How to Embellish Invitations: Pre-Printed or Custom

A detailed guide to designing and creating invitations with hand painted elements


Adding a personal touch to invitations, announcements, or social communiqués is a unique way to make a treasured event even more special. Whether you are designing them from scratch and printing them yourself, or if you are just adding hand painted touches to an existing preprinted invitation or announcement, personalizing these paper elements create keepsakes that others will appreciate and love. You can gain the confidence to design, create, and personalize custom paper elements, even if you have no experience and no clue where to start. You may be wondering:

  • How do I know which papers and paints to use?
  • Do I need to be an artist?! 😢
  • How do I digitally design my invitation? Can I also use pre-made designs?
  • How do I assemble all the paper elements after I’ve printed and painted?
  • And most of all…Can I really create beautiful custom invites that are well received?

Creating hand-painted custom invitations can be a personal project, or a way to create custom announcements and social communiqués for your clients and the designers you work with. In addition to wedding invitations, these techniques can also be for other invitation styles, such as for a business presentation or to inspire a visit to your conference exhibit. It can also be translated to save the dates, thank you notes, RSVPs, seating cards, menus and more. You may want to capture the essence and theme of the event or brand them with your studio’s color palette. Or you may be a working artist who’d like to incorporate these techniques as a service you offer for local or online clients.

Invitation designer and decorative artist Katie Gaines started her graphic design career in the finance market after graduating from the University of California, San Diego, with a B.A. in Visual Arts. During this time, many requested her help designing wedding invitations or painting murals in their homes. Soon, these side projects became a steady, full time schedule and in 2000, she left the corporate world to start her own company. Love Paper Paint has created beautiful invitations, designed logos/branding, painted murals and decorative finishes, and produced custom artwork for clients throughout the U.S., and globally. Katie’s work is featured in magazines, designer showcases, and online publications.

Here's what we'll cover.

By the end of this course, students will be able to design and create paper elements with custom handpainted details. You’ll know how to plan and design your invitation, while taking into consideration the different papers, printing processes, and materials required. You’ll have tips on how to digitally lay out and set-up the invitations for letterpress or laser printing. You’ll be able to easily add hand-painted elements such as watercolors and metallic flourishes to invitations, as well as create layered effects and accent papers. Finally, you will learn how to assemble and add embellishments for creating memorable invitations with a handmade touch.

This course is for you if:

  • You want to learn how to design and create your own invitations and paper elements with a personal touch - but you aren’t sure where to begin.
  • You don’t have any experience with designing and painting on paper, but you’re excited to learn!
  • You’re looking for a meaningful and transformative creative outlet.
  • You’d like to add custom invitations to your creative services and need to know the basics to build from.
  • You’re wanting to create customized paper elements to promote and/or show appreciation to your clients and business peers, and would like to learn to do so quickly and easily.


Let's Get Started!

Hi, I’m Your Instructor, Katie Gaines

Invitation designer and decorative artist Katie Gaines started her graphic design career in the finance market after graduating from the University of California, San Diego, with a B.A. in Visual Arts. During this time, many requested her help designing wedding invitations or painting murals in their homes. Soon, these side projects became a steady, full time schedule and in 2000, she left the corporate world to start her own company. Love Paper Paint has created beautiful invitations, designed logos/branding, painted murals and decorative finishes, and produced custom artwork for clients throughout the U.S., and globally. Katie’s work is featured in magazines, designer showcases, and online publications.

Happy Students are Buzzing


"Katie did our wedding invitations, save the dates and paper details for our reception years ago. She listens to every single one of your crazy ideas and magically turns them into a beautiful masterpiece! Katie's work is stunning no matter what she creates!”

- Kathleen

Sign Up Here and Join Us

$29

How to Create Custom Hand Painted Invitations

How to Create Custom Hand Painted Invitations

LEVEL: BEGINNER

TYPE: MIXED MEDIA | PROJECT

RUNNING TIME: 3 hours 40 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions


What if I’ve never created or painted invitations before?

Then this class is perfect for you! This course is intended for total beginners or anyone interested in a complete guide to designing and creating invites with hand-painted elements.


What if I’m not very artistic?

We’ll walk you through the creative process, step by step. If you are artistic, there are plenty of opportunities to get creative, but anyone can take this course and end up with a beautiful set of custom created and painted paper elements.


How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.


When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.


Can I really take this entire course in one afternoon?

You can! BUT, we do recommend buying your supplies and materials ahead of time, or even following along and practicing the techniques as the class happens.


What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.