It only happens once every 4 years (and sometimes, once every 8 years)! To keep the excitement going all month, create a Leap Day Tear-Off Countdown Calendar! (Free file at the bottom of this post.)
Little, my youngest child, was born on Leap Day. Let me tell you, I knew very little about the day until she came along.
Did you know that according to History.com, about 4.1 million people around the world have been born on Feb. 29? Or that the ancient Egyptians first realized the solar year and the man-made calendar were not always in sync. I could go on and on with facts…
Little is so excited about her day. With this Leap Day countdown calendar, she can tear off a page each day until her birthday and know exactly how many days she has until the big celebration.
Alternatives to This Tutorial
We are Lazy Crafting here, so you are welcome to skip some steps, specifically painting the canvas and using a cutting machine with heat-transfer vinyl.
One alternative for the words “Days Until Leap Day” is to use a marker. You could also paint the words on or use sticker letters.
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Leap Day Countdown Calendar Supplies
- 11×14 Canvas
- Countdown Calendar Pages (Free at the bottom of this post!)
- Ruler (optional)
- Pencil (optional)
- Paint (optional)
- Paintbrush (only if using paint)
- Cutting machine (optional)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (only if you have a cutting machine)
- EasyPress (or iron or heat press – if using heat transfer vinyl)
Painting Your Canvas
If you want some color, you can paint your canvas. I had some leftover paint from Little’s bedroom, so that’s what I used. (I always recommend using what you have before buying something new.)Be sure to paint your edges as well.
While your paint is drying, use your cutting machine to cut out the words (free file in the Resource Library).
Heat Transfer Vinyl Words
(If you aren’t using a cutting machine, skip down to Hammer and Nails.)
You will use your cutting machine to cut out your heat transfer vinyl or HTV.
If you haven’t used HTV, you should find a beginner HTV tutorial before doing this project. I have learned so much from Silhouette School Blog. Check out Melissa’s Best First Silhouette Project. If you have a Cricut, I love Jennifer Maker’s T-shirt for beginners.
Once the words are cut, you need to weed the design.
Then it’s time to press the words onto the canvas. This is similar to pressing on cloth, but there are a few key differences.First, you need to use a teflon pad or towel to put in the back of the canvas. This is because the canvas has a wood frame but no support in the middle. Without a pillow or rolled up towel, the heat press will have nothing to press against.Once you have your pillow or towel placed, flip your canvas over and put the words where you want them. Our calendar will take up about half the canvas, so I positioned my words in the bottom half.
I like to use a teflon pressing sheet to protect my press.
I set my Cricut EasyPress at 320 degrees and pressed for 20 seconds. You can use a heat press or iron, but for canvas and wood, I love my EasyPress.
Note: Beware that some paints might change color where you heat it. My paint color changed slightly. I ended up pressing the entire canvas for a few seconds so it didn’t look like I burnt the bottom half.
Be sure to press the edges as well.Once the design is pressed, carefully remove the plastic carrier sheet. If any of your design comes up with the carrier sheet, press it again.
Hammer and Nails
While I typically don’t measure here at Lazy Crafting, this is one of the times I did. The nails need to be in the right places for the calendar to hang and tear.
Lazy Crafting tip: If you really don’t want to measure, simply hold one of your calendar pages in place and mark the holes (or just hammer the nails right through the holes).The distance between the holes on the calendar page is 1.5 inches.
Depending on the type of canvas you bought, you should have approximately 0.75 inch of wood frame. You will be driving your nails into that frame.
First, I measured 0.5 inches from the top edge of the canvas. (We are leaving ourselves a little bit of wood margin so we don’t split the wood at the edge or miss it entirely.)
Then I measured to find the center of my canvas. Finally, I measured 0.75 in each direction of the center. I used the pencil to mark each spot.Then I hammered my nails into those spots. I chose gold nails with large heads. Since the nail is visible, I wanted something that looked nice (plus I happened to have a couple of these nails in our nail jar).
The Finishing Touches
All that is left to do is to prepare your calendar sheets. That means, print, cut, and hole punch.
I used scissors, but I would recommend a paper cutter, if you have one.Then hole punch the circles. My hole punch is smaller than the circles on the page, so I had to punch each one a few times. You just need enough to get the pages on the nails.
Then put the calendar pages onto your canvas, making sure that they are in the correct order.
Your tear-off countdown calendar is finished! Find a wall to hang it on and enjoy the excitement as you count down to a day so special, it only occurs every 4 years!
Happy Leap Day!