Holiday Papercrafting: Advent Calendars
I hope this post finds you enjoying the weekend with family and friends and snuggling up (in stretchy pants?!).
Anyone feel like they ate too much on Thanksgiving?
We made a decision, as a family, to go out this year.
It was so relaxing and we all had lots of bonding time sans prep and clean-up.
The only downside for us?
No left-overs. 🙁
Think of us when you’re enjoying your turkey-on-a-dinner-roll snack later today.
But, don’t feel bad for us ’cause several family members prepared lots of yummy, ‘low-cal‘ (NOT!) treats for the weekend get-together.
Today’s share is a holiday papercrafting quickie, although the process for the one I made (my first!) was anything but quick.
Hopefully the tips I’ll share at the end of the post will save you some time and lead to fun papercrafting.
Holiday Papercrafting: Advent Calendars
I chose to use a pre-made box with drawers that I picked up at Hobby Lobby while looking for Christmas tree lights…three years ago!
Ha! Yup, I’ve been holding onto this box (and another two just like it!) for three years!
Ah well, at least I finally made one this year.
Painting the Box
Because the box is made of cardboard and it’s definitely got a ‘handmade’ look and feel to it, I decided to paint the insides of the shell.
O.K., here’s tip number one: primering the cardboard and/or spray-painting it might be quicker!
It took me two-and-a-half-hours, and a full bottle of Tim Holtz Distress Paint in Antique Linen, to cover just the inside of the shell.
I poured the paint out onto a plastic palette and used a disposable foam brush to apply the paint.
The foam brush did soak up a bit more paint than a normal brush might, but I was able to squeeze paint from it quite easily.
Note: the paint may look a bit odd where the box adhesive isn’t totally smooth (see image above).
It didn’t bother me because I wanted the handmade look (and I knew the drawers would be inside the slots covering the painted insides, until pulled out once each), but if this will bother you, you might want to cover the back of each opening with pattered paper that coordinates with your other project papers.
Covering the Outside of the Shell
My outer shell/box measured just under 11″x11″ so I used a 12″x12″ sheet of patterned paper, cut down to just under 11″x11″ to cover the back.
I applied adhesive around all the edges of the paper back, and added strips horizontally and vertically every inch or so.
I then centered the shell on the paper and pressed firmly around all sides.
The sides are 2 1/4″ wide and were just less than 11″ in length so I cut four strips, each 2 1/4″x12,” of the same scrapbook paper.
I applied double-sided adhesive to the back of each of the four paper strips, centering them lengthwise (one at a time) on the box and aligning the long edges with the box edges.
I then folded the extra 1/2″ of the short end of each strip over the box edge, again, one at a time.
Tip number two: if your paper has a print that you want to match along the edges, be sure to align the print as you’re placing each strip (see the image above to see how I aligned the paper pattern.
Covering the Box Edges
Although I was able to match the paper edges quite easily, I wanted a nicely finished edge and wanted to ensure that the edges didn’t peel up over time.
Washi tape to the rescue!
I rolled out strips of tape just longer than each side of the box, again one at a time, and applied them so they came right up to the edge of the long edges of each box side and overlapped the corners.
Each tape strip was then placed overlapping the previously-placed tape strips, and cut cleanly to create a nicely finished edge.
Tip number three: make sure the tape you’re using is not too sheer if you don’t want to see the patterned paper through it.
Decorating the Box Drawers
Tip number four: don’t assume the little drawers are all the same size (they aren’t!), or that each fits in any slot (they don’t!).
I started by lying each box face down on the paper I wanted to use and tracing around them.
Since each box is shaped a little bit differently, it’s best to do them individually so the “covers” fit well.
After cutting each drawer facing, I used a circle punch (slid only partially onto the drawer facing so it would cut out only a piece of the circle) to clip out the notch where you place your finger to slide out the drawers.
I then I placed each drawer facing in its respective drawer so the facings would stay matched to their drawers.
Then, once all the drawer fronts were cut and matched, I set about decorating them with the date numbers and some fun Christmas embellishments.
Important: BEFORE you attach the numbers to the drawer fronts, make sure the drawer that’s next in line fits into the next drawer slot.
For instance, if you’re working on drawer number 2, make sure it fits into slot number two BEFORE adding the number two (2) to the front of it.
If it doesn’t fit, select another drawer to test and once you know it fits, go ahead and add the number to the front of it.
Alternatively, you could write the numbers on the back or bottom of each drawer as you pull them out of the shell for the first time so you know what order they were intended to be in in the shell.
Continue assembling each drawer and adding them to the shell, one by one.
That’s all there is to it!
And here’s the finished Advent Calendar!
Notice anything odd?
Yup, I put the “nine” (9) on upside down!
No worries though, a quick (and careful) peeling up of the number, a 180-degree rotation and a new strip of adhesive, and it was perfect!
I hope you enjoyed this quick how-to and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.
Happy Holiday Papercrafting!
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