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Design

How to Create a Laser-Cut Wedding Invitation in Illustrator and InDesign

This post is part of a series called How to Create a Wedding Invite.
How to Create a Watercolor Wedding Invitation in Adobe InDesign
10 Creative Ways to Design Your 'Save the Date' Cards
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

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. 

Looking for more wedding invite ideas? Browse a huge range of designs, from minimal modern designs to traditional styles, over at Envato Market.

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:

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...

final open invite

... and a lace-bordered outer card that has four flaps that fold over the square invite inside. 

final closed invite

We’ll begin by creating the laser-cut lace design in Adobe Illustrator.

Step 1

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.

red markers

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.

squares

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. 

minus front

This will get rid of both the square and the area of the border sitting behind. Repeat for the other square.

trimmed vector
trimmed vector

Step 2

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.

new document

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.

guides

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a Black square 155.238 mm in diameter, and position it centrally on the artboard.

black square

Step 3

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.

pasted vector

Paste again, and then Right-Click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) > Transform > Reflect. Choose Flip Vertical from the options and click OK

reflect

Position along the bottom edge of the square.

position

Select both lace borders and Copy, Paste. 

transform rotate

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.

rotated

Step 4

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. 

unite shape mode

Illustrator will pull all the elements together to create one whole shape.

united 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

Step 1

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

new document window

Click OK.

new document

Step 2

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.

navy blue swatch

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.

layer name

Step 3

Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. Rename the layer LASER CUT - Lace.

layer name

Edit > Paste to drop the lace vector onto the page. Center it if needed.

pasted vector

Step 4

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.

cyan spot color

Select the lace vector, set the Fill Color to [None] and the Stroke Color to 100% CYAN.

cyan swatch

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.

folded card

Step 1

Remaining in your InDesign document, create a new layer and rename it PERFORATION LINE - DO NOT PRINT. 

perforation line

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.

magenta swatch

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.

magenta square
magenta square final

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.

final open invite

Step 1

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.

page tool

Step 2

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.

swatch ivory

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.

ivory fill

Step 3

Lock the Background layer and create a new layer called Typography. Drag it up to sit at the top of the layer sequence.

layer options

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.

guide

Step 4

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.

name on invite

Copy and Paste the text frame twice, editing the text to read ‘&’ and ‘Name 2’. 

adorabelle font

Step 5

Add a text frame towards the top of the card, reading ‘Dear’, set in Adobe Caslon Pro Italic, Size 10 pt, Tracking 50.

adobe caslon

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.

stroke panel

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.

adobe caslon

Step 6

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.

davys glyph

Go to Type > Create Outlines to transform it into a scalable vector. 

create outlines

Make it nice and small, and position below the ‘would be delighted...’ line of text.

vector

Step 7

Continue to build up text on the page with new text frames. Set the date and year in Adobe Caslon Bold Italic and Italic

date text

Then choose another Davys glyph, a longer divider style, and Type > Create Outlines

border glyph

Position between text frames containing the date and location.

Don’t forget to add an RSVP note at the bottom of the page.

text frame RSVP

Step 8

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.

glyph
swatch grey

Position in the bottom-left corner of the page.

glyph in corner

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.

completed insert

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.

Step 1

Go to File > Export. Name the file ‘Artwork for Printing_Lace Section’, and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu.

export pdf

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.

preset

Under the Marks and Bleeds menu, check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings

marks and bleed

Then click Export to create the PDF.

exported pdf

Step 2

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.

export

Then choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu, and set the Page Range to 3.

press quality

Under Marks and Bleeds, check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export

marks and bleed
exported pdf

Great work! Your invite is finished and ready for printing.

Conclusion

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!

final design

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.

Still on the hunt for that elusive perfect invitation template? Take the time to browse a huge range of cool styles on Envato Market.

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