Tuesday, November 29, 2011

our advent calendar / a DIY tutorial

With Christmas right around the corner I've had lots of projects going on, and I finished this one just in time! I've been wanting an advent calendar for a while but haven't found an affordable one that I like, so I decided to make one.
For this project you need a self-healing mat, ruler, and rotary cutter (or just a plain ol' pair of scissors), alphabet stamps (I got mine at Michaels for a dollar!), a stamp pad, twenty-five mini envelopes (mine are from Paper Souffle), twenty-five mini clothespins (also available at Michaels for just a few dollars), a hole punch, a corner rounder, ribbon and/or yarn, and a list of Christmas activities. As you'll see, some of the materials are optional. Ready for my favorite part of this tutorial? The Christmas activity list is available for you to download and print! The link is located at the bottom of this post. Hooray for freebies!
First, I used the alphabet stamps and an ink pad to mark each envelope with the days leading up to Christmas, beginning with "one" and ending with "twenty-five." You could just as easily use numerals instead. The brown ink wasn't extremely visible on the brown kraft envelopes, but I just went with it.
Next I printed out the list of activities on card stock and selected the ones I wanted to do (it's five pages long so you can choose your favorite ideas). I cut them down to size - about 2" x 3" - using my paper rotary cutter, ruler, and self-healing mat. If you don't have those things on hand (I have them for quilting), you can just use scissors and eyeball it. Just remember that the cards need to fit into the envelopes!
These next few steps are optional... I rounded the corners of each card,
punched a hole in the top of each one, 
and threaded a short length of ribbon through each hole.
Finally, just slide the cards into the envelopes! You can choose which day you would like to do certain activities on and pay attention to the dates, or just insert them randomly and be surprised each day. Some of the ideas on the list might not make sense to you. "Eat seven fishes on Christmas Eve," for example. That one only applies if you're Italian or married to one. "Construct Lego Santa & his reindeer" might not be applicable in your house either, but Matt has a kit he's been making every year since he was little, so that's a big one in our house. While compiling the master list, I used some of Jordan's ideas, some of Danyelle's, some from here, and then of course lots of my own. There are forty-four activities (there were supposed to be forty-five but I realized I created a near double after I uploaded the file!) so you I hope you can find twenty-five that will work for you.

If you're looking for the free download, it's right here!

P.S. Here are twenty-five more awesome advent calendars.


  1. Oooh, this is great, Tara. I've been looking for something to string across my kitchen wall. I will probably do this with scrapbook paper and make it oh so fancy! ;)

    Will you email me the file though? The link isn't working.

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