Wedding season is upon us! If you’ve been hunting for the perfect invitations, your search may be over. These lace-inspired cards balance vintage-inspired details with a modern layout.
Choosing to DIY your invites gives you complete flexibility over color, typography and style, so it’s a great route to take if you’re looking for something unique for your special day.
Suitable for beginners, this tutorial uses Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign to create the cards. You’ll also need your friendly neighbourhood printer on speed dial to do the laser cutting.
Ready for romance? Great! Let’s dive in...
1. What You’ll Need
You’ll need access to Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign for this tutorial. We’ll walk through the process step-by-step, so this is suitable for beginner-to-intermediate users of the software.
You’ll also need to download the following fonts and images:
- Adorabelle Script
- Davys font
- Adobe Caslon Pro (this should be pre-installed in your Adobe font library)
- Ornamental Lace Frame
Install the fonts and you’re ready to go!
2. Create Your Lace Border
This invitation design is made up of two parts: a simple square card containing the invite text...
... and a lace-bordered outer card that has four flaps that fold over the square invite inside.
We’ll begin by creating the laser-cut lace design in Adobe Illustrator.
Open up your downloaded Ornamental Lace Frame in Adobe Illustrator.
Isolate the top part of the border by going to Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Ungroup and delete the remainder of the vector.
We want to trim this border a little so it will fit onto the invite as a perfect triangle shape. To do this, I’ve marked out where we need to trim the design in red below.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rough square with a Black Fill on the artboard. Allow it to cover the area we want to trim on the left side. Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste the square, positioning on the right side.
Go to Window > Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder window. Select one of the squares plus the lace border sitting behind and click on the Minus Front button from the Shape Modes options.
This will get rid of both the square and the area of the border sitting behind. Repeat for the other square.
Create a new Illustrator document (File > New) that’s 309.846 mm in Width and Height*.
* The measurements here sound very specific, but you’ll end up with an invitation that’s a handy 6.10 inches in diameter when folded.
Make sure the rulers are visible (View > Rulers > Show Rulers), and then drag out guides from the top and left-hand rulers to 154.923 mm to mark the center point of the artboard.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a Black square 155.238 mm in diameter, and position it centrally on the artboard.
Return to your lace border document, select the border, and Copy it.
Head back to your new document and Paste it. Position it so that it runs along the top of the square, and scale so that its top edge just touches the trim edge of the artboard.
Paste again, and then Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Transform > Reflect. Choose Flip Vertical from the options and click OK.
Position along the bottom edge of the square.
Select both lace borders and Copy, Paste.
Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Transform > Rotate. Choose 90°, and then position the pair along the left and right edges of the square.
Make sure all the lace borders are perfectly lined up against the sides of the square so that no gaps, even teeny tiny ones, are visible.
Then select all the lace borders plus the square with your mouse, and click on the Unite button under Shape Modes in the Pathfinder window.
Illustrator will pull all the elements together to create one whole shape.
File > Save As your Illustrator document to keep it safe, and then select the shape and Edit > Copy it. Minimize the Illustrator window.
3. Set Up Your Lace Invite in InDesign
Open up Adobe InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
Keep the Intent set to Print, Number of Pages to 1 and uncheck Facing Pages.
Set the Width and Height to 309.846 mm. Keep the Margins at their default width and add a Bleed of 5 mm.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and click on the New Swatch button at the bottom of the panel. Double-click the swatch to edit it. Set the Mode to CMYK, Type to Process and rename the swatch Navy Blue. Set the levels to C=100 M=86 Y=43 K=46. Click OK.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag across the whole page to create a square. Extend the edges up to the edge of the bleed and set the Fill Color to Navy Blue.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and rename Layer 1 as Background.
Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Rename the layer LASER CUT - Lace.
Edit > Paste to drop the lace vector onto the page. Center it if needed.
Create a new swatch, this time choosing Spot under Color Type, and set the levels to C=100 M=0 Y=0 K=0. Rename the swatch 100% CYAN.
Select the lace vector, set the Fill Color to [None] and the Stroke Color to 100% CYAN.
In the Pages panel, drag the Page 1 icon down onto the Create New Page button to create a duplicate of the page. Page 1 will be the front of your invitation, and Page 2 will be the reverse.
4. Create a Perforation Line
You’ll need to indicate to your printer where you would like your invitation to be folded. To allow the flaps to fold over and meet in the center of the card, the blue card will need to be perforated and folded after printing.
Remaining in your InDesign document, create a new layer and rename it PERFORATION LINE - DO NOT PRINT.
Scroll back up to Page 1 of your document. Create a new swatch, set the Type to Spot, and levels to C=0 M=100 Y=0 K=0. Rename the swatch 100% MAGENTA.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a square 6.10 inches in diameter (155.238 mm). Position centrally on the page, and set the Fill to [None] and Stroke to 100% MAGENTA.
Copy and Edit > Paste in Place the magenta square onto Page 2. This marks out the reverse side of the fold.
5. Create the Typed Insert for Your Invite
The first part of your invitation is complete. Now all that’s left to do is create a typed insert for either placing or glueing inside the lace container.
Remaining in InDesign, click on the Create New Page button at the bottom of the panel.
Select the Page Tool (Shift-P), click onto Page 3 and type in a new Width and Height of 152 mm into the text boxes in the top Controls panel. This is a few millimetres shy of the final folded size, allowing the invite to fit inside the lace envelope nicely.
Create a new CMYK Process swatch, name it Ivory and set the levels to C=9 M=7 Y=8 K=0. Unlock the Background layer.
Create a square using the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag it across the page, up to the edges of the bleed. Set the Fill to Ivory.
Lock the Background layer and create a new layer called Typography. Drag it up to sit at the top of the layer sequence.
With your rulers visible (View > Show Rulers) drag out a guide from the left-hand ruler to 76 mm, to mark out the center point of the page.
Create a new text frame using the Type Tool (T) and position roughly a quarter of the way down the page, on the left side of the guide. Type in ‘Name 1’ and set the Font to Adorabelle, Size 40 pt. Set the Font Color to Navy Blue.
Copy and Paste the text frame twice, editing the text to read ‘&’ and ‘Name 2’.
Add a text frame towards the top of the card, reading ‘Dear’, set in Adobe Caslon Pro Italic, Size 10 pt, Tracking 50.
Then take the Line Tool (\) and hold down Shift, dragging from left to right to create a straight line.
Expand the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke) and set the Weight to 0.5 pt and Type to Japanese Dots.
Add a text frame below the names reading ‘would be delighted if you will join them, their families and dearest friends to celebrate their wedding’, set in Adobe Caslon Italic.
Open up the Glyphs panel (Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs).
Create a new text frame and place your cursor in the frame. From the Character Formatting Controls panel running along the top of the workspace, set the Font to Davys.
From the glyphs that appear in the Glyphs panel, choose this woodcut-style flower and double-click on it to insert it.
Go to Type > Create Outlines to transform it into a scalable vector.
Make it nice and small, and position below the ‘would be delighted...’ line of text.
Continue to build up text on the page with new text frames. Set the date and year in Adobe Caslon Bold Italic and Italic.
Then choose another Davys glyph, a longer divider style, and Type > Create Outlines.
Position between text frames containing the date and location.
Don’t forget to add an RSVP note at the bottom of the page.
As a final flourish, choose this Davys curved glyph and set it in a different text frame. Create Outlines, then create a new CMYK Process swatch, C=9 M=7 Y=8 K=11, and name it Grey. Set the glyph in this swatch.
Position in the bottom-left corner of the page.
Copy and Paste the glyph, using Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Transform > Flip Horizontal and Vertical to create a decorative feature on each corner of the card.
6. Export Your Invitation
Congratulations! Your invitation is finished, and all that’s left to do now is to export it ready for sending off for printing. Different printers might require different export settings for layers that need to be cut or perforated, so make sure to check their preferences first. Below is a general guide that will suit most printers' requirements.
Go to File > Export. Name the file ‘Artwork for Printing_Lace Section’, and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu.
In the Export Adobe PDF window that opens, select [PDF/X-1a:2001] from the Preset menu at the top.
Set the Page Range to 1-2, so just the lace design is exported.
Under the Marks and Bleeds menu, check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings.
Then click Export to create the PDF.
You’ll also need to export your typed insert as a separate PDF. Go to File > Export and name the file ‘Artwork for Printing_Insert’, choosing Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu as before.
Then choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu, and set the Page Range to 3.
Under Marks and Bleeds, check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export.
Great work! Your invite is finished and ready for printing.
Fantastic work—your invites are finished, exported and ready for sending straight off to the printers.
Once printed your cards will be laser cut and folded to create that beautiful, intricate lace design. Your guests are going to be delighted to receive them in the post!
In this tutorial we’ve looked at a number of useful techniques for setting up print artwork for laser-cutting. You now know how to:
- set up vector artwork for laser-cutting in Adobe Illustrator
- edit the artwork in Adobe InDesign and experiment with color and layers to create a gorgeous, professional design
- create an elegant insert for your invite, complete with formal typography and a stylish color scheme
You can customise this invitation design as much as you like. Try switching up the color for a completely different look. Or why not swap the italic serifs for more crisp and modern sans serif typefaces for a city-wedding look? Have fun getting creative with the design—you can make them as special as you like!
I’d love to see your own invite designs—please feel free to share them in the comments below.