Wooden Interactive Calendar

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I've just made an educative toy calendar for my two-years-old niece. It's based in the Montessori method. It´s been designed so the child can notice how the seasons change and he can keep track of it. My version is adapted for the northwest Spanish climate and the calendar of Galician coast.

**note: I made two calendars at the same time. In the pictures, the pieces appear sometimes twice but the measures in this instructable are for a unique calendar.

Main materials and tools

50x50cm plywood of 18mm thickness

20x100cm pine board of 18mm thickness

20mm diameter pine bar

8x60cm plywood of 4mm thickness for figures

Wood glue, linseed oil, dyes and paints

Router, miter saw with table, jigsaw and drill press.

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Step 1: The Board

I cut the main board with the router using a simple circle cutting jig. The board has 50cm of diameter. I decided to finish the upper side edge with a circular shape using the router.

Step 2: 31-Day Holes

I made 31 holes of 8mm depth with a 20mm forstner bit along a circumference of 45cm diameter. Firstly, I draw the circumference. After that I marked the centers using a caliper. The distance between centers in the circumference line is 4,55cm.

Step 3: Central Ring

I made the central ring with a scrap of pine board of 18mm thickness. I cut it with the jigsaw and I finished the inner edge with the router to give it a circular shape.

Step 4: Outer Ring

The outer ring is lower than the central ring and month pieces. I use a piece of pine of 8mm thickness. I cut the ring in four arcs with the jigsaw and after that I had to correct the edge pieces with my homemade disc sander and spindle sander. The inner radius is 18cm and the outer radius is 20cm.

Step 5: Glue and Finishing

Now, I have to glue the rings in their positions. (I made the outer ring in four pieces and this is not a good idea. It’s better to cut a unique piece using a router). After some calibrations, I glue the pieces in the correct positions. Finally I finished with a coat of linseed oil.

Step 6: Month Pieces (I)

The twelve central pieces represent the 12 months of the year. Every piece has five holes. One hole for a month’s figure and the other four holes represent the four weeks of the month (I know, it’s not exactly).

I used a pine board of 18mm thickness to the month pieces. Firstly I cut six rectangular pieces of 20x10cm

Step 7: Month Pieces (II)

The next step was dividing every rectangular piece in two triangular pieces. To cut the month pieces I used the table top of my miter saw and a homemade 30-60 degrees cutting guide.

Step 8: Month Pieces (III)

I made a cardboard template to draw the curved lines and mark the center of the holes. After that, I cut the pieces with the jigsaw in my homemade jigsaw table and I made the holes with a 20mm forstner bit with the drill press. Like the 31-day holes, the holes of the month pieces have 8mm depth. I sanded all faces to end.

Step 9: Counter Pieces (tokens)

I used a 20mm diameter pine bar to make the counter pieces and the basis of the month figures. Firstly, I sanded the bar and cut 50 pieces of 20mm length. After that I sanded the edges in the homemade disc sander.

Step 10: Design the Month Figures

I designed a dozen of figures representative of the 12 months in my region. Firstly I draw then in 5x8cm paper.

Month >> event >> figure

January>> Cold weather: snowflake

March>> First flowers: tulip

April>> Trees turn green: Tree with leaves

May>> Spring fruits: Strawberries

June>> St John’s bonfires: Fire

July>> Good weather by the sea: Beach

August>> Common party dish: Grilled sardines

September>> Grape harvest: grape bunch

October>> Mushrooms

November>> Typical seasonal Galician dish: “cocido”

December>> Winter is coming: tree without leaves

Step 11: Cut the Figures

Firstly, I transferred the pictures to the plywood with tracing paper. I cut the figures using a manual scroll saw for marquetry.

In twelve of the pieces of step 9 I did a cut to insert the figure. I used wood glue to paste them.

I spent two hours to finish this part. (I cut together two pieces of 4mm plywood)

Step 12: Dye

To paint the pieces I used water-based dyes. Six warm colors and another six cold colors for the different months. I dyed the month figures with the same colors. I dyed some day pieces with two colors: red represents Sundays and Holidays and orange represents Saturdays. The working days are represented with no-color pieces. I made 5 orange pieces and 8 red pieces to cover the different month combinations

I applied the dyes with a sponge. One different sponge for every color.

Step 13: Paint the Figures

To paint the figures I used acrylic paints. In this step I had the help of my niece… or at least the company.

Some conclusions:

In total I spent nearly to 18 working hours to make two calendars. The cost of materials was 30€ (two calendars) more or less without counting the dyes and acrylics. The most difficult step was the 4th - the outer ring - because making it in four ring portions was a bad idea. It’s better to make one single ring. The most gratifying step was the last one, painting and watching how all the pieces became part of this beautiful toy.

Step 14:

Runner Up in the
Wooden Toys Challenge 2016

Participated in the

Participated in the
First Time Authors Contest 2016

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23 Discussions

What a delightful project, both in concept and execution. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Very nice project.

Thanks Jan. I bought the dyes in a fine arts store.

That makes a lot of sense now that you mention it. Thank you.

For my personal opinion you were the winner of the grand prize... For everythink, but no... Has won a truck with cool wheels... :/ congratulations for your work, details, idea, colors, painting... Everything!

Grazie mille Skyfinder. I'm really glad you like my project. Thank you very much for your words, you're very kind.

Great job, calendar looks amazing. Will have to look at adapting one for my Canadian climate

It sounds really interesting. Thanks

I am interested in how the calendar works. I am not familiar with the concept.

2 replies

Every day, the child puts a token in a hole and knows how the days go by. And she can put another token every seven days on the piece of the month. On the other hand, she associates each month with some special event, some climatic event, etc, etc. using the figures. And lastly, of course, she can assemble and disassemble all the pieces, change them and create anything that a two-year-old girl can do. I hope I explained it well.

sounds like something that she will treasure for years and pass on to her own child.

Absolutely Amazing Toy. Sell it to Doug and Mellisa Toy company!