Once upon a time The Home Depot was my hero. They had those perfect little Mickey shaped paint chips, and my countdown calendars were easy-peasy.
And then one day…they were gone. Poof! Just gone!
Now what was I going to do? We had a trip in the works and it was about the time we would start our countdown on the hallway closet door. That first Home Depot-less countdown was a nightmare…have you ever cut out 45 individual Mickey shaped pieces of paper? It isn’t fun. And tearing them down breaks your heart a little bit. (3 year olds don’t much care about keeping them in tact).
I knew there had to be an easier way! So I started perusing the Internet and found some great countdown calendars on Etsy. I considered ordering one, but knew that I could make one myself that would be right for my family. So I set off on a trip to Hobby Lobby for supplies and got started just in time for our next trip.
My first attempt turned out pretty well, but the finished product was a bit rough around the edges. Note to all of you, even the pre-cut wood pieces you can buy in the craft section should be sanded.
For this edition I used acrylic paint, paint markers, chalkboard paint and ribbon. I actually used my Mickey Mouse sandwich cutter to trace the Mickey head with, and it worked perfectly.
You can see in the picture that the chalk got into the grain of the wood, and it won’t come off. Stubborn chalk.
I have a friend traveling this summer, so I thought it was time to try it again and use what I had learned the first go around. I think this one is pretty cute.
Here’s the How-To!
Step One: Gather your supplies.
For this calendar I used a 5×7 board that I purchased at the craft store already beveled around the edges, yellow scrapbook paper, red acrylic paint, black sharpie, Mod Podge, puffy paint, transfer paper and chalkboard paint.
Step Two: Sand your board well, and brush off all sawdust with a paintbrush. Then wipe down with a wet paper towel and allow to dry.
Step Three: Paint the board, or just the edges of the board depending on what kind of surface you are going to use.
If you are going to paint the entire surface skip steps four and five.
Step Four: Measure the face of the board and cut out the shape of the board using an X-Acto knife with a sharp blade. You can uses scissors, but I find that you will get a much cleaner cut with the knife.
Step Five: Mod Podge the paper to the top of the board, being careful to avoid creases.
Step Six: Print your text and or images, making sure that they fit just right on your surface. Don’t worry about printing in color.
Step Seven: Lay your transfer paper down on the face of the calendar. Make sure that it is tight with no wrinkles. Lay your text down on top of the transfer paper and make sure it is centered on your face. Make sure it is just where you want it to be placed, and then tape it down around the edges so it does not move on you. Using a ballpoint pen trace the text and any shapes you use. The transfer paper will transfer the image to the surface of your calendar. (Make sure the transfer paper is facing the right direction).
Step Eight: Remove the paper and transfer paper and inspect your design. Make any adjustments necessary very lightly. Then begin going over your text with whatever medium you prefer. For my first calendar I used paint pens, and they worked much, much better than the puffy paint. Puffy Paint is difficult to control.
Step Nine: Go around the outside edges of what will become your chalkboard, again using whatever medium you prefer.
Step Ten: Once your chalkboard outline fill it in with chalkboard paint. Follow the directions on the bottle so that you allow the paint to cure correctly. My paint took two coats, plus 24 hours of cure time. Then it said to rub it with chalk and let it cure overnight before rubbing in to create the chalkboard surface.
Step Eleven: Attach a ribbon, or use magnets. This just depends on where you want to hand your calendar. You could also just set it on a shelf.
Step Twelve: Add any embellishments you wish and start counting down until your next vacation!
This probably took 2 hours total to complete, but it was spread out over a few days. It was quite simple, and a lot of fun to create! I’m happy with the results, and I hope you enjoy creating your own Disney Countdown Calendar. If you create one please share your pictures with us here at The Disney Moms!