Thursday, December 7, 2017

How to Make a Plaque to Display your Tournament Badges and Lanyards - Great for a Holiday Gift!

If you are like me, you save and collect all your lanyards and badges from every big tournament you go to. I've seen people that put all their badges on one nail, but once you get more than a few of them on there, they start to overlap so much that you can't really see most of them. In this video I'll show you how to make a plaque to display your lanyards in a way to make them all more visible. This could also be a really good and cheap gift that you could make for a smasher friend for the holidays!

All the materials to make these can be found at pretty much any craft store for cheap. I picked up all of my supplies at Michaels because they had a coupon online for 40% off on one item. This bring the cost of the board down from $9 to about $5.50.

You will want to find the wood crafts section of the store to find most of the supplies. Depending on how long your tag is and how many lanyards you have to hang up, you can buy either a small board or a big one. Since my tag is fairly long and I have a ton of lanyards, I'm going with this big board.

Next you want to find the letters, which should be right next to the boards in the store. They usually have both black and white letters available, and I've seen unpainted wood before as well. The colors I had in mind was taking inspiration from pink Diddy, so I want a pink board and white letters. I highly recommend laying out the letters on the board before you buy everything just to make sure it all fits.

Around the corner there should be every color paint you could imagine in small bottles. These are pretty cheap at just 70 cents per bottle, and each bottle will be more than enough to completely cover all the letters and the board. Just make sure that the paint is meant for wood. I'm picking up a bottle of pink and a bottle of white.

Lastly you'll just need to buy hooks for the lanyards and some way to hang the whole thing on a wall. I recommend these hooks that come in a pack of 20 for $3. I'm going to go with these sawtooth hangers to put it up on the wall, they cost just $1.37.

Before you paint the board, you will want to sand the edges down a bit to get rid of the splinters and smooth it out. Then you're ready to paint! I usually just put a dab of paint on the face of the board to use to put paint on the brush. I go around the edges first, then fill in the middle after that. Optionally, you can put a coat of paint on the backside as well, but it won't be necessary and you won't really be able to see the back anyways. And when painting the letters, make sure you get all along the edges and the insides of the open letters as well.

Usually you will have to do at least two coats of paint, especially if you are using lighter colors like I am. Some black was showing through the letters, and a knot in the wood was showing through on the plaque. After a second coat, everything was looking good.

Gluing the letters on doesn't need to be exact. I just eyeball the spacing and use a straight edge to make sure they all line up properly. I use this special glue that I had that works well on wood and dries mostly clear. To apply the glue to the back of the letters I use a Q-tip to spread the glue on there evenly. If you just put a line of glue straight on the back of the letter, when you put it on the board it might ooze out a little and be visible on the face of the plaque.

When the glue is dry, it's time for putting the hooks on. Using a tape measurer, I alternate putting dots above and below it at about a 2 inch interval. These dots are where I will drill the holes for the hooks. You can put as many or as few hooks as you feel you need on, but I do a lot because I have a lot of badges to display. By alternating going above and below the tape measurer, you can space your lanyards out vertically a bit so that they don't overlap as much. Using the smallest drill bit available, drill a little bit into each of your markings. You don't have to go all the way through the board, just drill enough so that you have a hole started for putting the hooks in. Some of the hooks may go in easier than others depending on if there was a knot in the wood or not, but if you just apply a bit of pressure while twisting they should all go in fairly easily.

And just like that you're done! Optionally at the end you can apply a coat of clear polyurethane to help prevent your paint from scratching, but it shouldn't be an issue if it's just hanging up high on a wall anyways. I already had a can of polyurethane, so I used it anyways. Once it dries all I have to do now is hang it up on a wall and add some lanyards!

Cost breakdown:
Plaque - $5.40
Letters - $0.99  * 9 = $8.91
Paint - $0.70 * 2 = $1.40
Hooks - $2.99
Sawtooth Hook - $1.37

Total = $20.07