The Advent Calendar, also known as the Christmas Calendar, offers a small door to be opened each day of December from the 1st to the 24th.
I recalled the shop bought offerings from my childhood, and to keep up my reputation as a ‘Cool Aunty’, decided to make one for a young nephew. Here’s my guide go going about it.
Art and Craft Supplies
A printed image (unless you are drawing your own)
Sheet of lightweight card
Sharp scalpel knife
Board or hard surface for cutting on
Glue stick, stapler
Light pencil and eraser. Optional chalk
Colouring pens &/or pencils
Optional printed or found images
Ribbon for hanging
An A4 calendar will mean small doors, so go for an A3 size.
Draw or paint your own image, or print a page if you have access to an office colour printer and can find online a good image of high resolution.
Because my calendar needs to fold in the middle for international posting, I decided to put two images together.
Mount your image on lightweight card, using a glue stick, rather than a damp glue that will cause the paper to crinkle.
Cut another piece exactly the same size. This will be the backing behind the doors.
Now plan and draw 24 doors lightly on your image. Use chalk so the outlines can be easily removed later, or a very light pencil and good eraser.
Then, use a sharp paper-cutting scalpel blade and a metal ruler to cut out the three sides of the door. Make sure to work on a piece of board, so you are not carving into your table.
If the blade does not cut through after several goes, try turning the card over. You should see the lines showing up on the back; a little light scoring over those will help the door to pop open.
Open all the doors carefully. (My edges are a little ragged, but my nephew will not mind!) If the paper image is coming free from the card on certain doors, it can be glued down again.
Place the card with the doors over the backing card, align the edges carefully, clip together. Now, through each door, trace the outline onto the backing card.
Free the backing card from the front card. Here comes the fun part.
Draw, colour , create or stick on little pictures using the door outlines as a positioning guide. Be as creative or as thematic or as Chrismassy as you want.
For example, my door pictures are not entirely Chrismassy, but are full of friendly creatures that my nephew will enjoy. Some are of my own creation, others are stickers or collected cut-outs.
It’s time for a big glueing session. Use the glue stick on the back of the calendar image card to cover the edges and area in between the doors.
Be careful not to get glue on the doors themselves, or they’ll stick to your art work.
Place on a flat surface under a large piece of board to dry. It's also worth stapling around the edges later, for extra bonding.
Use tiny star stickers to secure each door.
Paint or draw the number on each door, allowing for a random placement to making finding each door fun for your child. I’ve used nail polish, for the glossy sheen and small brushstrokes.
As a final touch, smear some glue stick on the image, and sprinkle glitter onto the smears.
Add some ribbon for hanging – taping this to the back or glueing and stapling between both pieces – and viola! Your calendar is ready to hang.
If you are gifting or posting it inside an A4 envelope, use your paper scalpel to gently score a line across the middle, and at exactly the same place on the back. This makes folding easy, without causing buckling and untidy creasing.