Geometric Advent Calendar
I refuse to buy chocolate advent calendars, mostly because I don’t want one more excuse for the kids to eat crap in the morning before they have even brushed their teeth. Thankfully I haven’t even needed to consider them because when the kids were born their talented Grandma quilted lovely wall hanging calendars. While we will keep these beautiful wall hangings forever, my kids are getting bigger, their interest seem to be getting bigger and I feel like the only things that fit into the little pockets anymore are either chocolates or cold hard cash. Not. Gonna. Happen. I don't think that I spoil my kids often, at least I TRY not to, but I am excited to surprise them with a few hockey cards or a tiny ornament craft.
I had a vision of what I wanted in my head but I couldn’t find it anywhere, and so I figured I might need to find a small business that could make it for me. When my husband suggested we make it together I just about fell over (I am definitely the only crafter out of the two of us) and I am sure he was regretting his kind offer at midnight last night when I was poking him in the side telling him that if I am on a deadline, he is too.
Somehow it came together! It was shockingly easy, by no means perfect but on a somewhat miserable (one of “those” days) day, it felt wonderful to blare some bad 80s tunes and use my hands to drill, sand and paint. I feel so much better when I’m messy.
If you want to try it out too, here is the basic how-to:
SUPPLIES (double them if you want to make 2 like I did):
4 -2”x1”x8’ unfinished pine boards (only 7 if you are making 2)
13x2” flat corner braces
51 wood screws (I used 8x3/4”)
wood glue (I used Gorilla Wood Glue)
wood filler (I used Elmers Wood Filler)
paint (I used chalk paint because it is super easy to distress, but regular latex (interior house paint) or even spray paint would work really well depending on the look you are going for)
clear coat varnish (I used Tremclad Clear Coat)
24 cup hooks
floor drop (to protect the floor)
kitchen scrubby (only used if you are distressing chalk paint)
nail gun (could probably try this with a hammer and finishing nails, you would just have to be very careful)
palm sander (optional, a sanding block alone would have been fine)
I started by laying out my project. The height I chose was 6’ and the base 3’. This finished “tree” size makes all of angled cuts 75 degrees with the exception of the tip of the tree and this is 2 cuts of 15 degrees. To make my project 6’ tall from floor to tip, the long side boards needed to be 74” long.
Cut top corners 15 degrees so that when they meet they form a sharp tip, and bottom corners 75 degrees (all of the cross boards will also have this 75 degree angle on each end). (A mitre saw will have the angle build right in and you can just pre-set it, but I both used this and also traced the line with a pencil right on my boards while I had them laid out.
Your base board will be 33.5” with 75 degree angles on the ends.
Now you should have three outside pieces, essentially “the triangle frame”. I brought them inside to put them together.
Each joint gets a little bit of wood glue before you nail/screw/brace.
And then I used the nail gun (okay my hubby did that part, this thing was a little outside of my basic screw/drill expertise). Jocelyn, my brilliant woodworking friend….just stop reading now. I don’t have your skill!
Once the top and bottom angles are glued and nailed together, you are going to screw the 2” L brackets across the backside of the joints to make them sturdy (the photo is taken once the first 2 screws went in, but yes, you need to use all 4).
We decided that we wanted our cross boards at 12” increments coming up from the floor. I marked them off and we levelled the first board. While my husband held it level, I used a pencil to trace out my 75 degree corners.
We then repeated these steps for all 5 of the cross boards. Once cut, we repeated the same process above to connect them (glue, nail and then brace).
We propped it up next and used the wood filler (putty) on the larger joints. The photos below show you how. You just drag a little bit on and fill the holes while you wipe it flat. A little goes a long way. You will need to let it dry overnight.
I woke up to a dry, fully assembled project. I took it outside and gave it a quick little sanding, getting into the inside corners with one of the sanding blocks. I never bothered to fill my nail holes on the sides, because I knew I was going to be distressing it a bit anyways.
One quick coat of light paint, and a quick coat of dark (that is the joy of Chalk paint…only a few minutes for it to dry) , a bit of distressing with a kitchen scrubby, and she was starting to look snazzy.
Chalk paint isn’t super durable, and so I chose to spray on some sealant just to protect it from added wear and tear. If you use spray paint, this step probably isn’t necessary.
The last step is the hooks. I decided where I wanted them and measured and marked them with a pen and then pre-drilled holes (use a drill bit that is smaller than the hook screw size, you want the hook to still fit tightly.)
Here is one of them finished.
I had some reusable boxes, tins, stockings and bags from the dollar store for their surprises and we will save all of the packaging for years to come just to prevent waste.
If you try it, or some version of, share what you come up with, I would love to see. Now go…get MESSY! I promise, it feels so good.