Saturday, October 30, 2010

DIY Fever - Welcome Bags

Last weekend, Mike and I took on our first DIY project for the wedding.  I am personally obsessed with DIY weddings.  I scour blogs like Project Wedding and Wedding Chicks for DIY ideas and the simple and unique weddings with DIY touches are always my faves.  I consider myself a pretty crafty person, my mom and I used to do DIY projects all the time making wreaths out of paper, making our own cards, we've even made our own jewelry.  I have great ideas all the time.  The only problem is, I have an incredibly short attention span.  I get all hyped up to do a project and then the second it gets irritating or difficult, I get bored and quit.  This is where Mike is a perfect match for me.  The second I get irritated, (or fussy as he calls it), he steps in, solves, the problem, and gets me back on board.  We're a pretty great team.

The project we took on last weekend was making our welcome bags for the wedding.  We're only inviting a small amount of people to the wedding and all of them are having to come from out of town and spend the night, so we thought doing welcome bags that will be waiting in each guest's hotel room would be a nice way to say thank you for making the trip.  I got this idea from a small post in one of my 800 wedding magazines with a welcome bag done by Sara at Woods & Company.  It was a super cute suitcase welcome gift filled with goodies about San Francisco.

I actually e-mailed back and forth with Sarah about having her do mine, but at the end of the day...I'm a cheapskate and wanted at least one DIY project for my wedding so I opted to do it myself.  So sorry guests, you're getting my handiwork, not Sarah's!  I feel a little bad for you...

I decided to do canvas tote bags as the container for our welcome bags so that our guests could use them again as grocery totes, (how very green of me right?!).  I ordered some simple canvas totes from Cheap Totes for only 99 cents each.  Crazy good deal!

Rather than buy already custom totes like a lot of places sell for about 14 bucks a piece, I ordered a design by the woman who did our save the dates at NMI Photo Creations.  She did up a cute design that matches our save the dates and only charged me 10 bucks.  This is a steal because I can use this design for anything forever and trust me, I love this thing, I'm going to be re-using it.  After that, it was just a matter of getting our DIY on.  Here is how we did it:

Print out your pattern onto iron on transfer paper. I couldn't find ANY in my stupid town so my bridesmaid Kristin bought me some out of town.  25 bridesmaid stars for her.

Keep in mind that even where the design isn't, there is going to be a shiny outline from the iron on paper so either cut all the way around your design, (which there was no way in hell I was going to do 19 times), or just cut off any excess you don't want showing.  Mike whipped out his razor blade and a round ruler, (because of course, he had to make sure it was perfect), and cut off rounded edges around each design.

Something Mike quickly realized while cutting the already printed out designs is that you have to be careful with them. Once they're on the iron on paper, it's really easy to screw up the design and scratch off parts of it.  Case in point:

Then lay out a pillow case on the kitchen counter.  Apparently, you need to do this on a hard surface, not on an ironing board.  Iron the pillow case and each bag to make sure they weren't wrinkly. Place the design face down onto the bag and iron it, putting a lot of pressure on the iron.

(Here's a side hint, don't wear a gigantic shirt and/or let your fiancĂ© photograph you from underneath when you know you're going to post pictures on the internet) One thing we came across when ironing is that the instructions say to iron for 3 minutes, but that is not nearly enough time.  We did each bag about 7 minutes.  This is probably because we were ironing onto canvas and not cotton.  Just tug at the corner and see if it is stuck on and if not, keep ironing.  Once you're sure you've ironed long enough, let it sit and cool for a couple of minutes and then, starting with a corner, pull the backing off.

And you're donezo!  Here is the finished product: 

I love them and can't wait for our guests to get them!


  1. Those are really super cute Val! And the fact that Mike helped is super awesome; 25 bonus fiancé points! :)