Becoming a Circle Maker

I just finished a book that joins the canon of books that have profoundly influenced my life and specifically my relationship with Christ. The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson, joins such greats at The Purpose Driven Life and A Thousand Gifts.

It has revolutionized the way I think about prayer and the importance and absolute necessity it has in every person's life.

When you come to see that each prayer you pray is a seed that will one day grow and come to fruition -- maybe not today, or tomorrow, or in your lifetime, but one day -- it will change not only the quantity of your prayers, but the quality.

Batterson challenges us to be specific in our circle those things in which we long to have God do a miracle work.  I could say more -- a lot more -- but suffice it to say, it is a must-read for every praying person and for those who would wish to be.

I highly recommend it for your book club, small group, or your own personal reading. There is a great website of sources and even a video companion.

And now that I have finished reading the book, I am inspired to "Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long," as Batterson encourages.

However, I am a visual person and...well, let's be honest...a forgetful person. Knowing this, I went looking for an "easy kit" for circle making.

And couldn't find one. I wanted to be able to specify my requests, but be able to change them out from time to time. I wanted to be able to hang something up in a place I pass by often. But I couldn't even find a template for paper circles.

So, I decided to create my own.

Here's how I did it (a list of supplies is at the end of this post). And just so you know, I do not consider myself to be extraordinarily crafty. This is probably a mere 3 on the Craft-ability Scale. So don't let all the photos and instructions intimidate you. Basically, if I can do this, pretty much anyone can!

First of all, I needed a sign or board of some sorts to hang the circles from. I found the perfect thing at a fun and funky boutique shoppe called "Vintage on Fourth" in downtown Clovis (and yes, those are my blue-painted toes.)

I love the "distressed wood" they use for their signs. It's very rustic, and that speaks to me since I view myself as raw and unfinished rather than sleek and polished. (They also already were ready to hang, but if you are making yours, you'll need some metal hanging line and either wood tacks or short nails to create your own hanger.)

After I found those signs, the rest fell into place. I grabbed a red one for my friend -- who has been reading the book along with me -- and then I grabbed a white one for myself.

I did, however, clean the chalkboard portion and re-paint it with my chalkboard paint so that it would be "fresher" looking.

If you don't live in Clovis, then you might have to improvise and either try to create your own (a rustic 2 x 4 might do the trick) with what you have. You don't have to use what I did. You could even use a bulletin board and modify it.

I stopped at the hardware store and bought 7/8" brass cup hooks, which I screwed into the bottom of the sign boards, using a ruler to get them the same distance apart from each other and from the bottom of the sign.

My biggest problem was figuring out how to get holes into the metal canning lid inserts. (Note that you can get the lid inserts in either brass or silver finish. This would also change what finish of cup hooks you would buy as well.)

I've heard that some hardware stores would probably be willing to punch holes in a small amount of items. Someone else suggested a heavy duty drill bit. Another person was sure a roofing nail and a heavy hammer could do the job. If you cannot get your hands on what I used, then ask the handy person in your life what he/she would recommend.

A friend lent me her "hobby anvil" which was nice because not only was it nice and heavy, it has a square opening for pounding holes into objects. Along with the hammer and the metal "stick" you see, I was able to tap holes into the top of each lid above the "a" in "Ball."

 As demonstrated here....

The number of circles you can hang will depend on the size of the board. The red board is about 16 inches and the white one underneath it is about 21.5. The red board fit 4 circles and the white one fit five.

There are two ways that you can make the "circles." You either make chalkboard circles or wipe-clean (dry erase) circles. Or in my case, I have both options as pictured below.

Both utilize the "wide-mouth" canning jar inserts. Ball makes a nice one that you can buy new in packs of 12. Or you can pull together used ones from yard sales, friends and family and thrift stores. Either will work.

If you choose the wipe-clean method, you will need to print out this circle template I modified from an image I found on the internet. Simply save to a USB drive (or your computer) and either print at home or Office Max, etc.

Grab scissors, a ruler, clear contact paper.

Use a regular sized canning jar lid to trace a circle around the back of each square. If you don't have one, anything that measures 2 11/16 across will do...a cup, lid, etc.

Flip over and then cut out circle. The template above has been adjusted so that you can get more of the "rough draw" of the circle that you see below. The ones I printed were bigger and thus I didn't get as much of those "sketchy" lines that I wanted that mirror the image on the book cover.

After you are finished, cut out a strip of clear contact paper that is 1/2 inch bigger than the width of the circle, and a little over double the height of the circle.

Peel back the contact paper and lay it sticky side up. Place the circle face down on the top part of the paper. Carefully fold the bottom portion of the contact paper up and smooth out any air bubbles.

Cut away the excess contact paper to the edge of circle. Use a single hole punch to make a hole in the top of the circle. I hold the circle onto the metal lid and then flip over and mark with a pencil where I need to punch to link up with the hole in the lid.

Glue your circle onto the metal circle making sure to line up both holes. (I used super glue.) Voila!

 You have a wipe-clean surface you can use with any dry erase marker! If it's been on there awhile, you might need to use either window cleaner/paper towel to get it off or a magic eraser if it's reaaaalllly been on there for awhile.

The finished product for the wipe-clean circles looks like this.

The other method is the chalkboard paint method. You'll need a craft paint brush and chalkboard craft paint. I found both at Michaels. (I have also heard that chalkboard spray paint also works well, but I haven't personally used it.)

Before you put on that first coat of paint (and it will take 4-5), you will want to scratch up your lid to get the paint to adhere better. I have a steel wool brush that I use, but regular steel wool should do the job.

Lightly paint on your first coat and let dry completely. If you haven't scored the surface well enough, or you paint too soon, it will end up peeling off the first coat of paint and making a mess. Repeat x 4.

As you can see below, I left mine really rough and "sloppy" around the edges since I was (again) mimicking the cover art on the book.

I wanted precision writing for my chalkboard circles, so I used my 40% off coupon at Michaels and bought some Pastel Chalk Pencils.

 But you can certainly use regular chalk if you don't want to add that expense.

Here is the finished product with the chalk circles.

There are more ways that something like this could be made. I chose to make mine this way because of the signs I found and the items I had on hand (believe it or not, I had two unopened boxes of canning jar lid inserts in my garage.)

The only limit is your imagination.

Enjoy and feel free to pass it on! Feel free to ask questions. And if you can, post a comment with how you changed it or how your Circle Board has helped you to dream big, pray hard and think long!


List of Items Needed:

  • Sign board (will vary according to your preference)
  • Hobby anvil, hammer, etc. or method of putting holes into lids
  • 4-5 "wide-mouth" canning lid inserts
  • 1 regular canning lid insert or circular template that is 2 11/16 across
  • 4-5 7/8" cup hooks
  • Single hole punch
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Option 1:

  • circle template print out
  • glue (super glue or gorilla glue)
  • clear contact paper
  • scissors
  • dry erase pens
Option 2:
  • chalkboard paint
  • craft paint brush
  • metal brush or steel wool
  • chalk or pastel chalk pencils

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