This project took me more time than I care to admit.
Mainly because I learned many things that didn't work and had to redo a lot.
And I'd like to add more to it, maybe, to make it look more like an over-elaborate steampunk contraption.
I wanted to make a perpetual calendar and went searching online for some model to go by. Alas, I didn't find one that I liked (with the exception of this one
from Bubbly Scrumptious...thoug
h I still wanted to do something else). Furthermore I wanted to make the whole thing with materials around the house and have it look like some weird relic of the past--not too neat and clean.
The base was a scrap of foamcore board I cut in half, decoupaged with book pages and then painted and glazed. Since I did this before trying to bind the two boards, I messed the paint up several times and had to repaint. Ideally, the base of a clipboard would be a better base than what I used, or even chipboard. The only way I could get it to stand up and stay standing was to put loooong screws with wingnuts in holes at the base. I'd planned to use screwposts (which are used in really big photo albums), but even with extension pieces they still weren't long enough. The base has to be fairly wide apart in order to not topple over.
I cut cards out of cereal boxes and heavy cardstock, painting and decorating each one. January-December for the big ones, 0-3 for the 1st digit of the date, and 0-9 for the 2nd digit. The months are liquid acrylic medium transfers; I'd photocopied a page from a Dover Press vintage imagery collection then applied many coats of the acrylic medium and peeled away the paper when dry, leaving just the copier toner on a translucent, plastic-y surface. I applied those to the larger cards with another coat of acrylic medium (I love that stuff), and at raeraethejetplane's recommendation I traced over the designs with a black pen to improve the contrast.
Oh, and the eyelets...Soooo many eyelets and grommets...If not for my trusty Crop-a-Dile tool the eyelet-setting alone would have done me in! But it was painless, other than the repeated trips to craft stores to get more and more of them, and finding the right sizes/colors.
The whole thing is bound with metal loops I made from wire clothes hangers. Working with the wire was the most difficult part of the construction, and another thing I had to redo, over and over and over.
My first idea was to create a spiral, like a giant version of how most notebooks are bound. Lesson learned:
Spiral binding didn't work for this project. By its nature the spiral curves, and that causes the separate pieces to overlap onto each other and not sit in a neat stack. Each stack--months and the two digits for dates--should
easily flip up and over, without touching the other stacks.
So I pried the spiral hanger wire out and cut it into pieces. Getting the pieces into a workably smooth curve was the next challenge. When I had the great pleasure of meeting with corduroy cat
earlier this year, I asked for their input and they wisely suggested wrapping the wires around something stronger than the wire, like a metal or PVC pole. It worked well (yay!), though still required a lot of tinkering to get the sizes right. Each stack has a different number of cards and different thickness, so it takes different sizes to makes them function well.
I could have used binder rings instead of wrestling with wire, but in the end I did not. For one thing, they looked too sleek and proper for the look I was going for (and no one makes brown or black ones in a big enough size). The other reason is that I didn't get the holes aligned well. Lesson learned in the use of binder rings:
If you're using more than a one of them to bind something, the distance between them is not flexible. If the holes the binder rings go through are not perfectly aligned, the entire structure of the item will be off-centered, pages won't want to turn, and soft materials like paper with get warped and wrinkled as they trying to stay within the bounds of those metal rings. It did not turn out well (though I'm sure I'll find a use for all those binder rings I bought, eventually).
It would have been nice to add days of the week, but after so many months of messing with this project I had to say "enough is enough."
Now, after the fact, I realize that a perpetual calendar doesn't have to be a difficult project. It would be a good project for a Bind-It-All machine, or even more cheaply with a hardcover wire-bound blank book; I picked this one up at the dollar store to demonstrate the basic idea:
Just cut 3 sections of paper without tearing them from the binding, decorate accordingly, and remove the excess pages. I didn't pay much attention to it before this project, but this kind of wire binding prevents the pages from losing their alignment when you flip them up and over. It looks like a spiral, but without the problem of a spiral.
Whew, I'm so glad to be done with this! Though I'm still going to be scratching my chin, pondering how to improve it...
ETA: Somehow I missed this one
posted on Craftster last year, which uses a similar format!