12.05.2008

My Christmas Advent Calendar!

*Edited to answer a few questions: The scrapbook paper for the tops of these was purchased from Hobby Lobby. Also, I used Mod Podge underneath the paper, and also on top, to seal it. The size of the frame itself is 18x22 inches, and the size of the metal backing is 16x19. However, I don't think the size of the frame matters as long as you have enough room for all the boxes. I actually brought the frame with me to Hobby Lobby to make sure all the boxes fit.

Wa-hoo! Today's project has been over a month in the making. Ever since Chris from Just a Girl posted photos of her Halloween advent calendar, I have been excited to copy her for Christmas. I made a little tutorial out of this because I made a few mistakes along the way, and maybe I can help you from having the same troubles!

Start with these paper mache boxes. I got mine at Hobby Lobby when paper stuff went 50% off. They were 50 cents each.

The first step was spray painting them all. This was my biggest mistake. I'll be honest: I have no patience. There were 24 of these boxes, and 24 lids, and that means 48 little pieces that had to be individually painted. If I were to do it again, I think I would just leave them brown and call it "rustic." Again, this is probably just my impatience talking.

Next I got a cheap frame (Big Lots, $4.98) and painted it red. I plotted out where I wanted each box to go, so that the different shapes were spread out and not all clumped together. I also glued little magnets to the back of each box.

Then I added scrapbook paper to each box top, and a little number for each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas!

My adorable husband had to intercede and help with the last part. He bought a piece of sheet metal to fit the frame, and spray painted it with black chalkboard paint. He popped it into the frame, added a grosgrain ribbon, and the advent calendar is finished!

I love it! I plan to put little treats in each box, one for each day. I figure this advent calendar will work well for multiple children, because I can just put a treat for each child in each box, and they don't have to take turns the way my sister and I used to do with our advent calendar! (Oh, the horror!) Or I could include a cute "family togetherness" project for each day, or a Scripture verse for us to read. It's nice to have enough space in the boxes for a variety of ideas!

And please don't tell, but this year's treat will be Nina's gummy vitamins. Hey, she's two. What she doesn't know won't hurt her!

Have a great weekend! We are off to get our tree tonight and will spend the weekend Christmas-ing the house!


104 comments:

Monica @ Writer Chic said...

I want to live inside your head, Carrie. Seriously. This is amazing. I keep telling myself that once I'm a SAHM (11 more days!), I'll have time for this kind of stuff that my hands itch to do! LVOE IT!

Amanda said...

aDORABLE, CLEVER, CRAFTY, CHIC, PRECIOUS, OHHH, i JUST LOVE IT!@ I THINK IT IS GREAT ADMIST ALL THE BABY CRAZINESS ABOUT TO UNFOLD YOU TAKE TIME TO DO THESE SPECIAL THINGS,,,I BELIEVE IN THAT! HAPPY TREE SHOPPING!!

Tricia said...

I am in love! That is so adorable! I have a Jesse Tree that I made with a group of girlfriends a few years ago {which really needs to be spruced up this year} but I think I'm going to add this to the list of things for next year...maybe we'll do both...treats in one, Jesse Tree for scriptures. Thanks for the awesome inspiration!

melissa said...

Carrie~can I tell you how much I love it?? It couldn't be better~the paper, the numbers, everything you chose is perfect. What a fabulous idea! And LOL at putting vitamins in them~get away with it while you can :) Have a great weekend!
Melissa

coco said...

Each day I see another project and I think it just can't get any better and then you come along with yet another one! :) The whole magnetic thing is brilliant! I love the idea of putting scripture in each one...perfect for my older kids.

Mrs. Cup said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!

The Arthur Clan said...

You have so much more patience than me...I would have lost my mind painting all of those boxes and lids! But, oh my goodness...was it ever worth it. What a beautiful project!

Ruby Red Slippers said...

I know you're pregnant.
I know you have a two year old.
I know you are trying to sell your house-
But you need a job selling those!!! I want one-and don't think I can make that as cute as you did! LOVE it. (Gummy vitamins are also big at this house! Great start to the day in those boxes!)

Jboo said...

Oh my -- that is just beyond adorable!! You are making such great memories for your family! Love it!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Janet

Carolina Mama said...

So perfect. I am placing my order right now. :)

Carrie said...

This is adorable!!! I love it! I visit your blog often and I wish I could have just half of your talent! I may have to be a copycat Carrie for next year! Merry Christmas!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Now I am feeling really bad about the little cardboard one I bought the kids that is filled with 25 pieces of chocolate......

That is adorable.....I love what you did with the scrap paper!!

I bet Nina looks forward to her treat each day!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lisa

Wendy said...

That calendar turned out so darling! I am going to put it on my list for next Christmas (I just know there's no way I can get it done before there are only a couple of days left this year.sigh.) What a great project!!

Sandy Toes said...

Gummy vitamins..that is great!!! She will know soon enough..he hee!

What a festive and just adorable advent calendar..Wow!! That is all I can say "Wow"!
-Sandy toes

ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage said...

Ditto on what everyone else said. I absolutely loved how it turned out and I appreciate the "tips" and tutorial. Thank you!

Amy

Screaming Meme said...

Carrie! I love it! So precious! I think it is my fav thing you have shown be far....You should take orders! :) Meme

jennykate77 said...

I remember seeing the Halloween one too and loving it! This one that you made is adorable!! I think it's really cool to have enough space to put something besides chocolate.

Hope you have a fab Friday!

Kerri said...

That turned out so pretty! I have been wanting to do this one too, but maybe next year. Right now I have too many projects going on! I like the vitamin idea, I'm thinking I could do that for all of my kids because they think a vitamin is a treat!

Emily said...

This is so cute. You never cease to amaze me with your crafty ideas.

Laurel MacD said...

We love advent calendars and have one for each child to open each day - they rotate. I hated sharing with my siblings and having to wait 5 days until I could open another one! Your calendar is adorable.

Sweet Simplicity said...

Very cute! I love that you are using the gummy vitamins. Very sneaky. And smart!

Katie said...

I love it! It is so so so cute!

Domestic Diva....NOT said...

How cute :) I am impressed your is done. I have mine sitting on the ground just screaming to get it finished. :)

Shannon said...

Way cute!!! 3 kids currently take turns with their advent calendar- so something like this (maybe next year) would be a great idea!

Christy said...

You did a great job! Love it!!!

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Such a great idea, and it looks so pretty and festive!! Very creative :)

Lisa said...

That is adorable and what a great keepsake for your family! Great job!

We are finally feeling better. Let's try to get together next week!

Heidi Boos said...

Another project to drool over...

My mom made us an advent calendar, which I love, but I've seen so many cute advent calendars that I would want to make. Is there anything wrong with having more than one advent calendar? :)

Joanna said...

Love it! I need to do this, of course not this year, but next def. I will look for the little boxes to go on sale as well. *smiles*

Shannon said...

WAY cute! I love it! I'll have to copy this when I have kids some day. I can't wait to see your house next week!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Such a cute idea! This is the first year we haven't done and advent calendar - my daughter's 16 and she's just not into it anymnore...sigh!

Manuela

Michelle said...

Fantastic!!! We do Santa Sacks at our house, but this may be on the menu for mext year. ~Michelle

asnipofgoodness said...

I love this idea, so cute, and it should hold up well from year to year, I bet you can use the base for other things throughout the year too. Thanks so much for sharing! I would like to get in your head too!

Ally0005 said...

Wow, I love, love, LOVE this.

the undomesticated wife said...

I have to laugh about you putting her vitamins in there! You are so sneaky (and smart)! :) It looks great!

duchess said...

Very, very cute. I love it.
You could think etsy with all of your craftiness. (After the baby of course).
Have a great weekend.

Stacey said...

Carrie, what an AWESOME idea!! I LOVE IT!! We don't have a HL close or even a Michaels...(we live VERY RURAL-closest craft store is 2 hours away)..so I'm going to see what I HAVE and what I can find at Walmart today. You're AMAZING!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

AJ said...

LOVE it:) Don't know how you find the time to get all your projects done! I'm jealous:) Have fun getting your tree!

Shilo said...

Carrie, this is honestly THE BEST advent calendar I have seen! I absolutely love it! You could sell those for a mint! Oh...but then you'd be spray painting 50 million boxes...maybe that's not a good idea! :)
Blessings!

Kelli said...

If that is not just the cutest thing. I want to go right now and make one, even though we're already into December. I need you to send me some of your creativity. Just a little. Enjoy your weekend.

Carrie said...

I love it!

Ms. Tee said...

Oh, Carrie, that's just about the cutest thing I have *ever* seen. It's just downright adorable! I laughed when I saw that your husband "interceded" at the end.
Can't wait to see all your Christmas stuff - have fun picking out a tree! :)

Nancy said...

That's one of my favorite ones I've seen yet!!! ADORABLE!!

Bobbi Jo said...

Love this idea! How creative you are. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

ashley said...

you are amazing! i love it! its so adorable!

Chris said...

What? I inspired?? LOVE it! The colors you chose, the frame, everything! You did such a beautiful job!

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

I love me an advent calendar. But I don't have one at all! I'm sure my hubby would love it if I made him one. :) This turned out so cute! You did a great job. I'm so loving those scrapbook papers.

Holly said...

That is seriously the CUTEST advent calendar I have ever seen!!

blueladybug said...

What an adorable idea!! If I have time, I just might have to try this! thanks for all the great ideas

Gray Matters said...

You did a great job - when you pull that out every Christmas you're going to be so impressed with yourself.

AndreaLeigh said...

It turned out so well! And your hubby is such a dear for helping you with your projects. My husband helps - meaning he stands over me and tells me what I should be doing differently, even though he has never used a hot glue gun in his life. it is very annoying. :)

Kristin said...

Very cute!

Jodee Leader said...

What a fabulous calendar! I wouldn't have the patience to spray paint all of those boxes either!

Have a great weekend!

Darlene said...

You did a GREAT job on that!! TOO CUTE!!

edie said...

You crafty girl you...turned out fantastic

The Golf Widow said...

LOVE IT!!! I saw the family activity idea that Just a Girl did and it was so cute ,but honestly as bad as it sounds just don't have the time to drop everyting and go bowling.Treats and scriptures are very doable.

Mine will be rustic for sure! Waiting for paint to dry is painful! I need more information about how your husband cuts the sheet metal.

Sunny said...

Love all your stuff. Are you for hire?

p.s. my word verification is "demen"...weird!

Jo said...

Love it ~ great treat also!

Jo

At Home In Georgia said...

I REALLY love this!!!

Sarah @ ThriftyDecorChick said...

Love them! I am still not done with mine!! I'm hoping tomorrow...this year they will be used for the 12 days of Christmas instead of 24!! :) I hand painted mine and it went SO quick! I LOVE that you put them on a board...no tops floating around everywhere! Great job.

Rae said...

LOVE this more than I can say!!!

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

Carrie, that is one beautiful advent calendar. How do you come up with these ideas? You are just too good, and very gracious to share your craftiness with us. Thanks so much! xxoo

The Graves' House said...

i love it! i'm going to start collecting items to do this for next year. i would love to start this traditions when we have children. yours turned out great and thanks for sharing it step by step for those of us who have not tried it before! have a fun weekend putting up your tree.
~nicole

Jules from "The Roost" said...

That is wonderful, Carrie! I can't wait to pass this on to my daughters! Wow

Angie said...

This is the cutest advent calendar I've seen! Love your choice of papers!

Lisa & Gerald said...

Oh that's a great Idea!

Ticklish Mermaids said...

Hi Carrie,
I think this is your best idea yet! I can only imagine how much work that was. Love it and what a nice husband to help you.

Ticklish Mermaids said...

Oh, I was going to tell you about vitamins. 17 year old takes a teen vitamin, 16 year old takes only Flintstones, and 13 year old will only take her gummies!!! haha... See what you have to look forward to...hopefully yours will not be so spoiled!
kim

Connie said...

You always seem to amaze me with your creativity. When do you sleep?? That is so cute. Can't wait to see more Christmas decor. Connie

sarah @ abeachcottage said...

oooh my goodness, you are so crafty, I wish I had the patience or talent for that...

Sarah

Melissa said...

So cute!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

The Golf WIdow was asking me how my husband cut the sheet metal for this project...he used a jigsaw with a metal blade. Believe me, the words I just typed mean nothing to me, but I assume anyone who is handy can make sense of that! I hope that helps!
Carrie

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my gosh! What a great idea! I love this! You are really talented! I can't wait to see your tree. We have to get ours tonight. I am so excited.
PS I think the gummy vitamins is a brilliant treat : ).

Meaghan said...

I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!

Annie said...

I LOVE this advent calendar!! I've been searching high and low for inspirational ideas to make one of our own for next year since we have two store-bought cheap-o ones for this year. I think I could tackle this one!

Junk Mammas said...

We love this! Have been looking for new ideas for an advent calander. This is perfect. Great idea.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

With all these fun comments, what more can I add? Such fun!!

Sit A Spell said...

I would not have painted each box, for sure...yikes, but it is adorable! Go gummie vites!

Our Complete Family said...

Wow, wow, wow Carrie!
You've got it goin' on Miss Crafty Thang! I love this! I bet Nina is just having a BLAST each day!!!
Merry December hun~ Les

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

I'm comment #80, so you will probably never read this, but...OUT OF CONTROL CUTE!!!!!!

Kris said...

That turned out beautiful! I am marking this one to make for next year - y kids would love it and it's SO CUTE!! Great job!!

Inspired Kara said...

It looks WONDERFUL!!!

Angela said...

I am sooo making one of these for next year!

Amber said...

Oh my goodness! This is SO stinkin' cute! I love it! I definitely need to file this picture away for the future. I love your creative projects! Thanks for sharing. :)

(Where did you pick up all the fun variety of patterns of Christmas paper?)

kacyd said...

I love these things, and yours is so cute!! I don't have any kids, so I am trying to justify making one for me =) Maybe I will make one as a gift for friends who do have kids...they are just too cute for wrods!!

Jennifer said...

I love this idea! So cute-and the impatient person inside of me agrees when I do it my boxes will be rustic also :)

Journey on! said...

Really super cute!

Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista said...

I love that they are hung on a board...so cute!

Kendra said...

This turned out great!!! Did you mod podge the scrapbook paper? I like my advent calendar the way it is(btw, I recently posted scripture inserts on my blog if you need any inspiration), but if I make any more (as gifts or even to sell???), I think I will try at least some of the boxes mod podged with cute paper.

Jaden Paige said...

Oh. My. Goodness! I came over from Thrifty Decor Chick's site cuz I had to see what you did with the advent boxes, and I LOVEIT!! What a great idea with the magnets and sheet metal! FAB-U-LOUS! :)

elizabeth said...

OK that's about the cutest thing EVER! I'm making a note to myself for next year. My granddaughter is only 16 months old this year so next year will be just fine.

Thank you for sharing with us!

Dee said...

I can't stand it! My cuteness you rock meter is going haywire!

Kathleen Ellis said...

IN. LOVE.
That's all I can say! You have created the cutest advent calendar I have ever seen. No lie!
I can't wait until I can make one of my own. I guess it will have to be next year!

CoLiE-O said...

i worship you!! :)

Brittany said...

That is SO CUTE!!!

Lolly Jane said...

So so cute!

Queen Mommy said...

Just popped over from TDC....LOVE your Advent Calendar! Ideas are spinning in my head now.... :-)

Tim and Ash said...

Hi! I found your blog through Thrify Decor Chick and loooooove your calendar. I have bought all the items to make my own but have 1 question.
Did you decoupage the paper on top once on the box or just the under side of it to put it on the box? I am a beginner and was a little confused. Thanks so much!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Hello Tim and Ash!
Just wanted to respond to your question. I decoupaged underneath the paper (to adhere the paper to the box) and then also put some Mod Podge on top of the paper. I like how it makes the paper seem a little but more finished and durable. I hope that makes sense!
Carrie

allthingsjuice said...

Shh, don't tell my sister, but I *might* try to do this as a Christmas gift for her family this year. Thanks for the tutorial!

allthingsjuice said...

Shh, don't tell my sister, but I *might* try to do this as a Christmas gift for her family this year. Thanks for the tutorial!

Momma to Bug said...

Carrie, you outdid yourself with this one! It is soooooo cute :-) I really hope I can find time to make one this year to use next year. Thanks for sharing!
-Desiree

Jelena said...

This is wonderful! How big are the boxes?

Peaches said...

OK, I know I'm like 2 years to late on this, but can you tell me what size frame you used?

peachgirl82 at yahoo

Thanks!