It's December first and there's still time to make an Advent Calendar! Traditionally, Advent Calendars count-down from December 1st to December 24th or 25th –depending on your family’s Christmas tradition. But the idea of a “count-down” calendar can be applied to any Holiday…or even a child’s upcoming birthday. I'm still thinking of making one for the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Christmas-themed calendars generally have 25 numbered windows that are "hidden" randomly within an image, and the idea is to open the windows chronologically -one each day of December until Christmas- to reveal surprises behind them. (The randomness of the numbered windows make it more fun for kids to hunt for the next number.)
Here's one I made with gorgeous Graphic 45 "Christmas Past" papers: I used little Christmas-themed images from the “stamps” that graced the border of one of the papers, and I cut the windows on the main image to match the size of the little images, to provide the “surprise” as little fingers open them. The numbers are well-hidden in this busy graphic, so it makes the “hunt” even more fun! Some of the windows are shown open below: Here’s a close-up of windows #14 and #1…how they look closed…and how they look open. (This particular Christmas paper has a lovely red and white stripe candy cane pattern on its reverse side, so it looks pretty even when the windows are open.) It is also really fun to make Personalized Advent Calendars using photos. I’ve made several of these as gifts, and used photos that were personal to the receiver. (For my son & his fiancée, I filled the windows with tiny photos of the two of them doing fun things together.) I made one for my own amusement that combined my passion for Barbie collecting with my passion for scrapbooking. I started with photo of a Christmas diorama that I made with my Barbies. After printing the image from my photo file on 8 1/2 x 11 matte photo paper, I trimmed off the excess. Next, I chose 24 (my family is all about Christmas Eve)of my favorite horizontal photos of Barbies and Barbie dioramas and copied them into a separate folder to make it easier to print out. I then printed them out as I would a vertical contact sheet (or in thumbnail fashion) on high-quality glossy photo paper, and trimmed off the excess paper on the top & bottom, so that it would fit perfectly under the large photo, which of course was printed out in landscape fashion. (You want to leave a nice border around your main image.) With a pencil, I marked exactly where the contact sheet would sit behind the larger image. (This is easier to do if you temporarily adhere your thumbnail contact sheet under your main photo & hold it up to a window, computer monitor, or light box. Also the pencil lines are easier to see if you do this on the back of your main photo.) Now using a metal ruler with an Exacto-type blade cutter (do have extra sharp blades on hand), cut the windows carefully on three sides, leaving the tops attached.A self-healing cutting mat or large sheet of cardboard is recommended to protect your work-surface. After cutting all the windows on three sides (I prefer bottom-openings for the windows), the remaining un-cut areas of the windows may be scored with a bone or a blunt tip to make it neater & easier to fold up.
Next, the contact sheet needs to be glued down - I used an adhesive tape runner. Be sure to line the windows up properly with the mini-photos.
Now for the fun part: Decide which order you would like the calendar
to be opened in. For this project, I used an image of my "Barbie" Santa
as "24" (for Christmas Eve) so that it would be the final window opened
in the countdown to Christmas. Then I numbered all of the windows in a
somewhat random fashion, beginning with "1", using a fine permanent
Next, I matted the whole thing with a pretty holly-themed paper, and
then adhered that onto a larger piece of red cardstock. After punching
two holes, I added a pretty gold ribbon to hang my calendar by, and
embellished it with a couple of 3-D poinsettia stickers.
Isn't that just the cat's pajamas? I love it! OK...so now that I've shown you how it's done, it's your turn!
Here are the 11 easy steps:
1. Print out an 8 1/2 x11 landscape photo on high-quality matte paper for your main image (or use a colorful sheet of cardstock) & trim.
2. Move 25 of your chosen landscape photos into a separate file and print out as a thumbnail contact sheet, in vertical format. Trim access off bottom.
3. Secure the contact sheet under the reverse of your main photo, hold up to a light box (or window) and mark the exact places of your thumbnail photos to know where you should cut.
4. Once your measurements are made, remove the contact sheet, so you can cut the windows on the reverse side of the main image (it is wise to tape it down before you cut.)
5. Using a metal ruler and an Exacto knife over a self-healing mat, carefully cut 3 sides of each window -leaving the tops still attached.
6. Score the top of each window using your ruler and a folding bone or blunt instrument.
7. Align the main image over the contact sheet so that the cut windows fit perfectly over the thumbnail photos, and adhere well.
8. Using a fine permanent marker, assign a number from 1 to 25 to each window, placing the numbers neatly on the front image.
9. Mat your Advent Calendar onto a pre-measured sheet of pretty paper, and glue onto a pre-measured, heavy cardstock.
10. Make two holes on the top and attach a festive ribbon to hang your calendar by. You may use grommets, brads, large eyelets, or simply just tie your ribbon through the holes.
11. Embellish and decorate to you hearts content and hang for your family to enjoy, or give it away as a personalized keepsake!
HAPPY DECEMBER from Enikö
(I posted this tutorial on Let's Scrap, and am so excited about sharing it with my bloggers! The Barbie Advent Calendar photos are from a previous post, but here I've shared my perfected technique. I hope you try it!)