Thursday, May 28, 2015

Waldorf Seasonal Wheel Calendar


School has started again, and that has got me thinking a lot about our homeschool space. One thing that needed a little revamp was our seasonal wheel calendar.

wheel calendar waldorf

I made this a while back, and it had started to flop and bend over time. So I implemented a few minor changes, and put it back on the wall (for another go-around!).

Detailed below is my original DIY/ Tutorial, with the addition of the newest changes and improvements. Also, here is a photo of where it is in our homeschool room this year. The seasonal wheel is tucked into a cozy corner above one of our work spaces.

waldorf homeschool room

*Side note: I love the desk pictured above, because it folds up to save space!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

For many people the time to start an new calendar is at the start of a new year. But the neat thing about this calendar is that you can start using it anytime!

wheel calendar

In the spirit of Waldorf Education I wanted to create a seasonal wheel calendar for our homeschool space. In addition to this, we do use a traditional calendar. But, my goal with this was to use the wheel format to illustrate the circular nature of the yearly rhythm. I chose only to include the months and the seasons, so that I could continue to use it year after year. But, you could make an even more elaborate version that included days and/ or dates by simply adding another inner circle.

I don't know if this is a "traditional" aspect of Waldorf Education, but it has the general feel. 
*Although I love Waldorf education and am heavily influenced by it, I am not a Waldorf purist, or expert. 

To make this project I used the following materials:

-2 sheets of Bristol Board

-White Glue


-1 Mini Brad

-Colored pencils (my favorite brand is Prismacolor, but Lyra makes a nice set too).

-A compass

-A standard pencil

-An eraser

-A long straight edge or ruler

-1 piece of cardstock or cardboard (at least as large as your pieces of Bristol Board). The back of a pad of drawing paper, or even part of a cereal box will work well.

I gathered my supplies, and on one of my pieces of bristol board, I begin constructing my wheel.
Bristol Board is similar to cardstock, but it is a little heavier and (if you get a smooth version) is lovely for drawing with pencil. I also like that it holds up well to lots of erasing and gluing (unlike traditional drawing paper).

The first step was to create two circles. Using the compass I made one outer circle that would serve as the edge of the wheel. I didn't measure and exact width. Rather I just made it as wide as the size of the paper would allow. 
The I moved the compass in about 1/2"-3/4" (again, this measurement can be flexible). I placed the point of the compass in the exact same place in the center of the circle and lightly drew an inner circle. This would serve as my guide for writing the names of the months around the edges. 

Then came the challenging part. This might be easy for you if you're good at geometry, but it took me a few times to get it right. So if you're like me, draw lightly!
First I divided the circle into 4 equal parts, starting from the center. Each of these triangular sections would be the space for a seasonal tree illustration. After that I divided each of those sections into 3 equal parts, creating even spacing for the names of the months. This then left me with 12 equal pieces marked off around the perimeter of the circle. 

Then it was time to add some color. I started by writing the 12 months around the perimeter (in the 2nd circle I had created). Before I "committed" anything with colored pencil I wrote it all out lightly with regular graphite. Colored pencil will erase a little bit, but not entirely, and not as well as graphite. 
I also lightly colored in the area with the colors of the rainbow, using cooler colors like blues and greens for the winter months, and warmer colors like reds and oranges for the summer months. I used this image as a reference guide: 

photo credit

As one color transitioned into another I faded them together. The easiest way to do this is to use a lighter touch where the colors will blend together, eventually fading lightly into white. Then, pick up your next color and lightly draw over the last one, gradually increasing the pressure to make add more pigment to the paper. 
Next, I went over the names of the months with a dark brown colored pencil.

Then it was time to draw a tree, four times (once for each season). The good news is that you don't have to be an artist to do this! A simple Google image search (seasons tree illustration) will reveal a wealth of inspiration and references. You could use these as references for your own drawings, or even just print out an image and glue it onto your wheel.

For my project I was inspired by this lovely image:

photo credit

Using the image as a guide, I freehanded four basic trees with my colored pencils. 

I started by drawing the trunks and branches. I added dark blue shadows to the "cold" season trees, and dark brown shadows to the "warm" season trees. Then I chose colors that represented each season and simply made circles of various sizes over the branches. 

In the center of the circle I drew a combination sun/ moon for added interest.  It would also be neat to draw a star, or a compass rose in the center. 

Then I cut out the entire circle, and also cut out an identical circle from another blank piece of bristol board. For extra strength I glued the blank circle onto the back of my calendar wheel.  I fashioned the pointer from a scrap of paper, colored it, and glued it to the background.

Over time, this did not prove to be strong enough, and it started to flop, and bend. So, I added the extra circle of (thin) cardboard to the back. 

I just used the backing from an old pad of drawing paper and glued it to the reverse side of the wheel. 

Make it spin!

Lastly I pushed a small brad through the center of the wheel and through the back of a brown piece of card-stock paper.

I simply stapled it to the wall in our homeschool area. We enjoy turning the wheel slightly every couple of weeks as the months go on. It serves as a great visual reference for learning about the months and seasons of the year!

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Crafting!

wheel calendar waldorf

If you are interested in Waldorf, nature crafts and/or related topics, you may enjoy these posts:

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  1. Lovely! Thanks for the idea. :)

  2. Oh what a lovely way to mark off the seasons and your trees are beautiful!!

  3. What a pretty calendar, such a nice idea!

  4. Lovely ! But I can't help but notice that the r is missing in the February month :))

    1. Lol! Thanks for noticing that! I had no idea...haha. I'll have to think of some creative way to sneak it in there.

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