The Geekiest Wedding Invites Ever


Planning a wedding is no small task. There is the venue, the catering company, the annoying wedding planner to deal with, the cake - and, of course, figuring out how to etch your own copper to create your interactive, one-of-a-kind wedding invitations. Right?

This project comes from electronics hobbyist extraordinaire Bill Porter, who created these amazing wedding invitations to follow his wedding theme of “Circuits and Swirls.” Using a handful of white LEDs, an AVR MCU, a battery, a light sensor, and some other bits and pieces, Bill created a completely unique wedding invitation that illuminates with a beautiful light show when the invitation is opened in the dark (or the light sensor is otherwise covered).

Bill built the circuit in Eagle and by using Photoshop, was able to circumvent around the size limits of Eagle, and panelized the design onto 8.5″x11″ sheets. Because of this workaround, Bill was able to fit 9 designs onto one sheet. He also incorporated a programming “port” into the design and built a nifty little programming jig.

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Well that looks familiar.

Bill then used a Xerox solid ink printer to print mask directly onto copper sheets and built his own etch tank out of a specimen tank from a local pet store. Bill gave the boards a nice ferric chloride bath, a quick dip in a water tub, and then cleaned the boards with a Brillo pad to remove the solder mask.

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The Xerox loaded up with copper “paper.”

Finally he cleaned the pads with some flux, tinned them up, and then soldered the parts. The completed boards were then ready to be incorporated into the paper cards. The result, as you can see in the above video, is pretty awesome. Bill even put an Easter egg into the card, which he explains more on his website.

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The final touch - installing the battery.

Even making one of these invitations was a ton of work, so the fact Bill made dozens is pretty impressive. Props to him for an awesome, creative way to geek up his wedding invites! For more information, pictures, and a complete build report, check out his website. Great work, Bill, and congratulations!


Comments 14 comments

  • Congratulations Bill and Mara! I’ll mention that Bill is also behind the terrific MP3 Player Library, that makes playing audio files with the MP3 Player Shield blissfully easy.

  • Member #302799, just for you, the message:

    -… .. .-.. .-.. / .- -. -.. / – .- .-. .- / –… -.- … / - — –. . - ……-. / ..-. — .-…..- . .-. .-.-.-

    reads: BILL AND MARA GEEKS TOGETHER FOREVER.

  • Gee I thought I had it rough when I had to hand calligraphy all the place cards at 2:00 AM the Thursday before my wedding. :-)

  • If only Sparkfun had a wedding registry…

  • Well done Bill to make such a technical letterpress invitations card.It is really unique.

  • Congrats to Bill and Mara and great job with the cards! I just hope you didn’t have to send out too many of these, weddings are expensive enough as it is.

  • I first saw this on Facebook, I am planning a wedding and I might just have to copy some of Bill’s great ideas. Congratulations!

  • But I wasn’t invited :(

  • Thought this was unbelievably nerdy until realizing I did the exact same thing in my 10’s, 20’s, & 30’s. They weren’t marriage proposals, but they all caused the same freakout & request to get lost.

  • I think someone should decode that secret mesage. I’ll bet it is flashing morse code.

  • Umm, so if I want to register for the AVC get sent to this page. Does that mean you are going to hold the AVC at his wedding and we are all invited?

  • Congratulations to you both!!! I was wondering where did you get the copper paper. The make and brand if possible.

  • Yup, I’m doing this when I get married.


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