Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Advent Calendar Tutorial

Hello! Today I have a fun step-by-step Sizzix tutorial to share, for an interactive Advent calendar. Last year, I made a chest of drawers, which I use as embellishment storage. When I made it, I thought it would be fun to make a larger version as an Advent calendar, but didn't get to it in time.
If you don't want to make a calendar, you can turn this project into a great storage unit, by just using different patterned papers.
Advent Calendar - Layers of ink
When we were small, my Mom made Advent calendars for me and my sister. Mine was a large Santa-train wall-hanging, hers was a freestanding fabric tree. Mom bought and wrapped small gifts and sweets and we got to open one each day, with the biggest one being on Christmas Eve, which is the main day when we celebrate Christmas. I have very fond memories of that calendar, and wanted my son to have something similar. This calendar has 24 drawers (10 x 11 in.), but you can easily make 25 drawers, by simply adding one more column, so that you have 5 x 5 drawers instead of 4 x 6.
This is all constructed using one die, Eileen Hull's Candy Drawer, which I love. Here are more projects I made with the Candy Drawer: Chest of Drawers, Shadow Box, Memory Game, and Gift Box.
I used cream mat board, you can use chipboard too, but I really like mat board. Die cut 24 (or 25) drawers, which consist of three parts. The Scoreboards dies both cuts and scores the material, which makes assembly easy. It is an XL die, so you need the extended cutting pads.
Apply strong adhesive where shown. I used Wonder Tape, but later realised I didn't have enough at home. Instead of using tape to attach the drawer to the base, I used glue and place a heavy book on top until the glue was dry. The two side pieces, on the drawer itself and on its box (the piece at the bottom) are easier to adhere with strong tape. Repeat until you have 24 (or 25) drawers and boxes.
Measure and cut a length of mat board, make it a bit longer than what you need, but try to get the width right. It should be 6.2 cm (2.5 in).
For this I used wet glue, to give myself a bit of time to rearrange pieces if necessary. When the Wonder Tape is stuck, there is nothing you can do.
Start by gluing the boxes at the base of the calendar. If you are making a calendar for 25 days, you need to glue five boxes. If you are making one for 24 days, glue 4 boxes. I glued two at a time and used clamps and a heavy book to weigh them down.
Continue, one row at a time, until you have completed the calendar. Remember to place adhesive in between the boxes too. Don't worry if it is a little bit uneven (check my lower right piece).
Measure carefully and cut side pieces for the remaining three sides. You could just use patterned paper, which I did on my chest of drawers, but since the Advent Calendar is so large, I wanted the extra stability. Glue one side at a time and use clamps to keep it together.
 Paint the edges with Frayed Burlap Distress Paint.
 When dry, sand the edges to give the calendar a worn look.
Paint the front edges too. If you want to you can paint the boxes on the inside too, but I didn't think it was necessary.
To prevent the drawers from falling through to the other side, I cut two pieces of mat board to make a wall for the back.

 Paint the front of each drawer. I used a paint brush for all the painting.

 Sand the edges.

The vintage Christmas card images in Tim Holtz Seasonal Collage Mini Paper Stash were perfect for this project. Cut out and ink the edges.

Glue them to the front of each box.

So far, the project had been planned for a while, but I wasn't sure what to use for numbers and for handles. On my Chest of Drawers, I used beads as handles. When I got a box of Tim Holtz Game Pieces, I knew I had the answer. A combined handle and number! I toned down the red with a little bit of Antique Linen paint.

The numbers were glued to the drawers with hot glue, placing them where they covered the least important part of the images.

Advent Calendar - Layers of ink
You can place the drawers in order, or scrambled, as I did. I like the process of having to search for the one you can open.

On the sides, I used the larger images in Tim Holtz Seasonal Paper Stash, picking my favourite ones.

The other side of the box. If your calendar isn't too heavy (once filled), you can hang it on the wall. Mine will stand on a shelf. 
On the top, there are another three images. Remember that you don't have to make this into an Advent Calendar, it would be a really great storage unit for small embellishments.
Someone is very keen to find surprises in the boxes. He loves his calendar. Thank you so much for looking!! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Happy Christmas Crafting!!


Surfaces: Sizzix Little Sizzles Cream Mat Board 6 x 13; Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Seasonal Collage Mini Paper Stash, Seasonal Paper Stash
Dies: Sizzix: Candy Drawer
Ink: Distress Ink: Gathered Twigs
Paint: Distress Paint: Frayed Burlap, Antique Linen
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Bingo Game Pieces
Tools: Sizzix Big Shot


  1. Fabulous advent, love the vintage images and wooden numbers. Lovely way to use the die. However your son steals the show lol, adorable. Tracy x

  2. You did an Awesome job of it!!
    I love all of the projects done with this die it seems....there is just something about this little box that I can't resist!! and this would be a fantastic embellishment storage!!
    TFS...So pretty!!

  3. OH MY GOSH Anna-Karin this Advent Calendar is simply fantastic! First of all, your tutorial is amazing- every step is so easy to understand that you want to go gather the materials and get to work right that minute! The details are perfect especially using the Bingo numbers as # and handle- love when stuff like that works out! The colors and great and wood stain background. But I will have to agree with Tracy that the best pic is with Anton! What a cutie pie!

  4. This is just gorgeous! I love every part of it. And your kiddo is so cute as well.

  5. Love this!! I wish my Mom had made me one of these. I agree with every one else ... Anton is adorable and really illustrates why we make our crafts. Thanks to you and Anton! Love the wooden numbers and the vintage images. Such a great treat for Christmas. A merry one to you as well Anna-Karin. -- Mary Elizabeth

  6. That's a wonderful advent calendar, I'm sure you're son will enjoy it. I always love the look of them & say I should make one......maybe I should make one ha ha ha.

  7. Such a beautiful and huge amount of work! It looks so warm and vintagie. Makes me think Christmas is around the corner. NancyD

  8. just fabulous!! can't say enough about it except that, that paper has never looked so good! Loved how you used the game piece numbers as the drawer pulls. FABULOUS.

  9. My goodness, Anna-Karin, this is amazing ... such traditional images on the DP and those wooden numbers are perfect with it! Great tutorial! Thanks so much for coming by my blog and leaving me some sweet words ... it's much appreciated! Anita :)

  10. Wonderful project and great tutorial. I love it.

  11. The advent calendar is beautiful, and your son is cuter than a bug's ear(as my grandma used to say about my brother lol).

  12. wow...you made this by yourself!! fantastic done! beautiful creation.

  13. This is the most AMAZING project. It is simply gorgeous and makes me want to go out and purchase an electronic cutting machine!

    Come and follow me!

  14. How cool is this!?!? What an amazing project. Love your creation, and those funky # drawer pulls.

  15. Every time I see someone create with the Candy Drawer I'm tempted, and this is no exception - what a gorgeous Advent creation! Fab papers, and I love how you've used the game pieces as drawer knobs - brilliant!
    Alison xx

  16. Wonderful! I love it and pinned. Thanks for the great tutorial. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/415386765611743538/


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Happy Crafting!