Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Matchbox Advent Calendar (DIY)

As a little kid, I lived with my family on an Air Force base in Spain.  My fondest memories include opening the care packages that arrived from relatives in the states.
On holidays especially, the boxes came pouring in.  Tucked in among the gifts and treats from my Grandma was an advent calendar for me.  It was a cardboard box with a piece of chocolate to search out and remove on every day in December leading up to Christmas.  To my four year old little mind, this was pretty much the best thing ever: candy and a game - every day for almost a month!  This Christmas, I've been itching to make a cute little advent calender filled with festive goodies.  Since I don't have any children, or relatives in Spain, I made one for Patrick.  Its a mini holiday village and each building consists of candy filled drawers made from cardboard match boxes.  I should have posted this tutorial in November, but here's how to make one if you're still interested:

You will need:
cardboard match boxes (I found packages at the dollar store with eight boxes each)
hot glue gun
wooden beads
paint, paper, markers, beads, ribbon, or anything else you can think of to decorate the boxes

For my advent calendar village, I used 24 match boxes: one for each day in December until Christmas.  The first step is removing the matches from each box...not to ruin the element of surprise here, but you can probably expect a tutorial involving matches sometime soon...
Stack the boxes to create buildings.  Experiment with the number and height. When you're happy with your arrangement, use the glue gun to combine the boxes and glue the building stacks together.  Remove the drawers and cover one side (this will be the back of your village) with paper.  For pointed roofs, I folded cardboard scraps and glued them to the top of each little building.
Are you ready to get creative?
Now is the time to decorate your little village with paper, markers, stickers, paint, beads, ribbon, etc.  Its like making a gingerbread house that you can't eat.
Now, we will make the little drawers.
Glue a bead to the side of each box to use as a drawer pull.  Next, paint the front of each drawer.  When they're dry, use paint or markers to write the numbers 1-24 on every one.
Slide the drawers back into the buildings.
Fill the drawers with candy or other small trinkets and treasures and enjoy watching your loved ones find their surprises each morning.

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