Papercrafting the Holidays: Advent Calendar and Ornaments
Papercrafting for Christmas – an Advent calendar that can be reused for many years to come!
Hello creative friends,
Many years ago, when all my children where much younger, they received an Advent calendar that they could reuse every year.
It was a box with 25 doors and behind each door was a mini book that the children could read and then hang on their own special little Christmas tree.
Every day my children were so excited to open a new door and read a another little book – they were also excited to watch their tree grow with ornaments!
At the end of the holiday season, we packed it all away until the next year.
We still have this Advent calendar and even though my children are getting older, they still love pulling this box out and and putting an ornament on the their little tree each day.
I think it keeps them connected with their childhood and the fun memories of Christmas.
I have used my children’s Advent calendar as my inspiration for the Advent calendar I created and I’d like to share it with you.
Here is a picture of the finished piece I created.
(A supply list has been included at the bottom of this post)
I started this project with an old frame I found at my local thrift shop – it had no backing and showed it’s age. 🙁
I just so happened to have a can of beautiful, deep red spray paint just sitting on the shelf in my garage and that’s the color I painted the frame.
Because the frame didn’t have a backing on it, I grabbed a used cardboard box, traced the size that I needed for this frame and cut it out.
If your frame has a backing you can skip this step.
Because I had told Steph that I wanted to use the AMAZING A Christmas Carol collection from Graphic 45 to create my Advent calendar, Steph reached out to her contact there and they were kind enough to send me some of the A Christmas Carol collection (as well as some other goodies!) – I used a sheet from the 12″ x 12″ pad for the back of my frame.
I received both the 6″ x 6″ pad and the 12″ x 12″ pad, but if you are only able to purchase one paper pad, I would suggest getting the 12″ x 12″ pad.
They both have exactly the same double-sided patterned paper (three sheets of each, total of 24 pages).
Graphic 45 paper is a thick paper and holds up well to many mixed-media mediums and, of course, the art is just stunning and unique!
Something that I absolutely love is that Graphic 45 included templates for tags, journal cards, pillow boxes, gift tag pockets, bookmarks, and mini file folders on the front and back covers of the paper pad!
This is a super bonus!!!!
Because my frame measures 11″ x 14″, one 12″ x 12″ page from the paper pad wouldn’t have covered the entire background, so I chose two coordinating pages from the paper pad that I liked (the great thing about the collections is that all the papers are made to work well together!).
One full sheet I glued down in the center of the cardboard backing.
I then cut two 2″ wide strips from the second page and placed them on the ends, where the first paper didn’t cover, and glued them down.
I then used the Vintage Photo Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad to ink the edges of all of the papers before gluing them down to the cardboard backing.
Once the paper was adhered to the cardboard backing, I ran a bead of glue along the edge of the back of the frame and centered the covered backing onto the frame and set the frame aside to dry, completely.
Quick Tip: Use a PVA or other liquid glue for this, NOT hot glue. A liquid, “wet glue” will give you time to adjust the backing if you don’t get it perfectly centered on the frame when you first lay it down.
While the glue on the frame was drying, I made the pouches.
For this step you can use any paper you wish.
I used kraft paper, but you can make these pouches using paper from the A Christmas Carol paper pad or any other coordinating decorative paper you have on hand.
Because of the size of my frame, I needed my pouches to be a bit smaller, but if you use a larger frame, you may want to make the pouches larger.
For my pouches I cut out (24) 5″ x 3″ rectangles from the paper I chose (see image below).
On one of the short ends of the cut paper, I folded the paper in about 1/2″ and then ran some glue (glue stick works best for this) on this tab and folded the other short end over so that the two ends met up on the fold line. This created a “tube” shape.
I then folded up about 1/2″ on one of the open ends of the “tube,” placed some glue on this tab and glued it down.
There was a little flap that was still open – I placed some glue on this flap and pressed it down.
That’s it!!! Pouches were finished!
In this picture (below) you can see I have made all 24 pouches.
A few extra things that were done to them:
- I used scalloped-edge scissors/pinking sheers along the top of the pouches (you can use paper edgers, a border punch or pinking sheers to decorate the tops of the pouches)
- I ran the pouches through my sewing machine and sewed the bottom of the pouches closed
These steps are not necessary, but it was the look I wanted my pouches to have.
If you want stitching, but don’t have a sewing machine, you can also hand-stitch these.
The next step for the pouches is to HAVE FUN!!!!
I used the Fired Brick Tim Holtz Distress Ink to ink the edges of my pouches.
Next I stamped the pouches with The Twelve Days of Christmas Collection stamps from Graphic 45 | Hampton Art, which Graphic 45 was kind enough to include with the A Christmas Carol goodies.
Then, I went through my washi tape stash and had fun covering the pouches with washi tape.
As a finishing touch, I also traced the washi tape with my white Uni-Ball Signo pen.
Please see the image below to see how each pouch turned out.
Quick Tip: If you are looking for a good white pen for your mixed-media projects, the Uni-Ball Signo (UM-153) pen is the best I have used and believe me, I have tried MANY white pens. The Uni-Ball Signo pen has a continuous-flowing ink that doesn’t skip and it’s a bright, white ink.
Now it’s time to number the pouches.
Tools & supplies I used to make my number tags (pictured below):
- Graphic 45 A Christmas Carol paper
- Square punch
- Fired Brick, Peeled Paint & Peacock Feathers Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads
- Number stickers (from my stash)
- OHTO Fude Ball 1.5 Pen
- Scalloped Fiskars Paper Edgers (we know you have some of these old-school tools lying around!) or pinking sheers
Below is a close-up view of the finished pouches.
After I glued the number tags onto the pouches, I further embellished them with:
- Ranger Stickles
- Graphic 45 – A Christmas Carol chipboard pieces
I then adhered the completed pouches to the background of the frame with hook-and-loop (Velcro) tape.
Since I couldn’t fit all 24 pouches in the frame, I placed the last four pouches in the corners of the frame.
I decorated mini clothespins with glitter and glued them on the corners of the frame, and then clipped the four pouches in place.
I also adhered the “Merry Christmas” chipboard piece from the Graphic 45 A Christmas Carol chipboard collection to the top center of the frame.
Sometimes you’ll find Advent calendars that stop on Day 24 and if like your Advent calendar to stop on Day 24, then this project is finished.
But, if you like your Advent calendar to have a Day 25, then I have a couple of ideas for you…
You can make one extra pouch and add it to the bottom center of the frame
You can make a box that hangs from the frame.
I chose to go with adding a box to the frame because my plan is to include a new ornament in it every year, an ornament that can be added to our large Christmas tree.
The box I made using the Graphic 45 A Christmas Carol paper pad and my We R Memory Keepers (WRMK) Gift Box Punch Board is pictured below
Note: If you do not have access to the WRMK Gift Box Punch Board, you can easily find box templates on the internet or cover a box you have lying around.
Would you like to know what I’m going to place in some of the pouches?
Graphic 45 has included chipboard pieces in the A Christmas Carol collection and the art is just as stunning on the chipboard pieces as it is on the paper!
When I saw that these pieces already have holes in the tops, I instantly knew I wanted these to be ornaments.
To decorate them (because you know we have to do that, right?!), I grabbed my Stickles, a gold pen and liquid glitter and enhanced the art on the chipboard.
These precious ornaments are ready for the pouches!
And just like that box of goodies my kids had when they were younger, these ornaments (along with a few extras I added to this project) will be enjoyed for years to come.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make this Advent calendar
and that I’ve inspired you to make one for your family.
Please leave us a comment below and tell us what you think about this project –
we’d love to hear your thoughts!
And if you have any questions about the process above, please ask –
I’m happy to help!
And finally, if you decide to make a Advent calendar,
please share a link to your finished project –
we’d love to see it!
I’d love it if you’d come by my blog, BeEclecticArtStudio, to say hi.
Supplies and tools used in this project:
- Graphic 45 A Christmas Carol paper pads
- Graphic 45 A Christmas Carol chipboard collection
- Graphic 45 | Hampton Art The Twelve Days of Christmas stamps
- We R Memory Keepers (WRMK) Gift Box Punch Board
- 11″ x 14″ frame (or any size frame you wish to use)
- Kraft paper or other frame-backing paper
- Ranger | Tim Holtz Distress Inks (Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, Peacock Feathers, Vintage Photo)
- Number stickers
- Aleene’s Tacky Glue or PVA glue
- Glue sticks (this is linked to the one by Ranger which Steph really likes)
- Washi tape
- White Uni-Ball Signo Pen
- OHTO Fude Ball Pen
- A gold pen
- Embellishments (flowers, buttons, brads, rhinestones)
- Small clothespins
- String for the ornaments (from my stash)
- Ranger Stickles or liquid glitter
- A ruler (this is linked to the TH Ruler Steph loves!)
- A craft knife (this is linked to the TH Retractable Craft Knife which Steph also loves!)
- A square punch
- A sewing machine, or needle and thread (optional, for adding stitching to the pouches)
- Hook & loop tape (Velcro)
- Fiskar’s Paper Edgers or Pinking Sheers