Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Greener-Than-Thou Advent Calendar

The calendar: beautiful little one-of-a-kind boxes in a silver bowl

Though I'm only halfway through this project I thought I'd go ahead and post the how-to instructions now because making an advent calendar is a time-sensitive task. This year's calendar is, as advertised, greener-than-thou and constructed of recycled toilet paper cardboard tubes and bits and scraps from my craft/gift wrap/sewing bin.

Making TP Tubes into Boxes:
Collect used toilet paper tubes and ask friends to save theirs. You may also use paper towel cardboard tubes, cut into thirds.

The new collectible: toilet paper tubes

Bend one edge of tube inward; pinch along the edge to make a crease

Bend opposite edge in same manner

Do the same thing to the other end of the tube

Voila! You now have a little box. Through some miracle of physics or cardboard, the tube ends stay firmly closed until you open them. Now make twenty-five little boxes for each day of December leading up to Christmas. For a variation, you can make eight little boxes for Hanukkah. 

Filling Your Boxes:
Advent calendars are supposed to have something inside them. That's the whole point. Stuff your boxes with whatever you wish. This year I've leaned heavily on chocolate because the little girl who will be the recipient of this calendar is revealing herself to be a chocolate fiend.

Trader Joe's chocolate coins - just $1.99 buys you more than enough coins to fill all 25 boxes

I also took this opportunity to rid myself of a nifty flea market find I've had around the house for years — a partial Noah's Ark set that includes Noah and about six animals, all made of ceramic in outsider art style. Go with the spirit of recycling and look around your house to see what you'd like to get rid of that might delight someone else if discovered in an advent calendar box.

Ceramic camel and large chocolate coin

Flip side of day 20 - this box uses a complete TP roll. For smaller boxes made of half a TP roll, see below.

Decorating Your Boxes:
I have printed out the days of the month on my computer, alternating red and green. I also printed out the same vintage Christmas images I used in a completely different, iron-on version for last year's Spectacular Walnut Advent Calendar.  You can print out your own numbers or simply hand letter them. You may also find lots and lots of vintage Christmas prints online using Google image search. Or you may want to stick to ribbons and bits and scraps.

 Sample Boxes:
Below are the boxes I've completed so far. If you'd like to make a similar calendar this year, it's time you got started.

Tinier boxes, each made from half of a toilet paper roll

The flip side
Note in the examples above and below, the deconrations on the flip side of the boxes are different from the front, which doubles the fun.

Days 3 and 10

Flip side of 3 and 10

A trio of little boxes

Flip side of trio

Days 2 and 17

Flip side of 2 and 17

Days 6 and 11

Flip side of days 6 and 11

Day 15

Flip side of day 15

Thirteen down, twelve to go. This first half took just one evening while watching a Netflix disc of The Walking Dead (I need something to do with my hands when watching horror films).  The point is, with scissors, glue, and piles of bits and pieces in front of you, this doesn't take very much time.

For more over-the-top advent calendars see Advent Calendar Haute Couture and the Spectacular Walnut Advent Calendar.

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