first anniversary {paper}

It’s been over a month since our first wedding anniversary, and I have yet to share with you the gift that I made for Nick! My apologies… I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath ;-)

I decided that I wanted to create something truly handmade for our anniversary, and I wanted it to stay within the realm of the traditional first anniversary paper gift. (By the way — who made those things up???) I decided to Gocco a print with all hand-drawn elements, with the focus being a quote from the song we danced to at our wedding, “Love is All About We,” as well as our names and wedding date. (Listen to the song “We” here.)

I started with a light sketch that would fit within the size specifications of how large my Gocco can print with one screen (around 4.25″ x 6.25″) (image 1 above). Once I had the basic layout sketched, I began drawing my letters with more pressure (image 2 above). I am left-handed and things often smear when I work with pencil, so I often work right-to-left to make things a bit less messy (image 3 above). I think my final result looked cute! (image 4 above)

I also wrote a bunch of random words that relate to us and drew a few cute little doodles to be used later…

I scanned my main image and brought it into Photoshop to erase any speckles and bump up my contrast. After I printed my image out in black and white, I burnt a Gocco screen with my image and used my ink blocking material to keep my ink contained to the right areas (image 1 above). Then I inked my screen with white ink (image 2 above). Next, it was time to print!

I used chip board as my canvas, as it’s a current obsession of mine. I really like the organic look of the white ink on the chip board (and since it’s very neutral, hopefully it will always coordinate with our decor!).

Voila! I only needed one print for the final project, but since I had already used up a screen and spent time inking it, I made a bunch of extra prints. Who knows what I’ll use them for, but I like having some extras regardless.

Remember those random words and doodles you saw above? I scanned them in as well and created a full-screen pattern with them.

I used a large sheet of chip board and repeated the pattern with my Gocco. It wasn’t perfect and there were some bald spots, but for once I wasn’t going for perfection.

After everything was printed and dried, it came time to frame it up.

I had purchased a black frame at Home Goods (image 1 above) that had a double-mat and a space in the center for a 5″ x 7″ photo (image 2 above). The mats were glued together, so I gently pulled them apart (image 3 above). They didn’t pull apart perfectly, but that’s okay, because the area that got messed up would be covered up later. I took the larger mat that had been on top and placed it on top of my large piece of chip board with the repeat pattern; I traced around the inside and outside of the mat, and then used an X-acto blade to cut away the excess chip board (image 4 above).

I lined up my patterned mat, the white mat, and my main image so everything was centered, and used Scotch tape on the back to hold everything in place (image 1 above). When I turned everything over, it was perfectly lined up and ready to be framed (image 2 above).

The final product:

Nick really loves it and I was happy to have come up with a unique idea that didn’t cost a lot of money. Since I spend so much of my time sitting at a computer, it was nice to do something more hand-drawn, and it was a great excuse to break out my Gocco.


  1. Gorgeous Brooke! What a beautiful piece of artwork to have hanging in your home.

  2. wait, those are just doodles? You are the best doodler I have ever seen! All I can do is uneven bubble handwriting that looks strangely likes my own very poor handwriting and maybe a stick figure or two. I'm Impressed!!!

  3. Thanks, everyone! It was a labor of love :-)

    Nicole-Lynn, I have an Etsy shop, but only for photo booth posters at the moment… maybe someday I'll add some other fun artsy things!

    Katie, the letters took a while to perfect — the stuff in the border collage were more quick and doodly :-)

  4. Ahhhh! I love love love this! I hope you don't mind if I blog about it? This is absolute brilliance!

  5. I have been following your blog for a bit and loved this idea! I do not have a Gocco machine so I decided to try my hand at it with the basics – a white coloring pencil and time! I like how it turned out and hope that my husband likes it too! Thanks for the idea –

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