Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm a Builder Part II

The Awesome Huge Family Calendar Project

Please ignore the shadow blob on all these pictures - camera defect - *sigh*

So, over the years I've tried to convince myself that my horrendous disorganization is simply the byproduct of an incredibly creative mind. *snort* Okay, but really...with four kids and some huge changes in our work/life schedule, my life was quickly devolving into no creativity and a lot of sheer panic for all the things I kept forgetting.

What I wanted was a huge calendar. I mean huge. And pretty because it was going in the main entryway. And reusable, like a white board. Wouldn't you know it though, every huge calendar I could find looked like it belonged in an office break room.  I'd seen some cute things done with chalk boards and chalk board paint, but it wasn't going to work in my space.

So, since I couldn't find anything I liked (how in the world wide web is that possible?), I decided to create my own.

This project is easy - no nails or screws involved.
Okay, I lied. There's one nail, to hang the calendar.


Picture frame of your choice with glass
Paint (optional)
Wrapping paper - a subtle pattern helps
Letter stickers (if, like me, you are penmanship challenged and/or don't own a Cricut)
Spray adhesive (optional, but I bet you'd get better results with it)


The Picture Frame Part

1. Find a picture frame the size you wanted. We just happened to have this puppy in storage under our stairs. Not a bad picture, but it was outdated and hadn't seen the light of day for years. Best of all, it was 30x30 inches square. Nice and huge, just like I wanted.

2. Take the picture apart. Carefully remove the picture, backing and the glass from the frame. You'll use these later.

3. Paint the frame, if desired. I actually am a wimp with color, so I used leftover trim paint from the house in a nice, clean white. For the space our calendar is in, it blends in well.

The Calendar Part

1. Choose paper for your calendar. Ours was so big that wrapping paper worked out perfectly. It took me a while to find a pattern than I liked that was still subdued enough so that I'd be able to focus on the calendar and not the print. (I found mine at Target)

2. Use your awesome math skills to determine where your lines are going to go (this is dependent on the size of your picture frame and the amount of border you want around the calendar).

3. Draw your lines using a Sharpie and a straight edge. Another benefit to using wrapping paper was knowing I had a few 'do-overs' still in the roll if I messed up. And yes, I used them.

4. Add your days of the week. I used oh-so-stylish stick on letters from Wal-Mart. You, perhaps, don't have the penmanship of a neanderthal and can do something better. 

The Really Tricky Part

1. Place your calendar onto the picture backing you saved when your took your picture frame apart. In my case, the picture and the backing were just a single piece of cardboard, so I turned the picture over and placed the calendar on the blank side.

2. Center it. Yes, I know, for you it'll be easy. For non-crafty me, it was pull-your-hair-out, millimeter scrunching torture. I found that it helped to put the glass over the top and line it up with the cardboard backing. Then I could see if I really did have it even.

3. Secure it. I taped my paper to the back of the cardboard. But, I'm betting that if you had some of that adjustable spray adhesive, it would work a lot better. At the end of my attempt, I had a few puckers. But by that point, there was no way I was taking it all apart again to fix them.

4. Put it all back together again, frame, glass, calendar and backing.

That blob on the camera lens is really starting to bug me.

The Using It Part

1. Hang it on the wall.

2. Use wet erase markers so it won't smear. The glass acts just like a white board, so you can write and wipe off to your heart's content. 

I write the month on the left of each row. You can use it any way you want, but for me, this is a rotating calendar, so my months are not neat and orderly, always starting the month at the top. As soon as a week is done, I erase it and replace it with the next week so I always have five weeks running. I put a sticky note on the current day. So, for instance, my calendar right now is set up like this:

             Sun   Mon   Tue   Wed   Thu   Fri   Sat
April         7     8     9     10    11    12    13
April         14    15    16    17    18    19    20
March         17    18    19    20    21    22    23
March         24    25    26    27    28    29    30
April         31    1     2     3     4     5     6

When this week is done, I'll erase it and add the fourth week of April. I know it looks odd, but it works well for us.

* Oh, and I think this project would work just as well for chore charts or weekly menus, etc.

In case you're wondering why I can never get a straight camera shot of the calendar or my nook desk, here's the answer:

The space I have to work with is a three foot wide hallway. There's my calendar hanging on the left and my desk on the right. It's the perfect spot for dropping stuff and checking the calendar on the run. It's not so great for trying to take head-on camera shots of your building projects.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little diversion into something not writerly.

Now, get back to writing!



  1. Very awesome, Susan. You are so clever. You look pretty dang organized to me. You should see my chaos. :)

  2. That is cool Susan. It's funny that your posts about household projects are coming along right when I'm trying to get courageous to try a few of my own. It's like my own little pep talk. Thanks!

  3. I'd love to make a cool calendar like that, but we have this Lego calendar that my husband and son will NOT let me replace. Oh well.

    Very cool project. :)


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