Dec 23, 2013

Free Template: Family Birthday and Anniversary Sign

I love this project. It mixes some of my favorite things...spending time with my husband, family birthdays and anniversaries, DIY, and gift giving. If it weren't for the rush to finish before Christmas, it really would have put me in my happy place. The shorter time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year really threw me. Or maybe it was having a toddler...hmmm.

My husband is not what you would call gifted in the crafting arena. He once tried to help me string together a garland for a baby shower and it was a near disaster. However, put a power tool or an engineering project in his hands and he is a genius. His contribution here was invaluable. I like doing projects with him because it reminds me of when we first met. Yes, we worked together as engineering interns. Scandal! Well, actually not because we didn't start dating until much later, but that is a different story.

We made this gift for my husband's family last Christmas. We liked it so much I made three more as gifts for my family this year. The idea is not mine - I saw it on Pinterest with the rest of the world.  There are some crazy creative people out there. This post was the one that caught my eye. However, I wanted to hand paint the letters instead of using scrapbook paper/modge podge. After hours of adjusting sizes and fonts, I came up with this template. I'm sharing it here to save you the time and the hassle. I also adjusted the design to adhere the circles to a piece of ribbon instead of having to drill holes in each one for the hardware. This allows future movement of the circles if necessary as you can peel the circles off the ribbon if you are very careful.

I love these for Christmas, but they actually would make great wedding, bridal shower, or even baby shower gifts. Or perhaps a gift for a new grandparent.

What you need:

Wood (ideally a nice piece of hardwood)
Stain and staining pad
Drill or drill press
Router (roman ogee bit used here)
Sand paper (superfine 220 or 350 grit)
Random orbital sander
Glue gun
Craft paint
1" diameter unfinished wood circles
Ballpoint pen
Printer and paper
Paint brush (get one with a very small stiff tip)
Ribbon approximately 1/4" wide
Paint pen

1. Cut a nice piece of wood (we used Peruvian walnut) to 18" x 6". Route the edges, if desired, but leave enough area available for painting. Also leave enough surface on the bottom of the wood to screw in the eyelets for hanging the circles.
2.  Pilot drill and screw in 12 eyelets at even intervals into the bottom of the wood.
3. Lightly sand with the random orbital sander to remove any burrs left from routing. Stain the wood. We used Varethane natural color stain to highlight the wood grain while keeping the natural color of the wood. Allow to dry for a week.

4. Print the free template (above) and cut along the line. Align the two pieces together, matching up the overlapping of the letters, and tape together with clear tape.
5. Place the template on the wood. Measure from the top of the F to the top of the wood. Measure from the top of the Y to the top of the wood. Make sure both measurements are the same and tape the paper to the wood.
6. With a ballpoint pen trace along the outside of the letters with enough pressure to slightly indent the outline into the wood. This will serve as your guide for painting. Pay particular attention to where the words overlap. Decide which letter you want to be in the forefront and trace the outlines accordingly. If you look closely you can see the indentations in the wood in the above pictures.
7. Once all letters have been traced, pick your paint colors and get to work.
8. After painting the letters, you will also need to paint the 1" diameter wood circles in coordinating colors. Allow to dry.
9. Take 12 of the dry painted circles and write in paint pen the first letter of each month. 'J', 'F', 'M' etc.

10. Loop a 1/4" width ribbon through the eye and back onto itself and adhere with hot glue. I would suggest adhering the ribbon at the location of where you want the 'month' circle so it will be hidden.
11. Adhere the month letters in order to the ribbon with hot glue.
12. Write day numbers and names on more dry painted circles and adhere under each month.

When I give this as a gift I often include extra circles, a paint pen, paints, paint brush, and extra ribbon - anything they might need to keep it up to date as the family grows! It makes for a nice little package all wrapped up together.


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