How To Make a Perpetual Desk Calendar

How To Make a Perpetual Desk Calendar

Sarah Rainwater
Feb 10, 2010

Physical calendars are all but obsolete in the digital age, but that logic aside, we still love them and see a lot of cool ones, so we thought we'd make our own. Even if we don't need it to tell us the date, it looks great on our desk and is fun to play with during long conference calls.

What You Need

7 Toy Blocks: 4 large (approx. 2 x 1-inches) and 3 small (approx. 1 x 1-inch)
Press-On Vinyl Helvetica Letters: 1/2-inch size and a larger size for month numbers if you don't want to print them out yourself (available at Staples)
Black Acrylic Paint
Repositionable Glue
Thick Paper

X-Acto Knife
Computer & Printer


1. Stick the vinyl letters and numbers on the small blocks: 01-12 for the months and M,T,W,F,S for the days of the week (T can be either Tuesday or Thursday and S can be either Saturday or Sunday). Use a ruler to help center them if you are having trouble placing them correctly.

2. For the days of the month that are reversed out of black, we found a font with taller, thinner numbers than the vinyl ones and printed out 0-9 and 0-3 on a thick matte paper. You could also use larger vinyl press-on numbers.

3. If you aren't using stickers, cut out the numbers using an x-acto knife and scissors.

4. Stick the numbers to the blocks with repositionable glue stick if you aren't using the press-on numbers. Don't use too much glue, but make sure the edges are well secured. 0-9 should be split up on three of the larger blocks (you will have 2 empty sides) and the additional 0-3 goes on the fourth block.

5. Paint the sides blocks with a dry brush. Outline the numbers carefully — you want to get as clean an edge as possible.

6. Let the paint dry dry for a few minutes, but not completely so it doesn't seal the numbers to the blocks.

7. Use an x-acto knife to lift the edge of each number and peel it off.

8. Once the sides of the blocks are dry, paint the tops and bottoms.

9. Clean up the edges of the numbers if necessary with a small brush or marker — be sure to test it first to make sure that it won't bleed.

10. Set up the calendar on your desk. The blocks that you don't need for today's date can go in the back.

Additional Notes: We happen to have tons of blocks lying around the house so we just borrowed a few (with permission) from our 2-year-old, but you could also buy a set like these, available from Amazon. We stuck with natural wood, but colored blocks could also work really well. If you don't have a toddler to play with the blocks you don't need for this project, they can make a cool display (see The Strange & Unusual Collections of Martin Gee) or you can get really creative with them and build a chandelier like this amazing one by designer Pepe Heykoop.

Roundup: Perpetual Calendars
Vintage Perpetual Calendars
Calendario Bilancia Perpetual Calendar by Enzo Mari
Perpetual Paris Calendar by Little Brown Pen

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Images & Design: Sarah Rainwater

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