Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Our First Menu Board

I say "first" because I'm going to edit it this year - it has some flaws that I don't like, but overall, it has been great for the past year since I made it and tried it out.

It was an idea that never got out of the back of my head and into real life until last year when I wanted to make some office things for my father in law (who had just started working from home) -

FIRST - Grandpa's Birthday presents:

I wanted grandkids in his office space but still useful.

So, one drew a picture, I spray painted a frame and we turned it into a to-do board. 
(My oldest was instructed to use light colors so that he could see his list):

The other project was a magnetic board - for posted whatever he wanted.
My 4 girls each had a hand in this (the frame was also sprayed to match the first) - and their final picture (once dry) was covered in clear contact paper to protect the art work.

Now, the Menu Board creation begins!

I had bought the frames from goodwill and the sheet of metal from Lowes - so I had to cut the metal down to fit the frame - leaving me with this piece of metal leftover.

I measured it out and (leaving a border), divided the space into 7 equal squares - with a small rectangle on top for the days of the week - leaving me space at the top for a title.

Note - metal is kind of a pain to paint on with acrylic paint. Next time, I will either make a poster, print it out through some service and adhere it to the metal...or spray paint it with some metal-friendly paint before painting my own design on top. 

Also note - permanent marker is hard to cover up with paint - it takes many layers!

I drew a rough sketch of what I wanted, painted the borders - roughly (and for some dumb reason the word "menu" sketched), then painted the backgrounds of each space.

Then, I went back and painted the borders of the calendar space to give it straighter smoother lines.

I gave up after several attempts at painting the days of the week and printed them out on cream colored cardstock and glued them in place.

The entired surface was covered in clear contact paper (again to protect the paint) and then framed.

Because of the strange size (I think 15x24?), it took me a while to figure out what I would do for a frame - then I found at hobby lobby frame pieces (metal) that you buy individually and put together. (The pieces all together = $20 for the frame - more than I wanted to pay - I was hoping for goodwill, but not bad, as everything else was leftover from previous projects, except some paint for under $2)

(Michaels had them in their clearance section later last year...I almost bought more just to keep on hand for a menu board gift, but I resisted the urge to clutter up my craft stash!) :)

The menu items are written on pieces of poster board (I buy it from the dollar tree and cut it up, but you could use cardstock) - then covered in clear contact paper and a piece of magnet sheet glued on the back.

What I like about it:
  • I can change around the menu without erasing/re-writing or drawing arrows all over my menu paper
  • The pieces are magnetic so it looks more picture-like and permanent
  • As I have added new meals to the recipe box, it gives me a list of meals to choose from during my too-tired-to-think weeks.
  • It holds 2 weeks worth of meals (which is how I shop - 1 paycheck at a time)
  • cute handmade look (imperfections expected and liked)

What I will change when I edit it:
  • The menu items will be slipped into sleeves with magnets so I don't have to keep buying new magnets
  • blue painter's tape protecting sharp edges didn't get completely painted/covered (oops)
  • The week will be rearranged to fit two weeks of meals starting on Friday but be shaped more like a standard Sun-Sat calendar:

And when I make that edit, I will re-post so that you can see the modified version, but for now, this works great. 
(And for now, I've also quit buying magnets and just use little circle magnets on top of the posterboard squares when I want to make a new meal.)

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