Saturday, January 16, 2016

DIY Save the Date Display

Easy DIY save the date display! All you need for this perfect lettering is acrylic paint, a paintbrush, and a ballpoint pen!

Saturday Crafternoons is back with a vengeance, and from now until August, it will be all wedding crafts, all the time! That's right, ladies and gentleman, Dan and I are officially off the market. Last May, he got down on one knee and popped the big question, and you can bet your bottom dollar I said yes!

Our very first DIT (do-it-together) project was this save the date sign, which we subsequently carried all around my tiny hometown in North Carolina, taking pictures of ourselves. We wanted to make something generic enough to use as wedding decor, but specific enough to serve as our save the date. With something of a farmer's market theme to our impending nuptials, we thought this would set just the right tone.

This will be a post of many words, but few pictures. Though I swear I took more pictures of the process, I can only find a few of them! Bear with my verbal descriptions this time around, and I promise plentiful visual documentation in future posts.

What you'll need: 
  • large piece of plywood (the softer the wood, the better)
  • printer and paper
  • ballpoint pen
  • acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • wood stain (optional)
  • lots and lots of elbow grease (not optional)

DIY save the date display // Step 2

Step 1 (optional): Stain your plywood using any type of wood stain under the sun. I stained this piece of plywood twice with a Minwax stain called English Chestnut 233. A word to those who've never used wood stain: it ended up looking nothing like the color pictured on the can, and all three pieces of wood I stained that day (with the same stain!) all turned out to be different colors. Apparently different woods take stain differently. Who knew? Not me!

Step 2: Print out your text, and place it where you want the paint to go. I used some tape, just to ensure that the text didn't move in the process, but if you're careful, you could skate by without it.

DIY save the date display // Step 3

Step 3: Use a ballpoint pen to trace each letter. And by trace each letter, I mean dig that ballpoint pen into the paper with all the elbow grease you can muster, until your hand feels like it's going to fall off. (At this point, trade places with your fiancé and let him/her take over!)

Step 4:  Lift the paper carefully to check your work. In the right light--if you've used enough elbow grease--you should be able to see a faint indentation of each letter in the wood. Fill in any gaps you may have missed with pencil, or go over your letters a second time, if needed.

Step 5: Use a small-sized flat paintbrush to "trace" the outlines of your letters, and use a larger paintbrush to fill in each letter.

DIY save the date display // Step 5

Step 5: Photograph it, edit it, and ship it off the to printers! We printed our bad boys onto 5x7 postcards via my favorite printing site, VistaPrint. A few words to the wise here:

1.) I highly recommend VistaPrint, but never pay full price! They're almost always having 40% and 50% off marketing materials. We've printed 50 postcards in the past for as little as $12! (Until January 26, everything on VistaPrint is 50% off with the code "SAVEBIG"!

2.) Keep in mind that number of guests is not equivalent to the number of postcards you'll need. Account for one card per couple/family when calculating how many to order.

3.) 4x6 postcards can be sent with a postcard stamp (currently 35 cents/stamp), but 5x7 postcards require a letter stamp (currently 49 cents/stamp). The extra impact and detail of a larger postcard was worth the extra cost for us, but this would be an easy way to cut corners if you're on a tight budget.

DIY save the date sign

Confession time: we still haven't painted a lettuce onto our sign! Though Dan plans to paint one on sometime before the wedding, I just Photoshopped this particular lettuce smack in the middle there (which probably seems so obvious now that you know, right?). To be honest, you could probably get away with taking a photo in front of a blank piece of wood and Photoshop the whole darn thing!

Easy DIY save the date display! All you need for this perfect lettering is acrylic paint, a paintbrush, and a ballpoint pen!


  1. That's really cute, but you do realise that's a cabbage and not lettuce, right?

    1. Great eye! Yes, my veggie aficionado fiancé gave me a hard time about picking a cabbage, but I figured 95% of people wouldn't know the difference! There will be an illustration of actual lettuce for the real deal/big day. :)