HOW TO MAKE YOUR MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE INVITATION

Message In A Bottle (MIB for short) is perfect if you want to do something different for your invitations, if you want to grab your guests attention, have your invites say "this wedding is going to be different!"

THE BOTTLES The first step is to get the bottles. You can use plastic bottles or glass bottles for your message in a bottle invitation. We bought our bottles from www.ebottles.com http://www.ebottles.com/plastic message bottle We bought the 8oz - 7" tall plastic bottles in bulk to save some money. We had left overs and sold them on the knot. I could have sold ours 15 times over. There are always people looking for them! We purchased glass bottles for our actual invites there were only 25. These came with the corks and mailing boxes. http://www.ebottles.com/glass message bottle The plastic bottles come with corks, you don't need boxes to mail them.  
THE SAND You can buy sand in 5 lb bags from ebottles.com. Each bag will fill about 150 bottles with about 1/2" of sand. Or, if you are really determined, you can head on down to the beach! If you do want to "dig your own", be aware that it might be too damp and will stick to the sides of the bottle. If this happens, dry the sand in an oven before filling the bottles. The sand will have a nice powdery appearance, rather than a wet, clumpy one.





THE PAPER I do not recommend using a stiff style of paper and you'll see why further down. I searched far and wide for paper that either had burned edges or appeared to have burned edges. I didn't want it to look cheap. Through the research I figured out I wanted to burn the edges myself and that the best paper to use for this is parchment paper. I searched and priced everywhere. The best I found was actually at Office Depot. I got 80 sheets of parchment paper for under $7.00. It has a wonderful texture and was very easy to work with. Keep in mind that you cannot print on this particular paper on both sides because of the consistency of it. It is also available to buy in larger packages than 80 sheets. BURNING THE EDGES I have to admit this part takes some practice´┐Ż..but here is what I learned. I do not recommend using a lighter. Only because it will leave black marks on the paper and a not so nice odor once its been closed up in a bottle for awhile. For the first set I did I used the long fireplace matches and this worked pretty well. I lit an edge, let it burn for a few seconds and then blew it out. I repeated this technique until I had gone all the way around. This will leave you with some pretty rough edges with black soot all over them. I figured out early on that if you don't scrape it off you are going to have a mess and black stuff everywhere when you try and roll the scrolls up. I used the edge of the long match to scrap all the extra stuff off the edges. I did it over the kitchen sink, but you could do it over newspaper or outside. I also chose the kitchen because I was close to water in case I had trouble with the flames J We had a lot of burning to do since we did our scrolls, the invites on the outside of each bottle and the mailing labels. For the second set I decided to move on to an unscented candle and forego the long matches (truth be told I ran out of them). This worked well but I did get a little more soot and black marks on the back of the paper, but at that point I could live with it!



End Result (sample)


ROLLING THE SCROLLS >I do not recommend using a very stiff paper. At this point you'll be sorry if you do! This was my least favorite part of the process and I think its because I wasn't very good at it . My fiance rolled all the scrolls. He started each one by rolling it around a pencil and working with it until it was tight enough to fit inside the bottle. Once it was thin enough I would tie it closed. A lot of girls use ribbon or raffia. I chose to use natural jute both because of the look of it (like rope but thin) and the price. I got 243 feet of 3 ply #28 natural jute from Hobby Lobby for $1.47 and I barely put a dent in it. To me that's a deal!!



ASSEMBLING YOUR INVITATIONS Ok, now that the scrolls are done you are ready to starting putting these things together. I know a lot of girls like to put other things in their bottles. Some ideas of things you can include are:

Tiny flip flops
Tropical Umbrellas
Palm Trees
Small Sunglasses




**Hint: Look in the button / embellishment aisle of any craft store and you'll find something I promise**




And of course all dollar stores and craft stores...oh, and ebay!!






FRAGRANCE One thing that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that was a huge hit with our invitations was we included coconut scent. We got it from Hobby Lobby for $2.99 for a tiny bottle. You can find it in the candle or soap making aisle. This stuff is very condensed and it doesn't seem like you're buying much for $3.00 but I didn't come close to even using 1/4 of it and we made 25 invitations. I put a few drops in each bottle and one drop onto each cork and it made a huge difference every one of our guests noticed it! There are other scents you can choose other than coconut, they have pineapple, plumeria, ocean breeze, gardenia, etc, etc,



QUICK TIP: The amount of sand you include in your bottles affects several things. First, it greatly affects your postage! We learned this the hard way....we included almost 2 full inches of sand and paid for it at the post office. Sand is heavy! Second, it affect how wide or how long your scroll can be. While it is somewhat giving, keep in mind that the more sand you have the less room you have for the scroll to fit. Play with it and figure out what you like best. I liked more sand and in the end I agreed, but these are a few things to keep in mind.

QUICK TIP: Soak all your corks in water before inserting them, this allows them to go in easier and as they dry they will expand getting a better fit and will be less likely to fall open.



MAILING YOUR BOTTLES To send the plastic bottles through the mail all you have to do is secure the cork The postage on the bottle with less than one inch of sand is around $1.64 - without sand its only $.60  We mailed our actual invitations which were the glass bottles that came with boxes. We ended up putting iridescent blue tissue paper on the bottom of each box and surrounding it with that crinkle stuff (like easter grass but nicer) to help protect the glass in mailing printed. I taped each box shut before I went to the post office. I recommend doing this only because otherwise they will use the ugly blue and red postal tape and ruin the look of your boxes if you let them do it. I used the wide, clear packing tape. We paid right around $5 per box, we delivered all those near to us. I don't remember the exact amount (I've probably blocked it from my memory on purpose). with clear crafters tape for it to be mailed... I have also purchased some of that stuff they put around baskets, you know, the shrink wrap stuff that you blow dry and it conforms. I don't know if this will work or not, but I figured it was worth a shot, if it works I'll update!! Also, go to the post office and request either that they print out the postage on small labels (ugly but useful) or they currently have several tropical varieties of stamps available (only Hawaiian one is of the King with the ocean in the background presently though for all you Hawaii brides). If you want to buy mailing tubes for your bottles you can get them here:

www.sandscrip ts.com

QUICK TIP: Make a few extra! We did and ended up using them and now we don't have one of our own. I am presently in the process of making two more, one to keep at home and one to take to work or to just show other people that ask me about them all the time. But I really want us to have one just to ourselves that can sit on a shelf or mantel for years to come.

Sample of our mailing boxes:





We will also be ordering one of these display cases to put our invitation on our mantel I love it!!



DISCLOSURE:
I am not responsible if any of the following occur: you burn down your house, you burn your finger, you burn your fiance, your fingers ache from rolling the scrolls and you are not able to play, you get black soot all over yourself, your clothes, your house or your fiance, you spend too much in postage, you get condensed coconut fragrance on your fingers and you smell for a year and a half or if you get arrested for stealing sand from the beach.
Oh, and have fun!!