There's a difference, in my mind, between "homespun" and "handcrafted." The former is unsophisticated and simple. The latter, however, is something that's skillfully forged. Delicate and refined. If you've made the choice to DIY the invitations for your wedding–maybe out of pro-stationer sticker shock or a long-held desire to walk into a paper shop and actually have a reason buy all the things–you want your invites to fall into the "handcrafted" side of handiwork.
Beautiful invitations start with a great idea, but they finish with great tools. With the right gear in your workshop (and, yes, the kitchen table qualifies as a workshop during the wedding planning period), you can add some serious polish to your handcrafted wedding invitations.
For perfectly handwritten addresses: Addressing Stencil
It won't magically give you better handwriting, but it will make sure your scribble stays even, balanced and centered. Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete is an uber-talented calligrapher (that's her work at the top of this post), but even she called the Lettermate her "new secret weapon."
For bold, custom envelopes: Envelope Template
For a sweet touch, you can make the envelopes for your invites out of a pretty patterned paper or even something really unique like photos, newspapers or subway maps.
For a punchy surprise: Envelope Liner Templates
Envelope liners are by no means a necessity, but if you want another place to inject a bit of color or theme, this is one way to do it. Choose a paper you like, or make one yourself (with stamps, paint or your home printer), and use the template to cut a perfectly-sized liner for your store-bought envelopes.
For trimming perfect corners: Paper Cutter
If you're printing invitations at home, you should know about "bleeds." It's the term for the printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. If you want a block of color or a design to go right off the edge of your invitation, you'll need to print on a sheet larger than your final size and trim it down. A paper cutter will help immensely.
To add a little softness: Corner Rounder/Punch
Don't think it's hip to be square? Round corners are easy to get at home with a simple paper punch. There are also lots of embellished corner punches out there in the market to give your invites pretty shapes or lacy details, just check your favorite craft store.
For embellishment: Embossing Powder & Heat Tool
Rubber stamping is a common way to add decorative, handcrafted details to your invites. If you want to make your stamping stand out even more, cover the wet impression with embossing powder (match the color of your stamp pad), then use a heat tool to set the powder. You're left with a textured, shiny imprint.
To save your tongue: Envelope & Stamp Wetter
Stamp glue tastes gross. And take it from me, if you decide to do the uber-trendy vintage stamp thing, 100-year old stamps taste even worse (that's a mistake I made exactly once–I'm not proud of it). Thankfully, there's a tool out there to take on the job. Or, you know, self-adhesive stamps.
To ward off carpal tunnel: Return Address Stamp
There are two places in a traditional wedding invitation suite where your own address will need to appear: On the RSVP envelope, and on the outside of the whole thing as a return address. Save yourself some time and trouble and commission a rubber stamp with your name(s) and address to tackle one or both jobs. The self-inking ones are the easiest to use, and usually give you a more consistent and legible imprint.
The complete guide to modern weddings.
(Image credits: A Fabulous Fete; Lettermate; Paper Source; Paper Source; Fiskars; Martha Stewart Crafts; Martha Stewart Crafts; Universal; Pretty Sweet Party/Etsy)