A homemade gift is more special than a store bought one. With plenty of wedding planning/crafting time, I wanted to make something special for my wedding guests. Also, as a packaging designer I love the physical connection you can have with objects. This was a big driving force into our wedding party favors.
I’m a closet techy-geeky crafter and bought a Cricut machine. I’ve been eyeing them for awhile but figured this would be an appropriate time to get one with making about 100 party favors. What is super cool about the Cricut Explore Air is that you can use .svg files and create your own linework. I’m a very meticulous, vector nerd SO the possibilities are pretty endless with creating your own artwork using Adobe Illustrator and not being limited to any cutting cartridges.
This tutorial by Lia Griffith won me over. Also, I love the idea of mixing and matching various colors/patterns. BHLDN sells a set of 10 fans for $20.00 but there is no way I’d ever spend $2.00 per fan.
With the tutorial in mind, and after practicing a bit with cutting out fans on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, I realized that:
- I’m too impatient to use two 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper per fan.
- Why not utilize one 12×12 inch sheet instead of a 8.5 x 11. I rearranged the artwork so the Cricut would cut three strips on one sheet, minimizing cut time.
- Look for a pre-made paper pad to eliminate color printing.
Party Favor Goals: Print and assemble 1 fan per wedding guest (about 100 guests)
Budget: $40. This was the cost of the paper, kraft sticks, glue, extra blades, and twine.
Timeframe: 3 months till wedding
Production breakdown estimate: Cut all fans in 3 weeks. 2 weeks to glue / fold / score. 1 week to finish / tie
- Choose a Color Pallete! Our invites are a mix of watercolor / clean vector lines.
- Find the right paper. Don’t print it! 12×12 paper is dificult to print (also I want to minimize hands on work / coordination since I already have so much going on). I Found a watercolor paper set at Michaels that fits the color theme.
- Don’t watch the thing print–do something else and be efficient with your time. Things I’ve done while I hit “go” and print: Bake bread, read, clean the kitchen, wash the dishes, fold laundry. It takes about 9 minutes to cut and fold a 12×12 sheet out. With multiple mats readily available and mounted with paper to cut it’s easy to multitask.
- Check on your blade. There is a lot of cutting involved. If your blade is dull, it’ll leave incomplete cuts and will be a pain to cut out the little circles by hand afterwards. After every print run, remove the blade and make sure paper or glitter isn’t stuck on the blade.
- Clean your mat and re-apply adhesive every 30 sheets or so. It’ll keep the cut out negative spaces on the mat to be scraped out. After re-applying adhesive make sure that it’s not too sticky so that it doesn’t ruin your paper.
- Don’t buy the Cricut Brand tools! I got a scraper for baking and a palette knife.
- Use the USB cable. When cutting something that is complex as this piece, it’s easier to be plugged into the machine since I think the bluetooth does not connect well / stay connected.
- Energy Saver / Power Source. If you are multitasking and frequently checking in on the printing: check your energy saving preferences so that does your computer does not shut off under the 10 minute interval to print.
Decision to make it:
Yes. It’s easy and I’m able to maximize downtime to cut the paper. I can’t remember who told me this, since so many of my friends have been getting married / got married in the past years –but the best advice for me to hear is: Have fun. Find the parts of the wedding that you find really enjoyable and have fun making / planning / doing it. I’ve always been pretty crafty so I’m having fun making these fans and geeking out with my Cricut. There is also about 3 months left to make these and I’m about 80% done cutting the paper so… hopefully I stay on task and continue having fun with it.
Not every cut will be perfect, can’t let that matter or get upset about it.
Batch the work up and don’t expect to cut all the paper in one go. I’ve gotta give my self about 2-3 weeks to cut that many sheets.
Here are some process shots:
- Palette from a paper stack from Michaels.
- Freshly cut from the Cricut Explore Air. Had to be EXTRA careful when removing the paper from the sticky mat.
- Labelled stacks of cut paper (labels kept things organized)
- Decided to make a label last minute to tie onto the fan. Obligatory hand shot to show scale of the tag + dog in the background
- Finished shot
- Favors set on the table.
I ended up running a bit behind on schedule and rushed assembly in about 10 days. I forgot to take process shots assembling the fans. The day of the wedding went by so quickly, I forgot to have the fans shot with the bridesmaids. However, it was worth all of the time and energy spent!