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Picture of 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.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials

  • 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.

Tools

  • Drill and Bits
  • Sand Paper
  • Palm Sander - Optional but it is much easier than sanding everything by hand.
  • Painting Equipment
  • Saw
  • Miter Box
  • Clamps
  • 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

Picture of Assemble the Header
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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

Picture of Hang and Assemble
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  • 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.
When there is an addition to the family simply grab an extra piece, paint and label it appropriately, and hang it in its proper place.

Step 7: Reader Gallery

Picture of Reader Gallery
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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.

josephine12 made it!2 months ago
My mom loved this since there are now 45 members in our family. Used Velcro to attach shapes to screen bead. As additional great grand kids are born, months can be rearranged according to date of birth.
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bwrussell (author)  josephine122 months ago

That looks great, thanks for sharing! That's a very good idea with the Velcro, a lot less work than the hooks.

bahacota1 year ago

I am in the process of making one for my mom for Mother's Day! It turning out wonderful! I can't wait to give it to her!

bwrussell (author)  bahacota1 year ago

That's good to hear. It would be awesome if you posted a few images here in the comments when you finish.

my finished project! Not exactly what I pictured in my head but I literally did it all by myself so I'm pretty proud of it.

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bwrussell (author)  bahacota1 year ago

Nicely done, that looks top! I like the way you've hung it. You should be proud of it and I'm sure you learned a thing or two along the way.

Thanks for posting pics!

Thank you!,

I sure will! I'm having some trouble finding stickers tho. Hoping Hobby Lobby will have what I want.

I have looked all over for the S hooks, where did you find them? That's all I have to do left before I'm done!

bwrussell (author)  kelliebobellie9611 days ago

I just got them at a big chain hardware store (Lowe's probably) in the hardware section with all the bolts and screws.

HERE are some examples. Someone in the hardware section of your local hardware store should be able to help you find them.

thanks so much! I'm gonna go tomorrow and look!

bwrussell (author)  kelliebobellie9610 days ago

If you can't find the hooks take a look at the new step I added to the end with some user examples that show some other methods that don't use hooks.

Good luck and remember to post a picture or two of the final product, if you want!

everminder5 months ago

This is beautiful! And your instructions are super clear, thanks! If you want to add to your visual reminder and automate your reminders in real time you can set up a free EverMinder account (everminder.com) and get the reminders for each family bday right in your inbox even with direct links to send the birthday person a message or even flowers or a gift :)

Wired_Mist7 months ago

Well now I know what to make my mom for Christmas!

thats a Really Thoughtful Idea :) When I make it I'll be sure to post some pics :P

bwrussell (author)  Wired_Mist7 months ago
Please do!

What size s hook did you use?

bwrussell (author)  sandy.kelleher.78 months ago
.091 x 3/4 S-Hooks.
absaloutely genius
samalert1 year ago

Awesome mate very thoughtful and creative and definitely useful.

erudite1771 year ago
Thanks for the great idea and instructions! This will make a great Christmas gift for the family. I did notice on your materials list you have the board as being 24" x 10" by 1", but in the directions you noted that you used a 26" length board...I didn't know if you wanted to clarify. Thanks!
bwrussell (author)  erudite1771 year ago
Good eye. The final dimensions pretty close to 26"x9" but honestly the size isn't really a big deal. As long as it is wide enough for twelve columns of your plaques and tall enough for whatever sort of decorations you want to put on it then you're good to go.
noahw3 years ago
Really good project - what a good idea! You've got a full fledge product here I think...
bwrussell (author)  noahw3 years ago
Thanks! I though about that. I think right now I'm going to improve some of the processes by making a couple as gifts for family members, unless someone were to request one.
This is a great idea to keep birthdates in plain sight. If I were to request one - what would you charge me? I like the round shapes you used and the colors.
gizzy-girl2 years ago
Thank you so much for this Wonderful Idea. I have a very close friend who has oodles of family birthdays (grankids and great grandkids) to keep track of. This will be a perfect gift for her!! Thanks again, Super Duper idea.
bwrussell (author)  gizzy-girl2 years ago
Glad you like it. I'd love to see pictures when your done!
Neon Panda2 years ago
Great idea!
jdaley997023 years ago
This is so great! I will be making one for certain as a gift!
i saw one of these on pintrest a few months ago and i haven't made mine yet! great job on yours!! :D
Browncoat3 years ago
Looks great! I may give this a go! Think I'll use bottle caps though. :)
bwrussell (author)  Browncoat3 years ago
Perfect, that's exactly the type of personalization I hoped people would put into this. If you do do it I would love to see a picture or two.
Mimikry3 years ago
great one!
I need to make one!
This is just adorable! I love it. Definitely going to be my next project. Thanks for sharing such a great instructable!
bwrussell (author)  Stephanefalies3 years ago
Thank you, I'd love to see how it turns out!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
This is a great idea!
bwrussell (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks! I can't take credit for the idea but I'll tell my wife you think so.