can no longer fathom, I decided that I would make our wedding programs myself. I contemplated not sharing this post until after the wedding to avoid spoiling what you'll see if you come, but hey, this way you'll just know the process I went through to make them! 

I'm not sure where I found this inspiration image, but I liked that they were fans (rather than books), were graphic, and had a little color on them. 

First up was to design the program in Photoshop. I actually did this last Spring before I had any idea I'd ever blog, so all I have to show you as far as the design process is the final product. I can say that it was a lot like designing the recipe art I made. It just took finding cute fonts from and lots and lots of trial and error of placement, size, etc.

The front of the program.

 And the back.

Then I went to Kinko's and got two printed per page, making them 5.5 square inches each (adding up to 11" wide so they would fit a regular sheet of cardstock perfectly). A word of warning: do not go to Kinko's. I've been at least 15 times in the past month getting various things printed for the wedding, and I have had a terrible experience every single time. Seriously, something always goes wrong, and not just a little wrong. John, who is much more patient and even-keeled than I am, can attest to Kinko's sucking. The final product is usually good (...usually), but the process of getting there is so far beyond painful.

Anyway, once I got all 360 sheets home, I had to cut them. It was really important that I cut them exactly in half so that the front and back would match up perfectly. I used my mom's old school tried and true paper cutter. First I trimmed off the excess at the bottom.

I put a little piece of tape to help me remember exactly where to put the edge of my paper.

Then I chopped them in half.

Many many cuts later (720 to be exact), I had a stack to work with.

I decided I wanted to round the corners to make them look a little more finished, so I picked up a corner rounder at JoAnn's and was a little skeptical about how well it would work. It has little white guides that help you place the paper in the right spot, and then you push the little lever.

It actually worked really well!

2,880 corners (4 for the front and 4 for the back of each program) and some serious tendonitis later, I was ready to start assembling.

I got hot glue to attach the stick, and an adhesive applicator to stick the two sides together.

First I put the stick on the back. I was a little nervous that you'd be able to see the lumpy glue through the paper, but I just made sure to press it down with the flat table underneath to make sure it was nice and smooth.

I marked each stick with a little line to make sure I glued them in roughly the same spot every time (see the little black line on the stick near the edge of the paper?). I put the line higher than where I actually wanted to glue it so it wouldn't be visible after the program is assembled.

Next I applied a strip of adhesive in each corner, then stuck the two sides together. It's clear adhesive... so you can't really see it.

Ta da!

Now, you may have realized that I skipped putting a colorful piece of paper between the two sides like my inspiration programs had. I decided to add color another way, because cutting all of that extra paper and rounding the corners seemed like it would take a lot more time. I decided to add ribbon instead... which may have taken even more time than the paper would have. Live and learn, right?

I had to go to Hobby Lobby 6 times over the course of the past month to get enough teal ribbon to tie at the top of each stick.  I cut 360 pieces of 12" ribbon and marked the half way point to make sure I'd glue them in the right spot.

After I got them all glued on, I decided I was too tired to tie bows and that they looked nice enough with the ribbon just hanging down.

Just kidding. Come on, I hope you didn't believe that. Next I tied about 200 bows, and then decided I was too tired to tie any more. Luckily, my mom offered to finish them up for me. Thank you thank you, mom!

Now that the programs are all done, I can't decide if I wish I had just had them made professionally or not. This was a crazy amount of work (probably around 30+ hours worth when you add it all up), but it did save us money that I was able to put towards other things. This is just a good DIY lesson that I've mentioned before: never forget that doing something yourself just about always makes you appreciate why things cost what they cost. After you've sacrificed a ton of time (and often sanity), you realize that you could have just swiped a credit card and had the item magically appear. Sometimes it's worth it, and sometimes it's not.

In the end I do think I'm glad I did them myself, but wowza I am super glad to be done with these. I hope that anyone reading this that comes to the wedding will treasure their program until the end of time. Take it home. Frame it. Worship it.

Have any of you spent a crazy amount of time and/or money on a DIY project only to later wish you had just paid for someone else to do it for you?


  1. Those look amazing. The bows look way better than the colored paper too!

    1. Thank you thank you! I think it's cuter and less stuff that way :)

  2. You totally had me with the ribbon on the fans. I really thought you had left them untied until I scrolled down. I can't wait to fan myself and then later frame one of these beauties.

    As for a craft I spent way too long on. I saw on Pinterest a pin of this thick wool scarf so I decided to use my knitting skills and make myself one over winter break. However due to the width and the fact that I wanted the scarf to be an infinity scarf with enough length to go around my neck twice, it took me all of break and well into January. I even gave myself a migraine working on it...whoops. Then when I finally finished it, the scarf felt really heavy, it felt like I was suffocating. However my neck has gotten used to the weight and all the time was worth it because I love the way it looks and all the compliments and requests I've gotten for more.

    1. First, I'm proud that I fooled you.

      Second, that is an awesome story. Text me a picture? I want to see! I bet it's gorgeous, and I bet your muscular neck is hawt ;)

      When are you coming home next? Any time before the wedding?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.