I found this perpetual calendar at a thrift store for two dollars, and knew right away that it would be a fun addition to the school room. I remember exactly the day I bought it - it was November 1st. It's easy to remember, because the two tiles that were missing were October and 31. Since the calendar was set up for November, I wondered if the store volunteers had just set the calendar out that morning, or what the story was. Anyway, for $2 I figured I could probably figure out something that would work.
For two months it hung in our school room, looking kind of sad and dated, but full of potential. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and give it a makeover. I'm so glad I did - check out how it looks now:
How do you update a vintage wooden calendar? You put a bird on it! The whole makeover was surprisingly easy. Collin cut me eight new square tiles for holidays and the missing 31, as well as a piece for the decorative picture holding slot. I cut the bird picture out of a calendar from last year. The flip side of the picture board has another picture from the calendar - a large colorful butterfly - but the bird side turned out better so it will likely just stay that way.
I refreshed the grimy beige tiles by printing new dates onto white cardstock, gluing the cardstock squares to the wooden tiles with tacky glue, and spraying them with Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Enamel. If I were to do it again, I think I would use rubber cement to secure the cardstock to the wooden tiles, since the tacky glue doesn't clean off the paper if you get an accidental smear on it. The clear gloss coat was the trickiest part of the project, since we don't have a garage and it's far too cold to spray outside. I ended up spraying them inside and smelling the fumes throughout the downstairs all night, which isn't really something I recommend. Spray paint projects really do belong to the summer.
The longest part of this project was deciding which holidays to include and finding little icons to represent each day. I began by listing all the holidays I wanted to include, and dividing them by whether they fell on the same date every year or moved around. Holidays with fixed dates get a holiday icon fixed to the back of the date tile, so when their month comes around I only have to flip the tile over to display the holiday instead of the date. I was surprised that the only duplicate holiday date was February 14 (Valentine's Day) and June 14 (our anniversary). Happily, those can both be very well represented with a heart!
The other holidays I included were:
1 January: New Year's Day
2 February: Groundhog's Day
4 July: Independence Day
6 January: Epiphany
8 September: Annie's birthday. So far September is the only month of the year we have two birthdays in our family, and since the 8th isn't another holiday Annie gets to have her birthday permanently on the back of the 8 tile.
12 February: Lincoln's birthday. Instead of President's Day, a moveable holiday, I decided to put both Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays on their actual days, and then to figure out Presiden'ts day from there. I did this both because I didn't really want to dedicate one of my moveable tiles to President's Day, and because Holiday Inn was on my mind as I made this calendar and in that movie both Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays are celebrated, as in the old style before the two holidays got smashed together.
14 February and 14 June: Valentine's day and our wedding anniversary. Also Flag Day, but our anniversary trumped that holiday.
17 March: St. Patrick's Day
22 February: Washington's Birthday. President's Day is always the third Monday in February, which I think is also the Monday in between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays.
25 December: Christmas!
31 October: Halloween.
The moveable holidays I included are: Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, Thanksgiving, Daylight savings both spring and fall, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Back to School, School holiday, Birthday, Season changing (for all exuinox and solstice dates), an American flag for Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Pearl Harbor Day, or any other time we're feeling patriotic, and Labor Day. I realize I had to leave out a number including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Columbus Day, and National Cheese Appreciation Day, but I'm pretty happy with the list.
I painted the calendar with bright cherry red latex enamel paint. I didn't prime it so it wouldn't be quite as intense as if I was painting on top of white, and the color is just about perfect. Before painting, I traced over the days of the week with a ball point pen to create enough indentation in the wood that I could paint new letters on top. It worked pretty well, especially together with the fact that the original letters showed through the fresh paint a tiny bit.
I painted the letters back on with white fingernail polish. It worked really well, except I was a little impatient and painted before the red was fully cured. The white mixed with the red just enough to make the pink noticeable against the fresh white paper of the tiles. Oh well.
And just for fun, here's a before and after comparison photo. Granted, I snapped the first picture at night, so the colors are off a bit, but the dinginess is pretty accurate. You'll notice that I took down the extra month tiles and replaced them with new holiday squares. That's because the months are narrower than the date tiles, and prone to falling off at the slightest bump. That's why they were rubber banded together in the first picture. Now the extra tiles live in my desk drawer, and the calendar looks much better for it.
This was a fun little project, since it actually took less time than than I thought it might. I finished the whole thing in about four days, which was dramatically better than the colored crate shelving I'd just finished the week before that took over a month to complete. One more project checked off my list, and one step closer to finishing the school room!