Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Love Family Time" Vintage Forever Birthday Calendar

Hi Friends,

Today I'm delighted to bring you my first step by step  tutorial on how to create your own beautiful Forever Calendar.  If your not familiar with Forever Calendars, the cream circles with letters represent each month (Jan-Dec). The hearts hanging from each month are for noting a persons name and the day of their birth. You can use a fine felt or gel pen to write your loved ones name and date on the hearts. The hearts can be moved around so you can hang as many as needed for each month.   

If you like this project, please sign up for email notices or join my blog to see what's coming next!   If you would like me to customize a calendar for you, there is a 'Special Order' link for this item through my Etsy store (link is at the top right corner of this page).  

Well friends, the remainder of this post is dedicated to my tutorial.  If you've got the time, please look it over and leave me a comment.  I always love to hearing from you!   Till next time, wishing you a happy day!  ~ Dawna 

"Love Family Time"
Forever Birthday Calendar 
Step by Step Tutorial

I didn't a take any in progress photos, but the steps are easily described so I'm going to give you the supply and tool lists and tell you where to find everything.  Then once you've got things together, I will walk you through the crafting directions.  I've included many tips and cautions (yep, these were my mistakes!) to help you along the way.  If you you get stuck or have any questions, please feel free to post them and I will respond.
Basic Plaque Supplies List:

14" Wooden Plaque
12 ea. 1" Wooden Circles
24 ea. 1" Wooden Hearts
36 ea.  9/16in. Screw Eyes (pictured below)
2 ea. 1/2in. Screw Eyes (to make the ribbon hanger)
36 ea. 10 mm Jump Rings (silver circles under the hearts)
1 ea.  Select a Medium Weight 12 x 12 Scrapbook Paper (for your plaque background)
4 ea.  Complimentary Acrylic Paints ( I used cream, medium green, baby pink and coco brown)
1 ea.  Complementary Distress Chalker (pictured below)
1 ea. Wooden Plaque Name (I used Family)

With the exception of the screw eyes and Prima Distress Chalker, I found all of the items listed above at my local craft store (Micheal's, Joanne's, Hobby Lobby or other big box craft stores).  I had to go to the local hardware store to find the zink screw eyes.  Prima ink chalkers can be purchased at on-line or local designer scrapbooking stores. 

Prima Ink Chalker
Jump Rings & Small Screw Eyes

Craft Tools and Other Basic Supplies You Will Need:

1" Sponge Paint Brush
Paper Plate (for your paint)
Non-Stick Craft Mat (or "cured" newspaper.  Seeing curing tip noted below)
Needle Nose Pliers
Sanding Block & Fine Sand Paper
1/16" Drill Bit (for installing 9/16" Sew Eyes)
3/32" Drill Bit (for installing 1/2" Screw Eyes)
Paper Towel or Baby Wipes (for clean up)
Adhesive (I use Helmar 450 as it adheres to just about everything!  Feel free to use what you have on hand.)  
3D Pop Dots (or empty pop dot sheets for creating remnants, see picture below) 
Mod Podge (I used Matte Finish, see picture below)
Brayer Roller (rolling pin will also work, see picture below)

Mod Podge, Brayer Roller & Empty 3D Pop Dot Sheet & Remnants

Except for hand tools and market items, you will find all of the craft items listed above at your local big box craft store.

Vintage Design Embellishments

To make this design, I used the embellishments listed below and shown in the following close up pictures.  Prima, Color Me Crazy chipboard, and Stickles glitter products are all available at on-line or at local designer scrapbook stores.  Stickers, rhinestones and ribbons are all available at your local big box craft stores.  Feel free to improvise and substitute any listed items for items you may already have on hand. 

Feel free to chose your own embellishments to compliment your desired style (vintage, shabby chic, steampunk, clean and simple, etc.) scrapbook paper and color palette.
Close of  "Love" Embellishments

Close up of "Time" Embellishments 

4 ea Vintage Prima Flowers (I used 3 Different Types)
1 ea 3" Prima Vintage Pink Doily
1 ea Prima "Love Trinket"
1 ea 3" Prima Wooden Clock
2 ea Prima Mini Rhinestone Swirls from Say it in Crystals
1 ea Color Me Crazy Chipboard Butterfly
A Smudge of Punch Color Stickles (for the butterfly)
1 pkg. Clear Alphabet Stickers (to label Jan-Dec)
24 ea 1/8" Clear Rhinestones (for the hearts) 
1 ea 18" Piece of 1 1/4" wide Grosgrain Cream Ribbon (to create hanger)
2 ea 18" 1 1/2" Brown Netted Ribbon (to create bows)

Project Directions

Now that you know what you need and where to find everything, let's get started on our project.

Completed "Love Family Time" Forever Birthday Calendar

Step #1 Sanding:  Starting with your bare wooden plaque, lightly sand the top to get a fine smooth surface.  You will not paint this surface.  Tip:  I sand over the trash can so I don't get saw dust on my work surface. 

Step #2  Preparing to Paint Next lay down your non stick craft mat (or newspaper) to protect your work surface.  Tip:  If you use the morning newspaper, you may want to "cure" the papers ink so it won't blacken your hands or transfer smudges to your project.  You can do this by using a hair dryer on it for a few minutes.    Prop up your plaque over your work mat.  Tip: Canned goods make perfect painting props.  Secure your circles, hearts, butterfly and name plate to your mat using the 3D pop dots.  Tip:  When painting small objects like the circles and hearts, I like to use 3D pop dots to secure them to my craft mat.  That way you don't have to handle them, they lift from your work surface so you can easily paint the sides and they won't move round during the painting process.   Tip:  Instead of using new pop dots for this purpose, recycle empty pot dot sheets by cutting them into small remnants.   See my finished messy mat picture below. 

Step #3, Painting:  Put a quarter sized dab of paint on your paper plate and lets get to painting.  Paint the back of your plaque, circles and hearts with two base coats to seal up the wood.  No need to paint the back of your butterfly or your plaque name.  I used the cream color to paint the back side of everything noted.  Let dry thoroughly. 

Next, turn everything over and re-secure your circles and hearts with your used pop dots.  Paint the top side edge of your plaque one color (I used medium green).  Paint the circles a second color (I used cream) and your hearts and butterfly in a third color (I used a baby pink).  Again use two coats and let dry thoroughly.  Finely paint your plaque name in your forth color (I used coco brown).  Caution:  Don't let your pop dots stay on a freshly painted surface over night.   Otherwise, your paint may peal off when you go to remove them!

Step #4 Preparing Your Scrapbook Paper:  Since the plaque is larger than your scrapbook paper you'll have to cut it (see next Tip before you cut) and trim away the excess.  Lay one half of your paper over the plaque edges and crease the paper along its shaped edges.  Lightly define the shapely line with a pencil so you can see it better before trimming the excess paper away.  Do this for both sides of the plaque allowing the paper to overlap.  I chose to trim my paper along the flower design giving me a flower repeat for my overlap rather than just doing a straight cut in half.   Tip:  Cutting along a design will make your overlap less noticeable.

Step #5 Distressing for a Vintage Look:  Using your chalk ink, lightly brush the chalk edger round the edges of your scrapbook paper (outside edges only not across your overlapping edges), around the edges of your painted plaque, around the sides of your circles, around the sides of all of your hearts and the sides of your butterfly.   This technique will give all of these items a antiqued or vintage look. 

Distressed Circles & Hearts

Step #6 Applying Mod Podge:  Next, apply Mod Podge to the top of your unpainted plaque surface and the back side of the bottom layer of paper.  Install the bottom paper layer first.  Then apply Mod Podge to the back of your overlapping paper layer and install it next.  Roll your Brayer over the surface of your paper a few times pressing firmly to squeeze out any air or excess Mod Podge.  Quickly wipe away any excess from around the edges with paper towel.  Tip:  I like to allow Mod Podged paper to dry over night as it 'sucks down' to the surface and eliminates any paper warping or air bubbles that may occur in the process.  Paper warping can occur when you don't use a Bryer roller to thoroughly roll out any air bubbles. 

Finish up by applying two coats of Mod Podge to the top of the top and sides of your plaque, your distressed hearts, distressed circles and your plaque name.   No need to Mod Podge the butterfly.  Instead, apply a smudge of Stickles pink glitter.  Let everything dry thoroughly.

Step #7 Clean Up:  You're all done fussing with wet stuff so you can clean up your work surface mess before moving on.  I absolutely love my craft mat. It always wipes clean for my next project!

My Messy Non-Stick Craft Mat

Step #8 Installing Hardware:   Refer to the following picture for a close up of installed hardware: 

Close Up of Installed Hardware
Step #8.a Drilling:  Using your drill with the small 1/16" drill bit, tap a hole into the top center of every heart.  Caution:  These hearts are very thin so be sure to get your drill bit perfectly centered or you may crack your heart in half!   Then using the same set up, drill a hole through the bottom corner of each heart.   Then take all 12 of your circles and evenly space them along the bottom edge of your plaque.  Mark the bottom edge of your plaque for drilling 12 tap holes to install your hanging screw eyes.    Next, we are going to tap two larger holes so change your drill bit to the 3/32" bit.   On the top edge of your plaque, about 1 1/2" in from the shaped edge, tap a hole for your larger screw eyes.  Do this on the right and left top edge of your plaque.  These are for your anchoring your ribbon hanger. 

Step #8.b Installing Jump Rings:  Open and close jump rings by simply twisting them with your fingers.  Install jump rings into the top and bottom of all your cream circles and just the bottom of all your hearts.

Step #8.c Installing Screw Eyes:  You will need to use your needle nose pliers to slightly open up the small screw eyes before you install them so they will 'hook' around the jump rings.   Using your fingers,  twist the small screw eyes into the tap holes you drilled at top of your all your hearts.  Caution:  Do not over tighten these down into your hearts or they may crack your hearts in half!   Continue by installing  the screw eyes into the bottom edge of your plaque.  Lastly, take the two remaining larger screw eyes and twist them into the tap holes you drilled along the top edge of each side of your plaque.

Step #9 Embellishing:  Your now ready to embellish your plaque by adhering all of your finishing touches.  Center your plaque name and use adhesive to firmly glue into place.  Glue the butterfly into place over plaque name.  Glue down your doily, clock, flowers, and trinket.  Add your swirl bling.  Add a single rhinestone to each heart.  Using one letter to represent each month, center your clear alphabet stickers over your cream circles.  Tie each end of your cream ribbon to the plaques top  two screw eyes to create a ribbon hanger.  Trim off excess ribbon.   Finish off  by tying two medium sized brown bows around the top screw eyes and cream ribbon remnant to hide the them.

Finished Love Family Time Plaque
Well friends that's the end of my first step by step tutorial.  I hope the directions and tips were informative and useful.  I would love it if you would take the time to leave me a comment.   If you get stuck on the directions or have questions along the way, please post them and I will respond.  Remember to sign up for email notices or follow my blog to see what's next.  Till next time, wishing you a happy day!  ~  Dawna


  1. I am still on vacation but wanted to pop in to see your blog. TFS the tutorial, and have a good week. Fran

  2. I was really searching for such a nice post and got here...Thanks for sharing such a nice information, its beneficial for me...Keep sharing more.
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