My Chalkboard Calendar {Tutorial}

As promised in my Top 5 DIY Projects post – here is the tutorial for the chalkboard calendar in my command center.

With 4 kids involved in more than I like them to be – we need to have our lives mapped out.  The iPhones help A LOT – but I’m that mom that hasn’t let her kids have a phone yet…so they need to be in the loop, too.  We always have a breakdown of the week at our Family Night on Monday nights, and we all say what we’ve got going on and then….it goes up on the Family Calendar.

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

 

Sorry about the terrible photos – that area of my house has TERRIBLE lighting!!! {and I have no tripod!}

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

It’s big and beautiful and you can’t miss it!  I have a little command center right as you walk into the house {well…where WE walk into the house}, and right where we walk out of the door.

Command-Center

Backpacks, Lunchboxes, even our SHOES are stored here so that we always know where things are, and getting out the door is MUCH easier!!  The kids each have a bin to keep homework folders, Cub Scout books, etc.  It’s ALL HERE!  But, the Calendar is still the main attraction.  And the best part about it…it’s SUPER EASY TO MAKE ONE!

**If you don’t have this kind of wall space – you can make this in a MUCH more scaled down version – and even put it INSIDE OF A PICTURE FRAME if you’re not handy with the power tools!

Since I made this before my blogger days – I have no pictures of the step by step {SORRY!!!}  So – I’ve created graphic visual aids that I HOPE make sense!  Just make sure to read ALL of the instructions.  I know – not as easy as picture tutorials…

*I’m going to give you instructions for how I made mine – so if you’re doing a different size – just make the changes accordingly.

What You’ll Need:

**Sheet Metal – you can find it with the duct work materials (heat & a/c) at a Hardware store.  I wanted mine to be magnetic – so that I could just stick up party invites or appointment cards easily where they are very visible.  If you don’t care about it being magnetic, you could just use backer board found by the wood trim.

**Chalkboard Spray Paint – you could use brush on paint – but I wanted my finish to be smooth like buttuh.  No brush marks or drips for me!

**Primer – Again, I like mine in a spray can. :0)

**1/4″ Square Wooden Dowels – how many you’ll need will depend on the size of calendar you are making.  I used 16 of them :0)  It’s a good idea to buy a few extra sticks in case you have cutting errors.

**MDF casing molding – it’s already primed and ready for your paint!

**Caulk in a Tube – I find that if you’re not used to using a caulking gun – the tubes make it pretty easy to use caulk!

**Glue – I used my Hot Glue Gun.  I know…I could use something stronger.  I didn’t want to stand there and hold each piece on until it was set enough to let go.  AND it’s been up for 5 years with no issues…so there you go!  Just make sure the glue is REALLY hot!  No cold temp guns allowed! **you could also use caulking – since it’ll be hanging around the ‘job site’ anyway!**

**Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape – this is going to need to stay up for awhile.  You could also use Liquid Nails if you’d like…but you’d need a caulk gun :0)

How To Make It:

**I had a big wall to work with – so I chose to make my board 60″w x 46″h.  You will have to figure out what size of board you want to make and buy materials accordingly.**

Step 1:

Decide what size you want your calendar to be.  To figure this out – I knew that the sheet metal I wanted to use was 24″ wide – and I wanted to cut as little as possible – so I decided to make my calendar according to those dimensions.  I also wanted the dowels hide the seams of the sheet metal – so I made each “weekday” box 8″ wide to get 3 “days” per sheet of sheet metal.  The length of the sheet metal is 36″ – so by making each “day” 8″ tall – I could get 4 “days” down – leaving 4″ to put the days of the week at the top.  Perfect! Since there were 3 “days” across & 4 “days” down  per sheet and I needed 7 days wide and 5 days long – I knew that I needed 3 pieces of sheet metal.

Layout the calendar

I used the full 2 sheets with no cuts & cut the remaining piece into {3} 8″ strips.

Cut the sheet metal into thirds

So – I placed the 2 full sheets side by side and then I added one strip to the width to make my “saturday”, and the other 2 strips to the bottom.  Cut off any excess using steel snips.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

WHEW!!!  That’s the hardest part – I PROMISE!!!

Step 2:

Once your sheet metal is cut to size layout all of the pieces…

Prime it – make sure that you have even coverage and don’t stay in one place too long to avoid drips!

Paint it – with the Chalkboard paint – I like to use 2 coats of chalkboard paint.

*make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.  I put a drop cloth on my patio table outside.  It’s nice and open and the fumes don’t get to me.

Step 3:

Paint your casing molding the color that you want.  I used ‘Aged Beige’ Behr Primer and Paint in One.  This seems to be my favorite color these days!!

Set aside to dry.

Step 4:

Attach the sheet metal to the wall using Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape. (or however you’ve chosen to hang the metal)

*use a bubble level & a yard stick to draw straight GUIDE LINES on the wall at the height you’d like the TOP of your calendar to be.  Then use the level to draw guide lines for the SIDES.

*attach strips of the mounting tape to the backs of the sheet metal & then remove the plastic strip exposing the glue

*using the guide lines you’ve drawn – attach the sheet metal to the wall in the same pattern you chose to lay it out.  The mounting tape directions say to hold them in place for a set amount of time – make sure to read the time frame!  If you’re using liquid nails or another form of adhesive – follow the directions for use.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

Step 5:  Cut & attach the casing. (if you’re using a picture frame – you can skip this step and go straight to step 6)

Using a miter saw or a miter box – cut the casing as shown below to the length of your sheet metal layout. Don’t assume it is a certain length.  MEASURE TWICE & CUT ONCE!

cut linesAttach using a brad nailer if you have one.  {you could nail in finish nails and an awl, or use liquid nails, too!}

Step 6:  Add the dowels to make the grid

Once everything else is in place – use a bubble level to attach the dowels in a grid pattern that will make up the “days” on the calendar.

*I like to start with covering up the seams first.

-Cut the stick to where it won’t end in the middle of a “day”. For example:  My dowels were 36″ long – but I made my days 8″ square.  So, I would need to cut the dowel to a number divisible by 8.  So – I cut my 36″ long dowel to 32″ so I don’t have any seams where I don’t want them.

*start glueing (again – I used my hot glue gun…) the 32″ long sticks following the grid that you created to figure out the layout – so for me I placed them every 8″ across and to cover up the seams on the bottoms strips.

***the black lines are where you should be placing your dowels***

lay out the long dowels

Once you have the long dowels in place, you can start making the cuts for the short dowels.

*I like to roughly measure between the long dowels to make sure that they are straight and you SHOULD (in theory) be able to mass cut the short cuts.

But – I would cut maybe 3 sticks into your width length (for me it’s 8″) and make sure they are fitting before you go and cut up all of your dowels.

cut the short dowels

Glue them onto the calendar in this pattern:

Full Grid Layout

 

Step 7: PRIME THE CHALKBOARD!!!

I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is!

*You’ll want to turn a piece of chalk sideways and rub it in all over the chalkboard areas.

*Then use a dry cloth and erase it.

*If you don’t do this step – whatever you write on the board will never fully erase.  It needs that chalk as almost a sealer so that future chalk will wipe off.  That probably made no sense :0)

Ta- Dah!!!  You’re all done – now your kids can look and see what activities they have coming up & I have my life in front of me at a glance.  I love it!

Just as a side note:  I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again that I LOVE this chalk cartridge set from Allary.  I stick it on top of the frame so it’s always there handy if I need to add an appointment.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  I will take step by step pictures when I help my friend make hers ;0)

**Erin

 

 

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