Writing on mirrors is one of my favorite parts of my job, and when a venue has a large mirror and I get to write on it, it's so much fun. Monograms are a popular choice for large signs as well as bar menus and welcome messages.
The Mill at Plein Air in Taylor, Mississippi is by far my fave mirror to write on these days. Situated at the top of a grand staircase, I love the thought of guests ascending the stairs and being greeted by the beautiful mirror when they get to the top. Here's how I do it, and in this tutorial we're writing a monogram.
I hope it goes without saying, but start with a clean mirror! Look at it closely and a few feet back from different angles to make sure it's streak-free.
1. Start with a design on paper - sometimes I sketch the monogram on paper, sometimes I sketch it on my iPad, and sometimes couples already have a monogram they send me to use. By everything begins with an intentional, planned design so the client knows what they're getting and so I'm not standing in front of a blank mirror pondering what I'm going to create.
2. Measure your design and grid your mirror - Warning: this involves math. I always want to know the measurements of the installed mirror ahead of time so I can plan the proportions in advance and know how to take my paper design large scale. This also ensures my design isn't rectangular when it's going on a square mirror. Proportions are key! In an easy scenario let's say my design is 4"x4" on paper, and my mirror is 4'x4'. I would grid my paper design so I knew where the edges (sides, top and bottom) of the monogram fell, where say a crest began and ended, and where inside the crest the letter(s) sat. Then I would convert those inch measurements into feet and make tick marks along the edges of the mirror so I have guidelines to work off. Since we're using chalk markers that wipe away, these will be erased once our design is finished.
3. If your design has a border such as a crest or wreath, start with it first, working from the center outwards.
4. Once your outline is formed, place your letter(s) inside. It sometimes takes me one or two tries to get my letters how I like them, so if I mess up I simply spray Windex on a paper towel (NOT directly onto the mirror as this can mess up work you do like!) and wipe away. Once I've got the letters how I want them I go back and thicken where there would be downstrokes to give it a calligraphy look.
5. Finish out the design - for this crest I added greenery last, being careful not to smudge the crest outline and letter I had already written.
6. Touch up - you'll inevitably have places where you've left handprints on the mirror that you'll want to wipe away with a dry paper towel. You may also have jagged edges from your chalk marker you need to touch up, like this:
I always bring a pencil with a firm eraser on the end and some Q-Tips with me for touch ups like this. Rub them gently over errant marks you want to touch up to give smooth edges to your design where it needs perfecting.
Now step back and admire your hard work!
I love creating these large scale works and hope you find this helpful!