Take invitations from drab to fab in a few easy steps.

Whenever I need wedding inspiration, I turn to what art director Alyse Kordenbrock and I call our bible: Martha Stewart Weddings. That’s where I found this easy upgrade for plain-Jane invitations. A quick trip to Joann Fabrics and $15 later, and I had my supplies:

Coarse chip brushes Acrylic craft paint A palette of some sort (a paper plate works just fine) Invitations

I really liked these natural-fiber brushes; they gave my paint strokes an organic, whimsical feel. (Bonus: They are super affordable!) I also ended up using an angled ½-inch nylon brush, which I already had on-hand, for a final touch of gold—that part is totally optional, of course.

I found “will you be my bridesmaid?” card set that was cute, but quite plain. Perfect. In retrospect, the paper was a little thin—the paint ended up wrinkling the cards and envelopes slightly—but I set them under a stack of books once they were dry and they flattened out pretty well.

Because the cards are for the ’maids, I settled on a pink, champagne and gold palette. Two to three colors work best for this kind of project, but there are no rules—if your palette is five colors and you can make it work without looking too messy, then go for it! In retrospect, the pink paint was a little too close to neon for my liking—I was looking for a softer baby pink—but the end result is still nice.

Which brings me to step one: Test your colors and strokes. Grab a piece of scrap paper and experiment with stroke weight and intensity before you tackle the actual invites. I found that loading up the paintbrush with color, gently tapping away the excess on a clean part of my paper plate palette, then firmly brushing one to three coats of paint onto the paper worked best for me.

To paint the actual invites: You’ll want to work with one color at a time, letting each color dry completely before adding the next hue. Martha’s tutorial said you can dilute the paint with water to brush over type on the card, but I couldn’t find a ratio of water-to-paint that was light enough to let the type show through but opaque enough to show up on the paper, so I just painted around the text. I tested several pens on the inside of the card, and had no trouble writing over the dried paint with any. (Though I did notice that a ball point pen showed up best on the matte pink, and a Sharpie or gel ink pen worked perfectly on all the shades, including the shimmery champagne hue.)

All told, I had painted eight invitations in about 10 minutes, thanks to a light coat of color that meant faster dry times—making this a totally viable project for upgrading your ho-hum wedding invitations, save-the-date cards, programs, menus … really, any piece of stationery you might have for your wedding.

Are you attempting something like this for your wedding? We want to see! Post your pics on Instagram and tag us, @cbusweddings.