Although “make a deployment wall” was number 86 on my Deployment Bucket List, it was the very first item that I completed! The girls and I were excited about making it and couldn’t wait to get started.
Before getting started, I googled ‘deployment wall’ images and looked on Pinterest for inspiration. And though I found all kinds of ideas, I couldn’t find a step-by-step tutorial. So, I thought I would share my method for creating a Deployment Wall here with you.
What is a Deployment Wall?
A deployment wall is an area of wall space in your home devoted to your service member’s deployment. Many people create a deployment wall to help children count down the days until their service member is home again. Most often, the walls include a calendar, photos of the service member, information about the area the loved one is deployed to, and patriotic decorations. Each deployment wall is unique and can be as big or small as you like.
How to Make a Deployment Wall
1. Find (or Make) Some Empty Wall Space
First, you’ll need to find a space for your deployment wall. Thankfully, when we moved into this house, I already knew that I wanted to make one and left some empty wall space specifically for this purpose.
Our deployment wall was in the kitchen, near the table. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I knew that this would be a good place for it. Then we would be able to see and interact with it daily.
2. Add a Countdown….or Three!
I knew that countdowns would be the biggest part of our deployment wall. I wanted something visible that would help the kids really grasp the concept of time. In my excitement to count down the days until our soldier was home, I ended up making three different countdowns: daily, weekly, and monthly. (Admittedly, this was a bit of overkill, but it helped us figure out what worked best.)
First, I made a daily countdown by printing off a calendar from www.timeanddate.com. When you click on the ‘yearly’ option, you are able to choose the month you want your calendar to start in. Thus, you aren’t limited to calendars that only begin on January 1. (This option is perfect for deployment countdowns, considering deployments begin at all times throughout the year.) We used a pen to put an ‘X’ over each day that passed.
Next, I made a monthly countdown, which we kept in a big felt envelope. I filled this envelope with a handmade card for every month that he was gone. Each card had a fun activity for us to do together written on it. Around the 10th of each month (the day my husband left), we would get a card out of the envelope and do the activity together. The girls loved it!
Then, we made a weekly countdown – which was our favorite! We made a paper chain with 1 link for each week that he was gone. To make the links, I cut 12×12 scrapbook paper into 2 inch strips and taped them together to make a chain.
When people came over, they would always comment on how short the chain was getting and how they couldn’t wait for him to be home again. Each week, I let the kids take turns breaking a chain and throwing it away. They loved it! If you choose to do only one countdown, I recommend this one.
3. Add a Map of Where Daddy Is
My husband was technically not ‘deployed’. He was on a hardship tour to Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. After finding a printable map of Honduras here, I decided to spruce it up a little by putting it on some printed scrapbook paper. I spelled out Honduras with stickers at the top of the map, placed a red heart over the air base, and colored it green. Finally, it was ready to hang on the wall.
4. Add Your Deployment Bucket List
The girls and I made a BIG list of things to do during this deployment. (You can see how I made that list here.) I printed our Deployment Bucket List and glued it to a piece of scrapbook paper. Each time we completed an item, we marked through it with a red pen. Hanging the bucket list on the wall motivated us to finish it. It also gave us a go-to list of things to do on those long boring days.
5. Add Pictures of Your Service Member
I used a cheap collage frame from Wal-Mart to display pictures of my husband. This was probably my favorite part of the whole wall. I loved seeing his smiling face every day, even if it was just in pictures.
6. Add Decor
For Christmas, my mom gave me a wall canvas about a hero’s family. Afterwards, I couldn’t wait to add it to the Deployment Wall. Since my husband’s tour had already been extended I decided to take down the daily calendar countdown. It was useless without the extra months anyway. I added the canvas to the Deployment Wall and I loved how it turned out!
There are so many ways to make your deployment wall unique to your family and situation. Here are some more ideas to personalize your deployment wall:
- world map
- American flag and flag of the deployment country
- a mailbox
- a clock set to your soldier’s time zone
- a brag board (a cork board to accumulate accomplishments to show daddy
- dog tags
- inspirational/motivational quotes or scripture
- incoming and outgoing mail folders
Making the deployment wall was one of my favorite bucket list items. It really helped put the length of this deployment in perspective for the girls. I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own deployment wall and that your soldier is home soon!