Friday, October 30, 2009

Advent Calendar Tutorial

I made some ornaments using tins last week, and for some reason this idea started developing in my head to use them on an advent calendar. I remembered a cheap silver metal pizza pan I had when we were in college. It was seriously a piece of junk, but it would be perfect for this project. Sadly, as soon as we had a decent income, the pizza pans went down the long road to the scrap heap. I set out on a quest yesterday to find some cheap pizza pans and it turned into a very long quest indeed. I thought the dollar store might be the perfect place to find one, but I was wrong. I hit every store there was along my route, and still had no luck until I went into Target.....Score!!! Lucky me.....and, the best part? They were only $!!!

A couple more notes: Some of the tin lids fit loosely, so when I fill the tins with candy, I plan to tape them shut until we open them. This project is also heavy, so it will require a sturdy picture hanger to hold it up, especially when it is filled with treats.

Here is the finished project. It's not the best photo, but the light is gloomy here in rainy Oregon, and it's hard to get a good daylight photo to avoid the flash glaring off of the pizza pan. This is the best I could do. I used the 2" tins for each of the first 24 days of Christmas and a 3" tin for Christmas morning.

I thought of many variations I could have used. I was tempted to cover the main part of the pan with patterned paper, but I would have to deal with a seam, which did not appeal to me. The pan is a 15" pizza pan, but is actually more than 15" across, so the flat bottom of the pan is larger than 12", which is the largest paper I have. I opted to stick with the silver, which is a nice finish anyway.

A photo of the pizza pan. It was in the baking section at Target. They only had 4 of them at the closest Target to me and of course I bought them all. So, if you live locally, don't bother going to the Target at Sunset Esplanade....LOL.

My sweetheart handy hubby was given the task of making holes in the pan. He headed out to his shop and this is what came back. I wanted the holes about 1/2" from the sloped side of the pan and about 1" apart. He said he just used a regular drill, and the holes were smooth enough that they did not snag the satin ribbon I later pulled through them.

Here is the layout I went with. I left a space at the top for a bow. There are 14 tins on the outer layer, 10 on the inner, with a space in the center for the large tin for Christmas day.

I did some testing to make sure my magnets would hold up the tins. I used these self-adhesive business card sized magnets. I normally use these to keep my Nesties in their CD cases, but it worked well for this project also.

I cut each magnet in eights and used that size for the small tins. I used half of a magnet for the large tin.

The bottom of a small tin with 1/8 of a magnet. Self-adhesive is a bonus!

I used Verve's Winter Wonder to stamp borders in three colors: Taken With Teal, Ballet Blue, and Lovely Lilac. I stamped 24 in all and then headed for the cuttlebug.

I die cut the frames into circles and made larger scalloped circles in shades of teal, blue, and purple to mat the white circles. I cut one larger circle to go under the large tin.

I stamped more borders in black onto cardstock in the same shades as my ink. I will use these circles to write Christmas activities for us to do each day as we open the tin.

Next, I cut circles small enough to fit inside the tins and stamped an assortment of Christmas images on each circle. I suppose I could have taken the time to find 24 different images, but since I was feeling a little lazy at this point, I used only 8 images, making 3 of each one. I may go back and change them so there is an "surprise" on each day, wondering what the picture in the bottom of the tin will be.

Images used are:

Next, I adhered the circles in the bottom of the tin. The main adhesive I used in the whole project is ATG. If you do not have an ATG, I would suggest using Sticky Strip or red line tape.

To tie the bow at the top, I threaded teal ribbon through both holes from the back, then tied a knot and left long tails. I then tied a bow using purple satin ribbon over the knot in the teal ribbon. This gave me two different colors of tails. I may actually make a big poofy bow with lots of loops, but since we are a house of boys, I thought putting this much ribbon on a project was already pushing it. LOL

I stamped the numbers (retired SU set called Newsprint Numbers) onto the circles and adhered the whole mess together, and the circles to the pizza pan using ATG. Once upon a time I was addicted to alphabet stamp sets, so I have bunches of them kicking around. I'm surprised at how often they come in handy. I started with the numbering at the top left and went around the outside counter clockwise, then did the inner circle clockwise, ending up back on the left side.

It was a little tricky coming up with a tiny tag for the numbering on the tins themselves. I tried so many things, but everything was just too large and hid the image in the tin by covering up too much of the front. Finally, my creaky old brain thought of using 1/2 of a Word Window Punch (SU). It was perfect! The numbers come from PTI's Ambassador Monogram Alphabet.

I tied a bunch of tiny bows using 3/8" polka dot organdy and 3/8" satin edge organdy in the three colors to match the project. I tied a piece of silver cord around the center knot, tying just once, then threaded the tag onto the cord and tied twice more, in a granny knot.

I wrote an activity on each of the inserts for the tins. I plan to put these in the tin, then the candies. When we open a tin, we'll eat the candy and do the activity sometime that day. Some activities are simple, some more complex, some are service, some are just fun. Here's my list (in no particular order...actually, in the order they occurred to me):
  1. Bake cookies
  2. Christmas tree hunt
  3. Decorate Christmas tree
  4. Take family photo
  5. Put up Christmas lights
  6. Take cookies to firemen
  7. Decorate the house
  8. Sing 12 Days of Christmas
  9. Start playing Christmas music (at my house, this has already begun, so I should have written "stop complaining about Mom playing Christmas music")
  10. Make ornaments
  11. Take cookies to neighbors
  12. Do a secret service for someone
  13. Decorate sugar cookies
  14. Make a gingerbread house
  15. Wrap family gifts
  16. Mail Christmas cards
  17. Buy gifts for charity
  18. Write letters to Santa
  19. Plan Christmas dinner
  20. Make a Christmas craft
  21. Read a Christmas story
  22. Hang stockings
  23. Sing carols
  24. Read "The Night Before Christmas" (obviously on Christmas Eve)
  25. Read Luke 2:1-14 (Christmas morning)
Another shot of the finished project.

Closeup of the rim. I thought the finished calendar was a bit plain, so I used nearly a whole jar of Aqua and Lavender buttons and hot glued them around the rim. It added a lot to the project and gave it some extra interest. It also burned the crud out of my fingertips!

Happy Stamping~~



Julee (Vervegirl) said...

Wow, this is so cool, Heidi! I love your list of activities, too!

Susan (peebsmama) said...

What a fun idea. Looked like lots of work but also something that you can use year after year. TFS.

Netta said...

What a terrific advent craft!!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea. I'm going to add this to the list of craft projects I'm doing for family/friends.