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Reader Sarah-Lois asked me to write a post about choosing paper for DIY projects such as programs and invites.

A little lesson about paper for those who don't already know… the higher the weight is (pounds) the thicker and more sturdy the paper is. So a 65lb paper might be good enough for a resume but for your wedding programs you probably want something like 110lb if you are doing a single folded sheet. This is based on what 500 sheets of the paper would weigh, that's how they determine the paper weight.

Also ‘text' is thinner and more flexible than ‘cover,' which is thicker like cardstock. There are also lots of different textures to consider when DIYing… you can get smooth, plain cardstock at Staples for pretty cheap, but if you want a nicer paper like a linen cardstock you might pay a little more.

Another recent purchase- a paper sorter for my desk. I am constantly printing things to check out proofs I've made for clients and pieces to include in my portfolio. I am so glad to have found this at Michael's with my handy dandy coupon I got it for only $15. πŸ™‚

In the sorter are 4 different kinds of paper- on the top is some extra paper I used for my wedding pieces, then a textured linen stock I recently picked up to do some programs for a bride and reader Tosha who is getting married this Friday!, next is plain smooth card stock I got a st staples, and then regular printer paper on the bottom.

Sitting on top of the sorter is my HP C6380 Printer, which I got for free when I went to the Martha Stewart show last fall. πŸ™‚ That's the printer I used to print all of my wedding invites, programs and other paper materials for my wedding. I think it retails for as low as $150 in certain stores and I totally recommend this printer. It's wireless and you can print photos and items of other sizes than 8.5 x 11.

These are the programs I designed and printed for Tosha's wedding- they are printed on 80lb linen stock (the paper shop i went to didn't carry the 100lb) but these worked fabulously. The difference in quality from the plain smooth cardstock is incredible. I'm kind of obsessed with this paper right now. I want to print everything on it! There's just something special about that little bit of texture that makes things really pop. πŸ™‚

If you remember my invites that I made- these were printed and assembled using 3 different pieces of 110 lb metallic cover. I found this paper at Michael's and used it to come up with a prototype and I loved it. Then, I scoured the web to find a way to buy this paper in bulk instead of by the sheet. I found it online at for much less than I would have paid at Michael's. Using a metallic cover or Stardream brand paper adds that little extra something to your design. I absolutely love my invites and the way they turned out and I am still so proud of them to this day. πŸ™‚

Some tips for DIY paper goods:

If you're using a smooth cardstock or metalic cover, I'd recommend using a laser printer if you have access to one. I smudged a few of my invites when I printed them on my inkjet on the smooth surface.

Linen papers and other papers with texture aborb the ink more and don't smudge (or at least that's how it's been in my experience)

Experiment with different papers before purchasing in bulk. You don't want to buy a ton of paper only to find out it doesn't quite work for what you're using it for.

Invest in a bone folder. You can find these at any craft store. It makes scoring and folding things like programs so much easier and look so much nicer!

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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  • Thank you thank you thank you Jessica!!!! You answered my questions perfectly!! This post also saved me the headache of buying the wrong paper and having to go back and purchase another set. πŸ™‚ I think I may be ready to go forward with the DIY stationery.

  • Alicia

    Thanks for this post – very helpful!! And what beautiful invites!

  • Natosha

    I recommend Dennis Paper for all you Nashville brides (8th cash & carry store direct from the paper company).

  • LibbyJames

    great tips, thanks!

  • Tosha B.

    Yay! Love my beautiful programs and the shout out!

  • Thanks for the tips J! I ended up going with 65 lb for my single sheet and was happy with it. Our invites were super simple – yours were gorgeous!

  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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