With the economy in a funk it's really nice to be able to give handmade gifts this Christmas. Calendars are a cliche Christmas gift, since New Year's is right around the corner and all, but why not do it a little differently?
Today I made a calendar out of blocks! It looks super cute on a shelf, and would help pretty up any office. It also cost just a couple dollars to make, what an awesome Christmas gift it would be!
Here's how I did it!
7 wooden blocks, each side is 1.5 inches
Mod Podge (I use matte finish, as I've found the gloss finishes can have a slightly sticky finish)
rubber number stamps
rubber letter stamps
dark brown ink pad (I highly recommend Staz On, because sometimes Mod Podge can make ink smudge and run)
other decorative stamps (optional)
First, you want to sort out the blocks to be labeled for months, days, and numbers. I found it helpful to label the sides with pencil first, just to make sure all my days and months were accounted for. Not all the sides will have a label, some will have blank sides. You should have 7 blocks labeled accordingly:
1. "1", "2", "3", "0" and two blank sides
2. "1", "2", "3", "4", "5", "6" with no blank sides
3. "7", "8", "9", "0" and two blank sides
4. "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", and two blank sides
5. "Friday", Saturday", "Sunday", and three blank sides
6. "January" to "June" using all six sides
7. "July" to "December" using all six sides
Note: for the month blocks I used larger letter stamps and abbreviated i.e. Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, and so on.
Once you have your blocks labeled with pencil, pick one to start with. I would make a mental note "Now I'm doing the number 1 on this block". Using your sponge brush, apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to one side and turn it face down onto the back of your decorative paper. Allow to adhere for a minute or two.
You can lift up the block and smooth the paper down, making sure there are no bubbles.
Once the block has set and doesn't slip when touched, use your Exacto knife to cut close to the edges on all four sides.
After cutting around the edges, pull up on the paper while pressing down on the block to release it. Your block should look like this, with one side "papered".
Taking the appropriate stamp, label the side. I like to do this step before moving onto the next side so that I don't lose track of which number or block I'm on.
Repeat until all six sides are papered and labeled. I used a different pattern of decorative paper for each side.
Once my block was labeled and covered on each side, I applied a thick coat of Mod Podge to seal the edges and to give a protective layer.
When crafting, I find it helpful to have a cheery, happy baby to sing showtunes to while you work. It's good for your mental health.
If you like your projects to have that "old" look, take some sandpaper and rough up the edges and corners before sealing with your Mod Podge. This step is totally optional, I find both finishes look great.
Here's what one of my month blocks looked like when I finished stamping it:
When you're all done, admire your work and how pretty it is!
The blank sides make pretty decorative blocks to fill in spaces with, you can also use decorative stamps with flourishes or symbols to add to the blank sides.
Hopefully this weekend I'll sew up some little draw string sacks to package these in!