A perpetual calendar is a nice spin on a traditional calendar, as it's super-practical and means you don't have to shell out for a new one every year. In this tutorial, we've combined the practicality of a perpetual calendar with the awesome functionality of chalkboard paint, to create a stunning organisational tool that can be updated time and again - with little fuss, or mess.
- Wooden chopping/cutting board, at least 32cm x 22cm (12.6 x 8.7 in).
- Black chalkboard paint (choose one that's quick dry and water-based).
- Pale olive acrylic paint.
- Two sets of number stickers (about 140 stickers). Each number should be about 1cm (0.4 in) high.
- Sandpaper (medium or fine grain size).
- Paint brushes (one big brush and a finer brush for details).
- Paint tray.
- Masking tape.
- Eyebrow tweezers.
- Chalk or chalk marker.
Step 1: Prepare Your Board
Firstly, start with a big clean surface to work on, like a table top. Just throw down a plastic sheet to protect it from staining. Cover up the floor as well, and ensure you have proper ventilation to the room. You might want to wear old clothes you don't mind getting dirty, too. Prepare your cutting board by cleaning and sanding to provide a smooth painting surface. Start sanding with a fine grit of 150 and gradually move to smoother sandpapers. After sanding, thoroughly remove dust from the surface. I used an old chopping board, but if you are using a new board with raw or unfinished wood, no preparation is necessary.
Step 2: Divide into Four Zones
In order to transform the chopping board into a calendar, we first need to divide it into four main horizontal zones. The first zone on top will be used for the month, the second for the days of the week, the third, which is the biggest one, for the numbers of the dates (1 to 31) and the fourth zone at the bottom will serve for taking notes. The height of my cutting board is 32cm (12.6 in) with a handle measuring 4cm (1.6 in), so I have a total of 28cm (11 in) of usable surface. I divided my 28cm (11 in) space into the following measurements: 4cm each for the first and second zones; 12.5cm for the third zone and 7.5cm for the last zone.
All 31 numbers will need to fit in the third zone. You will need 5 horizontal sub-zones of 2.5cm (1 in) in height each, to fit stickers that are around 1cm (0.4 in) in height.
Step 3: Paint Third Zone
Put the pale olive acrylic color in a plastic bowl and dilute with a little water.
Paint the third zone of your chopping board using a small paint brush. Apply two or three coats of color.
There's no need to be precise on the borders of the zone. Let the board dry and clean your equipment with water.
Step 4: Divide Painted Zone in Squares
Divide the zone you have painted in to small squares to demarcate the area of each number. Use a pencil and ruler and draw the five horizontal zones of 2.5cm (1 in) in height.
Now create seven columns of about the same size. My board had 22cm (8.7 in) of width so I left a border of 1cm (0.4 in) and divided the rest in to seven columns of 3cm (1.2 in) each in width.
Step 5: Add Sticker Numbers
Add the sticky numbers. Counting from 1 to 31, place one number in each box.
Step 6: Paint it Black
Using the bigger paint brush and the blackboard paint, paint the front surface of your board evenly. A quick-dry, water-based paint will save you some time and trouble during cleaning.
Allow to dry and repaint the front side until you have an even application of colour.
Step 7: Paint the Sides
Paint the sides of the board.
If you have a metal element like a handle or another detail you don't wish to paint, cover it with masking tape.
It is easier to use the smaller paint brush for certain details.
Step 8: Paint the Back Side
Paint the back side of your board as well. Mine had a carved design which I decided not to paint. To retain the natural wood border I used a flat paint brush and painted only the upper surface.
If you paint inside the border by mistake, just clean it with some water before the paint dries.
When you finish painting, clean all equipment used with water and allow the board to dry completely.
Step 9: Remove the Stickers
First, remove the masking tape.
Now take the eyebrow tweezers and carefully remove all the number-stickers. The pale olive number stencils will be revealed!
Don't worry if some of the undercoat paint is removed in this process, as it will give it a nice handmade and rustic effect.
Step 10: Write the Month and the Days
At this point your calendar should look something like this (front and back side). Nice!
Now just add the month and the days of the week with your chalk to turn it into a perpetual calendar.
Write the initial of the days of the week above the numbers - one above each column. Write the days starting with the first day of each month. For example, the first day of February was a Friday, so I started writing the days of the week starting from Friday.
You need to update this each month. You can also take notes in the bottom area of your calendar. And don't forget to flip it over and take notes there as well!
Hang the calendar in your studio to schedule your activities and circle important dates, or leave it on the kitchen bench to note down your shopping list!
Are you going to make your own perpetual calendar? We'd love to hear about it - just use the comments section below.
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