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Scratch-Off Save-the-Date

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2011

You won the lottery when you found each other, so send this cheeky save-the-date card to let guests share in your luck. After scraping off the paint with a penny, they'll hit the jackpot: your wedding date!

Tools and Materials

  • White card stock
  • Fine-tip pen or marker
  • Clear packing tape
  • Freezer paper
  • Metallic acrylic paint
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Foam brush
  • Craft knife
  • Pennies
  • A2 or 4-bar envelopes

Scratch-Off Save-the-Date How-To

  1. Download our PDF file and replace the placeholder text with your own (you only need to do this in one box; the form will automatically fill in the rest). Then print onto white card stock.
  2. Stick strips of clear packing tape to the shiny side of freezer paper.
  3. Mix two parts metallic paint with one part liquid dishwashing soap.
  4. Apply three or more light coats of paint mixture to the packing tape with a foam brush, letting dry between coats, until the color is opaque. Let dry completely, overnight if necessary.
  5. Trim freezer paper around strips of packing tape with a craft knife. Place a piece of scrap card stock or paper over tape to keep punch clean; punch several hearts from tape.
  6. Gently score freezer paper backing on hearts with a craft knife, being careful not to cut through tape. Peel backing from hearts and affix to template over each scratch-off message. (Optional: Cut a decorative paper backing that is 1/4-inch larger all around than the scratch-off card.)
  7. Cut a slit in the backing for a coin and place a piece of double-sided tape above and below the slit. Adhere to the back of the card with more double-sided tape and place coin in slit.

Note: A card backed with decorative paper will fit in a size A2 envelope. Cards without backing fit in a size "4-bar" envelope.

Comments (41)

  • missgypsyB 14 Mar, 2014

    I love this idea but the DIY pigment was a disaster for me! I found heart shaped scratch off labels from SUPER easy and inexpensive. And much more professional looking than I ever could have accomplished with the paint on application.

  • nayahh2o 9 Feb, 2014

    (cont from below). Let each coat of paint dry in between. After the paint has dried, cut each heart out and peel the backing of the contact paper. Stick the 'heart sticker' onto the hearts of the card... Voila!

  • nayahh2o 9 Feb, 2014

    All you need is clear contact paper. Print the pdf below onto regular paper and cut out the hearts to create a heart template. Use the template to trace the hearts onto the paperside of the contact paper. I did mine in groups of 36 (4 rows of 9 hearts). Then I cut the group of 36 as a whole sheet and taped it (glossy side up/paper side down with the traced hearts) onto cardboard. For the paint, use 2 tubes Martha St. in Pewter, (2 fl oz. each) mixed w/ 1/4 cup dishwashing soap. Paint 2 coats

  • aimtoplease 11 Jun, 2013

    There is an easier way! I can't believe they expect us to take these numerous steps in order to make the cards.

    Its simple, instead of using tape and freezer paper, buy some clear labels at Staples ($15). You can either put a long strip across the row of hearts or I suppose you could trace the hearts on the label paper, paint/cut/peel/stick. It works like a charm! I really feel like saying DUH! to martha.

  • rachelc1987 10 Feb, 2013

    Hi - quick query please reply !! Will grease proof paper do it instead of "freezer paper" ??

    Thanks, Rach

  • beezerdlk 1 Aug, 2012

    Saw some feedback regarding problems with the directions, and corrections people found. Does anyone know where I can find that feedback, before I start the project? Love this idea for a couple who loves to play lottery scratch-offs!

  • CarolynRatcliffe 1 Jun, 2012

    A few more pictures would help people understand to paint on the tape and not on the paper invite. If you want to do this, don't be discouraged by the comments below! The order of the save the date should be *layer of paint*tape*paper. You're making your own stickers (the freezer paper is the back of the sticker that you will peel it off of). Don't paint directly on the paper, it will absorb the paint! When on tape, it wont even scratch the paper, the tape will protect it. Good luck!

  • CarolynRatcliffe 1 Jun, 2012

    A few more pictures would help people understand to paint on the tape and not on the paper invite. If you want to do this, don't be discouraged by the comments below! The order of the save the date should be *layer of paint*tape*paper. You're making your own stickers (the freezer paper is the back of the sticker that you will peel it off of). Don't paint directly on the paper, it will absorb the paint! When on tape, it wont even scratch the paper, the tape will protect it. Good luck!

  • KatsALive 25 May, 2012

    My Guests LOVED these invites. I followed the directions (painted on the clear tape) the only thing I did different was to trace the hearts out with a template and cut them out with scissors. Worked like a charm!

  • Spicebunny 1 Apr, 2012

    I could be wrong, but it sounds like a lot of people are painting directly on the paper instead of painting on the packing tape in order to make stickers that you then apply to the cardstock. The freezer paper is used as a backing for the stickers until you are ready to use them.

  • miss_missa07 17 Feb, 2012

    I tried making these for my boyfriend for Valentine's Day (made my own template and everything--his prizes were dates), and I also had problems with them. When he tried scratching the cards, the paint wouldn't scratch off! I honestly think it's because of the dish soap--the paint seemed too slippery to come off successfully. Very disappointed, but I'm glad we didn't use these for anything too special. I'm going to redo them this weekend, but I'm not following these instructions.

  • ariel1706 21 Jan, 2012

    I did these for our wedding - in two batches. The first batch went out with my Christmas cards, to all of my friends and family - and they didn't scratch. We followed the instructions to the letter... After finding out they didn't scratch, I changed the plan for the second batch and put a strip of Scotch tape over the numbers before painting. I had to do three coats, but it worked perfectly!

    Take the extra time to put tape & an extra layer of paint and they'll work perfectly!

  • ericajosee 13 Nov, 2011

    @ nanoka, my fiance and I are also on a tight budget and we had a lot of difficulty trying to get the paint to scratch off as well. After many trial and errors, we had a great soloution. We went to a self service Fed Ex/Kinkos office and laminated the card so that way when we applied the paint, it dried but easily scratched off with a coin because the laminate doesnt absorb the paint. We were very relieved. Hope this helps.

  • nanoka 6 Nov, 2011

    This is the most disappointing project ever! My fiance and I are on a very tight budget, and we fell in love with this idea. It took me 2 weeks to get the scratch off paint to work. I then proceeded to make our save the dates early, since I knew I was going to be busy when I needed to mail them out. Now, just a few days before I was going to mail them, I rechecked them and the paint no longer works, like they "expired". Now I have to figure something out last minute and am freaking out! BAD IDEA

  • twilltwill 1 Nov, 2011

  • twilltwill 1 Nov, 2011

    Here's a visual showing how the scratch off stickers look using this scratch off card template. So many have had trouble with the painting version, before you print, please test out one or two.

  • FLSue 25 Sep, 2011

    Any thoughts on what size scratch off- sticker to order? Also circle or heart shaped?

  • semicharmed730 17 Sep, 2011

    I'm so mad I ever saw this in the magazine. Looks like a cute and creative idea, right? Well anyone who is thinking about making these should re-think. Complete waste of time, money and energy!!! I followed the directions exactly. Even tried using different paper types and using rubber cement in between the paint and the paper. THIS DOES NOT WORK. Do NOT waste your time!

  • Gretchox 4 Sep, 2011

    Mcozz1 I am wondering the same thing you are. Does anyone know which hearts to order from the scratch and sniff site that will fit the best?? Thanks!!!

  • Mcozz1 3 Aug, 2011

    Ladies. What size did you all use for the scratch off stickers? Did it fit the hearts good or was it too small or too large. I just want to make sure that it doesnt look sloppy before I order them! Thank you so much your suggestions are very helpful and appreciated!!!

  • Kaylynn 3 Aug, 2011

    'One part' means one measurement. i.e. 1 cup (part) soap and 2 cups (parts) paint or 1 TBSP soap and 2 TBSP paint. etc.

  • nezolosky 3 Aug, 2011

    I think this in an amazing idea and fun of coarse! I tried this on one just to get the hang of it, but unfortuantely it didn't work for me! Did I use too much soap? Or maybe too much paint?

  • nhoblit87 2 Aug, 2011

    what does 1 part soap and 2 parts paint mean? i love this idea but im a little confused as in what that means? can anyone help??

  • mrbarclay 31 Jul, 2011

    I am knee-deep in this project and super excited. I am planning to make 120. Any suggestions on how much paint I should purchase?

  • Luckyrabbit17 24 Jul, 2011

    I just finished them today and they look AMAZING.
    I took the idea from feedback to use rubber cement on the numbers before adding paint and that made it soooooo much better!
    Instead of using envelopes I am sending them as post cards!

  • NanaKayG 21 Jul, 2011

    I found I got got a much more professional looking card by using scratch off stickers. So easy to use and very reasonable price. She has lots of color and shape options. too

  • Smilekleener 21 Jul, 2011

    I JUST did these for my 11-11-11 wedding Save The Dates and they turned out great! LOTS of work to paint the hearts but they were a HIT! The only change I made was to use Photo paper instead of the card stock...The colors stayed vibrant under the paint

  • miner2011 21 Jul, 2011

    Great idea! I had problems getting them evenly sized and the same consistency. I found a faster, easier way with scratch off stickers from

  • RosemaryKelly 21 Jul, 2011

    Ceramcoat or other latex acrylic might be an option. Comes in a million colors. Sounds like a very high amount of soap to be using though.

  • MRSjTucker 20 Jul, 2011

    I too have tried doing this but I can't get it to do what they say it should. I didn't use the paint they used but if you did and it still doesn't work I don't think that's the problem. I put a very thin layer on and it warps the paper and makes it look crappy and when I let it dry, not only can you still see the number underneath even after 3 coats, it scratches not only the paint off (and not like a scratch off) it scratches the number underneath! Does anyone have any suggestions because right

  • redshift 18 Jul, 2011

    For those of you wanting to customize colors--it looks like you need Adobe Illustrator to do anything more than edit the text of the pdf. If you're not lucky enough to own it yourself, chances are very good you know someone with it who would be kind enough to help you out.

  • rbn1 17 Jul, 2011

    I have bought the exact paint and soap and am still unsuccessful.

    It looks very nice, but when it is dry and I attempt to scratch off, nothing happens. It is just as if I painted it. I was using cardstock


  • MOJIEWOJIE 12 Jul, 2011

    I LOVE this idea, but also wish l change the colors of the background. The light blue and pink are fine, but I would like it so much better if I could customize to our wedding colors! Please let us know if anyone knows how to do this!!

  • IowaAmber 11 Jul, 2011

    I love this idea! I was a little disappointed to not be able to customize the colors though. Has anyone else figured out how to change the colors to fit our wedding colors? I know it's not the end of the world but I would like it to be closer to our colors.

  • melissacolgan 8 Jul, 2011

    But I would suggest that before you produce this to test it out on a couple of different paper options from your local store to see what works best. That is what i did. The other key is to make sure that it really dries in between coats (I only needed two thin coats but if your font or ink is heavier you might need three) and that you allow it all to dry for a few hours before scratching it off. Hope this helps!

  • melissacolgan 8 Jul, 2011

    We tried this on a number of high quality papers ranging from very matte to very glossy. All the papers were card stock and from Paper Presentation and the scratch of worked on every paper type with the paint scratching off very easily and not ruining the card design. I never needed to use anything on top of the paper, under the paint.

  • melissacolgan 8 Jul, 2011

    Hi, I ma Melissa one of the editor's who produced this story. Hopefully I can help you guys out so that you can use this idea in your wedding. I am going to comment in a couple installments . . . first, make sure you use the exact paint and soap that I used. Palmolive unscented original Soap (the green stuff) and Golden Artist Colors acrylic paint in iridescent silver. And make sure your measurements are exact. 1 part soap to 2 parts paint.

  • amandafaith45 2 Jul, 2011

    If you put a thin layer of rubber cement over the number and then paint over it, it works! you have to use at least 3 layers of paint but it works! hope this is helpful:)

  • kske 1 Jul, 2011

    The paper used is probably a factor in how well the paint adheres and how easily it is scratched off without bringing the number and paper it is printed on with it. Try higher quality paper or paper with a slight finish on the surface???? Good luck, the idea is adorable if you can make it work.

  • weeb21 29 Jun, 2011

    I found the same thing - I looked up other tutorials on how to do this same idea and it was suggested to put a piece of "thin plastic" over top of the hidden message or date before painting on it. That could be a clear label, or even little squares of packing tape. Hope this helps!

  • caitlinfrances 23 Jun, 2011

    Please help!! I have tried to make these and the paint does not scratch off correctly. It is very tough to even get off and then it takes the number off underneath. I love this design and I can't find it anywhere else! Please help!