4.11.2011

I think this is my Best Idea Ever

At least that is what I told Derek as I was flipping through a CB2 catalog.

lairddeskjoechairFC10

The oversized abacus.  The perfect addition to what to put above the crib which had been stressing me out for awhile as I was very uninspired in this area for some reason.  Of course we were not going to spend $150 for the CB2 version when of course we could make our own.  I mean how easy….see any resemblance to another DIY project?

IMG_0613

It was meant to be, we already basically had made one in the laundry room without the beads and some hinges.

Ready for the how-to?

1.  Find 100 beads for you abacus.  I ordered mine from this website, Woodworks Ltd. They had tons of options and the beads came super fast.  I ordered 1-1/2" Round Beads, 1/2" hole.  Of course you could do a different number other than 100 if you did not want to be mathematically correct.

abacus making

2. Prime ‘em.  We used spray primer and it was quick and easy.  After one side dries, flip them and prime the other.

abacus making

3. Paint them.  I used cheap acrylic paint because….well I was being cheap and did not want to buy 10 cans of spray paint.   I may have regretted that decision as I was hand-painting the second coat on every.single.bead.    And then flipping them over.  When the baby gets older I am going to make sure he knows that his mom loves him so much that those suckers are handpainted.

abacus making

4.  Gloss them.  The acrylic paint was in flat finish so we added a glossy spray coat.

abacus making

5.  Make the frame .  We made ours thicker than the CB2 version so that it could be screwed into the wall.  That way if Junior decides he is more athletically rather than mathematically inclined, he will not be able to pull it down on himself.

Materials: 4 – 8’ 1x2; 1 – 10’ 1x3; 10 dowel rods, your choice as to size; 1 1/4” nails; 1 1/4” screws if you want to be able to take it apart.

a. For this size, cut 2 22” 1x2 pieces.

b. Clamp the 1x2 pieces together.

c. Drill holes through the middle of both 1x2 pieces every 2 inches so the holes match up exactly.

d. Nail the 1x2’s with holes as verticals with 2 33” long 1x2 boards to make the inner frame.

e. Add a second “outer frame” of 1x2 around the outside of the inner frame.  This allows the dowel rods to fit snugly in their holes and does not require gluing of the dowels.  It is important that you do not nail both ends of the outer frame on at this time.  If you nail both sides you will not have a way to get the dowels into the frame.   The long sides of the outer frame are 34 1/2” and the vertical sides of the outer frame are 22”.

f. Use the 1x3 to make a backing that will be used to screw to the wall.  You will have a slight overhang on the inside of the abacus to screw through.  Nail this to the back of the outer frame 1x2.   Long 1x3’s measure 34 1/2” and the short sides are 18 1/2”.

6. Finish the frame.  I was originally thinking of staining it, but in the end we went white.  So we used spray primer and paint. 

abacus making

7.  Install the beads.  Since we were thinking ahead and left the left side off, we just slid those babies on making sure not to miscount.  Because that would have been embarrassing.

abacus making

8. Attach the final side piece.  We decided to use screws so that it can be removed if I want to change the color of the beads for some odd reason.  Or if Junior decides to use a dowel rod as a pull up bar and it snaps.  Screws will make it easier to slide out and replace.  We filled the screw hole with one of those white caps.

abacus making

9. Hang it.  Like I mentioned before, we screwed it in directly to the studs and then filled the screw holes with the white caps.

abacus making

10.  Enjoy your functional art.  And the thought that somehow it will make the baby a mathematical genius in their sleep. abacus making

abacus making

Best part?  It was less than half the price of the CB2 version and it was customized to our colors, size, and more sturdy for screwing in the wall.    And if a nursery is not in your DIY plans, you could stain all the beads or paint them all one color to match a more adult room.

It is exciting to actually have something hanging on the wall…now I just need to get going on the mobile and those drapes.

53 comments:

  1. I'm loving that way too much!! Wow... you did an amazing job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. COMPLETELY fabulous! Love this!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jenny...Love the idea! And, where did you get your crib? I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, you are brilliant! That is a great addition to a nursery.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is great! I love how it would add pops of color in a nursery or game room. If I was doing another nursery right now, this might have to be made. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG!!!!

    Jenny -- I'm in love with it! Its so freaking pretty. Now I really want one for my sons rooms, its just darling :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. New follower to your blog, and ohmygosh! I LOVE everything you've done to your home!! And now this? It's adorable! If I had even a shred of creativity inside my body I'd put it to good use, but for now I'll just have to read on to see what other fun things you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is AWESOME! I want one for myself. I always play with them when I see them at the doctor's office. (No I don't go to a pediatrician, there are multiple doctors there.)

    Cannot wait to see more of your nursery.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Super-awesome. I love the colors of it & that it's playful without screaming "BABY!". So fun!

    ReplyDelete
  10. That looks incredibly better than the CB2 version. Absolutely genius!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a fabulous idea. It looks wonderful.

    Suzy xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love this! The colors really pop on the wall - can't wait to see more!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jenny! That is ADORABLE!! I love your version much better than the CB2 one. Kudos to you for getting those hand painted, too! Yay!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love it!! I've always loved the CB2 version but so glad you showed a cheaper way!

    ReplyDelete
  15. One modification to the vertical 1x3 boards. They should be 18 1/2" and not 22". Sorry for the mistake contained the in instructions.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is a great idea - and it turned out so great! It makes me want to make my own.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have awarded you The Versatile Blogger Award, to receive your award stop by my blog site below and follow the directions.
    Lianne
    http://familylife-lianne.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-won-these-awards.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. Loving this! (And...is the baby officially a boy? I've been curious as you post your nursery pics. Congrats!)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi there! Visiting from Domestic Adventure. What a cute project! It came out so well. As a mom of a boy I can tell you that having wall decor that's save to play with is important. My kiddo is learning "no" now since he started trying to pull the very cute but apparently impractical framed prints off the wall above his changing table.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Visiting from OhDeeDoh... Great DIY project! I got the CB2 abacus to put above the crib in a nursery this summer (http://annecrafted.blogspot.com/2011/03/twins-nursery.html), but I think your version is even cooler!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am SCREAMING, I am so happy you posted this! I was at the store TODAY looking for beads to make this because I love the CB one but not the price. I was wondering how/where in the world I could find wood beads. Yours turned out much better than what I was going to do so I'm totally making it like yours. I think yours looks better than the CB one too, so great job!

    ReplyDelete
  22. OH I AM LOVING THIS!!!! So fabulous, just awesome. Nice work, Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
  23. what an awesome job - I love it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an adorable idea!! I love that it isn't something you would typically find in a nursery, but yet it totally works. Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Very cute; just one question...it looks as though it's too high for the baby to reach. (I'm assuming you'll be lowering the crib mattress when he can sit independently.) Is it intended just for looks, or did you mean for him to play with it too?

    ReplyDelete
  26. hahaha...I was just looking at the catalog last week thinking, ""no way I am paying that much for something I could totally make myself:...thanks for posting the instructions

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love your abacus and would love to make one when I can get hold of the materials.

    ReplyDelete
  28. So cute and very creative, but as a mom of three I suspect at some point your darling creation could become a distraction for a baby who is supposed to be taking a nap :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am super impressed and I will admit a tad bit annoyed as I DID shell out the $150 for the real deal from CB2!!!! It's hanging over the changing table and has recently become our 6 month old's favorite thing to play with after a diaper change. Bravo for taking the time to figure out how to DIY it!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is amazing. I absolutely love it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I thought the same thing when I saw the CB2 catalog. Love it, thanks for the tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just found you via the Handmade Home. And spent...let's just say awhile...browsing your blog! :) You are one talented lady! Keep the ideas coming. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Such a great DIY! I have actually bookmarked the CB2 abacus for a future (ie. when we have kiddos) DIY project. Yours is fabulous!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. That is absolutely amazing & gorgeous - I LOVE it. I just wish I could understand your instructions on how to attach it to the wall!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks again for sharing this! We can't wait to get ours on the wall.

    http://ohthehubanity.blogspot.com/2011/07/latest-projects.html

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hey - I am totally doing this, but I have a few questions. #1: When I went to order the 1-1/2" beads with 1/2" holes, they looked different on the Woodworks Ltd site than they did in your photo. The holes looked way bigger. Is that definitely the dimensions you used? Also, what were the dimensions of your dowel rods? Did you just ones that were slightly smaller than the holes in your beads? Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Gina gave me your link...cuz I've been so close to ordering that CB2 Abacus SO MANY TIMES and then trying to figure out a way I could just repaint the parts. Btw, it's on sale for $119 right now. I'm still debating because the frame-making part looks so hard for us since we are not crafty AT ALL. But gosh, this has really got me thinking. Nice work!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. What is your paint color and brand? Love the abacus, hoping my handy dad will make this for us. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  39. This is great and I was wanting to make one myself and found your blog. You are a DIY goddess!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Absolutely beautiful!! :) Would you mind telling how much the whole project cost?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Your version is WAY better.

    ReplyDelete
  42. brilliant. I love it. I recently saw one of these on a home decor show so I googled and found your blog! I love your blog! Thanks so much for sharing! - sharla at my little gems

    ReplyDelete
  43. New follower to your blog, and ohmygosh! I LOVE everything you've done to your home!! And now this? It's adorable! If I had even a shred of creativity inside my body I'd put it to good use, but for now I'll just have to read on to see what other fun things you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love your design sense and this abacus became a launching pad of ideas for my sons nursery. We finished our abacus last night and it really makes the room! If I knew how to post pics I would. Thanks for the inspiration and instructions!

    ReplyDelete
  45. OMG! Jenny, I can't even remember how I found your blog now -- I've been oogling for hours! (Maybe a Google search for "Ikea kid room hacks?" Anyway, I am only upset that I am only "NOW" finding your blog! I love your gorgeous DIY designs. You have an amazing ability to make everything look professionally custom-made! Also, I have been in love with the CB2 Abacus for a VERY long time, but couldn't figure out the best way to make one! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS !

    ReplyDelete
  46. BTW - I forgot to mention that I think your abacus looks nicer and more well-finished than the VERY expensive CB2 abacus! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I also fell in love with this DIY abacus - it's so cute. I however - chose not to buy 10 cans of spray paint and have been hand painting these wooden balls for days!!! I've got 40 left to go, what us moms due for our babies! Hubby has the frame built - so hopefully we finish by this weekend, I'm due in 12 days!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Little tip... If you don't want to hand paint all the balls, and don't want to spray them... Try putting a little paint in the bottom of a plastic container (ex. Old sour cream container) and roll them around to coat all the sides.

    ReplyDelete