I love, love, love to read. I do teach Language Arts, after all! Brandon likes to read too, and in fact we usually read a book together (right now it is “The Stand” by Stephen King; we started it this summer and still have not finished, unfortunately!). When on vacation, I read more than usual. During our two-week “engagement” trip in Mexico, I probably went through ten books. And I am planning on doing a lot of lying on the beach reading during our destination wedding trip as well.
Since we love to read so much, and since some other family members share that love (notably, Brandon’s mom, who goes through books at an alarmingly fast pace!), I wanted to incorporate books somehow into the wedding. So I decided on a simple DIY project to add to the OOT (out of town) bags our guests will be receiving prior to departure. Each couple will get a bag, but there will be a bookmark for each person as part of the gift.
These were really easy to make. I found a few clip art images that I liked; palm trees, a couple of beach chairs, and flip flops (which I adore) and starfish (a recurring motif throughout the wedding). I opened these up in Word, added text to each picture, and was ready to print.
The big packs of shades of blue paper from Michaels has this great greenish colour in it… which I never use, since our colours are shades of blue and coral, and this is just too green. So I decided to use a few sheets for this project. The paper is pretty reasonable, and I know I bought it with a 40% off coupon, which comes out with pretty much every Michaels flyer (or you can download the free app for smartphones). That was my only expense, and that expense was actually for another project; as I said, this was using up leftover paper.
Anyway, I printed the images onto this paper. I made them a little smaller so all five would fit on one page. Less paper, less ink, less waste.
Then they needed to be trimmed.
I stamped the backs with a personalized stamp Brandon’s dad gave us that he made using a “free stamp” coupon from Vistaprint. Love Vistaprint. If you wanted to keep it really simple, you could stop at this step.
Okay, now I decided to laminate the bookmarks. For free. That’s right, free. Want to know how I managed that one? I hope so, because I am about to tell you. Clear packing tape. Yes. That roll you have buried somewhere in a drawer will totally work for this. It won’t work so well for larger items, since there would be the lines from the tape’s edges, but for smaller things it will. Like this!
Simply lay the bookmark flat, pull out a strip of tape, and CAREFULLY lower down, trying to contact the middle first. Then smooth from the middle out to the edges, and repeat on the opposite side. Then trim up the tape edges, and there you have it; free lamination.
I decided to finish them up by hole-punching the top of each, and using some old hemp (many years old, actually) and ribbon (I think this may have been a hand-me-down spool from my grandma when she cleaned out her craft bins; regardless, old and free).
I did run out of the ribbon when I only had a few left, but I was not bothered about this; I just used some blue hemp (again, years old) along with the regular hemp. I decided to add a tiny drop of hot glue to keep the ribbon in place, but this probably isn’t necessary.
So there you have it. I now have small stacks of 5 different homemade bookmarks. I like them; the colour comes through a little but is muted and gives a hint of the blue more than green I think. They look a little vintage, even, which I love. It is a simple item to toss into my guests’ bags, a souvenir, and something useful all at once. It could also be a good favour for your wedding, or a general gift idea to go with a book. I followed a similar procedure to “make” luggage tags for all of our guests, as well.
Could you buy bookmarks for cheap or pay to get them laminated? Sure. But I like DIY, and now they are personalized, and I did not pay a cent. Even if they were 50 cents each, that would be $10 I would not need to spend. It does take a bit of time, but worth it in my opinion, since I enjoy it! Happy planning!
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.