Friday, September 9, 2011

Advent Calendar Tutorial

I made this advent calendar last year but I have gotten some requests for instructions from friends and family so I thought I would share it with all. I made this calendar with my sister in laws last year and Cami had gotten the idea from a girl in our ward. It's fun because you can put candy, small gifts, or activities in the boxes. I scrambled up my boxes so you have to search for the right one but you could do them in the right order too. Since I made this last year I didn't take pictures while I was making it so hopefully the pictures I just took will help. It's not that hard to make but it does take a little bit of time so hopefully you can understand my crazy directions and tips ... If you have any questions feel free to ask.
I had Garrett make this frame for me with moulding and galvanized sheet metal because we were poor. But we split the cost of the moulding and sheet metal between 3 people because it made about 3 frames so if you are making just one it might not be worth it. So you can either be brave and try to make one or just find a frame that works and put some metal in it. We just got some light green spray paint and spray painted the moulding before we put it all together. Our frame ended up being about 20"x20" but the metal part on the inside that was showing was about 16"x16"(the actual metal piece was 18"x18" I think but we had to have overlap so we could attach it to the moulding). Your frame can be smaller or larger it just kinda depends on the size boxes you use.
These are the type of boxes that we used. They are pretty much just cardboard and you can find them at basically any craft store. I got a variety of shapes and sizes. If you do all small boxes your frame doesn't need to be as big but if you do all big boxes your frame will need to be bigger so just keep that in mind.
Since I made this last year here is a sampling of some of the scrapbook paper I still had left. You can use Christmas themed paper or just cool patterned paper. I stuck to mostly non Christmas themed paper but I chose patterns that were Christmas colors. Whatever you prefer will work. I think I had about 10-12 different kinds of paper and made about 2 boxes out of each paper (I believe I did one big box and one little box out of each of the papers and made sure they were different shapes). So now, you need to decide what boxes you want out of what paper. Then just trace the boxes onto the paper and cut it out.
Before you glue your paper to your box you will want to paint the boxes first. I used acrylic paint to paint the sides of the boxes because they are visible and it makes it look better. You can use different colors if you want. I used white on all of the bottoms of the boxes but on some of the tops I did colors to match the paper. For example:

Here is a box where I did the bottom and sides white and here is a box where I did the sides of the lid to match the paper. You can do them all white though ... it's easier that way. Also, you don't need to paint the top of the box obviously because you will glue the paper on top and it will cover it. However, if you aren't very good with scissors you might want to paint the top edge of the lid just in case your paper doesn't cover the entire top perfectly.
After the paint on the boxes (at least the lids) has dried, you can attach the paper to the lid. I'm pretty sure I just used mod podge and a sponge brush to do this. Then, you will need to put some numbers on your boxes. I have a die cutter so I just cut my numbers out using that but you could use stickers or try and use paint too. You want to make sure that somehow the numbers are stuck to the paper because you are going to smear on a top coat of this next stuff and you don't want the numbers to move while you are doing it. I did a gingerbread man for #25 because it kinda looks like a baby Jesus in a way ... right?
I did a top coat of this stuff all over the boxes (except for the very bottoms) using a sponge brush. This will give them a slightly shiny finish and seal on the numbers and paper.
Then I glued a magnet on the back of all of the boxes so that they will stick to the metal. Then arranged them how I wanted and voila!

This is a picture of the one my sister in law Cami made which turned out a little bit different than mine so you can see one alternative way of doing it. She used all big boxes and made her frame larger than mine too. She put hers in the right order by number. She also used more Christmasy paper which is fun too.

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