Writing on a Mirror- A How-To Tutorial
Just wanted to take a moment to share some tips for calligraphy on mirrors! It’s one of our most requested items. Throughout the year I’ve been asked by many calligraphers and DIY Brides how I keep my lines straight and do the basic layout and design so I thought I’d share a quick tutorial to get you started. These are techniques that work for me, but in no way are the only way to take on the task. Since the ink can easily be removed, there’s no need to go out and buy a fancy mirror to practice. Just use any old mirror on your wall to practice. Have fun, let your creative mind run wild and letter away!
Step One: Use your favorite design program to do a general layout at the exact size of your finished piece. Use similar fonts to those you’ll be using when you letter.
Use the rulers to act as a sort of grid to mark the tallest letters and the base line in each letter. Mark the beginning and ending of each line so you’ll know where to start lettering. Note: I usually do this on the left side only as I get further down the document. You can use the line above as a general guideline on placement.
Step Three: Draw ruler markings along each edge. I prefer to do them on removable tape, but you could just as easily draw them directly on the mirror with a dark sharpie marker. UPDATE!! Since taking these photos, I have a new short cut. No more tape! Just use a china marker-white color to make your gridlines down both sides. I also use the china marker to make any marks on the mirror that I need to as I go along. When I’m done, they simply wipe off!
Step Four: Take a piece of stiff paper or cardboard the width of your mirror and mark a half way point. You’ll be using this is your baseline and centering mark for the entire mirror. UPDATE!! I now draw a ruler across this piece of paper instead of making my marks at the top. Makes it SOOO much easier!
Step Five: It’s time to letter! I use a permanent paint marker (top picks this year were white, gold, black, navy blue and bright blue) Using your template, and your ruler markings it’s easy to make your way down the entire piece. Start right where you placed your gridlines on your computer set up and pay careful attention to where you’ll need to end the lettering. You may have to do the top line a few times to get the exact spacing, but once you’ve got that down, the rest should be fairly easy. I use the baseline cardboard not to write directly on top of, but use it just below where I’d like to write. When I have descenders to fill in like the lower case “g” and the upper case “M” below, I just lower the guideline to accommodate.
Continue to follow the exact same steps all the way down the mirror.
NOTE: When I’m done, I go over all of the lettering one more time. It takes longer, but it will stay on the mirror even when using windex. I am also able to build up thicks downstrokes in the letters which adds to the beauty of the piece. You may wish to go back over some of the lettering or double stroke some of the letters to add visual interest. Keep in mind, this will produce a kind of streaky effect, so if it’s a large piece, you may just want to leave it monoline as I’ve done on the piece above. Below are some examples of double stroking the letters/numbers.
Last step: Remove the tape, lightly go over the entire piece with a paper towel sprayed with windex. And there you have it….the finished piece! Often times the hardest part is trying to photograph it. It’s tough, but I think you can get the idea.
When it comes time to remove the artwork, use some rubbing alcohol and if needed, a single edge razor to remove. Windex the entire piece and you’re ready to use the mirror for another project.
I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial and find it useful in taking on some new projects. I’ve attached a few more photos of some finished mirrors to get you excited to try something new. It seems like a daunting task the first time, but using these simple tips, I think you’ll find it’s a job worth tackling : )