Introduction: Hanging Birthday Calendar
I'm terrible at remembering my family's birthdays. This bugs my wife to no end because we're always scrambling last minute to find gifts (Thank you Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping). I have a little date book with the birthdays in it but I never think to check it. The solution is a calendar of sorts. There is a board with 12 hooks underneath, one for each month. Hanging on these hooks are, for lack of a better word, small plaques with a family members name and the day their birthday falls in the month. The customization of this project is almost limitless, use different shapes or colors for each side of the family, or for each gender, and obviously the visual style and decorations can be customized to reflect your family. I have to thank my wife for the visual style you see here, she picked the colors and decorations, and her handwriting on the pieces.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1 1/2" Dia x 1/8" Wooden Circles - $9 for 50, Etsy.com - These don't have to be circles, there are lots of other shapes out there. If you look around you can find a shape that suites your families, maybe a different shape for either side of the family (If you're married/etc.) and for friends. You will write the names and days of each person on the disk so buy as many or few as you need. Having extra for a growing family is a good idea.
- 26" x 10"x 1" (9.25 x .75) Board - Obviously if your hanging pieces are wider or narrower than 1.5" then you may need/want to adjust the dimensions of the board.
- 5' Wall Molding - I used thin, almost quarter round, molding as trim on the header board to give it a more finished, framed, look.
- Paint, various colors - The board and molding were painted one color, the disks another. You may want to paint one family's circles one color, and the other side of the family a third color. You may also want to paint designs or words onto the header board and/or pieces. (Priming the header board and molding is strongly recommended. I didn't but wish I had.)
- Spackle - Used to fill gaps in the molding corners and holes in the header board's surface.
- 12x Eyelet Screws - These have an eyelet on one end and a small screw on the other, you need one for each month.
- S-Hooks - Essentially two hooks attached at one end forming an S shape, used for hanging the name pieces. You need one for every piece you want to hang plus a couple extras for future expansion.
- Wood Glue - For attaching the molding.
- 2x Picture Hangers - There are several ways to hang this, this is just one.
- Decorative Stuff - Paint pens for writing on the disks, stencils for lettering the board, etc. This is going in your home, let your style and creativity shine.
- Drill and Bits
- Sand Paper
- Palm Sander - Optional but it is much easier than sanding everything by hand.
- Painting Equipment
- Miter Box
- Fishing Line - Floss or very small gauge string will work too.
Step 2: Prep the Header Materials
- Your header board needs to be wide enough to hang 12 of your hanging pieces side by side with space in between and a big enough offset from the outside edges that you can write the months of January and December above their respective pieces without running into the molding trim. When you've decided what your length needs to be, in my case I went with 26", cut the board down to size.
- Measure and cut your molding. I rough cut each molding piece and then used a miter box to cut the 45º angles on the ends.
- Grab your sand paper and sand any cut edges smooth and sand any areas that will receive paint or glue, both on the header board and the molding.
- Drill a pilot hole for each of the twelve eyelet locations in the bottom of the board. I spaced my holes 2" center-to-center and the end ones 2" center-to-edge. The holes are setback roughly 1/8" from the front face of the header board.
Step 3: Assemble the Header
This simply means gluing the trim pieces onto the face of the header board. I only have four clamps so I had to glue the two long pieces in separate steps but if you have more clamps feel free to do them at the same time. Same with the two side pieces. I would advise against doing a top and/or bottom piece with either/both of the side pieces because trying to manipulate that many clamps while the pieces slide around because of the glue is going to cause frustration and a mess.
Step 4: Decorate the Header Board
With the header board assembled and prepped the time has come to paint it. Again, I didn't prime but I really wish I had. The molding did not take the paint well and required way to many coats. Learn from my mistakes. When the paint is dry, decorate the face of the board. You can paint, write, cut and paste, etc., let those creative juices flow.
Once you're done beautifying, the eyelets need added to the bottom of the board. The "face" of the eyelet holes should be parallel with the face of the header and they should be threaded in a similar distance.
With the eyelets in, flip the board on it's face (protect your paint and decorations) and attach whatever sort of hardware you chose to hang it with to the back, or top, of the board.
Step 5: Prep and Decorate the Hanging Pieces
To hang the pieces there needs to be holes in them. Since I plan on painting the pieces and our family will probably be growing in the next few years I decided to put holes in the top and bottom of all the pieces, even the ones that will be on the bottom of a column for the time being.
I used a drill it that was barely larger than the hooks that will go through the holes. Due to the thickness of the pieces when the hooks are put through they have to be forced slightly. This means they won't twist while hanging and removes any chance of the columns tangling. If you want the pieces to hang looser, use a bigger drill bit.
Find the center line of a piece, then drill a hole ~1/8" from each edge, on the center line. Now the rest of the pieces can be drilled by placing the original piece on top and drilling through it's holes. To make sure the pieces were stacked perfectly on top of each other I used a simple 3-point system using scrap wood. Place a flat piece of wood on your workbench, you will be drilling into this piece so make sure it really is scrap. Grab two more pieces with at least one flat edge each and set them on the first piece, forming a corner. By pressing the stacked pieces against the edges of these boards you can be assured that they are sitting concentrically. See the pictures below for clarification.
At this point in construction you should have a list of names and dates. If you're going to paint the pieces different colors for different groups separate out the number of each you need. Set the rest aside for later if the family grows.
The best method I found for spray painting these is to tie a piece of floss or fishing line to a sawhorses, thread the pieces onto the line through one of the holes with a needle, and then tie the loose end to a second sawhorse and stretch the line tight. Leave enough space between pieces to allow you to reach both sides of each one.
Once the paint has dried write/paint/etc. the name and number of the day someone was born on on each piece. Also, 12 of the pieces need the months written on them.
Step 6: Hang and Assemble
- Carefully hang the header board in it's chosen spot. I won't cover the basics of hanging something but all the same rules that apply to pictures, etc., apply here.
- Place a hook through the top hole of each piece.
- Hang the the pieces, in numerical order under their respective birth month, by hooking it to the hole in the piece, or eyelet above it. Remember to place the piece with the name of the month at the top of it's respective column.
Step 7: Reader Gallery
Did you use this guide (or another, it's fine) to build your own calendar? Post a picture in the comments or send it as a PM and I'll feature it here. There may also be some PRO membership codes to be had.
Image 1: Built by bahacota
Image 2: Built by josephine12, love the use of Velcro as an alternative for the hooks.