May 22, 2012


We were still months away from our trip, but a friend of mine was to the point of counting down the days until her daughter's graduation trip.  Smart girl to choose Disney World for a graduation gift, huh?

She posted their countdown calendar on Facebook.  Cute!  Her daughters used the Mickey shaped paint chips from Home Depot, patterning theirs from an idea they read about on the DISboards.

Now, let me say that I am NOT a crafty person.  I don't have an "eye" for anything and I haven't been able to pick a paint color for over 10 years, but I knew this calendar was something we had to do.  The kids would love counting down the days, and personally, it would help me hustle to get all those last minute things in order.  Here's our rendition:

At the time, I had a tension rod in my kitchen window that served as a display for the kids' artwork.  It proved to be the perfect place for our countdown calendar.  The drapery clips are from either Ikea or Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I went with black poster board because of the contrast with the colorful Mickeys and I really like the way it turned out.  Once I got all the supplies, I had to decide what order the Mickeys would go in, colorwise.  I laid out all of my chips, took out the duplicates, and realized I had too many dark colors.  Playing around with the brighter chips, I decided that a rainbow pattern would look best - ROY G. BIV!

Then I experimented with different ways to lay them out on the poster board.  Think outside the box.  It doesn't have to look like a calendar.  You could do a spiral.  Stagger the rows.  Columns.

As you can see, I stayed firmly inside the box.  Based on the range of colors I had, 28 days fit perfectly.  Four weeks.  Seven across.  Four down.  Nice 28 day countdown with plenty of room left around the border.

Here's what the paint chips from Home Depot look like:

I didn't want to stick the whole paint chip on the poster board, so I had to remove the Mickey head from the square backing.  I experimented with a couple of extras - oh, yeah, get extras.  It looks like they're stickers, right?  They're not.  I peeled from one side and then the other, ooching Mickey off carefully.

Using a ruler and my Mickey head, I measured off how big each square needed to be, lightly marked off my grid with a pencil, and then drew it on by hand using a white liquid chalk pen.  I thought hand-drawn lines would look better than straight ruled lines.  I've had the chalk pens for a while and never used them much until now.  They were not something I bought especially for this project.

After my lines were dry, I experimented with a couple of different glues for the Mickey heads - glue sticks, craft glue.  I ended up using craft glue, applying it with a Q-tip.  Here's close-up:

You can see how Mickey is glued down nicely on that top row and not-so-nicely on the lower rows.  Running the glue out to the edges of the Mickey head inevitably resulted in some oozing and I didn't like the way the dried glue looked on the black poster board.  After a couple, I didn't run it all the way out to the edges.  I also didn't want the Mickey head to bubble so I used a very thin layer of glue.  I did not obsess over this.  Some I got just right, but most weren't, plus the kids helped.

For the decorations around the border, I found images online, printed them off, glued them to cardstock, and then to the poster board.

You can also see that we used a black punched Mickey head to mark off the days as they passed.  I bought the paper punch at a local craft store with a coupon and used Hermafix tabs to stick them on.  The punch, the black construction paper, and the Hermafix stayed in my kitchen drawer for easy access.  The kids would call dibs every morning on who got to mark off the day.

We had a great time making this calendar together and haven't been able to throw it away yet.

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