Monday, November 30, 2009

Making your own Advent Calendar Tutorial using recycled materials

A few weeks back I came across this idea when reading Good Mourning Glory's blog. On her post she linked to a page of handmade calendars where I found this calendar . I used the template referred to on Julieree's blog which she got from Brownie Point's blog here. So how's that for linking back?

Of course, telling you how to make one of these in the first week of December defeats the purpose of the calendar but I think you can start a little late with the calendar and still have the fun of it. And next year, you can start at the beginning of the month.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been toying with the idea of getting an advent calendar that can be used and re-used for years to come. There are any number of beautiful premade ones on the market, but I like to go the extra mile... (read: I like to do all the extra work. Well actually, I look at an idea and the the amount of work involved doesn't quite click in the head until I'm knee deep in the middle of it). In this case it was so worth the effort and I'm very happy I took on the project.

I used some light weight cardboard in my project as a money saver (I had it on hand and it was going to be recycled anyway which makes it a greener option than using all new supplies.) This calendar will probably last a few years before it will need replacing; which is much better than the cardboard pop out ones that you can find at the corner store, also I'll get to put the kind of chocolate I like in the boxes and forgo the cheap waxy chocolate flavored stuff.

What you'll need:

heavy card stock (I used recycled materials, the backing for a newsprint pad, a frozen pizza box, a cardboard insert from a sticker sheet you'll need enough for 24 boxes)
decorative paper
acid free glue stick
x-acto knife
bone folder
holiday wire hangers (for Christmas decorations)
garland (for hanging you boxes on)
your preferred chocolate and small slips of paper for writing messages and activities

As I mentioned above, I found the template for the boxes I'm using on Brownie Points Blog, you can download the template there. There are three templates on an 8.5" x 11" sheet. Because I was using cardboard from food packaging to make my boxes, I cut out one of the templates onto the board and used that to outline all the boxes on the board before cutting them all out. Use a ruler and an x-acto blade when cutting the boxes out to get straight lines.

To save a step, you can use heavy 8.5" x 11" card stock sheets; printing out the templates directly onto the card. you can find this at art supply and craft stores, then you can decorate using rubber stamps, stickers, pom poms, glitter or whatever you want. You can also try scrap book supply stores for holiday themed papers and attach laminating sheets to the backside to give the boxes support.

I covered my cardboard with some decorative paper using an acid free glue stick. This allowed me to use up some of the decorative origami sheets I've been hoarding for the last 8 years. To apply the paper to the board, apply the glue to one side of the template and apply the decorative paper with the front of sheet facing up. Burnish the paper with the bone folder.

The next step is to mark the fold lines and make the boxes. Use the printout of the template to make the score marks on the card side of the box. Lay the template down on the cut out shape and, using your ruler again, score the fold lines with the bone folder. Use the pointy side of the folder to make the score, then use the flat side to fold along your score.

Attach the hanging wire to the inside of the box using a small strip of tape, the hanging hook will stick out of the top of the box when the box is folded. Once the hook is attached form the box by folding in the walls into shape.

Fill the box with your chocolate and a small slip of paper with a special activity or craft idea to do that day.

Close your box by folding the bottom flaps together and sealing them with a decorative sticker. Each box should have a number from 1 to 24 on the outside. you can hand write the numbers, use rubber stamps or stickers to date each box.

For hanging I picked up a snowflake garland from the Dollar Store and hang each box along the garland, which is hung on one of the shelves in the living room bookcase. I let the Peanut hang each box in random order.

Some of the activities we included in our boxes; are baking days, snowman crafts, going to the Santa Clause Parade, taking a ride on the Bright Lights train, Decorating a Ginger Bread House, Visiting the local heritage town to take a rid on the Carousal and some other fun holiday crafts.


cabin + cub said...

Very cute! I love advent calendars.... especially when they are filled with edible yummies! great idea to make your own!

Diane said...

awesome! i'm glad you found something you wanted to try! great tutorial!

Rue said...

I just love this! And it's so much more personal than the kind you buy in the store!

Hyla said...

Very neat idea!

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