Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DIY Dry-Erase Calendar Tutorial with Free Printables!!

I have seen SO many cute DIY "whiteboard" or dry erase calendars on Pinterest (here, hereherehere, AND here) and I thought - hey, I can do that!  Yeah right...

Well, this is not my first attempt at making one.  My first version was one of the first posts of this blog before I redesigned it, and let's just say - it looked very DIY.  Functional?  Yes.  Pretty?  Not so much.  Here, I'll show you (pardon my embarrassment...)

I just hated this in my kitchen, so I decided to redo it.  My husband's response... "Why?  It looked fine before?"  Yes,yes, it looked fine, but it just didn't have any...panache.  I wanted something with a little more style.  I was limited by what I had on hand, namely some ugly old frame with glass that I stole out of my parents' garage.  I replaced the oak-y colored frame with a poster frame I spray-painted dark brown for my newer version.  Still not my favorite, but better than before.  Maybe someday I'll suck it up and buy a really NICE frame so that I can be REALLY proud of this project!  Anyway, enough of this, on to the tutorial:

Frame with glass and a board backing of some kind (any size you want, I used a 16x20)
Linen-esque fabric (Mine was called Oatmeal something-or-other at Walmart and cost me about $2.50/yard)
Tea bags
bucket or bowl
Iron/ironing board
Hot glue gun
ruler (yard stick, or I used my sewing tape measure)
Painters' or Masking tape

Fabric paint
Foam brushes
Pen or pencil
(Calculator - if you're dumb at math like me...)
Vinyl glass clings from Dollar Tree (I bought 2 for all the months and numbers)
Mod podge

Step 1: Lay your fabric out and place the cardboard frame backing on top.  Cut, leaving about 1-2" around edges to glue fabric on to back.

Step 2: Make some tea.  I used about 4 large tea bags in a bucket of hot water and set it out in the Texas sun for about an hour.  You can soak your fabric in it while you're doing this, which is what I did.  Just be aware that the tea bags may rest on certain portions of your fabric, making dark spots.  I liked this look, but if you don't, remove the tea bags before putting in fabric.  Let soak for about 30 minutes to an hour, pull out and throw in the dryer when you're done.  Since this project never needs to be washed, you don't need to wash the fabric.
Step 3:  Once your fabric is dry, iron to get all the wrinkles out.  Use starch if you like for a really crisp look.  I didn't have any, so I didn't.

Step 4: Place fabric on a flat surface, then place cardboard frame backing on top, with the back facing up.  With your hot glue gun, glue fabric all around edges and fold like a gift package for extra tight corners.  Trim any extra fabric.  Make sure you don't cover up the hanger portion.

This is what it will look like from the front:

Step 5: Measure your frame just to be sure how wide and high it is.  Divide these numbers by 7 and you get the size of each of your "squares".  Most likely, they'll be a little more rectangular, unless you have a square frame.  In the top section, where the month and days of the week will go, break it up so that you have a line 1" from the bottom of the section.  This will be for the days and the space above will be for the months.  Mark these points on the side of your frame.

Step 6: Place masking tape on either side of mark to create "lines".  This is where you will paint.

Step 7: Squeeze your fabric paint out onto a piece of wax paper and dab foam brush into it to coat. 

Step 7: Gently dab brush with paint along all the open areas between the masking tape, being very careful not to get it where you don't want it.  Let it dry a bit, then remove the masking tape.

Mmmm, Dunkies.  It's my favorite :D
Step 8:  Once this section is completely dry, repeat steps 5-7 for the vertical lines. Make sure you don't paint above the very top line, as this is where you want your months to go.

Step 9: When all is completely dry, print off these these weekday (and month and number) names that I spent forever and a day configuring onto cardstock, or you can make your own to fit your own motif.  Cut them out and hot glue in their spots.  Place the whole thing into your frame.  (FYI - this printable is sized specifically to fit a 16x20 frame and the graphic is from this website.)

Step 10: On to the glass clings.  I tried several things at first, but this was the way that ended up working the best for me.  I purchased two really, REALLY cheesy Halloween glass clings from Dollar Tree.  It really doesn't matter what they look like, as long as they are reusable vinyl glass clings.  Don't get the squishy ones!

Step 11: Print the month names and numbers onto cardstock and cut vaguely around them (no need to be specific yet.  You'll do that once they're dry.  For the numbers, leave them in a big block to cut out later)  Apply mod podge to the back of the cardstock and to the top of the glass cling.  Stick that puppy on there, paint some more mod podge over the top and let dry.

Step 12: Once dry, cut them out exactly how you want them to look at the top of your frame.  For storage purposes, only peel the month you need off of the backing paper so that they don't stick to each other.  Place the others in a plastic baggie and put in a drawer somewhere.  Just make sure you can find them again when you need them.  If any edges decided not to stick, use your hot glue gun sparingly to get it to stick securely.  Place your month at the top of your frame.

Step 13: For the numbers, take your block of numbers and cut them in strips, cutting the number squares how you would like them in the corners.  Leave the backing paper on until you are ready to place them on the glass.  Being so small, they would be a real pain in the hiney if they got stuck together.

And you're done!  Fill in all your appointments and special dates :D  Enjoy!

Getting pictures of a reflective surface is really tricky!

**UPDATE 03/18/13** The glass clings lasted all of one month - when I tried to rearrange them, they basically just fell off.  I've been writing the numbers and month on with dry erase marker and it looks pretty cute, too.  So, I guess if the clings work out for you - AWESOME!  Stick with that.  If they fall apart just like mine did - use the dry erase marker.  I'm trying to think up another option - stay tuned!

***I fully recognize that any amount of intelligence or creativity I have is a gift from God.  What I have been freely given, I freely give.  But if you choose to use these tutorials to sell items from, I would ask that you consider joining the Let Justice Flow Initiative, where you commit to donating either 10% of the total purchase price of each item, or designate a specific item for sale where the entire purchase price is donated to an organization that helps fight injustices around the world.  There are specific groups listed to give you an idea on the LJF page.  And feel free to snag the LJF button and put it on your page or etsy site.  Thanks!!***

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