Making my Advent Calendar part 2


OK, so here’s the deal – I was happily working on this post then somehow I dropped my camera.  It broke.  Stupid, stupid, stupid me.  The photos are not complete and some are those I took previously, so may look a bit odd, but I’ll try to explain as best I can and hope you get it.

The Cardstock Covering Sheets

The front of the calendar is approx. 12 inches wide by 28 inches tall.  The base is a large sheet of foam core – Hobby Craft has HUGE sheets on sale for about £2.50 at the moment so grab one.

The 24 ornaments fit, 12 per sheet, on to two pieces of 12 x 12 cardstock.  If you are using different elements of different sizes to mine (making the ornaments info in the previous post) use these instructions as a guide for laying them out, but adjust for your size elements.

Start with your 12 x 12 cardstock sheets.  Working on the BACK, mark off 1 1/2 inches from the top and 1/2 inch on each side. Lay your first ornament with the left at the left line and the hanger top at the top line. Poke a hole thru the eyelet, into the cardstock.

Ignore the fact you see a 1/4 inch quilting rule here.  Cut a 1/2 x 12  inch strip of cardstock from scrap card to use as a measure.  Laying the 1/2 inch strip to the RIGHT of the ornament edge, move the ornament over, placing the LEFT edge against the RIGHT edge of the strip (clearly I knocked my desk and the strip slipped in the photo – make the ornament right up to the edge.)  Again, poke a hole thru the eyelet.

Now, instead of moving the strip over and doing the next one, PLACE THE ORNAMENT AGAINST THE RIGHT LINE ON THE CARDSTOCK, again with the hanger against the top line. Poke the hole.  Line up the thin strip with the LEFT side of the ornament, re-place it to the LEFT of the strip and poke a hole. Repeat.

To recap, you did two placements from the left edge towards the middle, then two from the right edge towards the middle. The measurement of the ornaments makes it not easy to place EXACTLY (I hate math), and doing it this way gives you a slightly wider area in the middle of the cardstock, with two evenly spaced ornaments either side.  My idea was that you could tie a ribbon around the whole things, to make it look like a wrapped package.  Not what I did for mine, but an idea I filed away for the next one. It also means when you flip the cardstock to the right side the hole placement will be the same.

Again, had I had a working camera I could have shown this in a photo much better!

Now you have your first row.  To do the next row, re-place the 1st ornament at the starting point, upper left corner. Lay the 1/2 inch strip along the bottom of the ornament, and re-place the ornament with the hanger against the bottom of the strip, and against the left line.  Now you can use a ruler and the strip to find the intersection of the second line and the columns.  Just lay them out and poke your holes for the other ornaments at the intersection. Can you make sense of that from this photo??

Once you have all 12 holes poked you can repeat the process for the 2nd sheet.  You will have some extra at the bottom, which will allow you to butt together or overlap the two sheets.  If you look at mine, you will see the ornament area takes up about 18 inches.

I topped the calendar with the top of a sheet of decorative cardstock, and used some of the bottom of the same sheet at the bottom of the calendar.  I used a punch-out strip across the middle to disguise the join! If you plan to do this, you need to cut the topper and the bottom, so you know how much space they will take up before cutting the foam core background.

The Holes (set one)

OK, so now we have to create the holes that will hold the treats!

I cut another circle, slightly smaller that the 2″ punch, to ensure it will be hidden by the ornament.  Tailor your size hole to your ornament!

The critical thing here is you need to be able to cut these holes in the background cardstock so need some free-standing cutter.  The Circle scissor or the old CM circle cutter is what you want – a punch, unless it is an ANYWHERE punch, is not going to work.

I have NO PHOTOS of this but what you need to do is, using your poked holes as a guide, place the smaller circle on to the back of the cardstock and line them up so they will fall behind the ornaments when they are in place.  This photo sort of helps, as it shows the way I did it, which was to draw all the vertical lines joining the holes, then cross lines placed to match the center of the circle on the front of the ornament. This is actually the circles on the foam core, but you get the idea.

Cut all the circles in the cardstock . Next, using something like a Big Bite or old anywhere-hole punch, punch the smaller holes in the cardstock centered over each tiny pierced hole (the circled ones you see below.)

If you have made it this far I applaud you.  But we are not quite done yet.

The Foam Core Base

Decide on the height of you calendar.  You can simply make it 12 x 24, with no extra top and bottom, but you can see on mine I added the topper and bottom, and in that area a circle for 25, Christmas day.  If you want that, make sure your foam core piece is big enough to accommodate it. If you have cut a topper and a bottom strip, you need to lay it out and measure it!  Lay out the two cardstock sheets, overlapped but with space for whatever you will use to hide the join (I would stick them together NOW so there is no chance of them getting out of line later)  then add the topper and the bottom, as you want it to appear.  Measure and mark the foam core for height, then 12 inches for the width.

Cut the foam core to size.  Use a sharp craft knife and a new blade.  Cut thru the paper cover and into the foam, but DO NOT try to cut thru the whole depth in one go,  if you want neat edges – best to cut the top and into the foam, then on the second pass, finish cutting the foam and thru the backing paper. Lay out your layers, topper at the top edge, then the cardstock with the holes, exactly where you want it to be. Mark where the top edge of the cardstock falls on the overall foam core piece.  You will need to make sure that the holes yo will now cut line up.

The Holes (set two)

Lay your cardstock face up, on the foam core and transfer the circles/holes to the foam core with a pencil.  MAKE SURE the cardstock and foam core edges are PERFECTLY aligned and that you have the TOP of the cardstock at the TOP of the foam core and you have not somehow flipped it around!

This next bit is a bit tedious.  They do have things called foam core drills, that drill perfect circles in foam core, but a. the one I saw was £23 and b. the biggest drill bit was too small.  So I used a craft knife and cut out each hole.
Using a slightly up-and-down motion work around the hole with the knife.  If your pierce the backing with each stroke you should be able to push the circle out thru the back.

OK so the hole is a little raggedy.  It is pretty well hidden by the covering cardstock, but I wanted a nice finish for something this labour intensive. Using about 1/2 a roll of Washi tape, I cut small strips (and this was the first one, where I was not even trying to be frugal with the tape!  You really can actually get away with fairly small pieces, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, to line the holes.

I also covered the outside edges with long strips of the same tape.


Add all the ornaments to the cardstock sheets with a brad.  The eyelet will raise it up just ever so slightly, so the brad holds it firmly in place, but you can still rotate it out of the way to access the treat.

Now, stick the cardstock joined cardstock sheet, with the ornaments attached, to the front of the foam core, matching the line and making sure the holes are all lined up behind the ornaments (you should be able to see this from the back.) If you have not already covered the join do so now.  Use lots of good strong double-sided adhesive at the top and bottom and between the rows and columns!

I backed mine with cardstock, but in thinking about it I may then back it with matte board – mine is super lightweight, and the matte board will make it heavier, but I think it will stand up to storage year after year much better with the heavier firm back.  If you live someplace dry and can store it flat, you may be OK with just cardstock backing, but it’s so damp here and our storage is in the garage, so I worry it might bend or warp .

Lordy that is LONG.  I know it is wordy and the lack of photos makes it a pain.  If I decide to make another one I’ll make sure I capture it and do a PDF or a You Tube doodah.


4 thoughts on “Making my Advent Calendar part 2

  1. Wow…you’ve been busy! This must of taken some time to create. Thanks for sharing and it’s amazing to look at.

    • All total it took maybe 10 hours. The ornaments took a few hours, then a couple of hours to cut the card stock, foam core, and line the holes with Washi tape, an hour or so to attach the ornaments, stick it all together, and cut some letters for a “title” you don’t see here. Of course that was split up over maybe 4 days! If you wanted to completely decorate the ornaments, with stamps and ink and all the little touches you would do on, say, Tim’s tags, the you could multiply that by about 5! but I hope this will be with us for years:)

      Glad you liked it


  2. I love how you created this. Thanks for the step outs and the clear instructions.

  3. Wow this is stunning!!

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