Monday, November 28, 2011

DIY Advent Calendar

Today I'm going to share with you my first Christmas project, our Paper box advent calendar.  We will be hanging this up today, so I'll will make sure I update the picture when we do.  I really loved making this Calendar and I know we are going to enjoy counting down the days together as a family until Christmas.  I also really loved that I already had everything I needed so I didn't spend a dime on this.  If you don't have all of the supplies then it really wouldn't cost that much to make one - I'll break it down as we go.  So here's the step by step instructions on how to make your own.  

First thing is to make your paper boxes.  This is definitely the most tedious step since you have to make 25 of these and really it's folding 50.  But, I did most of them at night after everything was settled and watching tv so it wasn't too bad.  I had all of the boxes finished after two nights.  I used cardstock for my boxes - plain white and cream for the bottom part of the box and I used patterned paper for the top part.  Like I mentioned above, I just used what I already had so my paper is not traditional Christmas paper or colors but I think that gives it character.  I set out to not spend a dime on this so I just went with it.  The only supplies you need to make the boxes is paper scissors.   

First step is to fold one corner down and over, creating a triangle shape.

Next, take your scissors and cut off the excess paper on the bottom after folding your triangle.

Open your triangle back up and fold in half the opposite way.

Open up the paper again and using the center crease as a guide fold up each point to the center.

Open again and now use the crease you just made as a guide and fold each point to this crease.

Open up one more time and fold up the points one last time to the final lower crease you just created.

You should now have an entire grid of folds across your paper.

Now, it's time for the scissors again.  I drew lines below on the places you need to cut:

Just simply cut the four sides to get your paper to look like this:

You are finally ready to start putting your box together.  Start with the two larger triangle sides, folding up and in.  It should look like this:

You can hold the sides together a little tighter so you can fold in the small sides.

Just like the last step, it's an up and in fold.

And you are done!  You have a cute little box.  At this point you may want to add a little glue to the box bottom to keep everything down.  I didn't worry about doing that for this because I am going to be pinning them to a board.  Ps - you can also make these for christmas presents if you had a little gift to give.

After I had all of my boxes made I set out to decorate and number them - so it could truly be a countdown calendar (this was my favorite part of the whole project).  I decided to get out my scrap book supplies and use some number stickers and decorative paper for these.  I didn't have enough of the same number stickers for each box so I just mixed it up and used different ones.  I love the different mix of designs.  Each one is unique.

After I had all of my boxes decorated I needed to get my board ready.  I actually started making a cork board months ago and never decided how I wanted to finish it so this was the perfect project to use it with.  How I made the board:  
I found an old picture frame and removed the glass and then attached cork board squares to the cardboard backing in the frame (you can find cork board at your local craft store for around $14).  I just used the adhesive that came with the cork to attach it. 

Then I used leftover fabric I had from this project and covered the cork board by using my staple gun.

As simple as that and the board was ready for me to start sticking on my boxes.  I decided on a Christmas tree pattern and just used a pushpin to put them in place after I had the design I wanted.

Now the board is all ready and the boxes are waiting to be filled.  We are filling each box with a verse (pertaining to the coming and birth of Jesus) and a piece of candy for each of us :).  We are looking forward to stopping every day to pray and thank God for the most wonderful gift ever given.  This is one tradition I'm sure we are going to keep.

This was really an easy and fun project to make and it's something that your kids could help you with.  Making something pretty and special out of things that are just hanging around your house is so rewarding to me.  I love creating a new use for something old.

Now, don't you want to go make one?  Please share if you do or any other creative Advent Calendar Ideas you have!  Happy Christmas Crafting!

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