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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

DIY two month family calendar

We have a family calendar like, I imagine, many of you gentle readers do. We have become very dependent on our calendar. "If it's not on the calendar it doesn't exist" has almost become a family motto.

Ours was this dry erase disaster.
It was terrible

There were a few things wrong with our dry erase calendar.  First was that I could never seem to find a dry erase marker when I needed it.  Over the years I think I have bought dozens of dry erase markers each time thinking that now it would be no problem to find one.  But there never seemed to be one around when I was making doctors appointments or play date plans.
Second we had overused our surface.  In what I can only imagine to be protest from so many washings and rewritings the dry erase surface was pulling away from the backing creating an unsightly and difficult to use convex surface.
Yet, by far, the biggest reason we needed to retire our dry erase board was that it was a one month calendar. We are not really a family who plans things one month at a time. As a result dates, plans and commitments were scrawled along the top and sides of the calendar.  When those spaces were full they were written on pieces of paper and stuck to the cork along the bottom of the calendar.   Inevitably something important got overlooked from time to time.

We needed a change!!

I did not want a paper calendar.  I find the squares too small for me to write in (often we have two or three things going on in one day).  Also, many of our activities get moved and shuffled around, I needed something I could change.

I saw some DIY dry erase options online.  Most used picture frames with the glass as a dry erase surface. For many people it would work great.  But it still wouldn't solve the problem of those troublesome markers.

So I finally decided create two chalkboard calendars.

First we taped off the areas we wanted to paint.
Then we did a few coats of the chalkboard paint.
To get a nice paint line from your painters tape first feather on
your paint lightly and allow a moment to dry.  Then paint as normal
Chalkboard paint
Now we removed the tape.  The next step was to take a piece of chalk and rub it all over the surface. Then you may wash it off.  This seemingly wasted step is important because it "primes" the surface.  Without this step the first thing you write on your new chalk surface will be forever lightly visible. 
"Priming" the surface

Next, using painters tape, we set up our vertical lines and painted them in with white acrylic craft paint.

After they were dry came the horizontal lines.
lines going on

I also picked up a box of 100 pieces of white chalk from Dollar Tree for $1.
To make chalk something you can actually write with simply dampen the chalk with water and sparpen it in a large hole pencil sharpener.
sharpened chalk
Then I wrote in my months and a few of our commitments.