10 June 2015

[Extended] Wedding Week 2015: DIY custom hand-stamped napkins

Extended wedding week continues!

I’ve mentioned before my love for clear stamps (here, for starters, though they’ve made appearances elsewhere). But I never explained exactly why I amassed a clear stamps collection. It all started when I decided to make these for our wedding:

That’s me in 2010, showing off a package of hand-stamped monogrammed cocktail napkins that I made for our wedding. Team P napkins, whee!

With $10-15 in stamp supplies, I was able to make hundreds of personalized napkins from the cheap paper party napkins from craft stores (which, of course, I purchased a package at a time with a 50% off coupon). It was a lot of work, but ultimately I paid only a quarter of what I’d have spent on the most generic custom-ordered napkins!

It only takes a few supplies from the craft store: in addition to the napkins, you need clear stamps, a block for the stamps, and StazOn ink (which comes in a variety of colors – I used black, obviously!). It must be StazOn – it’ll hold up to water, liquor, and anything else your guests might wipe up with a napkin! If you want to take good care of your stamps for future use, you can get the special StazOn cleaner, too.

Even with the special cleaner, the StazOn ink will turn some clear stamps pink over time, or they’ll get bits of ink that never come off. But who cares, the stamps still work, and you guests won’t have ink smudged on their faces!

Of course, you can always order a custom stamp rather than using clear ones. But I preferred the clear ones because they could be reused (and I have, quite a lot!) and also because I could see where I was stamping! You can arrange the design on the clear block and see exactly what you’re getting.

But a word of caution – something to consider whenever you purchase clear stamps! If you buy stamps of different brands, they may very well be different thicknesses:

Which meant I stamped every napkin twice... once with the P, and once with the ornaments. Not a complete project-buster, but it did take twice as long. So keep that in mind!

Once you have your design, you just stamp... and stamp... and stamp. And stamp. AND STAMP. Some night all my spare time was spent stamping while watching the Winter Olympics. Plus, I was (unnecessarily) paranoid about the ink drying, so I laid all the napkins out to dry. Oh, how I wish I had taken a photo of my dining room in the old house covered with napkins! To this day I can’t watch speed skating without having flashbacks to stamping napkins at 1AM.

But it was so worth it! In the grand scheme of wedding projects, it didn’t take that much time to stamp 250 cocktail napkins and 250 dinner napkins. They looked lovely at the time, and actually have still held up to this day:

I thought perhaps the ink had bled a bit over time, but I realized it was just a napkin that got a bit too much ink in the first place... so I saved it as a souvenir instead of putting it out during our reception (perfectionist much?).

Another perk of customizable clear stamps was that I was able to do a different design on the dinner napkins (our first initials instead of last). I never got a good photo of those (and apparently didn’t save one), but it’s fun to see them make cameos in our fun wedding photos.

And although it’s not entirely related to our napkins, it still makes me grin when I see how our caterer used the design on our napkins to create the fruit display.

Mad skillz, right?! Fortunately it takes almost no skill to make a whole bunch of custom hand-stamped napkins.

And like I said, it was way cheaper than ordering them from anyplace. Which means... once you get the supplies, you can make them for anything! I was too busy with a newborn for the baptism party, but I wonder if Baby P’s birthday parties might have their fair share of clear-stamped napkins...

The wedding projects continue next week!