Red Pattern

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY Escort Card Holder

So, I may have let this project sit on the back burner for a little too long (I first mentioned it over two months ago... oops.) Since it's been a while, I'll do a little recap.

I was inspired by photos like these, and I really wanted to find the perfect frame to make my own escort card board for our reception:

Image via The Knot / Photo by Laura Novak Photography
Image via Brides
So, I set off to find a frame I loved, and ended up settling on this beauty:

Aaaand, that's it. I stopped any and all productivity on this project for over 11 weeks. In my defense, I really couldn't finish it until I knew how many guests we were going to have, but now that we know  I can finally get back to business.

First things first, I gathered up all of the supplies I would need. This included the frame (obviously), a large foam/poster board (not pictured), batting, fabric, ribbon, exact-o knives, staple gun, staples, straight pins, and a tape measure. Also not pictured are the nails or screws you will need later on.

The first thing I did was turn over the frame and measure the inside. It's a 22x28 frame, but I just wanted to be sure! Next, using the exact-o knife, cut your foam board to size. Obviously my cuts are not very pretty, but as long as the board fits snugly into the frame, you're okay!

Next up, cut the batting to size. Lay down the board on top of the batting, and leave a few inches on each side to be folded over. I will say that this step is somewhat optional. If you want to use push pins to attach escort cards, definitely do it. If you will just be hanging your cards on ribbon, and you don't mind a flatter look of just a board, that's great too. I chose the batting because I actually just like the more plush look on the board.

Fold your corners over almost as if you would when wrapping a present. I put one side down completely flat, and then form a nice crease with the other side before folding it down as well.

Then, measure your fabric of choice the same way you did the batting, and wrap it around the board as well. I attached the fabric with pins initially to make sure it liked it, and then went back around with the staple gun.

Excuse that terrible bottom left corner - the staples were giving me such a hard time

At this point, you need to have a pretty good idea of how many cards you will have, because it makes a difference for spacing out your ribbon. For us, the magic number was 7 rows, so I cut the ribbon just long enough to wrap around, and pinned them to be sure I liked the looks of things. After getting everything just right, I went back with the staple gun and made things a little more permanent.

This picture shows the temporary pin to the right, along with the staple to the left. Obviously, the pin can be taken out after stapling! 

All of the ribbon in its proper place!
After the ribbon is attached, it's time to attach the board to the frame. I originally thought I would use nails for this, but after one had been hammered in, it was obviously going to be a safety hazard:

Yes, that is a sharp nail sticking out of the front of the board, and it would probably scare our guests away before they even made it to their assigned table...
The nails we had on hand were much too long for the thin board, so instead of going out for more, I just switched over to a screwdriver and screws because we luckily had some tiny ones that were just perfect.

The inside of open back frames such as this one have a small lip on the inside, where the glass and backing would go if you were to put a picture in it. I just used this as a way to attach the board. A few small screws around the edge of the board, and it is all one piece!

For reference: I used the smallest ones, up in the top left corner!

The only problem this created was a bit of wrinkling with the fabric, due to the twisting motion of the screwdriver. Because the cards will be covering up most of the fabric, I decided this wasn't much an issue. If this would bother you, I just suggest using small nails instead, like I originally planned to do!

And, here she is, in all of her card-holding glory!

The lighter ribbon is hard to see, but it's there!

Most importantly, Memphis approves!
Our florist is bringing along a few blooms to complete the look of the board, so just imagine a few pretty flowers filling in some of the gaps! Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I even saved a little money. Similar boards on Etsy are selling for literally HUNDREDS of dollars.

Here's a little budget breakdown:
22x28 Frame - $25 (50% off)
Foam board - $4.99
Fabric - $6 (two yards)
Batting - $5
Ribbon - $2.99 per color
All other items - already owned
Total: $46.97, including a nice frame that can be reused later on!

I'm pleased!

Question - Do any of y'all know how to keep the cards from sticking out so much when I hang them? I really wanted them to lay more flat against the board. Do I need to get smaller cards?

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