Which is why I am a spy.

My little boy has a birthday coming up next month. So hard to let it sink in that he will be seven years old! He is big on mysteries, spies, and detective stories, as you might recall. That was some of his everyday wear (when the weather was warmer) and he was Sherlock Holmes for Halloween. So we decided to do a sleuth-spy-detective party and I thought I would post about the invitations for now.

I had the worst trouble finding “top secret” like rubber stamps. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money buying rubberstamps that we would only use once, so I just used a stamp we already owned that says official record instead. You could also possibly print out stickers that say “top secret” “confidential” etc. The first photo above is the invitation and envelope. The envelope are simple 6×9 inch manilla envelopes. I use these for orders anyway, so I didn’t need to buy any. Instead of a normal card I wanted to make mini file folders. I used large filed folders that I cut down to size cost for those was $1.49 total. I left the normal fold they come with and just made the files 5×8 leaving room on the edge to create the tab. I think the tabs make it really look like a file. I just free cut the tabs, but you could draw a template first and use that for cutting guidelines. I needed to make 25 invites total so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cutting tabs, so free hand it was.

Next we have the inside of each “folder”. I did have to buy the paper clips which were $1.99 for 100 and I only used 50. Inside the envelope are black and white photos on my son dressed in his detective gear. I simply took a photo I had on my computer and in photoshop made it black and white, cropped and saved it so that two of the photos side by side measured 4×6. Then I had these printed out, and then cut them in half before attaching with a paper clip.

On one half of the file folder is the actually invitation letter. These has all the important party details lined out but I wrote it as if I am putting out a call for a special mission. You may notice an area in red this is the rsvp details. Since we are inviting 25 people I really need everyone coming to rsvp, so I tried to make that very clear. You could always use a highlighter to highlight the parts that you think are very important as well. I just printed these off my home printer 2 per page.

Now the extra little manilla envelope! These I would recommend buying in small quantities unless you think you’ll have a use for them. A box of 100 of these is like $11 at Staples, and really I had no idea what I would do with 75 leftover little envelopes. You can search ebay for smaller lots, they are sometimes called coin envelopes. Inside each small envelope is one of these mini papers, and a magnifying glass to read it. I went with the magnifying glasses that are more expensive because they needed to actually work, and I had a free shipping code so it wasn’t so bad. I know the photo shows it as blurry but they really do work! These mini papers do not have any important info regarding the party because I worried about people loosing it, or not wanting to take the time to even read the thing. You can download your own sheet of these small papers here. They talk about secret codes, how they are used, have instructions for putting together a cipher wheel, and a secret code at the bottom. The secret code turns out to say “We hope to see you at the party”. The cipher wheels can be found here unassembled. This will print out six per sheet. I am having my sheets printed on cardstock through Staples in black and white. Each envelope will get one cipher and brad so they can put it together themselves. If you wanted the invitations to be even more affordable you could print the secret code sheets at a readable font and leave out the magnifying glasses entirely.

So the total cost for the invites was as follows
files $1.49, paper clips .50, photos $3.00, ciphers printed $1.80, brads $1.00, and magnifying glasses $17–so roughly $24.79 or slightly less then $1.00 per invitation. Which I think is super reasonable :) I’ll have some more posts about the birthday party as we get closer and narrow down games, foods, etc.