A 30th Birthday Surprise: Part I

August 2nd, 2010

(*Note: all addresses have been modified)

I am so excited to finally be able to share a project that I recently finished! My husband just celebrated his 30th birthday and I’ve been busy planning a surprise party for the last few months in honor of his special day. He has what I like to call a “meat tooth” so I ran with it and created the invitations with a subtle carnivorous theme.

I’ve been wanting to use the faux bois paper from the GMUND Savanna line for some time and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I letterpressed the invitations with white ink and printed the RSVP’s digitally. The RSVP arrows were also printed digitally and then run through a Xyron to make into stickers, I then post applied each one by hand for a layered effect. The envelopes were made from folded craft paper that was cut down to size. I wanted the addresses to look like a stamp so each recipient’s address was printed individually. I then folded the envelopes to resemble meat packaged from the market and sealed shut with meat stickers which were generously given to my by my local grocery store.

The invites proved to be a ton of work but I’m thrilled with how they turned out and it was definitely worth it for my amazing husband. I was quite the sneak letterpressing while he was gone on business and “staying late at work” to put together each of the invites. We had over 50 guests for the event and he was completely surprised. I’ve got more details to share, including favors, so be sure to check back tomorrow!

27 Responses to “A 30th Birthday Surprise: Part I”

  1. Marisa Says:

    These are gorgeous! Nicely done. Love that faux bois paper.

  2. lorene Says:

    I love, love, love Savanna and I’ve always wanted to use it. I’m glad to see it came out well letterpressed. Plus It’s a very cool concept and well executed.

  3. Rachel Says:

    They turned out great! I love the color scheme, very cute but still manly. I can tell they were a lot of work, but worth it for how well they turned out.

  4. Ali Says:

    They look amazing! Would it be incredibly cheeky to ask you to share how you made the folded paper ‘envelopes’ – they look great!

  5. Sarah Says:

    I love, love, love this! My husband’s 40th is a little over 6 months away, but clearly I’ve got to start planning now!

  6. Wendy@goodegg Says:

    That “shhh” sticker is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! You did a great job on all of it. My husband recently surprised me with a surprise 40th party. I can’t believe he pulled it off. I would have died from surprise if he had managed to use invitations this cool!

  7. Whitney @ Whisker Graphics Says:

    A “meat tooth”, that’s funny. Your invite package is so well thought out and executed. The butcher wrap with “stamped” addresses and labels are perfection! All your hard work totally paid off. Can’t wait to see more party details tomorrow. šŸ™‚

  8. claire Says:

    so awesome! well done!! they are fabulous!

  9. brittany Says:

    love it!!! i am planning my husband’s surprise 30th right now, too!

  10. rachel Says:

    LOVE them. Great job, Kathleen!

  11. Maria Says:

    I’m dieing! This is aboslutely gorgeous!

  12. Oliver Says:

    Awesome job Kathleen! Love this!

  13. brittany Says:

    I have to warn you there are a lot of numbers in this list love.
    1. obsessed with faux bois and have never seen this paper. I never would have thought that you could buy ‘proper’ paper like this, but its not too bad if you just want to get like 25 sheets for a project like this
    2. so cute in concept, love the loose theme and not for something expected
    3. great execution
    4. love the time and effort put in. I have to guiltily admit that my husband probably receives the least amount of ‘designed’ stuff from me because its so difficult to get around to projects full stop, let alone when you have to hide it. I’m very inspired now to do something special for his thirtieth next year. I’m nto sure what, but you might have just done a little bit something special for someone elses marriage in addition to your own.
    Thanks for the continuing inspiration. My critique is now done!

  14. Torrie @ a place to share... Says:

    I have never seen anything like this, which shows how unique, personal, an innovative your idea (and execution) was. Very impressive. And the work that you put into this- for your husband (not just the invitations, but the whole party)- is very inspiring.

  15. Margaret Says:

    Wow those invitations are absolutely stunning! I love the wood grain. It looks very masculine and elegant at the same time.

  16. Cassandra Marie Says:

    These invitations turned out wonderfully! I love the paper you used šŸ™‚

    Well, I wanted to stop by and let you know that Iā€™m hosting a really great giveaway on my page, just in case you wanted to enter!



  17. rebecca Says:

    hilarious. i love the invites.

  18. ellie Says:

    these are so great, kathleen!

  19. Two Brunettes Says:


  20. Dee Wilcox Says:

    You are so amazing at putting together all of the details that go into a well-thought-out event. I especially love the faux bois paper for the invitations — and the meat stickers. šŸ™‚ My husband is a meat lover, too, so I’ll have to keep these ideas in my back pocket for his 30th. šŸ™‚

    I’ve always wanted to ask — what do you use for your letterpress work? I’d love to learn how, but I’m always hesitant to buy any of the kits you can find in stores or online since they’re not the “real deal.” Have you ever tried one, or do you have any recommendations?

  21. Lauren Says:

    yeah…those look like they took a lot of effort. but well worth it! i applaud you!

  22. Angie Says:

    What a great idea, and the cards looked so nice!

  23. SimplyDesigned Says:

    These are just amazing! As an invitation and stationery designer, I must say these are gorgeous. I love how they are masculine but very elegant at the same time.

    I do have one question for you. How was USPS with the design for the mailing address and return address? I know over the past year or so a lot of the rules have changed and I’m just wondering how it all worked for you.

  24. Sobrina Says:

    You throw the cutest parties! I love it!

  25. Melinda Says:

    I’m probably making coincidence out of nonsense but the timing of this posting was just insanely perfect! When I first read it, I had just dropped invitation in the mail for my boyfriends 30th surprise birthday. I decided I’d use your envelope idea for the thank you card envelopes. I created a stamp of the return address – such a minor detail but it just looks stunning. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Lets hope USPS doesn’t have a problem with them!

  26. Jennifer Says:

    I want to use this same paper for something and love your idea of the envelopes. Can you share what size you cut the paper to to fit, and how you folded them so I can do the same? Where did you get the kraft paper from? could I print the addresses myself on the paper on a regular printer at home? I appreciate any help you can give me with this project!!


  27. Kathleen Says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks for your kind words! Craft paper can be found on rolls at most craft stores or shipping supply stores like UPS. I suggests looking for a thin version rather than a heavier stock since folding them adds a bit of bulk and weight. The paper was cut to 14″x15″ which required it to be printed on a large format printer. If you have a large enough printer than yes, you could print them at home. Otherwise, Kinko’s or a copy center may be able to print them for you. Folding them was a little bit of trial an error so I suggest practicing on a few first. Just be sure the long dimension of both pieces are parallel.

    Hope that helps and best of luck!