There’s always been a side of me that’s a bit sappy and sentimental. I save ticket stubs to concerts, travel brochures and maps, and all sorts of paper ephemera. I have a box marked memorabilia, where I throw those random scraps so I have them on hand to scan for my photo books. I also like to sing sappy love songs at karaoke. Are you that person or do you know someone like me? If so, this would make a great gift for that special someone or for yourself for the next event you’re planning to host.
So, my point is I like to have something in my hands to look back at and remember a moment in time or a special event. The details of the important moments in your life like baby showers, anniversaries, milestone birthdays, and weddings can often be lost. These events are special, but memories can be fleeting. Aside from photo books and videos which I love, another way to preserve a special event is a guest sign-in canvas.
You know I’m big on guest book photo books especially for weddings and I’m sure many folks are familiar with wedding signature frames, where you guests can sign around the mat and there’s a precut opening for an 8 x 10 photo. I’ve also seen these for baby showers and birthday and graduation parties, but what about a custom canvas created for the same purpose?
What I love about using a custom canvas for a guest sign-in:
- You aren’t limited to signing just the mat;
- It’s customizable – you can pick any photo, a collage of photos, add digital scrapbooking elements, add text to your image;
- Canvases are typically more lightweight than a glass frame;
- It’s more portable and you don’t have to worry as much about someone accidentally breaking the glass;
- With all the online canvas deals, it’s very affordable. I see canvas deals every day on my Groupon/Living Social page;
- Turnaround is pretty fast – usually 10 days or less;
- Canvases are ready to hang and don’t require expensive framing;
- It makes a great gift for the host of the party, it’s guaranteed to be the best gift there!
One of the biggest reasons I love a canvas sign-in is that it doubles as wall decor for your home after the party is long over. My brother recently made a collage of my photos from childhood to present for a milestone birthday I celebrated last week and my friends and family signed it with their well wishes. I haven’t hung it yet, but it’s on my bedroom dresser and every time I pass by it, it brings a smile to my face.
A few months ago I made a canvas print for my good friends who were moving to Hawaii. It was of an image I took of the Chicago skyline and I used Photoshop to put their names on it. I brought it to their going away party so that all their friends could sign it. I figured it would be a nice image to hang on the wall in their new home that would remind them of their hometown and their friends. I also recently made a signature canvas for my little guy’s first birthday party which is coming up next weekend and I’m so excited for it to arrive!
Here’s my tips on creating a sign-in canvas:
- A lighter background will probably be easier to sign. Dark ink on a lighter background is more readable and black extra fine tip markers are easier to find at your local store;
- If you want to go with a dark background that can work too, but it may be a little less readable and you’ll need to get a gold or silver metallic marker for the signatures to show up;
- If you choose a single image, pick one that has a lot of “blank space” so folks have a place to sign that’s not going to cover your face;
- If you do a collage of photos, don’t go too small on an individual photo as details may be lost due to the texture of the canvas. Aim to keep faces about 2 inches in width to be safe;
- I recommend ultra-fine point Sharpie permanent markers. The ultra fine tip (and not just the fine tip) works best because the signatures and messages will be more legible – they run about $1.25 to $1.50 for one marker;
- Sharpie also makes an oil-based paint version of their ultra-fine point Sharpie which the art store salesperson says works well for canvas as it’s more opaque. I’ve tried both the regular version and oil-based version and both have worked well. The oil based ones are a bit more expensive at $2.70, but still very reasonable;
- Sharpies also come in many different colors which you’ll find at the art stores or online so you can pick colors that match your wedding colors or party theme;
- You can also find other markers and paint pens that could work in the scrapbooking section of your local craft or at an art supply store;
- Have more than one marker on hand just in case one runs out and also so more than one person can potentially sign at the same time;
- To increase the likelihood of getting most if not all folks to sign it is to have an attendant (like a guest book attendant) to encourage folks to sign it or to have a sign saying “Please sign me”, or “Write us a message”;
- Depending on whether you want your guests to just sign their names or write a message will determine what size you should get. It’s hard to say exactly, but a 16″ x 20″ canvas with an average sized image of 8″ x 10″ will probably leave enough space for about 30 guests to sign with messages
Photo credit: Second Print Productions