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Countdown to Christmas

Advent Calendar

Class designed by Karen


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Some years ago I was looking for an advent calendar for my children which had a little more substance than a piece of chocolate. I couldn't find one so decided to make one myself. This calendar has brought so much pleasure over the years and I hope it will do the same for your children or grandchildren.

Each day the child opens a drawer to find a little  surprise, a real countdown to Christmas. There is no "25" as the children of course will be opening lots of other presents on that day. You can incorporate one if you so wish.

The colours used on my advent countdown are muted and "oldie worldly", you can of course substitute any colour as you please and perhaps use more vibrant and bright Christmas colours.


Class Supply List:

  • 24 x Large Empty Matchboxes (I used Cook's Matches, about 35p per box from Sainsbury). You can use the small matchboxes but will be very limited to what you can put into the drawers.

  • Acrylic Paints (Green and Dark Red)

  • Three x 12x12 Christmas Paper

  • Heavyweight A4 printing paper.

  • Ultra Fine Glitter

  • Adhesive

  • Gold Pen.

  • 48 x Dovecraft Christmas Designer Brads

  • Cardboard/Chipboard

  • Wax or a white candle

  • Clear Gloss such as Glossy Accent or Diamond Glaze.

NOTE: Always check sizes against your actual project as you may not use the same sized matchboxes as I have here.


Step 1


Empty all the matchboxes - plenty of matches there if the electricity fails!



Paint all 24 empty matchbox drawers green. Only the drawers, put the sleeve of the boxes aside for now. Don't forget the bottom of the boxes, we want those painted also.



Step 2


When the drawers are completely dry run a thick gold pen along the edges of the front. I used a gold Posh Impressions Accent pen.





Make sure the very top edge is covered in gold.






Step 3


Using a red pen write a number on the centre of each box front, from 1 though to 24. Go over the number with a glue pen and immediately sprinkle with silver, gold or white ultra fine glitter. When dry blow away excess glitter. You could emboss if you like in which case you will need to write over the number with an embossing pen before sprinkling with the glitter.



Step 4

Mark the same distance from the edges and top of the box on both sides of each box - 10mm from the edges and 12.5mm from the top. Make holes where marked and push a brad through each hole.

Leave the brads sticking out a little from the front and secure with tape over the fastened brad ends at the back to eliminate movement. Arrange the brads so that the same colour is never repeated twice in any row, vertically or horizontally.


Step 5

Glue the matchbox sleeves together in rows of three to form the frame. Hold together with large paperclips or clips whilst drying.




Step 6


Paint the frame. We will be covering the sides, the top and bottom, and the back, so only paint the areas that are going to be visible.


Step 7



The Bottom of the Frame


Cut a piece of cardboard or chipboard and glue it to the bottom of the frame. You can cover it in paper first if you likeHold the bottom onto the frame with paperclips until it is dry to ensure a tight bond..



When dry paint the front edge. If you are leaving the box free-standing then you need not paint the bottom. If you are hanging it up then paint the bottom or wrap in paper before gluing to the frame.



Step 8


Cut two pieces of cardboard each measuring 121mm x 203mm. These are the side panels. Measure the sides of your frame to make sure they are that size, if not modify accordingly. Wrap each piece in Christmas paper and glue to the frame.


To wrap glue the cardboard/chipboard to the paper, fold in the corners



then fold in the sides.





Measure the top of the frame and cut a piece of cardboard in that size. Cover in the paper and glue to the top. Make sure any clips you temporarily use does not dent the paper.


You now have your sides and top in place. Leave to dry.



Step 9


The header board is shown below. For a printable sized template please click here. (Opens in new window. Print direct from your browser on heavyweight printer paper or download to resize as required. To download right-click on the picture and choose "Save Picture". This will save the image to your computer.)





Cut out the header. Measure a piece of cardboard/chipboard the width and height of your frame plus the height of the "Christmas Countdown" header and wrap in Christmas paper on one side (this will be the back of the frame extended up for the header). Glue the header onto the back of the board you just covered, we want the covered side to face outwards (see step 10).









Step 10


Glaze the header on everything except for the cream and white background (glaze the red borders, the stars and the title etc). Leave until completely dry.





Stick the back panel and header to the back of the frame. Put the glue onto the frame itself rather than the back pane.




Step 11



Wax the drawers for the advent calendar. An old candle works well (don't use a coloured candle as the colour may rub off on the drawer). Just rub the candle on the sides and bottom of each drawer. This will help them glide easily in and out of the frame.

Insert all the drawers into the frame.





It is up to you whether you choose to decorate the advent box further.




We hope you enjoyed the class.


Class designed and created by Karen from Charmed Cards & Crafts


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