Monday, May 7, 2012

Making a Dry Erase Calendar With Contact Paper

A few days ago I finished a fast and cheap project for my boys.  My kids are not in school yet, but I feel that is no reason they can't start learning now.

Here is a space that I carved out for a "bulletin board" of sorts.  It's the door to the basement in my kitchen.  Since it's a space we pass by maybe a hundred times a day I thought it was perfect.  It sits just inside the kitchen just feet from the family room where we spend the bulk of our inside time.

I purchased the weather signs at Target.  I covered them in contact paper since I don't have access to a laminator.  Then I added Velcro to the back of the signs so I could change the forecast every day.  It's been fun to look outside with the boys in the morning and decide what the weather is like that day.  

Then I look up the next day's forecast on my phone and we put up our signs.  Sometimes the weather changes midday.  If we notice it we change our sign then too.

This was in the play room of our old house, and when I put it up here I immediately thought what was missing was a calendar so we can talk about the days of the week and the months of the year.  Then I got the idea for a dry erase calendar made with the contact paper I already had on hand.

Me: "Do you know what today is?  It's Sunday!"
My 3 year old: "No, it's cloudy."
I stand corrected.

Here is what you'll need to make your own dry erase calendar:
  • Plan paper in a light color marked to make a grid seven spaces across and five spaces down (I used white construction paper)
  • A roughly 2 x 6 in.  piece of paper in another color for the month
  • Seven small pieces of paper for the days of the week (you could also make a single strip the length of the calendar if your days of the week will fit written out)
  • Contact paper
  • a pen
  • scissors

Make a grid on your paper seven equal spaces across and five down.  Cut off the long edges if you are bad at math, like me, and couldn't manage to measure out proper proportions to fill the paper you have.  Make the lines with a dark marker.  Write the days of the week on the seven small pieces of paper. Mine measure about 1.5 in x.5 in.

Measure out the amount of contact paper you will need by rolling it out and laying all your pieces in the position they will be in when it is finished.  Mine is about a foot and a half in length and the entire width of the contact paper.  I wanted a nice sized "frame" of contact paper around the calendar to stick the whole thing solidly to the wall.

Cut the contact paper to the length you measured.

Take the backing off the contact paper.  Don't worry if it sticks to itself.  It comes apart fairly easily.

Making sure everything is straight and evenly spaced (a ruler would be nice for this if you want to be exact - I just eyeballed it), place your papers down one at a time on the contact paper.  Do it slowly, smoothing from one side to the other to insure that there are no air bubbles.

Check your work to make sure it all looks right and the words are facing the right way.  Obviously I was confused and two of my days got turned upside down.  Hmm, sounds like my real week! Ha! If this happens it should be fine.  My paper came right off the contact paper no problem and I flipped and re-adhered it.

Now comes the tricky part, putting it on the wall (or door, in my case).  This bit was even trickier for me who was trying to take pictures while smoothing the contact paper.  I always have to make things difficult! 
Starting at the top corner, adhere it to the wall, smoothing it down to push out air bubbles, moving from one side to the other until the top is attached to the wall.  Now make sure it is straight, if not, pull it off and start again.  If it is straight, continue to smooth it down little by little from one side to the other and down.  If you get an air bubble, pull it back just past the bubble and continue on.  If you've never done something like this, it might take you a few tries to get your technique just right.

But then you're done!

Finish it up by writing in the month, year, and dates.  Now when we stop by this space to talk about the weather we can read the calendar too!  Today is Monday, May 7th, 2012.  Yesterday was Sunday, tomorrow is Tuesday... you get the picture.  Have a good week!
(Yes, the calendar in the picture says April, it was still April when I took the picture. That's just shows how crazy things have been at my house lately!)

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