I know I promised this on good ol’ IG about a century ago, but here it is… a tutorial on how I make my mirror seating chart signs! If you have good handwriting and a lot of patience, you can absolutely make this on your own.
Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pen (I typically use white)
2 Measuring Tapes
24” Steel Ruler
Black Thin Tipped Dry Erase Marker
Decide How to Display Your Guest List
Before you put ink to mirror, you’ve got some decisions to make. First things first, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like the sign listed in alphabetical order from A-Z or have each name/party listed under their table number.
My recommendation is to list all names alphabetically because it will be much easier for your guests to find their name. If your wedding has more than 75 guests, this is definitely the way to go. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a long line at a wedding when you’re hungry for dinner!
You will also need to decide whether to list everyone individually, or by party (i.e. Mrs. Pamela Halpert or Mr. and Mrs. Jim Halpert). With a larger guest list, I recommend listing everyone by party because they usually fit much nicer on a mirror.
Finally, you’ll need to decide if you want any text at the top and bottom of your sign. Examples for sign toppers are “Find Your Seat”, “Please Take a Seat”, etc. and for the bottom of the sign many couples like to do their names and wedding date or a flourish.
Do Some Math. (This is the hard part)
Once you’ve made the above decisions, you need to measure your mirror sign and count the number of guests on your list. You also need to count how many headers you will have (i.e. Table One, Table Two, etc. or A, B, C, D, etc.).
Most of my signs stand vertically so that they are taller than they are wide, meaning I usually have two columns. The goal is to make those two columns as even as possible. It is VERY rare that things work out perfectly on their own. For some reason there are always an odd number of parties at a wedding. This is very irritating, but it is what it is, so we have to get creative!
I typically do a half inch for every guest name and an inch for every header. The first thing I do is count how many guest names and how many headers and add that all up and divide by 2 (2 columns). This tells me how much space I need at minimum on the mirror for the guest list. Once I know how much space is leftover, I can decide how much space I want to use for my header and footer.
Now you cross your fingers and say a little prayer to the calligraphy gods and hope that the halfway point on your list magically is the division between two letters. It almost never is. If it’s not, you have some options. You can do a “M. Continued” in your second column (but this adds another inch to that column so you have to do the math again and make sure it’s even!), you can remove the headers and place them to the left of the list in their own column so that they aren’t taking up vertical space, or you can nix the headers all together if you are going in alpha order. There also other creative style options, like centering the last table or letter at the bottom of the sign, or simply being ok with one side being a name or two longer. It’s up to you!
Layout Your Sign
Once you have your math and design all figured out, get out your measure tapes and dry erase marker! REMEMBER: MEASURE TWICE, WRITE ONCE!!! The amount of time I’ve wasted thinking I was too cool to measure twice is too much. Just do it, you’ll thank me later.
First, use painters or masking tape (anything that won’t ruin your frame) to tape your measuring tape down the left side of your mirror.
Use your steel ruler or your second measuring tape to find the center line (half the width of your mirror) and draw a line straight down the center. (If you are doing more than two columns, divide the sign into that many columns instead of two!)
3. Tape your second tape measure down the center line of the sign.
4. Start making tick marks based on your math down the left and center of the sign. I usually print out my list and count in advance how many names in each section (A, B, C, D…) so that I just have to glance to see how many tick marks to make.
5. Once you’ve completed the left side, remove the tape measure and tape it to the right side of the sign and continue making tick marks. If you have headers, your two sides will be different so you will need to make a different set of marks on each side of the center line.
6. When you are done, remove the tape measure and use your steel ruler to connect the lines!
4. Create a Border / Make Starting Lines
I usually give myself a one inch margin (at least) around the whole sign. I also make sure I am starting writing my names at the exact same distance from either the edge of the sign or the center line so that everything lines up perfectly.
5. Start Writing!
The fun part – finally! Whip out that Sharpie Paint Pen and put pen to mirror. I usually write my names in all caps and do a script for the headers, but you should put your own stamp on it. I continually charge up my marker so that the consistency is the same down the whole sign. As a righty, the right side of the sign is always harder for me because it requires some leaning and subsequently some back pain. You’ll have to figure out what works for you! I often do the whole sign with it resting on the floor, but sometimes I need to lean it against the wall to protect my aging body.
If you make any flubs, just use a little bit of nail polish remover and you can start fresh. Just make sure to thoroughly clean off the nail polish remover with a towel before writing again or the ink will bubble up!
6. Erase the Dry Erase Marker
Grab a smooth cloth or a paper towel and wipe down the whole sign. If any of the black marker smudges on the names, you’ll just have to go over it with marker again, but this shouldn’t happen too much. You can use a little glass cleaner on your towel as well, it won’t rub off the Sharpie!
7. Admire Your Work and Feel Great About Yourself
Step back, admire your reflection and all of your hard work! Then take an Epsom Salt bath so you don’t ache too much from hunching over. You’ll thank me later!
8. Remove the Ink
Once your mirror has had it’s best day ever at your best day ever, it’s time to remove the ink and put the mirror to use elsewhere. All you need is some nail polish remover and paper towel and it will come right off!
Above is an example of a mirror seating chart with gold ink! It’s nice to have your florist adorn them with some greenery to finish the look.
Above is an example of a seating chart by table number for a smaller guest list. Photo by Alora Rachelle Photography.
I hope this has been a helpful tutorial! Please leave a comment with any questions or feedback! I am happy to update this post with more info if I am missing anything.
Happy Mirror Sign Making!