Showing Off

I saw a post on the Mums on The Run Facebook page that got me thinking. It was a link to a website selling race medal displays. Looking through the website, there were some great displays, with motivational messages, or decoration.

I have a few medals, which were lying around, doing nothing. It seemed a shame, especially the London Marathon medals, which should be proudly displayed.

One thing stopped me from making a purchase; the price and shipping costs.

A search on the Internet showed that the prices were about right for what effectively is a bit of decorated wood, or MDF, with some hooks screwed into it. Surely I could make something, for a fraction of the cost?

I knew that you could get MDF off cuts from a certain DIY chain, so off I toodled, full of hope, and excitement. I’d decided that I would make a display that showed off the race numbers that I’d kept, as well. So you can imagine how frustrated I was to be told that B&Q no longer sell off cuts; “we’re not allowed” I was told.

I’d already bought the hooks; 10 for £1 from The Range. I had the paint ready and waiting at home, from previous DIY projects, but nothing to use them on.

I turned to the Fountain of Knowledge that is known as Twitter. I asked if anybody knew of anywhere that could help. A friend, Macca, not only donated some MDF that was the perfect size, but he’d also finished it off so all I had to do was measure up, paint, and screw in the hooks! I cannot thank him enough for his help.

Now, this may seem obvious to some, but if you’re planning on making your own display, I would say this. To screw in your hooks, it helps to make ‘pilot holes’ with a fine drill bit. If you measure up BEFORE painting, you can draw onto the wood, or MDF, mark up where you want the hooks to go, and then leave no evidence. It also means that you don’t mess up your paintwork by drilling it, and covering with dust.

To hang the display, as I wanted a flush finish to the wall, I drilled holes into the back, using a much thinker drill bit, which would then fit over screws attached to the wall. A bit like a floating shelf. I’m gutted to have to say that The Bloke came and took over. How am I supposed to know I’m supposed to put my weight into drilling? It’s meant to be a power tool! I thought it did all the hard work for me! He also told me I was using a bit for drilling metal, and produced a virtually identical bit, and said that was for drilling wood. He also said that I was supposed to have drilled pilot holes first. Men.

Once I’d drilled in all my pilot holes into my board, I dusted it off, and painted it with a matt emulsion wood paint. I used a cocktail stick to clear the pilot holes of paint, then left to dry.

Once dry, I could then make my mark on it. Using a stencil, and a permanent marker, I went with two phrases. “Race bling” is obvious. But I also chose “completer finisher”. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I’m great at starting things. I’m full of great ideas, and ambitions. The problem is, something new comes along to distract me. I’m not totally unfocused, and when I put my mind to it, I have the discipline to see things to a finish. Running is one of those things. As this was to be placed in my office, I thought it would be great to have something to remind me I can achieve my goals.

I then screwed in the hooks, which again required assistance by the time number 7 of the 10. My delicate little hands were getting a bit sore. Hey, I push pens for a living! I’m allowed to be a wimp!

To say I’m chuffed with the finished article would be an understatement. I think it looks great. I also feel as if my display is more personal, rather than one of many sitting on a wall somewhere in the world. It took just a few hours to make, and most of that the time waiting for the paint to dry. As an exercise, I would certainly recommend it.

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