Family Birthdays & Anniversaries Wall Hanging

A couple of years ago, I made a Birthday tracking wall hanging for my wife on my X-Carve. I was pretty happy with it at the time, with the exception of the charms that have the birthdays on them, so as a quick project after I got my Glowforge I cranked out some new charms for it:

Fast forward to this Christmas, and my wife wanted us to make one for my mother-in-law. I was excited by the idea and decided from the beginning that the design was going to be centered on a walnut lettering element inlaid into maple and I went from there. Maple and Walnut plywood, both proofgrade in the medium thickness, were used throughout.

Please don’t judge my dirty back door windows and the jump rings that aren’t fully closed. I’ll fix the jump rings before we give it to her on Saturday, no promises about the window though. :slight_smile:

I wanted to do something to tie the charms back to the design of the hanging itself, so I decided to use the same font and to incorporate the curlicue under Family into the charms as well. They’re simple proofgrade maple plywood.

We also wanted to include anniversaries. I wanted the design for these to fit with the birthday charms but also to be obviously anniversaries. I replaced the curlicue with a stylized heart, maintained the font sizing and spacing, and added a second name to the bottom for the better half of each couple.

I’m exceedingly happy with how it turned out.

One thing I think I’d like to experiment with is engraving pockets for the letters and using veneer instead of the full depth pieces. The full depth inlay is beautiful, but they are pretty challenging to fit snugly if you’re trying to avoid glue as I was. The fit was so tight in my case that it caused some warping in the base plate that I solved by laminating a backing board of thick draftboard to the back. That worked very nicely and doubles as a standoff to allow the jump rings the space they need to hang naturally.

I probably spent 10-12 hours designing, doing test cuts and kerf tests, and building the finished product over the course of a couple of days. I can’t possibly recommend more strongly that you spend the time and material to cut draft versions along the way. I consumed a couple of sheets of draftboard and a little bit of time but saved myself the threat of wasting “good” material and coming up short for the finished product.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it.


A really great idea!

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This is just charming!


This might be one of the most creative things I’ve seen on here. If you came up with this idea, major kudos to you. Otherwise thanks for sharing either way, very nice finished product.

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Thanks! I didn’t come up with the original idea for this type of hanging, I saw some designs on Pinterest some time ago. The design for this particular one, though, was completely my own from the shape of the base, the inlay, the kerning of the date numbers (that font does interesting things with numerals!) and so on. :slight_smile:

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A birthday/anniversaries board is on the list for my inlaws as well. I have the beginnings of a file set up, but haven’t gotten very far yet. maybe next week while I’m home i can get started in earnest.

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This is fantastic … your creativity will no doubt be delivered in mothers day wrapping paper to my mom and mother in law!! @chadmart1076


Yeah, this is pretty spectacular!


I’m so stealing this idea. Fantastic!!

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Love this!

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Fantastic idea, lots of gift-giving potential in this build

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I’m speechless! I am in awe at your attention to detail. The fonts, inlaid walnut, cloud outline, curlicues, hearts… all amazing.

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Spectacular idea! Every family ought to have one! :grinning:

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Very Nice! I like the font! What is the font you used?

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This is fantastic, really well done and thought out. Question - when you say “full depth inlay” - do you mean that you cut the letters completely out of the maple and then cut the same letters out of walnut and then pushed the walnut letters into the holes in the maple? Curious because I really want to try some inlay, but haven’t had a chance yet and I am new to some of the terms.

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It’s a lovely font named Lilly Belle that I found online:

First of all, thanks for the kind words.

And yes, that’s exactly right – I cut letters from both materials with the walnut ones being ever so slightly larger to fit snugly into the holes left behind in the maple. Here’s what some of the leftovers look like. I’ll probably use the maple letters that came out of the holes for another project, so I kept them.

You can even see where I tried to squeeze the Fa little too close to the edge of the walnut board and the camera alignment wasn’t as perfect as it could be. Oops.

It took a number of test cuts to get the kerf adjustment to the point where the letters were snug but not too tight to get into the holes. And even then, the letters required a little … encouragement (read, pounding) to get in place. I’m frankly lucky the maple piece didn’t split in the process.

The square with the S is one of my test cuts. It’s only 1.25" square so I was able to get quite a few tests done without using a whole lot of weirdly shaped areas in my scrap material pile. The S was chosen deliberately as a compound shape with some smaller and fragile serifs.

I could have gotten nearly the same effect by engraving in the maple and using walnut veneer, and I may try that next time. The only real reason I didn’t do that here is that I had it in my head that I wanted to inset the full thickness piece and I used cut vs. engrave time as my excuse to do it. In my defense, the results came out pretty good though. :wink:


Oh, forgot to mention the other reason for the S. My oldest daughter’s first name is Sandra. I figure I’ll make a little hole in the corner and it’ll make a great keychain. Waste not, want not!


I too am responsible for family calendars… only on paper… this is a wonderful idea, which allows for unlimited expansion… because our family is so large… I’m going to keep it in mind for the future.