Leave it to me to do my February craft project in March. Yeah, I have all kinds of excuses – sick kids, sick me, tired me, overworked me…but they all really add up to lazy me! I’ve had a few days of down time and wanted to get this done because it was so needed. But when the time came, I just didn’t feel like doing a thing other than…well, other fun activities like fooling around with social media sites…you know, the stuff that doesn’t require planning, physical or cognitive labor LOL.
So, here I am on the first weekend of March, one night before having dinner guests (for which I hadn’t completed a menu – let alone grocery shopping), attempting to start and finish this project. It HAD to be done…I just had to push myself.
My family has been through sooooo many calendars through the years. I started off with the cute little freebie calendars you just tack on the wall. But keeping those updated required a magnifying glass and a pen capable of writing almost upside down and staying well-inked. Next I tried those cute little mommy organizer/planner wall calendars. You know the ones you either find in the stationary stores or order from a catalog to support some child’s school fundraising efforts? Well, those had extra space for writing and neat pockets for receipts and such, but they all tore quickly. Hey, I have a lot of receipts and bills and they didn’t sell a heavy duty version. I then graduated to the large magnetic, dry erase and corkboard calendars. I absolutely loved these for the refrigerator. Because I have a stainless steel refrigerator, I could store these on the side of the fridge away from the gaze of guests – perfect! I found, however, these only last about a year or less with the constant corkboard pinning, unpinning and repinning done by the kids or the consistent writing and drawing with dozens of dry erase colors until the dry erase board was a permanently inked mess!
I had to do something fast and it had to be life-sized, durable and long-lasting! That’s when I discovered chalkboard paint. Well, I had known it existed for years, but I never considered it for my walls (other than the kids room) until I saw they came in lots of brilliant colors. I’m a big DIYer and I’m sure I could have made my own chalkboard paint or tinted my own paint, but who had the time? Hey, I was already behind in painting to begin with – let alone mixing my own paint! So I finally headed to Home Depot and picked several colors for my multi-colored wall chalkboard calendar idea.
I knew I wanted to incorporate the colors of my kitchen/dining/living area in this calendar. The actual wall color is sort of burnt orange. I have furniture with dark brown, soft, pale yellow and accents of red, black, green and tan throughout. I found all of the colors I needed besides the pale yellow. I figured the tan could substitute for that. In addition to my existing plethora of colors, I added something new and slightly bold – periwinkle. I was so unsure of how this would fit, but I think it blended well once I saw the finished product. I also decided to mix some of the paints to create a new color – taupe. Well, to be honest, I was actually going for dark brown. I had opted out of spending an extra $12 for dark brown at the store and I figured 5 colors for the calendar were more than enough, but after painting 6 weeks of squares times 7 squares per week, I thought I needed at least one more color (plus my color pattern would have been off if I didn’t :)). I mixed black, red and latte (tan) in small increments until I tired of mixing and blending and settled on taupe. In the picture, the newly created taupe color can be seen on days 14, 22, 25 and an unmarked day on Wednesday in the last row. Do you like it? I think it turned out nice.
As always, I underestimated the time it took for me to do this project. As you may know, painting is not just about throwing color on the wall…it’s an art. And calculated painting is…well, it’s a science really. There’s mathematical equations, measurements and all kinds of stuff to figure out before you even grab a paint brush. So, here’s how you do it:
You will need:
Painters tape (I used 1″ tape)
A tape measure or ruler
A pen, pencil or marker
4″ small paint foam roller (1 for each paint color)
small paint roller tray (1 for each paint color)
Chalkboard paint (I used Rust-oleum tintable and black finish)
- Measure the amount of wall space to place your calendar in width and height. Leave out any areas you do not want covered with chalk paint. This is your total working space.
- Determine the shape, width and height of your calendar days. I chose 6×6 inch squares. Keep in mind the width of your painters tape will be the space between your calendar rows and columns that allow the real color of your walls to peek through (I used 1″ tape). You will need 6 rows for a full month of calendar weeks plus an additional row as a header for the days. However, the header row does not have to be the same size or shape (I used triangles). That’s a total of 7 rows at minimum albeit the header height may vary. You may want to add an additional row for a quote or to mark the month or whatever creative idea you want so keep that in mind as well. You will need 7 columns at minimum for a full week of calendar days (Sunday through Saturday). You may want to add an extra column to mark the month or leave space for notes or any other creative idea you want so keep that in mind.To total your complete height, multiply your individual height for the calendar’s days (6 inches for example) by the amount of rows that have the same height (6 for example). To that number, add the height of your individual header days. To that number, add the width of your tape multiplied by 6 (amount of row separators/spaces). The total height of your project should be less than or equal to your wall space calculated above.
The complete equation will be ((height of 1 calendar day square) x (6 rows)) + (height of 1 calendar day header square) + ((width of painters tape) x (6 row separators/spaces)).
- Do the same to total the complete width of your project. Remember you will 7 columns at a minimum (to cover each day of the week). You may want to add extra squares after the last day for notes or extra writing space. The complete equation will be ((width of 1 calendar day square) x (7 columns)) + (width of extra squares, if applicable) +(width of painters tape) x (6 row separators/spaces)).
- Once you have your measurements, you will need to outline your calendar using your painters tape. Lay your horizontal lines first (these will be the rows for you calendar weeks). The very first horizontal layer of the outline will mark your row headers (these will be the days of the week). Make sure your line is straight (using a leveler may help).
- The second horizontal layer of the outline should measure the height of your header row (the days of the week). Use a pen, pencil or marker along with a measuring tape to measure your squares exactly. Take your measuring tape and measure from the bottom of the first layer of painters tape to the planned height of your header row (I used 6 inches). Use a pen, pencil or marker to place a tick mark on the wall at that place. Line up the top of your painters tape with the tick mark and roll out straight until you’ve reached the desired width of your project (rolling it longer will use more tape but may actually be safer). Make sure your line is straight. I used my measuring tape in different areas in the row to make sure it was 6 inches in height throughout the entire row. A leveler also works.
- Repeat step 5 for the remaining rows until all rows are complete. Again, ensure the lines are straight and the desired height is achieved by using a leveler or checking your rows with your measuring tape.
- When all of your rows (horizontal layers) have been completed, finish the outline by laying your vertical layers (these will be the columns for your calendar days of the week). Use the same process as steps 4 – 6, only vertical this time. You will need to mark every 6 inches (or however wide your individual calendar squares will be) along the horizontal rows and lay your vertical rows exactly on those lines. Remember to use your tape measure or leveler to ensure your spacing is even.
- Now that the math and outline are all done, it’s time to paint! Open your paint cans and stir to mix well. Pour about 1-2 cups of paint in each small paint tray.
- I chose a random method of color block. I didn’t want any two colors close together in the same row or column. That was my only rule so I just went with that and improvised the rest. Using your roller brush, paint inside the squares applying one even coat in each square. If you paint on the blue tape, it is okay. Remember the tape will come off and show your underlying wall color anyway.
- Allow the first coat about 30 minutes to dry and apply a second, even coat.
- If the dried second coat looks thick enough, you can stop here (there should be no signs of the underlying wall color). If not, apply a third coat.
- Allow 1-2 hours to dry completely before removing the painters tape.
- Remove the painters tape slowly, removing the vertical layers first, then the horizontal layers.
- Use and enjoy your calendar (and marvel at your handiwork) ;)!