Getting your invitation templates printed can be a breeze if you know exactly what you want. The hardest part of making your own invitations is probably finding a design template you love!
Did you know making your own wedding invitations is as easy as emailing your completed PDF files to a printery and letting them handle all the technical stuff? They will have a range of paper stocks for you to choose from and can often recommend a paper stock they think complements the design.
PRINTING ON SPECIALTY PAPER
From personal experience, I highly advise leaving all the printing to the professionals. Why? Because as attractive as it is to save a few dollars and buy your own paper and print at work or home, without any prior print knowledge it can turn out to be a costly nightmare - especially for the thicker paper stock. If there's a specific paper stock that you want your invitations printed on, an option is to approach your chosen printery and ask if they can print your design on it. Bring in a few sample sheets and your files to do a test run before buying the whole lot of specialty paper. It's also a good idea to ask them how many sheets you will need to buy to cover your project.
Ok so let's get into the basics of understanding paper!
PAPER TERMINOLOGY 101
Grammage or GSM: This is the term used to describe the weight of paper. GSM stands for 'Grams per Square Metre'. Have you ever tried to describe a certain thickness of paper and had to resort to saying "that nice thick paper"? Don't worry, you're not alone. The general rule is that the higher the grammage, the heavier the paper. However some paper stocks may have a high grammage but are thinner than others with lower grammage - it all depends on the structure of paper. A normal sheet of office copy paper is about 80GSM and invitations are usually printed on 300-350GSM.
Uncoated paper: This is a more porous, grainier and absorbent type of paper due to it not having an external coating over it. These have the textures of something you can write on such as notebook pages and sketchbooks. Think handmade paper, cotton paper and brown kraft. If you're looking for a more natural, raw and handmade paper stock then uncoated is the way to go. Colours printed on uncoated paper may appear slightly dull as the ink is absorbed into the fibres.
Coated paper: If you're after something glossy, matte or silky, it's definitely coated paper. A layer of wax-like coating is applied to the paper during the manufacturing process to give it that shiny smooth look. Colours appear a lot brighter on coated paper as the ink sits on top of the coating unlike uncoated paper which absorbs the ink. Examples of coated paper include glossy brochures, matte magazine covers and shiny stickers.
SPECIALTY PAPER SIZES
When you get your invitations printed by a printery, the usual size of the paper that they print on is called SRA3 which is slightly larger than A3. Multiple copies of the invite are arranged on this sheet and gets cut to the desired size after printing. It is virtually impossible for a printer to print right to the edge of a sheet, which is why when you print something at home or the office, there is always a white border around your design no matter how many times you try to get rid of it. Even worse is when it cuts off parts of your design!
Some specialty paper stock don't come in SRA3 or are only available wholesale. The most common sizes that specialty paper come in are A4 and A3. The best way to figure out how many sheets you will need is to ask your printery how they layout the files and calculate accordingly.
ONLINE SPECIALTY PAPER PRINTERIES
If you're looking for specialty paper and envelopes for your invitations or stationery including coloured card, textured card and coloured envelopes, look no further than Peterkin Printery in Perth. Their printery can print almost everything in your wildest dreams like foiling, letterpress, white ink printing and printing on envelopes. The prices are all online so you can place an order instantly.
Papermarc is a printery and boutique paper retailer in Hawthorn, Victoria. They offer various printing services including thermography (raised print), letterpress, foiling, embossing, digital printing including white ink printing and offset printing. You can visit them in-store or email your enquiry for a quote for your job. Unsure which paper to use with your template? Papermarc can give you advice on what paper is best for the design.
Although they don't have a huge amount of specialty paper, Officeworks have a decent range including linen, brown kraft, satin and recycled paper stocks. They have all the standard sizes available and you simply upload your design onto their website to place an order.
Local Print Shops
It's worth having a wander down to your local print shops and asking if they print invitations and what stock they carry. More often than not, print shops will carry a range of specialty papers specifically for invitation printing. To see a more comprehensive list of recommended printers click here.