Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Ben! Running Records Display

So, it's nearly the middle of July. Which means that I have finally given my husband, Ben, his birthday present. His birthday, of course, being in June. But while I got a very late start on this one, I was very excited about this project.

If you know us at all, you know that Ben likes to run. A lot. He runs a lot of races and earns a lot of medals and sets a lot of new personal best times. So many that I can't keep them all straight. 

Until now, Ben kept his medals, race bibs and other running stuff up in our spare bedroom. With a new baby coming soon, Ben has to clear out his upstairs man cave and move it to the dark, damp basement. I wanted to give him a little something to cheer up the space.

I saw an idea online for a way to display marathon times and thought it would be fun to give Ben a way to showcase all his best times for all the major distances he's run.

Here's how I did it: 

I started with eight plain pine boards from Lowe's. Seven of them were 4 inches wide by 2 feet long and one was 6 inches wide by 2 feet long. They come pre-cut in the lumber department for a couple bucks each, and I think you can pick between pine, poplar and oak if you're picky. (The total cost of this project was about $35 for wood, paint, stickers and supplies.) I bought seven colors of acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby and painted each board a different color. Then I taped off 9-inch segments on the ends of the 4-inch boards and painted them gray.

When that was dry, I used Americana Chalkboard Coating to turn the gray areas into a chalkboard. This is great stuff - it goes on clear and can change any surface into a chalkboard with just two coats. It was only about five bucks and I barely used any of it! This will definitely be used again.

Using a ruler and a little math, I spaced out some alphabet stickers and applied them to the boards.  The verse at the top is from Hebrews 12:1 and Ben helped me pick out the seven race distances that he wanted to display.

After applying the stickers, I put a coat of matte mod podge over all the boards, skipping the chalkboard areas. Once that was dry, I used basic screw-in cup hooks to attach all the boards together. The wood is soft enough that I could do this by hand, so my fingers are crossed that they stay put once we hang it up! Per the directions on the chalkboard coating, I covered the entire chalkboard area with a thin coat of chalk to prime it before cleaning it off and writing in the times.

Here's another look at the completed project, with Ben's times written in.

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