DIY last minute advent calendar

November 29, 2011

advent calendar for preschoolers DIY
I have been working on this advent calendar all day long and it is finally finished! In preparation for our advent experience with my friend Amanda's book  Truth in the Tinsel, I needed to get this done quickly.

The advent calendar we usually use (see it here) is a felt one with tiny ornaments you hang each day leading up to Christmas. It was handmade by Ben's grandmother and is amazing and beautiful, but it doesn't have a spot to hide clues in. Which is what we need this year.

I searched pinterest for easy and pretty DIY advent calendars and found my favorite. But I am a bit too late to get the little bags ordered and shipped to my home before Dec. 1. Maybe next year.

My next choice was this mini envelope advent tree. Easy and simple except I didn't have any mini-envelopes.
advent calendar prep
So I decided to use my favorite crafting material of the year--white contact paper.  It's the same stuff I used for our dollhouse project. (You knew it would show up again, didn't you?)

If you are still searching for a quick and easy advent option to use for Truth in the Tinsel, this is something you can do in about an hour.

You will need: 
contact paper or scrapbook paper
numbers (I used stickers, but you could write them if you want)
*double sided poster tape (if you don't use contact paper)
*large cat to sit RIGHT on top of your work and give you attitude when you tell her to beat it (optional)

I cut out 24 rectangles of white contact paper. (This would work with regular paper as well. )

Then I cut out the printable clues from the book.
advent calendar inspiration
I peeled the backing off of the contact paper and stuck the clue in the middle of the sticky side facing out.  (This is what Juliet will see when she peels off a clue each day.) I used the envelope tree as my guide to create the tree on the wall.
advent calendar tree
I just followed the pattern and made a tree. You can see that the rectangles hide the clues. Contact paper is very forgiving, so if you mess up, you can reposition it easily. It retains is stickiness and will not damage your walls.

If you were doing this with regular paper, I would glue the clue to one side and after it dried, use some double sided poster tape to adhere the rectangle to the wall.
number stickers
I opened up my sticker stash and found some numbers. I was crossing my fingers that I had enough 1's and 2's to do the entire tree. Luckily, I did.
advent calendar tree
The numbers are mixed and matched, but the end result is somewhat charming, I think. (11 ended up being two exclamation points minus the dots!)

I could have just as easily written the numbers on with a sharpie or even cut some out from a magazine.
advent calendar DIY
For the topper, I cut out a rose from a piece of scrapbook paper. (I wish I had a doily, but I still haven't found any.)

And that's it! We are ready to go. :)

I think Juliet will have fun peeling off the clues every day.

If you haven't had a chance to get a copy of Truth in the Tinsel yet, there is still time. There is even a printable clue chain option if you don't want to mess with an advent calendar. I'll be sharing a few of our crafts throughout the month--I hope you'll join in!

linking to whatever goes wed! and strut your stuff thurs.

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