Monday, November 22, 2010

Advent Calendar Tutorial

Hello my dears!

Thank you all so much for your patience while things calmed down at home and I put together the tutorial for the advent calendar I made for the last WMS Release.

Before I get started, a few notes. To complete this project, you will need:

- A 12-inch by 12-inch shadowbox frame (I purchased mine at Michaels - it is about 1 inch deep and has an 11.5-inch opening, which is important later!)
- 25 sheets of cardstock trimmed to 8.25 inch square (ouch, I know)
- 'Twas the Night Before Christmas stamp set from Waltzingmouse Stamps

Ok - one final thing before I get into the pictures. This project is not difficult, but it is time consuming. I found the thing that worked best for me when doing it was to work production-line style. I cut all my cardstock, then scored it all, then stamped all the boxes, etc. It went much faster when I completed each step together - even though it was tempting to skip ahead! I know that we all don't have time to commit to a project like this all at once (and I won't get into how late I stayed up finishing this in time!!) but it is completely feasible to make a few boxes at a time and have everything in place by December 1! I know you girls can do it! :)

Grab a warm beverage, and let's jump right in!

Step 1. Score your cardstock at 1.5" and 3".

Step 2. Rotate your cardstock and score it again at 1.5" and 3".

Step 3. Repeat for each remaining side. (Your score lines will end up at 1.5", 3", 5.25"
and 6.75", but I found this method to be easier and faster).

Here is what the box pattern looks like.

I also created a PDF pattern for you that you can print directly onto cardstock if you want. Click here for the downloadable PDF. I'm sure I don't need to give you the for personal use only spiel :)

You will want to cut along the dotted lines and fold along the gray lines. The gray areas in the corners will be cut away.

Step 4. Here is what your box will look like once it has been scored and cut.

Step 5. Stamp frame and windows in the center of your box. This will end up being the front of your box, instead of what would normally be the box bottom.

Step 6. Color your frame and windows. I decided when I started that I was not going to color the fancy outer frame portion of the window. I wanted your eyes to be directed right to the window portion, and I knew it would save some time. I colored the window frame with Copic marker E43 and highlighted the window glass with W1, but the world is your oyster - make it your own!

Step 7. Finish decorating your windows. I *love* the little wreath included in this set. There are also lots of other elements that can be used to decorate the windows. I did something different in each of mine, but established a 'pattern' of sorts so that I at least had a starting point. I used the numbers from Victorian Alphabet to number my boxes for each day.

Step 8. Using a craft knife, cut along the top and bottom of your windows and then down the center in between.

Step 9. Score the outside edges of the windows. This creates a nice fold and allows the windows to open easily.

Step 10. Now you're ready to start assembling your boxes. I find it works best to fold all of your scored lines first. Then fold in the sides and adhere with a strong adhesive, as shown.

(I used Scor-Tape.)

Step 11. Repeat with the other side.

Step 12. Fold down the remaining flaps and adhere. I used a regular piece of tape on the bottom just to be sure.

Step 13. You have a finished box! One down - 24 more to go!! ;)

Step 14. Now you need to prepare your frame. You could, of course, do this step at any time in the process, depending on what you want to do. The frame that I bought was originally black, so I spray-painted mine. You could cover it with patterned paper, ribbon, glitter, or leave it plain - whatever you want!

Step 15. Once you've finished your frame, all you need to do to assemble the calendar is to slide the boxes in place. As I mentioned earlier, the actual frame opening is about 11.5 inches. The boxes were sized (2.25 inches) so that five of them would fit beside each other snugly and not require any adhesive to keep the boxes in place. I liked this plan a lot - if something happens to Day 11, for instance, you can just pop it out and replace it without having to tear the whole thing apart!

The finished product!! You can fill your little boxes with whatever you choose, I filled mine with little wooden ornaments, as seen here.

So that's it! A step-by-step tutorial for you. If you have any questions, or would like more information about a particular step, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or send an email! I will respond with an edit at the beginning of the post so that we can all benefit from your question - I know I'm not the best direction-giver!! Thank you for bearing with me.

I hope you will be willing to give this project a try. You girls made me laugh when I read your comments on the original post. Yes, the recipient does love this! I smile each time I see it, and can't wait for my hubby and I to start counting down the days to Christmas (I'm keepin' it for myself!!! ;)




  1. Anya,
    Your tutorial is clear and concise. Thank you for sharing this wonderful project. I received my "Twas the Night Before" stamp set this morning! (Thanks, Claire) So it must be written in the stars for me to make this great advent calender. Turkey? What turkey? lol.

  2. What a brilliant tutorial. I think the advent calender is just super and I think I must try to make one for my daughter. Thanks for such clear instructions.

  3. amazing project! thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  4. You are awesome! Thanks for sharing this. Now to convince myself to do it...

  5. Geez, Anya! This project is amazing! I started to do something similar to this a couple of months ago, but never got it finished. So clever. Thanks for doing the tutorial (which is a very good one by the way!)

  6. A great tutorial Anya - this is just so cool! I'm so happy you are keeping it for yourselves! Next year someone else can try it out LOL!! hope there's some yummy chocolate behind some of those windows!!

    have a wonderful Thanksgiving dear friend!

  7. Fantastic idea - thankyou for sharing the tutorial this is just fabulous, you must have loads of patience ! xxx

  8. omg this looks like so much work! I am in awe of you

  9. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    This is absolutely STUNNING!
    What a fabulous project and such and amazing tutorial!!!


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