The art of printing by hand

Hand-print your own cards, wrapping paper, and party invitations

Homemade placecards

Fancy up a fall dinner party with this homemade placecard design.

Thomas J. Story

Homemade invitations

Hand-print your own invitations with a design made just for Sunset.

Thomas J. Story

Homemade wrapping paper

Put just as much thought into the giftwrap as the gift with homemade wrapping paper.

Thomas J. Story

Homemade invitation tip

For these homemade invitations, you'll transfer your design to watercolor paper using a colorless-blender marker.

Thomas J. Story

Get the look of exquisite hand-printed invitations and placecards—without a spendy custom design.

The cofounder of the San Francisco studio Yellow Owl Workshop, printmaker Christine Schmidt, shows a simple way to create your own—and wrapping paper too—using the graphics pictured here that she designed especially for Sunset readers.

Hungry for more? Check out Christine’s new book, Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects (Potter Craft; $20), out next month.


  1. Placecard template
  2. Invitation template
  3. Wrapping paper template


1. For invitations, place 1 transparency sheet over a printout of this invitation design; tape them down and write your text on the transparency with a fine-tip marker. Untape, flip the transparency over (text will be reversed), and re-tape it to the printout.

2. After ensuring tape won’t show, make as many color photocopies of the invitation as you need finished pieces, plus extra for practice. Trim to desired size.

3. Lay 1 sheet of watercolor paper on a flat work surface. Place photocopies face down on watercolor paper. Hold down firmly (or tape down).

4. Working quickly, saturate an entire photocopy with the colorless-blender marker and burnish with bone folder.

5. Gently peel back the photocopy, checking that the design has transferred.

6. Trim, if necessary; for placecards, write in individual names.



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