Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How To: Make Your Own Race Medal Hanger

 So this weekend, a few of my friends (Emma, Ashley, and Jessie) got together to make our very own race medal hangers.  I have seen several giveaways for these, and have been quite unlucky.  I have also contemplated buying myself one, but then decided it would be really nice as a gift, so I put it on my Christmas/Birthday/Love Me-buy me presents lists.  Then Jessie saw this idea on Etsy and invited us to join in the craftin (and bonus brunch) -  it would be cheaper, more fun, and down right exciting to try to make our own race medal hangers, instead of buying them (cost analysis to come)!
So Sunday morning, I drove over to meet my friends and headed to Michael's, where we spent a good portion of our time discussing size of wood (TWSS), color to paint wood, stencils vs. wood letters, trying to find where the heck the hooks were and well being more indecisive.  We finally made it out of the store with the following "ingredients"

  • Piece of unfinished ply-wood (w/e shape/size you desire, as you will see, we bought three different kinds)
  • Acrylic paint
    • 1 color for lettering
    • 1 color for base of the wood
  • Stencils of choice (we all bought 1" stencils, but the block letters were the more popular of the bunch when we actually started painting)
  • Sponges and paintbrushes (we used the sponge kind of brush)
  • Small dish or plastic plate to hold paint
  • Twist-in Hooks (we bought two sizes, I was the only one to use the smaller size, so I can only fit one medals per hook vs. the larger hooks can fit 2 medals)
  • Bracket w/ screws (This is to put on the back of the wood in order to hang on wall.  I only used one bracket, but I know the girls were going to use 2)
  • Drill (this was used to drill the holes to twist the hooks into, but you might not even need to if the wood is soft enough)
  • Friends (this is optional - but, it is more fun with others to make fun of your paint job - sorry Ashley :) )
  • Mimosas (because booze and power tools always go well together)
Thanks for the pic Jessie!

 So once we finally got our hungry butts out of the craft store, we rushed back to Emma's to cook up a drool worthy brunch including bacon (which I cooked personally), challah french toast (seriously the best bread for french toast), fruit salad (also a specialty of mine), yummy ricotta cranberry cake and protein muffins, and of course - mimosas :)

After we were sufficiently full, and a little buzzed, we decided to get our craft on! Even though it was December 4th, it was warm enough that we took the show outside.  Emma had this nifty drop-cloth (a must for every arts and crafts project) to keep her deck safe, we, however, were on our own...let's just say my $5 Target leggings didn't win.

Paint wood with base color acrylic (use paint brush or foam brush), let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.  The wood should soak up the bulk of the paint, so do an extra coat (or two if you are Jessie) and let dry a little longer - you don't want the stencils to get all icky and smudge the letters.  While this is drying confirm what you want to write on the board, and mentally picture where you want it to appear.

Once you have let it sit for a little while, pour the paint for your lettering into a small dish, pick up your stencils and a sponge. Place first letter of stencil where you want the word/picture to start and dip sponge into paint.  Use the sponge to dab the paint over the stencil, and then move on to the next letter.  Try to keep your hand very steady and try to keep the edges of the stencil from hitting the board (or the letter your just sponged on) to avoid smudging.  You can also cut the stencils smaller, but I found it personally easier to keep them in the sheet form.

Let all that dry a little bit (another good 5 - 10 minutes) and then measure out where you want your hooks to go.  Mark hook holes with a pen or pencil and give the power tools to a professional (Emma) I have to point out, I did in fact drill my own holes on my board, but I found myself on a learning curve, I got the drill halfway into the first hole and had no idea how to pull the drill out!! Emma rescued me and all was well with the world.

Once you have drilled all of the holes (w/o puncturing your deck or surface), twist each of the hooks in until they are secured on the board (and hopefully facing up :) ).

Admire all of your hard work....let it dry some more......a couple of hours later, flip the board and nail on the brackets....once those are secure, you hang that guy up and adorn it with all of your race bling :) (you could do this last step, first, before painting anything - but I feared that the board would be uneven when I was painting the stencils and trust me, you need that thing to stay still!)

 Mine was a play on my marathon shirt, Dream-Motivate-Run (instead of "Do").

This was such a fun day and I would definitely try to tackle another craft soon :) Now for the cost analysis...most of the medal hangers we saw online ranged from $30 - $50, which we thought was steep....but since we weren't quite sure what exactly we would need - we ended up spending from $20 - $30 each on supplies - we did have extra supplies, so I think if we had a concise list, the total cost would be down around $15.
Have you ever tackled a DIY project you thought was impossible, but then when you started it turned out easier than you thought and semi-attractive?


  1. ahhhhh!!!! friend! these are amazing and such a great idea! not sure why it never occurred to me to just make my own!?! haha. but seriously love this idea! yours turned out AWESOME!

  2. You all did great! I honestly just bought a plain white board with hooks from the bathroom section of the store. Not motivational but clean and crisp and will work until I get more creative.

    Thanks for sharing the end products and yes, it would be a fun group project.

  3. That does look like a fun day with your friends and your medal hangers all look so great! What a good idea... so glad you shared in such detail, too... specially the mimosa lineup!


  4. these look great! such a good idea, thanks for sharing!

  5. Great job! These turned out perfect. That breakfast (and of course the mimosas) look quite tasty!

  6. this is totally awesome! i love it. i will talk to robin and figure out for this weekend :)

  7. ummmmmm I love this post! love the craft and I wish I had some runner friends to do this kinda thing with :P Great weekend! ...oh and I only have one medal :(

  8. Awesome!!! I have been eyeing race medal holders but they are so pricey. Plus by making your own, it's so much more personal!


Thank you for keeping up with Happy, Healthy & Strong - I love to hear all of your comments and feedback!