DIY: Family Birthdays Sign (Part 2)

You can find the Family Birthdays Sign (Part 1) here.

Ok, ok, ok. I will admit it. This was the one post that I needed to have a follow-up, and I never did it.

 

Back in Summer 2012, I made this DIY Birthday Sign and published “Part 1” on the blog. I was really good about taking pictures to document the steps. And I got so excited, I published them once I was half-way through the project.

Then I took a break after painting the sign itself.

I had to figure out how to do the rest of the birthdays and hooks and attach it all together.

I figured it out and I finished the sign, but I didn’t explain HOW I did it. Here’s why I never posted my follow-up: I didn’t take pictures. Bad blogger, I know.

 

Well, I thought I had gotten away with it, but recently, our blog has gotten quite a lot of attention and popularity (HOORAY!!!), but with that, I’ve gotten quite a few questions about finishing the project. So, I got caught by you fantastic readers. I guess I need to backtrack and explain how to finish it, don’t I?

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the steps, but I can do my best to explain how to recreate it. I hope you will forgive me! If you look at any of my other tutorials, you will see that I really have been good about including all steps from start to finish for my other projects. This one just, well, got left out.

Month Tags

As you could see in the Part 1 post, I had already figured out which font (Janda Curlygirl Chunky) and size (34) I wanted to use. I picked 6 of my favorite paint colors and painted the 1.5″ circles in those colors (2 of each color). These would be my month signs.

Once they dried completely, I used the same technique from Part 1 of coloring the back of the paper with a pencil and then transferring it over onto the little circle discs. I then painted the months onto the tags.

Finally, I spaced them out and glued them onto the sign.

Ribbon

The next step was attaching the ribbon onto the sign base. I cut 12 strips of ribbon to be a little longer than 1 ft each. I decided to cut them into a point at the end, and I used some fray check glue to prevent further fraying. Well, I have since come up with an easier method. FIRE!

Yes, with grosgrain ribbon, you can prevent fraying with heat! You can hold a flame (from a match or lighter) underneath the end of the ribbon, and it will make it so that it won’t fray on you. This technique does take practice, because you can’t hold the flame too close (it will burn the ribbon) or too far away (not hot enough). I will hold the lighter about 2 inches below the ribbon and just pass my hand back and forth for a little bit. I will then touch the ribbon to see if it has scarred enough. It won’t be too hot to touch, so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers, either (if you do it right).

I then used some superglue to attach the ribbon to the back of the sign. You can also use a hot glue gun or a staple gun to attach this. Since it is on the back, it really doesn’t matter.

Names and Birthday Tags

Now, it is time to customize! Once you make sure you have the correct birthdays (a very important step), you will get an idea of how many discs and the colors that you will need. Don’t forget that families grow and so you will need extras. I made at least 5 extra discs of each color for this reason (marriages and births of new family members). I wanted the colors to be similar to the month tags, but I didn’t want them to be the exact color. So, I took the paint color and mixed it with a little bit of white to get a slightly lighter hue of each color. You can’t necessarily see it in the picture, but it looks great in person!

Once they all dried, I needed to personalize them with our family members. I was frankly tired of using my paint brush at that point, so I invested in something so worthwhile: a black fine-tipped Sharpie paint pen. So. Worth. It! At this point, I also decided not to use the same method for writing the names and numbers, so I free-handed it. You can still use the transfer method if you want, but I knew that it would be more personal to use my own handwriting in this situation, so that is what I did.

Attaching the Birthday Tags

I also invested in some super-strong adhesive-backed velcro to attach the tags to the ribbon. I spaced the Velcro evenly down the ribbon, and you can see from the picture that there is definitely room to grow. I only used as much Velcro as needed, and I saved the rest. I decided to use Velcro instead of glue or another adhesive, so that when we have changes and additions to the birthday sign, I can slide the tags down or up and it won’t change the look of the sign too much.

DIY: Family Birthdays Sign (Part 1)

After a terrific week with my family, I realized that I really wanted to have a part of my family with me in my home. Before Camp Tucker, I found this adorable DIY Family Birthdays plaque on Pinterest by Christiney’s Crafts. I even got the materials before we left: 1 pine signboard (6″x23″) and 2 packages of 1.5″ circles (44 total). I know I will need to go get some more of these circles before the project is over.

To start, I needed to decide what font I should use. Since this will be displayed in our home, I wanted Tim’s opinion. When asked if it should be formal or cutesy, his instructions to me were to “go cutesy” and make it bright and colorful.

Yet, when I showed him the font options, he liked the simplest of the fonts (the second from the top). I decided to go right in the middle. Our font for this project will be “Janda Curlygirl Chunky.” In the picture above, it is #3. You can download the font for free from Dafont.com. Now, I will stop here and say that never should the words “girl” and “chunky” be in the same phrase. Whoever named this font must not be a girl.

The next step was to figure out the sizing that I wanted to use. For this, I opened up a Pages document (the Mac version of Word… which I prefer over MS Word), and I typed out the word “Birthdays” (I will be using this phrase over “Family Birthdays”). I made it a very large size, checking the height of it to be sure that it would not be too high for my sign backing. I was unsure if I wanted to go with size 200 or 220, so I made versions of both of them (it would go onto 2 different pieces of paper, which is ok), and I printed them out.

I also wanted to have a template for the months. I don’t like to freehand paint letters. They never work out well. So to make sure they would fit on my little wooden circles, I made a table that had each cell at 1.5″x1.5″. I then typed the month abbreviations in each cell, centering the text horizontally and vertically. I tried a few different sizes for this as well (30, 34, and 36). I printed these out.

By the way, if you don’t have any plain copy paper, and you don’t feel like running to the store, you can always print on notebook paper. Hey, it works!

I then tried these printed items out, and I decided to go with “Birthdays” in size 220, and the birthday months in size 34.

Next, comes the painting of the sign. For this, I propped the sign onto two mason jars (with some grocery bags underneath to catch the extra paint). I have had too many painting projects where the wood sticks to my paper lining because of extra paint. This is a perfect idea so that I can paint just underneath the plaque without it sticking. Thanks, Pinterest!

I decided to go with an off-white color (#450 Parchment) for the base of the sign. I’m thinking cottage-y, and it will match whichever room we stick it in. I love FolkArt Acrylic Paint!

One lazy-painter technique that I use when I have to coat a large surface are to just squeeze the paint onto the surface and then spread it out. You just have to be fast enough so that there isn’t a layer of film that starts to dry before you get to all of the paint.

Another trick is to just put the paint right on your paintbrush. The paintbrush trick is helpful because you can easily get into all of the nooks and crannies. The best part about these techniques is that you don’t have to wash a plate or palate. Just wash the brush when you are done!

At this point, I stopped to have lunch. Mmmm, pasta!

While pausing, I must say that neither Toby nor Lucy found this project to be very enjoyable. Lucy showed her feelings by performing her favorite napping technique.

Toby was very unhappy when I moved him out of his favorite napping place: my crafting chair. Please excuse the towel, as this is the only way to prevent a blanket of cat hair on my chair.

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This next part is the best and easiest ways to paint lettering. Once you learn this trick, you will never go back!

First, take any pencil and color the back of your printed paper. You will want to color wherever there is some font.

Next, position your paper on top of the item to be painted. At this point, I tape the paper down so that it doesn’t move or shift. Outline each letter (it’s okay to press hard).

Look what you did! Now you can see the outline of your letter!

At this point, pick your paint color. I use FolkArt’s Licorice. This is a great basic black color. Another lazy painter tip: shake well and use the cap to hold your paint. No washing cups afterwards or wasting paint.

The next step is to paint, using those outlines. I always do just a letter at a time, and then I cut that letter off once it isn’t needed anymore.

After that, you are done!

Next up: adding the months and the names/birthday to the sign.

You can find the Part 2 of this post here.