Thursday, April 21, 2016

DIY Advent Calendar!

The calendar is made from a 24 pan plastic mini muffin/cupcake container - the containers your muffins come in when you buy them at the grocery store. I believe they might be called "clam shell containers" because of the way they are hinged. like a clam shell. I cut off the top, clean up the edges, and just use the pan. Below are the instructions in pictures and a supply list of what I used is at the bottom:
You have to make template for where the muffin cups are on your muffin container. The method I used was to hold the muffin container up to the window and lay a sheet of paper over it. This is a light table effect. I marked circles were the muffin cups were. 

Cut the circles using your template and swivel blade on a piece of your foam roll. The foam roll will allow the blade to cut through the without getting caught on anything or damaging your work surface.

Use your scissors to snip the "hinges" that are holding the cut circles in place.
Once you have you template done, trace the circles onto the back of your patterned paper. This is the piece that will be the actual calendar.
Now it's time to decide what shape you want your calendar "doors" do be. In this case, they are square but they could be any shape you want. Figure out the size you need to adequately cover the cut circles and also fit across the length of the paper.
You need to make your doors hinged so they open easily. In the photo you see the method I used to scored the doors using my circle cutter and a stylus. The stylus easily fit into the groove for the long oval shape on the template cutter. 
Now you need to stamp your numbers on your doors.
On the back side, tape your 2 sheets of  pattern paper together now.
Line your doors up over your cut circles for placement. An optional step is to round the corners if you are making square doors at this point. I only round the right side of the doors.
Add a strong glue along the hinged edge of the door. I use Glossy Accents because even though it's primary purpose is to add gloss to projects, it is also one of the strongest adhesives I've ever used. In this particular case, you want a strong adhesive to hold the doors in place. Note that if you are using Glossy Accents, know the placement on the calendar before you put glue on the door since it sets/dries pretty quickly.
Using a T-square ruler, line the doors up along the bottom edge of the ruler so they are perfectly straight. Leave the ruler there while you are gluing them down so you are placing them in a straight line along the top edge of the ruler.
Next you need to glue the door to the cut circle. Be sure to not go outside cut circle or they will not be able to open the door! Once you have them all glued, put something heavy on top of it for about an hour so it will flatten everything and not be bumpy/lumpy. The downside to using any liquid products with paper is that it will cause the paper to warp. To way combat the problem is to lay heavy objects on the project to flatten it while it's drying. 
In the meantime, you can cut "door handles". I use velveteen floral ribbon because it's strong and the width of it is the perfect length for the strips I need. Cut off 24 1/2 inch pieces (eyeball it) and then cut off the very end at an angel (see photo for reference). Discard the snipped piece.
After the calendar doors have dried for an hour, add some glue to the end of your door handle without the slant cut.
CAREFULLY lift the door AND the cut circle and slide the door handle under the cut circle. If you are using Glossy Accents, you need to work quickly because this glue sets in about 1 minute. Reference photo below for placement of handles I used. You'll want to put a piece of wax paper or parchment paper under the calendar while you are doing this because some glue might ooze out and get on the surface below. Once you have all the handles in place, you'll want to put something heavy on top of it for about an hour while it dries and to flatten things out and make it look nice again. Lifting the edges of the doors will make things look a little "wonky" so flattening it out is a good idea.
Placement of the door handles. The second sheet of paper that was attached with tape is folded under in this shot just to keep it out of the way.
Now add muffin liners and add your goodies. You should also scroll down a few pictures where I explain that I should have punched holes in the corners of the muffin container at this point but forgot.
It's time to add copious amounts of Zots (glue dots) to your muffin container. You'll need to use a lot of these since they are they only thing holding the face of the calendar to your muffin container. Zots a stronger than the average glue dot so I advise you to use these over another brand. Liquid glue is not recommended because it can leak into spots that you don't want it to and it can also cause the surface of the calendar to be lumpy/bumpy due to the amount you would need to use. Just use loads of Zots all over the surface of the muffin container.

This is a roll of Zots.

You'll need to punch a hole in the top 2 corners of muffin container and tie your cord/ribbon. You can actually do this much earlier in the process....I just forgot. So do better than I did.
Crease the bottom of the calendar where it meets the bottom edge of the muffin container and fold it over on top and press it into place. The seam of the 2 sheets of paper that were taped is the bottom/back fold. Press firmly all over so you know the Zots have made contact with the paper.

Flip the calendar over and add Zots to the bottom of the muffin cups now. And fold the back over and press into place.

Using the photo for reference, loop the BACK of the calendar forward being sure to keep the face of the calendar in front. Also be sure to keep your cord/ribbon out the top of the calendar. Clamp each side with binder clamps.

Now is the time for liquid glue. The one I used is called Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue. I recommend you buy this and use it at this stage. It is very sticky and dries very fast and securely. Zots are not going to do it here. Glossy Accents probably would be fine but it will take longer to dry. I know this works so this is what I use. Fold back your cord/ribbon so it's out of the way temporarily (see picture). Run a line of glue along the top edge. The amount shown in the picture is WAY TOO MUCH. But that's ok. You can take a scrap of paper or something (not your do not want to get it on your finger because then you will be getting glue on everything you touch!) and spread it along the edge of the paper and thus removing the excess.
Working somewhat quickly, move the binder clips up to the very edge of the paper now and press the glued edge down. Make sure the placement of the cord/ribbon is correct at this point as well. You'll have to hold the edge of the paper for a minute or so and any spots that don't want to stay down. This glue is strong enough and sticky enough that it will hold pretty quickly. Be sure to remove any Tombow glue that oozes out because it dries very tacky and will attract everything little thing and make your project look bad. You can clean off any that oozes out with a napkin while the glue is still wet. It should not leave much residue behind. Once the glue is dry, it's too late! You can try to erase it with an eraser, but it will pick up the color of the eraser and it just ends up being a mess. So remove the ooze while it's wet. Set the calendar aside to dry for a while.

Final product!

Supply List:

X-Acto Basic Shapes Templates (Model# x2017)
X-Acto Swivel Knife (Model# x3253)         
Foam cushioning roll for cutting on (Home Depot)                             
Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue (Michael's, Hobby Lobby)
Zots glue dots (Michael's, Hobby Lobby)
2 sheets (minimum) of matching patterned paper
Solid card stock (doors)
Ink pad (coordinating color to pattern paper)                                                      
24 pan muffin container (grocery stores, baking supply stores, online)
Muffin cup liners                                                               
Velveteen floral ribbon (door handles)
Cord/ribbon (hanger)
Martha Stewart Advent calendar stamps (Ebay, Amazon)
Glossy Accents liquid adhesive (Michael's, Hobby Lobby)
T-square ruler
Binder clips
Hole punch
Small tip stylus (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, art supply stores)
Paper cutter/trimmer
Corner rounder (optional) a bakery!

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