Making Waves

When it came to a guest book, I knew I wanted something we could hang up, and something that was subtle enough to not scream wedding. I wanted to be able to see guests names, and if guests came over I wanted them to be able to find their name. (That would totally be me.)

The first thing that popped into my head was my Birthday Art. 2 years ago, I threw myself a birthday party. [This is a long story and I’m bad at being brief, but I am trying, people.] I threw myself a party because I wanted to make a piece of art and I didn’t feel like making the parts and I wanted it to be meaningful and also I’m bossy.


All photos personal

So I invited everyone over for ice cream sundaes and then forced them all to make my present. My exact words were, “Ok, now you have to make my birthday present!” I’d seen something similar where she used art her kids created–but I don’t have kids. I considered using my students (it’s like having kids) but it seemed like too much effort. Giving everyone ice cream seemed like a good option.

After they left, I sliced up all the artwork into strips, and then pieced it back together again. [It was slightly more complicatedwe than that.] I love it. They love it. People enjoy picking out their own parts of the art.

I wanted that for my guest book.

Except setting up a painting station and forcing everyone to paint me a picture at my wedding sounded complicated (and probably a poor fit with dress clothes, not to mention time consuming). Plus I already have one of those. So I thought about what I could do that was similar, and decided on my own fish scale art.


This is my mock up, to be used as directions at the reception. Here is how I made it:


  • Paper in your colors. I aimed for not too much variation and I’ll probably mix in some more patterned/textured papers when I put it together. You want flat paper here, not with texture so that people can write on it easily. This was surprisingly hard to find.
  • 2″ Circle punch
  • Pens–I’m doing pens that are grays/silvers/blues so it coordinates. It will be visible, but I don’t want the writing to stand out from across the room.
  • [That’s basically it for the wedding–you’ll also need a tape roller or other adhesive, stiff paper to mount it on and a frame]


1. Use a 2″ circle punch to cut your circles (I have a circle cutter, but a punch is a ton faster if you need that many circles. May as well precut pretty-non-writing circles while you’re at it. And if some of them are edge ones, its ok, you can place them strategically or use them on an edge in the finished product (just don’t put them out for people to write on!)


2. Wait for your wedding so people can write on them.

…Thats kind of it for now. But here’s what will happen when its all done!

3. Sort your circles by color. You’ll probably want written and blank circles in two separate piles.

4. Measure out how large of a space you want. My plan is to do a series. They will line a hallway. Ironically, I don’t have any hallways at all in my condo. Its a nice idea though. (Our new house does include a hallway.) I’ll probably be doing 11×14 or 16×20, and I like things matted. BUY YOUR FRAME FIRST. Just in case.

5. Sketch some light pencil lines to keep things straight. You don’t need to do every row, but at least every three.


6. Start with your bottom row since you’ll need to overlap. This row will run outside the mat, so use blank circles here and at the end of rows (or maybe your mom’s coworker’s wife who you’ve never met. Up to you.) Stick each circle down with your tape runner/gluestick/whatever. You should probably use more tape than you think. It can’t hurt.

7. Offset your next row by half and carry on. Repeat til its full. Insert in frame.


That’s pretty much my whole plan. I like how my mock up turned out, and I’m calling this one ready for the wedding!


Mama Clover tried to set it up for me (it’s all at her house). Not quite right, but you get the idea. That’s the basket she chose for cards, which actually goes in another room entirely.

I would like your advice though–my guests could be confused by my unusual choice. The circles will actually all be on the table and only completed ones will go in the little glass vase (which one of my guests made!)–we’ll include a couple pre-signed ones to make that clear. Does my mock up make it clear enough to you? Anything I should change?

What did you do for your guest book? Do you ever look at it?



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