It’s hard to believe that Jeremy and I will have been married two weeks this upcoming Saturday. Our wedding day passed by in a blink, and I regret that I didn’t get to really enjoy our day. I’m just happy to finally be married to the man that I love dearly, and we can enjoy our lives together; isn’t that what your wedding is supposed to be about? I did lots of DIY projects for our wedding including our wedding guestbook to save money. I was inspired a bit for my projects by what I saw online from other weddings as well as photographs from the wedding photographers is known for. The biggest factor in making as many wedding DIY projects as we could was definitely because I wanted our day to be really personal to us. If I can give you one piece of advice about a guestbook, make sure it is located somewhere that everyone has to pass by. I tried to space out our reception area, and in an attempt to do-so, I managed to put our guestbook and favors in a place where very few people actually seen them. Sadly, I’ve sent our guestbook with Jeremy on more than one occasion to have people we know were there to sign it. Jeremy and I got married on Kentucky Derby Day, so everything about our wedding had a Kentucky theme, right down to his Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel Groom’s Cake and homemade Bourbon Ball favors with recipe cards (I’ll be sharing that tutorial in a later post). Jeremy and I both travel fairly often, but no matter where we go, Kentucky will always be our home. I decided to make a Kentucky themed wedding guestbook using my Cricut, vinyl, and paint. You could also recreate this without a Cricut, but that would require a little more artistic skill. If you’re planning on a lot of do-it-yourself projects for your wedding, I highly recommend investing in a Cricut. This project took roughly 30 minutes to complete. There are other vinyl cutting machines out there too if you don’t want a circuit! Once you have a cutting machine, you will use it all the time to create nifty projects.
I want to begin by saying, these aren’t the photos from my wedding. I don’t have any of them back from my photographer yet, but I hope to add some into this post later. I promised myself to put down my camera and my phone on our wedding day and let the best wedding photographer take the lead, and I kept that promise. I set this up a few days after our wedding just to photograph it for this post. We had roughly 80 guests and only a fraction of those even noticed our wedding guestbook, and I’m trying to get our friends and family who attended to sign it.
You’ll need some supplies to make your wedding guestbook:
- Art canvas in desired size (I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby, size 18 x 24)
- Stencil paper or contact paper
- Optional vinyl
- Craft pens (we used these)
If you wedding is going to be small, I recommend using a smaller canvas. If you’re going to have a large wedding, use a larger canvas.
I created my Kentucky stencil first, and I used this image. I used extra long mat on my Cricut, and cut the stencil to be 7 x 16. Since I was painting on canvas and I didn’t want to worry about the paint bleeding, I cut my stencil out of contact paper. If you’re using a smaller canvas or if your chosen state is more square, you could use the smaller mat to cut the state design out. Alternatively, you could print a state outline on a regular sheet of paper, trace it on to the back of the contact paper, and cut it by hand if you don’t own a Cricut. You need to take a clean rag and wipe down the canvas, I’ve purchased a few that had a white residue on them.
*You can also apply a light coat of Modge Podge over the canvas and allow it to dry, if you’re worried about your vinyl adhering. I’ve heard other crafters using that trick, but I’ve never had a problem with vinyl adhering or peeling from a clean canvas.
I don’t have gorgeous handwriting and I don’t know anyone who does calligraphy, so I also cut our names, date, and wedding location out of black permanent vinyl. If you have beautiful handwriting you could use pens to write it out. I also decided to add a heart over where we were getting married so that Jeremy and I would have a place to sign.
I didn’t get it centered on my first attempt. When I did get the stencil placed where I wanted to on the canvas, I took the back end of one of my markers and pressed around the edge of the outline. This helped the contact paper to adhere so that my paint didn’t bleed.
I used a Kentucky blue colored acrylic paint on a foam brush and lightly painted the canvas. I used the brush to create a cross-hatch design. I liked the texture that the brush strokes gave it.
I didn’t allow the paint to dry for too long before I peeled up the stencils. I didn’t want to risk any of my paint peeling up with it if I allowed it to dry completely.
When the paint had dried, I applied our names, wedding date, and location using permanent black vinyl. Since canvas has a wooden frame, you’ll need to put something like a book under the canvas between the framing, so that you can apply enough pressure (burnish) that the vinyl adheres.
The cursive font I used is one that I purchased. I created our names in Photoshop and saved them as a .png file. If you don’t have Photoshop and you don’t like any of the fonts available in Design Space, you can check out designing something on Canva.com. They have added several new script fonts including Brusher, Playlist Script, and Selina. You’ll just want to create black text on a white background, and carefully clean up the image in Design Space before saving it a cut file.
I had an old chalkboard that I had accidentally wrote on using a semi-permanent chalkboard marker and it wouldn’t wipe off. I decided to give it a quick coat of spray paint, and use vinyl to make my guestbook sign instead of trashing it. You can save the images below to create your own sign or print it. If you print it, I recommend carefully removing the glass from an appropriate size picture frame to prevent glare.
If you’re going to cut the image, use this file because it has less void space:
Letter size .png
You can also save the .pdf file here for printing.
If you don’t have the same home state or country, you could slightly overlap two states and consider painting them in complementary colors. Silhouettes for each state are relatively easy to find on the internet, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding an image to create a stencil. I could have painted a Kentucky outline freehand, but I wanted crisper edges.
I waited until about 2 weeks before our wedding to work on our wedding guestbook, and I don’t recommend waiting that long. You might think you have a lot of time before your wedding and maybe you actually do, but time passes quickly. You can easily make this project and store it until your wedding date. Just don’t forget it, like I did my ring bearer’s sign; but that’s a tutorial for another post and a story for another day.
Best of luck with wedding planning and let me know if you have any questions. I’ll post some photos from our wedding when I received them from the photographer, I’m so anxious about getting them. I’d love to see your completed wedding guestbook project if you use this tutorial, so please send me an email or feel free to tag @asouthernmother in a photo of your wedding guestbook project on social media.