Good Morning Everybody!!! :) Today we are all blessed to have one of the nicest, sweetest people on the planet guest blogging here! :) Her name is Bethany and she's my little sister ;) She made us all these GORGEOUS early Christmas presents and has kindly agreed to share... Thanks Bethany!!! :) xo
In our family, we always make our own Christmas presents. We’ve had some truly wonderful presents from each other over the years and most people wouldn’t believe what cool stuff you can really make yourself! Having said that, the whole ‘making things’ thing is not something I’ve always been too crash hot at. And I have the hardest time coming up with present ideas. I used to always get my ideas off Mum, followed by a lot of help to actually make the idea, but since being married I kind of feel obligated to start thinking for myself …*sigh*
Anyway, this year I was walking through the shops and racking my brains about what on earth I could come up with. I was walking through the Christmas section in Myer (see how late I left my Christmas thinking? The shops were already filled with tinsel…) when I saw a really cute wooden advent calendar. It looked like a heap of wooden cubes with tiny doors, all piled on top of each other, painted and with a Christmas bear on top. I don’t think I’m making it sound that great, but I thought it was, and would make a good present if I could make one myself! So I spent the next week running through what I would need and how I might feasibly be able to do it. In the end I just had to admit that in order to make at least 5 of them I would need some serious skills and a truckload of money….neither of which I had.
Instead I decided to google ‘DIY advent calendars’ and the first site I looked at was this blog. I really loved it. It had pictures of several different kinds of advent calendars all made out of matchboxes. I didn’t even notice that they were matchboxes until I looked really closely. They looked like something even I would be able to do without help!
I chose the design I liked best (the blue cubed one – it’s a lot prettier than mine!) and then went about figuring out how to make it.
Though you could probably also just use the picture as a guide if you ever decide to make something like this, I’ll give you a little run down of what I did.
Materials I used:
Christmas scrapbooking paper
Method I used:
11. I bought some matches. The Coles brand matches come in a pack of 10 for $1 so it’s pretty cheap. Because I needed 24 matchboxes for each calendar, that was only about $2.50 per present.
2. I emptied out all of the matches from the boxes. ….there were a lot of matches…
3. Using my glue gun I glued the match boxes together in sets of three. You can use other glue of course, I just found that the glue gun was super efficient and I didn’t have to worry about holding them in place or anything. …be careful not to burn yourself though because that kind of hurts... :S
4. Next came the paper. I went to several stores looking for Christmas-y paper that I liked. The only place I found anything was Spotlight (LOVE Spotlight). From there I bought a book of 6 ½” by 6 ½” paper, as well as several sheets of individual 12” by 12” papers. The paper is the thing that probably cost the most. I was trying to make several calendars and I wanted paper I liked, colours that would complement each other, and enough of the good patterns.
5. Using the matchboxes, I ruled up the size of the paper I would need and then cut it out using my ruler and knife pen. I found that the 6 ½” by 6 ½” paper was the perfect length to wrap around the matchboxes. Very convenient.
6. Next I used the glue gun to wrap the paper around the matchboxes.
7. This is the trickiest part – gluing the boxes together. It’s tricky because you don’t want to accidently glue any of the ‘drawers’ inside or to each other. I found this out the hard way and ended up having to re-do several boxes :P
Anyway, to glue the boxes to each other I removed all the ‘drawers’ and arranged the boxes in the way I wanted so that I knew which ones I was gluing to each other and so forth. For the cube shape, the boxes are arranged so that one end of a stack is stuck to the side of another. Because I didn’t want to have any glue getting in the way of the drawers opening and closing, I had to mainly glue along the top and bottom of the join, and then along the side that wouldn’t be facing outward. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it and figure out the right way to do it so it would be strong and neat. You can also just figure out the best way for you.
8. After that was done I needed to make the ‘lid’ and ‘base’ for the advent calendar. As my cube was 9cm across and I had decided I wanted an overhang of about 7mm, the width of my base would be 10.5 cm. I measured and cut a piece of paper that was 13.5cm square, which allowed me to fold over 1.5cm on each side in order to make a neat edge. I glued these edges down and then glued each onto the top and bottom of my advent calendar.
<9. Next I used a skewer from my kitchen drawer to put a hole in the middle of each of the drawers. I wrote the numbers 1-24 on the drawers and then I put a brad (those two-pronged split-pin things. I got a pack of 200 from Spotlight on sale for $5. They also sell smaller sized packs) through each one for a handle/knob.
Putting the drawers back in the box, I didn’t want any particular order to the numbers and that was good because not all of the drawers slide easily in every slot. Some really stick and are difficult in one slot, but slide easily in other. I just had to fiddle around and see which drawers would slide and fit okay in which slot.
10. Lastly, I filled the drawers with lollies and chocolates (it was hard finding chocolates that would fit. I could only find the Dove chocolates and some other lollies that would do the job). There was also a scripture of the Saviour’s birth in each drawer. The scriptures were my husband, Robbie’s, idea and personally I think it made the gift. It really brought the spirit of Christmas and is a little reminder each day about the true meaning :)
So, that’s that. Hope it wasn’t too long winded and confusing. As you can see from the pictures I did several different styled advent calendars depending on the what I thought the people I was making them for would like best and the papers I had. You can decorate them however you want. You could paint the drawers so they're all different colours or do all kinds of different things.
I had a really fun time doing these advent calendars! I’m really not one who has ever been very imaginative or particularly good at this sort of stuff but it was extremely satisfying to see a finished product that worked and didn’t look toooo bad. And everyone seemed to really like them so that was also a massive plus!
I’m sure any of you would be able to make a much better version if you tried!