'F' for Freebies Holidays

Train Party Invitations (Free Printable)

We’re having a party for Eleanor’s third birthday soon. She loves trains, and while searching google images for “Little Golden Books Trains”, I came across The Train to Timbuctoo by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Art Seiden.

It was originally published in 1951 and though it is now out of print, it’s easy enough to find used copies for sale. I ordered one from eBay (a first edition copy!) with plans to use some of the illustrations inside for our party invitations. The title page had the perfect layout, so I scanned it, cleaned it up, and based our invitations off of it.

I printed them on cream colored paper and rounded the edges with a corner punch, then paired each invite with a burnt orange envelope.

I’ve created a free blank version, available for download below. You can print them four to a page (the second link has them laid out for you already), and the invitations will fit perfectly in an A2 envelope (like these).

These are for personal, non-commercial use only, falling under the Fair Use Copyright Act.

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81 Comments

  • Reply
    Emma Assin
    April 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    so beautiful. i will be using these for my train-loving 2 year old’s 3rd birthday party for sure! thank you so much for sharing and happy birthday to lovely eleanor!

    • Reply
      Corinne
      November 22, 2012 at 3:29 am

      I can’t figure out how to edit the writing in them once I download them…. Sorry, not overly computer literate

      • Reply
        Making it Lovely
        November 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        The ones to download are just fill-in-the-blank style.

  • Reply
    brittney
    April 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    You are so dang creative Nicole. I love seeing what you come up with. The invites are adorable. Happy 3rd Birthday Eleanor!

  • Reply
    Martina
    April 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you!! Sounds like it will be a fun party! Happy birthday, Eleanor!

  • Reply
    liz
    April 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    These are darling!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Great job Nicole!!! I can’t wait to see the party and thanks for sharing the invites. Thats really nice of you.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    So cute! But I ask this out of professional curiosity. How does this not infringe on copyright for the illustrations?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      I looked into it before sharing it as a download. These would fall under the Fair Use act. The illustrations are still protected by copyright, but this is a derivative work that does not impede on the market value on the book (especially since it is out of print), and is being distributed for free.

  • Reply
    Christine
    April 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Can you share where you purchased the paper and it’s weight?

  • Reply
    NK @ Style-ING w/ Children
    April 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    gorgeous. I love your design esthetic.

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    April 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Those are SO CUTE. How clever.

  • Reply
    Shosh
    April 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Hi – I also had the same question a previous commenter had about infringing on the copyright of the illustration…maybe append the comment to the post? You are super talented and the invitation’s gorgeous…

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      There is a line directly below the links to download stating that “these are for personal, non-commercial use only, falling under the Fair Use act.” I will amend that to “Fair Use Copyright Act” to make it more clear.

  • Reply
    Molly the Waffler
    April 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Oh, Little Golden Books — brings me back to my childhood!

  • Reply
    I Heart Motherhood
    April 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    what a gorgeous invite! So clever ;)

  • Reply
    ryan
    April 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I love printed invitations and wish I hosted more events so I cold make more invitations! When I did the paper products for my wedding I did something similar with a vintage book from ebay. I scanned the illustrations and used them on the invitations, website and cards.

    I have got to get me one of those corner punches though. I love rounded corners.

  • Reply
    KarenF
    April 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I’m sorry, but this does not constitute fair use under the Copyright Act. The use would have to be in some way for the greater good: in teaching, in research, for a documentary, etc.

    If nothing else, you’re distributing the derivative work. This is expressly forbidden.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      The way that I understood it was that it applied in this case much the same way that mash-up artists use and sample songs and then distribute the derivative works for free.

    • Reply
      Justine
      April 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Aren’t birthday parties really for the greater good? ;)

  • Reply
    jenni o
    April 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Actually, Karen, no. Only if these were offered for SALE, would this be an infringement. As long as the download is used for personal use only, it is perfectly acceptable. You can even scan current Disney characters and make an invitation out of it (or print them out and make a quilt with them, then give it to your nephew), as long as it is JUST FOR YOU or offered freely as a gift (i.e. personal, non-commercial use).

    • Reply
      my honest answer
      April 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      But if Nicole makes money from her blog, isn’t posting it here commerical use? Not trying to start an argument, I’m genuinely curious.

      • Reply
        Making it Lovely
        April 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        There is a lot of ambiguity in copyright law, but in the simplest terms, commercial use pertains to selling something directly.

  • Reply
    jenni o
    April 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Copyright law is indeed ambiguous, and I wouldn’t necessarily advocate offering up a free diy Disney invitation on the internet, but since these are illustrations made before 1963 AND have not been republished, they are technically in the public domain, which means Nicole could feasibly sell these if she wanted to, without repercussions.

    This is a great site if you have more questions: http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/

  • Reply
    Erika
    April 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Those are adorable! Eleanor is lucky to have such a creative mom!

  • Reply
    Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet
    April 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    So adorable! I’m feeling inspired!

  • Reply
    April
    April 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m a freight train conductor and plan to tuck this away for when I have my first baby. It’s so delicate and sweet.

  • Reply
    Justine
    April 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Love love LOVE this! I’m such a sucker for vintage book illustrations.

  • Reply
    amanda
    April 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    does designing invitations make you want to reopen your shop?!?

  • Reply
    Shoshana
    April 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I love you for choosing a train theme over a princess theme.

  • Reply
    Leone
    April 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    These are so freakin’ adorable! You’re so creative.

  • Reply
    Kathy
    April 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I just love everything you do!
    Thanks.

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    April 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

    How can she be 3 already. I can’t get over how cute those choo choo invites came out.

  • Reply
    trisha_cm
    April 20, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Perfect for my sons small birthday party which is in 3 weeks! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Gretchen
    April 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

    These are SO cute!! Love this. Very, very creative.

  • Reply
    Nita
    April 20, 2012 at 8:25 am

    These are really cute, the illustration works out so well as an invite.

  • Reply
    Shawna
    April 20, 2012 at 9:55 am

    WOO HOO! Just found your blog [addicted] and it must be a sign since my little man is turning 4 next month and we are having a…wait for it…TRAIN PARTY!!! He is OBSESSED!!!

    So, call me a newbie or whatever, but when I go to print your invitations, they are about 2×2 inches?!?!?! Also, how do I change the text??? Please help a train-lovers mom out!!

    Thanks – LOVE THE BLOG!!!!

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Nicole, I am so glad that you were able to do this. I have a little girl who loves trains as well. We just had a Choo-Choo 2nd Birthday Party for her in March. It is so hard to find girl friendly train invites. Thanks so much for sharing. I am so glad that you were able to with the © issues. Thanks again!!

  • Reply
    paola
    April 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    this is sooo pretty!!great work!!

  • Reply
    Gina
    April 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Those are so cute! Unfortunately, my little boy is into cars… so that will be the theme of our birthday party. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Ilene
    April 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    This is genuis. Thank you for sharing. Completely inspiring. And as I understand copyright, this is fair use.

  • Reply
    Ali
    April 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Those train birthday party invites are ADORABLE! You are so creative! My son, Jack turned 3 at the beginning of April! Guess what! We rode the mini train in our town for his birthday party! :) Three year olds LOVE trains! Enjoy celebrating your 3 year old!

    Okay, this may be crossing the line (so please forgive me if I’m being greedy) I remember LOVING the rainbow colored invitation you made for your daughter’s 2nd birthday! Any chance you’ll offer those invites as a free download too? No worries, if you don’t want to post those invites! I’ll always come back to your LOVELY blog..its the best! :)

    ~ Ali

  • Reply
    Sonali
    April 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    What is the font type and size you used on each line of the invitation?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 23, 2012 at 12:30 am

      The font is Eames Century, and I used a mix of sizes, but the main two were 22 pt and 10 pt.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    April 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

    The invitations are darling and I really enjoy your blog! What kind of printer do you use for these kinds of projects?

  • Reply
    Michele
    April 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Thanks so much for these adorable invites. I was just tooling around with my son’s 4 year old invite when these popped into my inbox. My lucky day!

    One question, I’m not tech-savvy AT ALL–is there a “not-too-difficult” way to fill out my own fields? Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      April 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Pen. ;)

      • Reply
        Michele
        April 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

        Ah, yes, it’s all so clear now :). I thought maybe there was nothing I had missed and I guess there was! Thanks again. These are adorable

  • Reply
    Rainbow Birthday Party Invitations (Free Printable) | Making it Lovely
    April 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    […] the custom rainbow colored text into an invite that would work for everybody. After adapting my train party invitations, I realized I could do something similar, and lo, a free download for you today.Turning OneTurning […]

  • Reply
    Michele
    April 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    “something” I had missed

  • Reply
    Tyla B
    April 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    What a generous gift! My near three-year old son has a birthday coming up in June. This will get put to good use, as he has a super healthy obsession with trains. What great timing!

  • Reply
    Quick Picks Thursday : 4.26.12 | Paper Crave
    April 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

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  • Reply
    Amber
    April 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Using these for my little man’s 4th birthday in June~ he LOVES trains, but has never been into the cartoon-y ones… :) This is perfect! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Eleanor’s Third Birthday Party | Making it Lovely
    May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    […] My little conductor turned three at the end of April.The big conductor turned 34, two days later.The party invitations promised train whistles and caps for all, and we delivered. Bandanas, too.My idea for the table was to […]

  • Reply
    Beth
    May 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    super cute!

  • Reply
    Mia
    July 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I’m going to use them for my little man’s first birthday!

  • Reply
    Maureen H
    August 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you SO much for providing this free, adorable template. I did an evite for my son’s train party, but needed something for people who’s email I didn’t have. These were perfect!

  • Reply
    Paljon Onnea |
    August 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

    […] Esta otra invitación, aunque sea de trenes, también me parece preciosa. Lo mejor, que la puedes descargar gratuitamente. Making it lovely […]

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    LOVE LOVE this invitation! I ALSO love your blog! I saw these on pinterest. So fun!

  • Reply
    Retro-style train invitation
    November 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    […] this party invitation and the good news is that it’s free to download. You can find it at Making It Lovely. It’s based on the title page from a book called The Train to Timbuctoo, by Margaret Wise […]

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 20, 2013 at 11:08 am

    This is a beautiful invitation!! Thank you SO much for being so generous with it. I’m using these for my 3 year old’s birthday party. :)

  • Reply
    Laura
    February 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I think I’ll be using these invites for my son’s second birthday party. Thank you.

  • Reply
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    April 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

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  • Reply
    Eleni
    April 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Adorable! Thank you for sharing :)

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 22, 2013 at 10:21 am

    That’s lovely! Can I ask that what sort of program you use for open this file? I’ve download this one but have no idea how to edit on it.
    Thanks

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 22, 2013 at 10:23 am

    That’s lovely!
    Could you tell me what program I need for opening with? I’ve download but can’t type in. Thanks

  • Reply
    Marie
    May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I’m so excited to use these. Thanks for setting them up! I can’t seem to be able to edit the font though. When I click on the link it opens in a new window but it won’t let me edit. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    March 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Hi There
    I”m using this free pdf (thank you SO much) and love the paper you use but am having so much trouble finding construction paper for laser printers locally. I can find it online (like the link you gave), but it is always too much and shipping is crazy! Any tips? So far the print shops I’ve tried don’t stock construction paper, but say I can bring my own…if I can ever find it!

  • Reply
    Alicia
    March 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Love this! It’s exactly what I’m looking for, for my son’s 5th bday. This is the third year in a row he STILL wants trains as a theme for his birthday, so this fits perfectly. I don’t suppose you have the image available without any text in the middle…I thought of making a couple other print outs or a post for the front door. I can probably copy it blank ok by covering it up since the background appears white, but but if you happen to have that…I would be so grateful!

  • Reply
    robyn
    October 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Greetings,

    I’m in absolute love with your blog, and this adorable invitation!! It is exactly what I had in mind for my son’s birthday, and I would love to use this idea. I’m having difficulty getting it downloaded to my computer in a format which allows me to alter the necessary information. For some reason it just keeps popping up as a picture that I am unable to work with.

    I’m not very savvy in this field, so I am wondering if you have any suggestions. I’m using a Mac. And I appreciate any help!

    Kind thanks,
    Robyn

    • Reply
      Jessica
      October 14, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      I too am having the same problem. Any thoughts?

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    December 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the free template! These are awesome! I’m using them for my little girls 2nd birthday party!!!

  • Reply
    Jeanette
    January 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I want to echo many other grateful moms, and tell you how adorable these invites are! I would really like to use the image for my son’s birthday party in just a couple short weeks (eek! I know I’m behind….being pregnant really wipes me out!). Anyway, I can’t seem to open or download these as anything except jpeg images making it impossible to edit :( Please help me!

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Nicole! When i try to download this adorable invitation it only saves it as a jpeg and not an adobe file. How do I edit it?

    Also, what other party decor did you use for her birthday party? This is absolutely adorable!

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    Satya
    March 31, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Hello! I would love to use these beautiful invitations, but I also do not have software to edit the .jpg file. Do you have a PDF to a version without text that could be hand written?
    Thank you

  • Reply
    Bodil Walker
    April 13, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Hi! Thank you so much for this invitation it is adorable and perfect for my son’s 2nd birthday.

    ***To all you posting about how to edit the .jpg file…I put the image in a powerpoint (or keynote for Mac) side and did text over. It worked perfectly. I was even able to edit the font and opacity of the font to match. So it is like fill in style but at least not hand written.***

  • Reply
    Better Never Than Late
    October 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

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  • Reply
    Event Blunder #10: Late Invitations
    March 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    […] don’t have to be expensive.  Here’s a great resource I found for printing free invitations: http://www.makingitlovely.com. Although invitations may be cheap, one of the most expensive parts of an event is getting people […]

  • Reply
    Train Birthday Party | zuzuberry
    April 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    […] I found this beautiful invitation made from “The Train to Timbuctoo” by Margaret Wise Brown, one of my favorite vintage authors. I love the simplicity of the design, […]

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