Thursday, 16 December 2010

How to make the Christmas Tree advent calendar!

As a result of the mystery kit challenge on UKS I have had several requests for instructions on how to make the Christmas Tree Advent Calendar I entered so here goes......

Fisrt of all - you need to make and decorate the twist boxes (all 25 of them!). I used a Stampin' Up! die to make mine, but a template to make them can be found HERE. I was limited in the challenge to just using black and white cardstock, paint and ink, but feel free to make them up in colours of your choice. I made 13 black ones and 12 white ones and decorated the middle section with patterned papers from the kit. Its best to add the paper before folding and sticking! Don't add too much extra embellishment around the middle section as these need to fit quite tightly into the shelves on the tree

(NB You need 25 boxes to make the base and the triangle shape)

Use punches to make numbered tags to match the boxes using the papers and card (I used Safmat to print the numbers) and attach to one end of the twist box. Open the other end, insert gift and close up.

Set aside 4 boxes to use in the "pot" of the tree and lay out the remaining 21 in a triangle with 6 on the bottom layer, 5 on the next and so on up to 1 in the top layer measure each layer and add a bit extra to each to allow for the triangle slope. I advise you to measure your boxes before starting the frame as they will vary slightly in size - and you don't want to make the tree frame too small!

I used the pizza box the kit came in to make my frame, but you can use mountboard for a more polished result. If using the pizza box, be careful how you cut it up. For the sides and "shelves", you want the corrugations to run the length of the cardboard piece for rigidity. the pot strip can be cut either way, but if you want the frame to be free standing when empty, you need to have it cut lengthways too!

My card pieces were cut as follows (and this gave a fairly tight result) - all strips are 2 1/2" wide

2 side pieces @13"
1 base piece @ 11 1/4"
shelves@ 3 1/2", 5 1/4", 7", 8 1/4" and 9 1/2"
pot frame @ 13"

Paint the cardboard pieces using acrylic paint in the colour of your choice and set aside to dry completely before spritzing with mica mist or glimmer mist. if using patterned papers on the sloping sides, add them at this stage

Cut a lot of cardstock pieces which match the painted cardstock, 2 1/2" long by 1" wide and fold in half lengthways - these are for the shelf supports. I used my ATG gun to assemble the tree but strong double sided tape would also work - you need a strong DRY adhesive for this!

Start by hinging the two side pieces together at the top (all hinges should be on the INSIDE of the frame) and then add the base at one side only. Starting from the bottom of each side, mark light pencil lines across the strips at 1 3/4" intervals to show where you need to attach the shelves.

Add hinges to both top and bottom of each end of the shelves, but leave the free edges free of glue until you are ready to insert them. I started with the top shelf and matched the upper side of the shelf to the pencil line. Ensure you have a strong join by using a bone folder to press the hinges firmly onto the sides. Add each shelf in size order and finish up by joining the free side to the base. Cut a piece of white card 2 1/2" x 4", tear or punch the short edges, fold in half and glue this over the apex to hide any mess, and likewise over the bottom corners if need be.

For the base, fold the base strip in to 4(fold in half then bend each leg back on itself so you have a W shape), open up and fold into a square and secure with a hinge. Use a really strong glue or tape to attach this square centrally to the base of your triangle. I put the boxes for the 22nd to the 25th in the base to ensure the tree stayed standing for the duration but the others should be popped in randomly with 1 box on the top shelf and 6 on the bottom.

Finally finish off the tree with extra embellishments of your choice. The large snowflakes on mine were the TANDO chipboard snowflakes inked with SU white craft ink and embellished with Kaisercraft rhinestones, and snowflakes punched from mica misted white cardstock finished off with a rhinestone centre.

Thanks for looking and good luck with making your versions!