DIY Advent Calendar

November 19, 2013 | Christmas, DIY

Hiiiii! Happy Tuesday :)

I’m curious – do any of you do Advent Calendars in your house? We didn’t really have them growing up, but when I did an exchange to Switzerland in year 11, my host family did it beautifully, with boxes lining the staircase, each one holding a little gift or message. I loved it, and it’s stuck with me all these years (thanks Maryline!)! So I thought it might be fun to do another one this year – for my Husband, seeing as we have no kiddies ;)

I had grand plans for this advent calendar, but I’ll be honest – it ended up being a little more time-consuming and tricky than I’d thought! It was one of those DIYs that had me debating whether to keep pushing on with it, or pack it in and admit defeat. As you can see, I did push on with it, and I’m glad I did. I think it’ll be really fun :)

Advent Calendar DIY

So this is it: I made some lidless boxes out of Kraft card, fill each box with a gift/message, then covered the openings with tissue paper. So when each day comes, my hubby will break through the tissue and find a prize. I can imagine kids would love the act of breaking into each box with their hands to find a surprise inside, don’t you think? And I’m pretty sure normally Advent Calendars only go to day 24, but I thought opening one on Christmas day would be nice too.

So, if you’d like to give this a go I’ll put some instructions below. If you’re not crazy like me and would prefer to just buy 25 boxes (approx. 10cm x 10cm) instead of making them – I’d recommend it! It’d make the whole DIY easier and save a lot of time and hand-ache! In that case, you can skip to Step 4.

Here’s what you’ll need:
- 25 x A3 size, medium weight card (any colour, thick enough to hold it’s own weight, but thin enough to be cut and folded)
- Scissors, Ruler, Pencil
- Stapler and lots of staples
- Tissue Paper
- Sticky Tape
- Advent Numbers printed on sticker paper, then cut or punched out (LETTER or A4)
- Little gifts or messages to fill your boxes!

Step 1.
On one sheet of A3 card, measure out a box template (see below). I ended up doing mine with 99mm sides so that it’d fit exactly across the width of my A3 card. You can make them whatever size you like though – just make sure they’re deep enough to hold little gifts, and wide enough for a hand. Cut template out.

Advent Calendar DIYStep 2.
Use this first box as a template, and trace around it onto the rest of your A3 sheets of card. Cut them all out.

Advent Calendar DIY

Step 3.
Using a ruler as a guide, fold in the sides and the flaps on each box. Make sure they’re clean, sharp folds. Use a stapler to attach the flaps to the sides, forming your box. You can also glue these, but it takes a lot longer!

Advent Calendar DIYStep 4.
Now that you’ve got your boxes (or if you bought boxes), it’s now time to fill and seal them. I’d recommend writing a list of which gifts will go in each day so you can keep track of what’s where, and spread out any bigger gifts.

Start by cutting the tissue paper into approx. 13 x 13 cm squares. Choose whichever colours you’d like – I chose gold :)

Advent Calendar DIYStep 5.
Take a box, and put the gift inside. If the gift is too big to fit in the box, put a little note or clue to tell them where to find it. It’s fun that way! :)

Advent Calendar DIYStep 6.
Cut off 4 lengths of sticky tape, each slightly longer than one side of the box. Stick the tissue over the box opening, starting with two opposite sides first, then fold in the other two sides like you’d wrap a gift. Use the remaining sticky tape to stick them down. Tissue paper is quite fragile, so you might have to be gentle.

Advent Calendar DIY

Step 7.
Lastly, take the Advent Numbers you cut out before and gently stick the corresponding number into the middle of the tissue paper. That’s it!

Finish the rest of the boxes, then work out how you’d like to stack them. I found that when mine were stacked, they could be a little wobbly, so I ran a strip of washi tape along the length (underneath and on top) of each row to hold them together. You could also stick them to a board.

Advent Calendar DIY

So as you can see, it’s fairly involved! But it’ll make December just that much more fun :)

See all our DIYs here!

{Freebie} iPhone Wallpapers 5

April 25, 2013 | Freebies

I haven’t done a phone background freebie for a while, so I thought now would be a good time :)

In keeping with the theme of the stamp town DIY we did a few weeks ago, here are 3 wallpapers for you to jazz up your phones. I hope you like them!

To install them on your phone:

1. Click and hold your finger over the image you want to use.
2. Click Save Image.
3. Now navigate to your Camera Roll, find the image and select ‘Use as Wallpaper’. Choose whether you want to set the home screen, lock screen, or both.. and you’re done!

* these wallpapers are for personal use only*

DIY Geometric Stamp Town

April 11, 2013 | DIY

So, it turns out I’m not quite ready to be finished with little stamp houses yet, I hope you don’t mind :) I’m so happy with how this little artwork turned out! And it’s even EASIER than the last one, if you can believe it, with no special carving tools needed at all. There are so many things that can be formed from geometric shapes, so by creating a bunch of geometric stamps (squares, rectangles, triangles) in different sizes, we can then get creative constructing all sorts of different buildings! I’m sure this isn’t a new idea, but jee it’s fun :) There are endless possibilities! So lets get down to it shall we? Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials

- Stamp block (if you’re in Singapore, I got mine from Daiso, but Jo also sells really nice ones here)
- Pencil
- Scalpel/knife
- Ruler
- Paper/card to print on
- Stamp pads/ink (most of mine have been bought at markets, or given to me as gifts, so unfortunately I’m not really sure of the best places to get the exact same ones!)
- Lino tools (optional)

**If you’re interested in creating something exactly the same as mine, here’s a PDF of the shapes I used, and you can find the ink colours I used below**

Step 1. I started by planning my shapes on a piece of scrap paper (you can download them here). Remember that rectangles and triangles can be rotated to create another variation. I also found it useful to create triangles to fit one edge of the squares/rectangles. This way your roof will match the base of your house.

Use your pencil and ruler to mark out squares/rectangles/triangles in various sizes on your stamp block, then use your knife to carefully cut them out. My block was thick enough that I didn’t need to mount the stamp onto anything, but you can if you want to.

Step 2. Take the paper/card you want your artwork on and, using no ink to start with, lay out the first row of houses to get a feel for placement. Play around with the shapes, be creative! Once you’re happy with the placement of the first line, you can start inking and printing. I’d recommend keeping a damp cloth next to you to clean off each stamp between printings. Also – be very careful when handling the inked stamps! I ruined my first artwork attempt by dropping an inked stamp onto my page by accident. Such a bummer!

Step 3. Continue laying out and stamping your little houses until you’re happy with it. Don’t forget the details like doors and windows!

And that’s it! You’re done. Frame it and stand back to admire your work :)

I’m hoping to share some more suggestions of what you can create using these geometric stamps in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! :)

DIY Stamp Village

February 7, 2013 | DIY

A little while ago now I bought a couple of blank rubber stamp blocks with the idea I would carve them up into something awesome and amazing. Alas, awesome and amazing didn’t happen at the time, and so they’ve just stayed in the draw, forgotten and unloved… until now, that is!

I’m still not sure ‘awesome and amazing’ has happened, but would you settle for cute and fun?

I thought with Valentine’s coming up, these sweet little houses would be great for decorating wrapping paper, cards, tags, or little bags.. and once Valentine’s is over, you could even carve yourself a little bird or some smoke to stamp in place of the hearts. :)

Here’s what you’ll need:

- A pen or pencil (having now tried both, pencil is probably better)
- Rubber stamp blocks (if you live in Singapore, try Love Sprouts – Jo not only sells blank blocks, but also some of the most gorgeous and finely carved stamps I’ve seen!)
- Carving Tool (mine has interchangeable heads – try Amazon.com)

*Please note that I’ve never taken a class to learn how to carve stamps, and am by no means good at it! The steps below are just created from my own experience. You do whatever works best for you, and if you want to share any awesome tips or tricks you’ve learned, please let me know in the comments!

Step 1.
Use your pen/pencil to draw your design on the rubber block (remember it will be reversed when you stamp it). If you’ve got lines to cut out, make sure you draw them fairly thick so it’s easier to see where you want to carve. Cut the block down so it’s about the size of your drawing (not too much free space around the drawing).

Step 2.
Carve out your stamp. I started with the smallest head on my carving tool and went around all the edges of my house first before using the larger heads to take out the bulk areas, and finishing the details with the smaller heads again. But it’s entirely up to you how you want to tackle it. As you can see it’s far from perfect, but still gives a cool effect!

Step 3.
One I was finished, I washed the stamp off (this is why it’s better to use pencil, pen could transfer onto the paper even after it’s been washed) and dried it. I then tested my stamp with ink, and carved a bit more once I’d seen how the stamp came out. And that’s it – start stamping! Repeat these steps for as many houses as you want, and don’t forget the little hearts that come out of the chimney. I did the hearts separately so I could stamp them in a different colour, and also so they could be interchangeable (with smoke, or a bird) down the track.

(you can see here that I did one in pen, and the others in pencil. When I went to print the one I’d outlined in pen, the first few prints also come out a bit blue).