how to make fancy invitations

Our little girl has a birthday this week.

She had a darling first birthday party {see more here} with pretty invitations, party hats and goodie bags – but she doesn’t remember any of it. We didn’t do a big party last year and so now that she is three and has best friends {as she loves to say}, throwing her a party is a big deal. She’s only been talking about it since last August.


We’re not going over-the-top, but it will be a little fancy and so of course I had to do something special with her invitations.

I’ll walk you through how I made these and hopefully share a few helpful tips and tools in case you want to make your own sparkly cards.

First, I designed the invitations in Adobe Illustrator using a silhouette I had already created for another project. I have a tutorial for how to create your own right here. It is not exactly how I made this one, but it works. I’m sure there are a million different ways to create a silhouette – I just like having it in digital format so I can re-size and use for multiple projects. Anyway, design the invitations, print on nice card stock and trim {I use this paper trimmer}.


Next, I used glitter paint to fill in the crown.


It takes about an hour to dry completely.

In the meantime, switch out the straight blade on the rotary trimmer for a scalloped one {fun, right?!} and cut backing paper to size.


Besides the paper cutter, my most loved tool is this tape gun. It has rolls of double-sided tape that makes adhering a breeze.



To protect the glitter and mostly because I just love this polka dot tissue paper, I added a piece before inserting into the envelope.





For the label, I created a template {1.5″ x 11″}, printed on full sheet sticker paper, cut into strips and then cut notches in each end for a ribbon look.


The labels make for an extra special presentation.

We’re excited to celebrate our sweet girl!

One more thought: We can get a little carried away with children’s birthday parties. I know I can. Most three-year-olds don’t care much about details like scalloped edges and tissue paper inserts. And the ruffled tablecloth that I spent all day saturday working on? She’ll probably hardly notice. These things are fun for me and so I go for it. She would be perfectly happy eating cupcakes with her friends at the kitchen table – I think most kids would – but instead we throw them themed parties that cost a fortune and feel a bit over-indulgent. Who are we trying to impress? I’ve had to double-check my motives with each of my kids’ birthdays.  We all love a cute party with fun decorations and a perfectly coordinating food table – I think even our kids do. My oldest adores having decorations up for any celebration. I just want to be mindful of the purpose behind it all: to make my birthday girl/boy feel especially celebrated. Hopefully someday Audrey will look back on these invitations and see that through details like scalloped edges and tissue paper inserts was a mommy who truly loved her and wanted to make her third birthday a fancy one.

36 Responses to how to make fancy invitations

  1. katie March 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    I LOVE these invitations…I have twin daughters that will be turning 8 and we are doing a “Royal Tea” for their birthday.

    Can I order these from you, with all of the specifics for their party?



    • emily March 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Thank you for the compliment! I am not currently taking custom orders … so sorry that I can not be of help!

  2. Kristi Jones March 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Beautiful party! I am so guilty of getting caught up in party details and going over the top! They are so much fun!
    I was wondering where you got your awesome tape gun? I need one of those!

  3. Jessica Singletary February 26, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    I absolutely love these! Our little girl turns 2 in 4 months & I definitely want to attempt these invitations! I love the font & the polka dot paper! I do hope you will share the source of the paper soon!

  4. KD Molnar February 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Love these! Please share the name of the font used!
    You are a wealth of inspiration for me as a mom and a graphic designer…i would never delete an email from you…I have to see what you are always up to! Thanks.

  5. tammy February 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    okay, i did NOT know there was a scalloped option for the rotary cutters! knowing that would’ve made my life sooooo much easier this past christmas…. thanks for another great tutorial emily! :)

  6. aprairiegirlincalifornia February 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I think I’ve told you this before ;-). But you really are AWESOME!!! Your style and what you wrote… You just have a lot of ‘depth’ that I admire… Rock on ;-)

  7. Chaney February 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Emily – these are adorable! How fun and fancy :). I’ll have to try your silhouette tutorial too!

  8. Nicole February 20, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Hi! love this! How did you make the address labels? What font are you using?? LOVE!

  9. LIndsay February 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I LOVE these!My daughter Zane turns 2 this summer, and I want to do a “Little Red Balloon” themed birthday party and this has inspired me to create a cute little invitation!!!

    Thanks for doing it again! You always inspire me!

  10. sofia February 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    wow emily! you are seriously amazing!
    I wish I was as creative as you! I love everything you do

  11. Ashley February 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    I’d love to know what font you used!

  12. Nicki Traikos February 19, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    So beautiful Emily!!! x

  13. Tabitha February 19, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    So beautiful! I love how simple and elegant these are! And how lovely is the name Audrey! That’s my second daughters name!! GUSH!

  14. Jenn @ A Simple Haven February 19, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    These are so great! I hear you on the temptation to go over the top with kids’ parties. Sometimes, the simpler, the better. But, I also like what you said about our kids being able to look back on our fancy details and feel special and loved. Because feeling special and loved it what it’s all about anyway!

  15. mary beth/annapolis & company February 19, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Beautiful job, Emily! I am in the beginning stages of learning Illustrator…thanks for taking the time to create a tutorial out of this because it is just darling! And I love your little note at the bottom about remembering birthdays are for our children to feel special, not we moms to get an extra pat on the back. I realized that about myself a year ago, we changed our tune, and we are much less stressed now when birthday time rolls around!

  16. Nimisha February 19, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Love the fonts you use. Would you consider posting about your favourite fonts?

  17. harmony February 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    love these, you are amazing in your talents!

  18. Rachel February 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Absolutely beautiful! Can you tell us what font you used?

  19. Cindy February 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    These are so beautiful and so is your sentiment behind the preparations. I, too, loved creating fun and special birthdays for my daughter (who is now 30). She treasures the memories, and you know what? I loved each and every minute that I was making pretty things for all to enjoy. Keep on showing your love, it is a Momma’s prerogative !!!

  20. Heather February 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Absolutely adorable! Three is a wonderful time for a special celebration!
    I love the way you used a silhouette for a timeless and classy invite!
    What font did you use for her name? It us stunning.

  21. Michele @ Moonfield Lane February 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Oh, these are just darling! Alas, there are no little girls in this family, but I adore pretty invitiations so I think I can adapt some of your tips to fit a boy. Can’t wait to see the party photos!

  22. Jen B February 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Beautiful invitations with such fun details? I too am curious about the hand drawn looking fancy font you used. Is it/will it be for sale in your shop? Thanks!

  23. Jamie February 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I really love the tissue paper detail and the glitter – what great ideas!

  24. Alicia @ La Famille February 18, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    my girl would LOVE these!!

  25. Estela February 18, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Love it!

  26. dawn February 18, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    The funny thing about us throwing those wonderfully themed parties and thinking the kids don’t notice is that they really do notice..and they remember them! My children are grown.. the oldest is about to turn twenty-six and is expecting her first baby in August, and my twins are twenty and are sophomores in college. They can tell you every birthday party theme they ever had and how wonderful each one was. They love the fact that I took the time to have special invitations printed for each party and the time and effort that went into making their parties special for them and their friends. I can remember one year when we did the tea party theme at a fancy little shop in Mtn. Brook and had Mary Poppins (she was from a local theater group in Birmingham) come in full costume and character,,,the little girls, who were all seven, watched in amazement as she walked down the sidewalk with her umbrella and carpet bag…One dad asked me how I would top that the next year…I told him I had tons of ideas! In fact, I did that party with the same Mary Poppins for both of my girls for their seventh birthday. The boy twin was a little harder to come up with cute ideas for once he got older and had separate parties. So you just keep doing those special things for your little one. They grow up so fast!! I don’t regret a penny I spent or how many nights I stayed up til all hours of the night to make everything perfect…And now I get to start over again with a Grandbaby!!

  27. camille February 18, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    I especially love the address labels. Simple and elegant!

  28. Ashley @ Dirt Stains and Paint February 18, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    These are SO cute Emily! Of course I love the glitter, but the reality of those making an appearance in my household at this point is slim, but I LOOOVVEEE the “ribbon” labels on the outside. Those def make them extra fancy. :)

  29. Anja February 18, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    I just love these invites – they are so pretty and elegant! =) The polka dot paper and the awesome labels are to die for!

  30. Dana February 18, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    I appreciate going to parties where attention was paid to every single detail. I say, if it’s your talent then you’re obligated to share it with others! ;) I really hope you’ll share pictures from the party too. Precious!

  31. Jen February 18, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    I love the final thoughts that you wrote. I “check” myself often…

    What I constantly ask myself when I’m creating something, small or elaborate, is “are you enjoying this?” If I cannot answer yes to that simple question, I know it’s time to walk away from it, scale down, order it from someone, etc. My children are 1 and almost 4, they CERTAINLY don’t have much preference on their birthday parties yet, but I really, truly enjoy creating for them…which is why I put so much work into it. BUT, the very moment it actually becomes work/chore, I’m not doing it anymore or, rather, I’m doing it differently. Does that make sense? haha

    Either way, I LOVE the invites you created for your Miss Audrey girl, they are simply adorable.

  32. Emily H. February 18, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Those are adorable!

  33. Kristel February 18, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Audrey’s invitations turned out so pretty. How special she must feel to have a mommy that takes the time to be so creative with her invitations. I think I will try to make similar ones for my daughter’s birthday.

  34. amelia February 18, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    So lovely! Would you share what font you used for the invitation?


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