Maybe you're not thinking about designing and producing your own paper crafts. But that's where we (I found) ourselves a few weeks ago. Since then paper samples have arrived and we've decided on general designs and selected our paper.
Here's a recap of what we did. We turned to the Interwebs and Google (we missed the HUGE going out of business sale at Pearl - a local Art supply store - and didn't want to spend hours standing in front of the paper wall at Flax - another Art supply store just down the street from us). Online we found many stationers who sell and/or design custom eco-friendly invitations. What was harder to find were places selling the raw materials, you know the paper, the cardstock, and/or the envelopes. Often descriptions of the papers leave you wondering whether or not a particular choice really is green. There really needs to be standard nomenclature!
Slightly dazed with eyes glazed over, we stumbled upon Celery Design Collaborative. Their Ecological Guide to Paper breaks down the options by type: Uncoated Papers, Coated Papers, Copy/Reprographic Papers, and Specialty Papers. They also spell out the various acronyms you'll come across, such as:
- PCR - Post-Consumer Recycled
- PCF/TCF - Unbleached or bleached without additional chlorine or chlorine derivatives
- FSC - Forest Stewardship Council Certified recycled or sustainably harvested virgin paper
- ECF - Bleached with chlorine dioxide or other chlorine compounds
Armed with this new found information, off we went to find cover stock for our invitations. In our search we ignored any options that weren't PCF/TCF - ECF was a non-starter for us. This meant that the vellum covers from the design mock up were out. On the plus side, by eliminating the vellum we reduced the overall cost of each invitation.
We also ruled out paper companies that didn't offer swatch books or sample packs. With natural papers the color can vary and buying in bulk based on what the computer monitor shows can be risky. These were the sites we looked at:
- EcoPaper.com (Sample Pack; Description of How the Paper is Made)
- Under the Sun Store (Sample book; Description of How the Paper is Made)
- Creative Papers Online (Individual 4x6 samples at $0.75 each; limit of 6 per order)
- Of the Earth (Paper and Ribbon Sample Kits)
- Twisted Limb Paperworks (Samples can be requested)
- Green Field Paper Company (Swatch Book & Paper Sample Kit; Description of How the Paper is Made)
- Treecycle (Envelope sizing chart)
We ended up selecting 40 lbs of tree-free paper from EcoPaper.com - Banana Paper Card Stock, Printer Paper, and Envelopes and Coffee Paper Card Stock - for our wedding needs (invitations, envelopes, programs, table number tents, escort cards, favors, and thank you cards) and tried to buy everything at once to take advantage of bulk discounts where possible.
We also purchased wrapping paper from Nashville Wraps (made from Mulberry) and flat sheets of three handmade papers from Creative Papers Online (made from mango, banana, and bark) to use as accents throughout our wedding favors.
Budget-Friendly Tip: Many of the stationers/paper companies have Facebook pages, are on Twitter, and publish monthly newsletters. Become a fan, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletter and watch for specials. We saved 10% on our cover stock and scored free shipping (about a $25 savings) by doing this.
Are you thinking about how green your stationery is? Did you go DIY or work with a designer?