December 5, 2011

DIY Advent Calendar -- The Most Wonderful Time of the Year PART 2

If you're tuning in from my last post, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year PART 1, you might be wondering how I am making this Advent season special for my three year old son.  My hope is for him to be able to celebrate the miracle of the Christ child's birth all the way through Advent.  It's much too big and too joyous of an occasion to celebrate for only one day.  So, what did I do?

My idea was spawned from a new addiction of mine.  Hi.  My name is Jenni, and I am a Pinterest-aholic.  Thank you Pinterest for showing me a way to use left-over Christmas scrap book paper and to re-purpose an old bulletin board into a beautiful and meaningful Advent Calendar!  Here's the finished product.

There are 25 boxes for my kiddo to open--one for each day from December 1st to Christmas Day, guaranteeing celebration all month long.  Each box houses a special message for him, and a few boxes hold prizes like Christmas pencils, candy, stickers, or whatever I was able to find at the Dollar Store or in the Target $1 bins.

Materials for Making an Advent Calendar:

*a large bulletin board (It's okay if it's old and beat up.  That's what paint is for!)
*painter's tape
*spray paint
*25 paper mache boxes of various sizes (50% off at Hobby Lobby!  Score.)
*acrylic paints
*pieces of scrap book paper (Left-over wrapping paper would also work.)
*Mod Podge
*paint brushes or paint sponges
*paint pens
*small wooden shapes (I used snow flakes, circles, and ovals)
*embellishments (I used stickers and buttons)
*hot glue gun
*thumb tacks
*strips of paper and markers to write messages

Instructions for Making an Advent Calendar:

1.  Arrange the boxes on the bulletin board to decide what arrangement looks best.  Take a picture so you don't forget where the boxes go later.

2.  Decide which scrap book pieces will go on which box lids.  Try to space out the colors evenly across the board.

3.  Use a pencil to trace around the box lids on the scrap book paper, and cut out.  The paper will cover only the tops.  Number the bottom of your boxes with a pencil, and number the back of the scrap book paper with the same number so you don't forget which paper goes with which box.

4.  Spray paint the bulletin board in a well-ventilated area.  If you are going to spray paint the cork of the bulletin board a different color than the frame, use painter's tape to mark off the sections.

5.  Paint your boxes inside and out with acrylic paint.  I used a deep red and an earthy green.  Make sure you think about the placement of the colors across the board.  You don't have to paint the entire bottoms of the boxes--just the edges will be fine.  They will be tacked to the bulletin board, so no one will see.

6.  Add stickers to the paper pieces if you want .  Then decide which wooden shapes will go on which boxes and where.  The number of the day will go on these wooden shapes.  Mark the box number on the back of the shape.  Take a picture so you can remember where you positioned the shape on the box lid.

Paint the tops and sides of the wooden shapes with acrylic paint.  I painted my snow flakes, circles, and ovals white.

7.  Attach the scrap book paper to the lids by applying a thin layer of Mod Podge to the top of the lid.  Place the scrap book paper on top and smooth out the bubbles.  Mod Podge the rest of the lid (inside and out), Mod Podging over the paper as well to create a nice, glossy seal.  Mod Podge the entire rest of the box inside and out.  Let dry.

8.  Once the wooden shapes are dry, use paint pens to write the numbers 1 - 25 on them.  I did some in red and some in green.

Once dry, Mod Podge the tops and sides.  Let dry.  Attach them to the box lids with hot glue.  Be careful!  I had an unfortunate incident during this step :)

9.  Now hot glue the embellishments to the lids.  I used buttons.

10.  Use flat thumb tacks to attach the boxes to the bulletin board from the inside of each box.  I needed to put several tacks per box to keep them from falling off.  The bigger the box, the more tacks needed.  Now add your messages, candy, and prizes!

Here are some examples of the messages that my son is getting this year.  Some days will have several things listed on the message:

*Put together a Nativity puzzle one piece and one day at a time (give a different puzzle piece each day).  Play with holiday stickers to celebrate putting together your nativity puzzle.

*Read Christmas in the Manger board book with Mommy.

*Follow clues to find a different character each day from a play or felt nativity set.  Eat a candy cane on the day you complete the set.

*Make fun Christmas crafts and ornaments.

*Make home made Christmas cards for family, and mail them at the post office.

*Make a home made nativity set. (You can get the directions and printables here.) 

*Read The First Christmas book.

*Watch the live nativity pageant at church.

*Light candles on the family Advent wreath.

*Decorate a ginger bread house.

*Go shopping for a Salvation Army Giving Tree angel using $3 of your own money.

*Unwrap a new Christmas book to read tonight at bed time.

*Go see Santa.

*Make home made pizza and have a family movie night, watching A Charlie Brown's Christmas and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

*Watch The Polar Express in your PJ's while you eat IHOP breakfast in the living room.

*Make home made wrapping paper.

*Go see a Christmas movie at the movie theater and eat popcorn.

*Bake something yummy for the fire fighters to eat, and bring it to the neighborhood fire station.

*Pick one of your old toys to give to a child in need at the women't shelter, and drop it off.

*Eat a special chocolate treat.

*Drink hot chocolate through a crazy straw.

*Deliver Christmas goodies to neighbors and tell them, "Merry Christmas!"

*Ride the North Pole Express.

*Have a picnic dinner by the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music.

*Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

*Help pick out and shop for donations for the homeless shelter.

*Drop off the donations at the homeless shelter with Mommy and Daddy.
*Read the Christmas story in your Children's Bible.

*Make a birthday card for baby Jesus.

*Read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

*Go to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service at church.

*Give presents to family, and open some of your Christmas presents from family to celebrate baby Jesus being born.

*Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and hang up the birthday card that you made.

*Open your gifts from Santa.

If I can do this, anyone can.  No go get your Christmas craft on and make this Advent season a special one, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ all month long!

1 comment:

  1. I love how the advent calendar turned out! Its spectacular!