Saturday, 4 June 2011

Halloween Invitations.. made and in the post

Halloween this year is going to be special.  Fancy dress as ever, but a small gathering rather than a large party.  It's based on dinner nights that the boyf and I started hosting just after we met, the Grahame & Green dinners, a chance for us to flex our culinary muscles and host a perfectly planned evening with lots of lovely touches.  We've not had a G&G for ages and so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to flex our rusty cooking muscles!

The invitations needed to be sent out early, to guarantee numbers and let me tie up a few more details too ;o) and so they had to be good and memorable.  As my Victorian costume is for Halloween we were looking at a period themed party, but I wanted to give people options as well so it could just as easily be Frankensteinian or a little Rocky Horror.  I also wanted to use skeletons as my main motif this year.  So, I decided on little skeleton messengers, posted in their own coffin... Gothic but not too scary!

The skeleton I found on Ben & Jerry's website (they're not only good for ice-cream!) and printed him off onto  sheets of thick white card.  Ignoring the ice-cream toting limbs (sorry B&J) I cut out the skeletons and joined their limbs with 4.5mm black round head brads.

The wording for the invitation was printed on to mini luggage tags and tied around the skeleton's necks.  To put the text onto the tags I printed it onto clear labels, deconstructed the tags, stuck the labels on each side of tag, trimmed them, repunched the holes and then put the tags back together again, gluing on the hole reinforcers and retreading the ties.

I won't say it wasn't a lot of work, but they are worth it!  The font, Bleeding Cowboys, is wonderful and reads so well, even at 6pt.

The text reads:
Grahame & Green do Halloween! 
The Year is 1882 and in a cottage, in a secluded village in Essex, 
Dr Grahame & Prof. Green plot their most macabre experiment yet... 
 Your attendance, from 7.30pm on the eve of Friday 28th October, is required. 
Suitable costume advised.

The scene is set....

I then moved onto the coffins.  Tracing a basic shape from a book, I made three templates; the base, the lid and the lining.  You can download the template here; print at 100% on A4 paper.  The base is 10mm deep, the lid is 3-4mm longer and wider than the base and 5mm deep, the lining is 2mm shorter and narrower than the base.

As I wanted black coffins, I couldn't print the template onto the card so I traced it instead.  I used an awl to pin prick each point in the card and then joined the dots to redraw each piece.

Once cut out, I folded each line against the ruler for a smooth, sharp crease, and glued the tabs.  I decided to line each coffin in a fabulous corrugated red card that I found.  I cut lengths 8mm wide trimmed them to length (the circumference of the internal measurement of the coffin) and glued them in place.  I then glued in the inner lining.  The lids, at 5mm deep, I decided were too narrow to line.  I had originally wanted to use double-sided tape but was not having any luck; the shapes would start to come apart.  I then I found an old pot of craft glue in the garage; thank goodness for fast-drying craft glue! 

Finally I found/Photoshoped a variety of luggage labels and stickers, and a stamp.  I printed them onto some white labels, cut them out and decorated the coffin; this is a well-travelled skeleton!

I hand-wrote the names on and packaged the coffin up in a length of red embroidery thread.  
All ready to go...

A4 card (120gms or more, depending on your printer) in White
A4 card (heavyweight) in black and red (corrugated or textured if possible)
Luggage tags
Avery Labels in clear and white
4.5mm round head black brads (8 per skeleton)
Red embroidery thread or string
Good Craft Glue
Scissors, ruler, awl or sharp pencil, pencil, black pen, hole punch

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