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How to Create an Alice in Wonderland Inspired Afternoon Tea Invite in Adobe InDesign

This post is part of a series called Alice in Wonderland Week.
How to Create a Wonderland Photo Manipulation With Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Furry Cheshire Cat Inspired Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Anyone for tea? This cute and quirky two-part invite won’t fail to make your friends smile! 

Inspired by the Mad Hatter’s infamous tea party ritual, this invite would work really well for vintage- or Alice-themed events. 

In this tutorial suitable for beginner to intermediate InDesign users, we’ll create the layout in InDesign and dip into Illustrator briefly to edit vector graphics for the design.

Looking for a different style of invite for your next event? You can find a huge range of easy-to-edit invite templates over on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

final invite

What You’ll Need to Create Your Invite

You’ll need to download the following graphics and font files to create the design pictured here:

Make sure to save your images to a safe folder and install the fonts on your computer.

1. How to Create a Teapot Backdrop for Your Invite

Step 1

Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document. 

Set the Width of the page to 7.895 in and Height to 5.5 in. Uncheck Facing Pages.

Add a Bleed of 0.25 in to all edges of the page and click Create.

new document custom

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1. Rename it Background and click OK.

Create three more new layers in this order: Teapot, Frame, and finally Type at the top of the sequence.

layer options

Lock all the layers except Teapot, which we’ll work on first.

teapot layer

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and click on New Color Swatch in the panel’s main drop-down menu (at top-right). 

Name the swatch Soft White, and set the Type to Process and Mode to CMYK. Set the levels below to C=1 M=1 Y=2 K=0, and then click Add and OK.

Repeat the process to create three more CMYK swatches with the following names and values:

  • Green: C=81 M=31 Y=100 K=21
  • Bright Red: C=8 M=100 Y=78 K=0
  • Off-Black: C=77 M=74 Y=58 K=83
swatch options

Step 4

Briefly minimize, but don’t close, the InDesign window. 

Open the teapot vector set in Adobe Illustrator, and isolate the teapot at the far left of the second row. Delete the floral pattern on the teapot, so you have only the silhouette remaining.

Select both the main teapot and the teapot’s lid with your mouse, and open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). Click Unite.

pathfinder unite

With the shape united, select it and head up to Edit > Copy. Then minimize the Illustrator window.

united shape

Step 5

Head back to your InDesign document and Edit > Paste to drop the vector directly onto the Teapot layer.

Scale the teapot so that it fills the page neatly, taking it up to the trim edge of the page on all sides.

pasted shape

From the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) ensure the Stroke and Fill Color of the vector is set to [None].

Then, with the teapot selected, go to File > Place. Navigate to the image of yellow and red flowers and click Open, allowing it to fill the teapot completely. 

Extend the image up to the bleed edge (indicated by the bounding box highlighted).

fill with image

Step 6

Set your cursor inside the teapot to select the flower image directly (a circular symbol will appear in the middle of the image), and Edit > Copy.

copied image

Click anywhere else on the page to deselect the teapot, and Edit > Paste in Place. 

When you expand the Teapot layer, you’ll now see two copies of the image, with the larger version at the top. 

pasted image

Unlock the Background layer, and drag the top flower image down, dropping it into this layer. This creates a seamless backdrop for the design and allows for any trimming errors to be minimised.

layers expanded

2. How to Create a Cute Frame for the Type on Your Invite

Step 1

Lock and switch off the visibility of the Background layer, and unlock the Frame layer. 

frame layer

Open the vector frames set in Illustrator. Identify the frame on the second row down, second left along. 

Select it and Edit > Copy.

frame vector

Head back to InDesign and Edit > Paste, dropping it onto the Frame layer. From the Swatches panel, adjust the Fill to Soft White and position the frame centrally on the teapot.

When you’re happy with the position and size of the frame, Edit > Copy it. We’ll use this later.

pasted frame

Step 2

With the frame selected, head up to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow. 

Bring the Opacity down to around 70% and add about 5% Noise, before clicking OK

drop shadow

Edit > Paste a second frame on top of the first, scale it down slightly, and position it inside the edge of the original as shown below. Set the Fill to [None] and Stroke Color to Green.

green stroke

From the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), increase the Weight of the frame’s stroke to 5 pt, and choose Thick-Thick from the Type menu in the panel. 

thick thick stroke

3. How to Format Quirky Typography on Your Invite

Step 1

Lock the Frame layer and unlock the layer above, Type.

Take the Type Tool (T) and drag across the frame, centering it towards the top. 

Type in ‘You’re invited to the’ and from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Herbert Lemuel Sans, Size 10 pt, and text to Align Center

Set the Font Color to Green from the Swatches panel.

herbert lemuel font

Step 2

Create a second text frame below, typing in ‘MAD HATTER’S’ and setting the Font to Herbert Lemuel Dots, Size 15 pt, and Font Color to Bright Red.

mad hatters text

Copy and Paste the text frame below, adjusting the text to read ‘TEA PARTY’, increasing the Font Size to 29 pt and adjusting the Font Color to Off-Black. 

tea party text

Add more text frames below this, typing in:

‘Please don’t be late for this very important date:’

‘[Date] at [time]’


Set the Font to a mix of Herbert Lemuel Regular, Sans, and Dots, and use Green and Bright Red for the Font Colors.

remaining text

4. How to Create the Other Part of Your Invite

Note: If you’re printing your invite from a home printer, you may find it easier to create two separate parts to your invite (as I've done here), as lining up home or office printers for two-sided printing can be tricky. Even if you’re going to print the invite professionally, you may want to provide it as two pieces. To do this, you can follow the steps below as they are.

However, if you’re going to print your invite professionally and want to create a double-sided invite, you will need to observe the following steps, but make sure to FLIP the teapot for the reverse side horizontally. I’ll flag up when you should do this below.

Step 1

With the first part of your invite finished, you can either keep this as it is and skip forward to Step 5.1, or create another part or side of your invite if you like.

To do this, expand the Pages panel (Window > Pages) and drag the Page 1 icon down onto the Create New Page button at the bottom of the panel, to duplicate it. 

duplicate page

Step 2

Switch off the visibility of all layers except Teapot. File > Place the vintage flowers image into the teapot, extending the edge of the image up to the bleed, as we did earlier.

replace image

Select the flower image inside the teapot directly and Edit > Copy it. Click outside of the teapot and Edit > Paste in Place. 

Then move this pasted flower image onto the Background layer below*.

background layer

If you want to create a double-sided invite (rather than two separate invites), here you should unlock both the Teapot and Background layers. Select all elements on these layers (on Page 2) and Right-Click > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Move them back into a central position on the page. 

Step 3

Lock the Background and Teapot layers, and unlock the Frame layer. 

Adjust the Fill of the frame at the back to Off-Black. 

frame in black

Step 4

Unlock the Type layer at the top, and adjust the text here to read more details about the event, such as dress code, directions to the venue, or RSVP details.

Set the Font Color to Soft White for contrast.

white text

5. How to Set Up Your Invite for Laser Cutting

To achieve that lovely teapot shape in your final invite, you’ll have to set up your artwork with a die line. This is not too tricky to do!

Step 1

Scrolling up to Page 1, unlock the Teapot layer and select the teapot shape. Edit > Copy it.


Edit > Paste in Place the teapot, and expand the Teapot layer to identify this pasted copy.

Create a new layer in the Layers panel at the top of the layers sequence, calling it DIE-LINE

die line layer

Drag the top teapot shape into this layer, and lock the Teapot layer afterwards.

die line layer

Step 2

Remove the image from the teapot shape, leaving a blank vector shape behind.

remove image

From the Swatches panel, choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu. 

new color swatch

Name the swatch DIE LINE MAGENTA, and set the Color Type to Spot. Set the levels to 100% Magenta, and click Add and then OK. 

die line magenta

Apply this new swatch to the Stroke of the teapot shape. 

die line magenta

Step 3

With the teapot shape selected, go to Window > Output > Attributes. 

Check the Overprint Stroke and, if available, the Nonprinting box.

attributes panel

Step 4

Select the teapot, and Edit > Copy it. 

Scroll down to Page 2 (if you have created a second part to the invite) and Edit > Paste in Place*.

paste in place

For a double-sided invite, you will also have to flip the die line, by Right-Clicking > Transform > Flip Horizontal, and moving into the correct position. 

6. How to Export Your Invite

Step 1

Make sure all the layers in your InDesign document are visible*.

visible layers

Then head up to File > Export. Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu at the bottom, and click Save

adobe pdf print

Set the Adobe PDF Preset at the top to PDF/X-1A:2001, which is the best preset for exporting die lines.

export pds

Some printers will prefer to work with a separate die line document, so make sure to check their preferences before you export your file.

Step 2

Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu. 

Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. 

use bleed settings

Then you’re ready to click Export, and create your ready-to-print file! Great job!

pdf exported

Conclusion: Your Finished Invite

Your Alice-themed invitation is finished and ready for printing. Awesome work! 

final invitation

In this tutorial we've covered tons of useful skills for applying to print design and invite design. 

Looking for more invite designs? A template is always a good place to start. You can find tons of easy-to-edit invite templates over on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

If you're hungry for more tutorials which use die lines to create cool print shapes, make sure to check these out:

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