My First Instructable. Keeping it simple. Got tired of buying those cheap advent calendars every year. Here is a simple design for an advent calander.
You will need:
Your kids to help!!
Hot Glue Gun
A sheet of 5mm MDF
A length of 40mm tubing.
A length of 20mm tubing
Some Poster Paint
Advent Numbers from the
Step 1: Cut the Tubing to Form the Holes for the Sweets.
First Cut the 20mm pipe into 25 short lengths approximately 70mm long (Make as short or as long as you like, the longer it is the more sweets you have to put in there:-))
I used a simple Jig made out of some scrap wood and a sharpie. This allowed me to cut 25 pieces exactly the same length.
Step 2: Cut the 20mm Tube to Form Spacers
Cut a number or lengths of 20mm tube for spacers. You will need at least 25. Make sure the Spacers are shorter than the 40 mm tubes cut in Step 1.
Step 3: Hot Glue the Tubes Together to Form the "Hole Assembly".
Get a willing helper (my little Girl) to space out and glue all the 40mm and 20mm Tubes together to form an irregular array of "Holes" approximately in a Tree Shape.
Lay them out and glue them together on a flat surface so that it is level. While you should not think about this too hard. A good rule of thumb is to make it look random. Don't have holes in a straight line. Alternatively maybe you want a pattern or an array. That is up to you.
Make sure there is at least one 20mm tube between one 40mm and the next. This is to ensure even space. Use more than one spacer if you want to space them more. This is a fun bit for the kids.
While there is no rules here. It is probably a good idea to put one at the top of your Tree for the 25th.
Finally use the spacers to strengthen up the lattice. This is not entirely necessary but if your structure is rigid and can stand up by itself then the next steps will be easier as the "holes" do not move.
When glued together mark one side of the 40mm tube with "Back". This is to make sure it lines up when you cut the front and back.
Step 4: Cut the Front and Back.
Lay the tube assembly with "Back" down, onto your 5mm MDF and then trace around the tubes as closely as possible. This is to form the back. Cut out and mark the MDF with "back" so you know which side to use when you put it back together later.
Turn over the hole assembly onto another piece of 5mm MDF and draw a "tree shape" around your structure. This is free drawing and is up to you how you make it. It does not even have to be a tree!
Mark the MDF where the tubes are sitting with "Front".
Using your sharpie, Trace around the inside of the 40mm tube to mark out where the holes in the tree needs to be cut. Be careful not to move the assembly as you trace.
Remove the Assembly and using a 32mm wood drill cut 25 holes in the center of the marked circles.
Use sand paper to neat up the holes.
(Tip, Predrill the holes with a small 2 mm bit. Then drill from one side with the 32mm bit to about half way through. Turn over and Drill the rest of the way from the other side. This stops break through damaging the bottom surface.
Put the Hole Assembly back on the front, position carefully as before and use hot glue gun to stick Hole assembly to the front. Blobs of glue on the outside of the 40mm Tubes is enough but put as much as you can on to ensure it is firmly and securely stuck to the front.
Use clamps if you want to hold the Hole assembly to the front.
Step 5: Add Legs to Allow It to Stand Up Securly
Mark one leg shape onto an off cut of MDF roughly the shape as in the picture above. (I don't measure these things. I just draw them and cut them out. Mine are about 250 mm long.)
Mark two slots 5mm wide in the Legs to take the back.
It is vital that the slots are angled slightly back as shown to allow the calendar lean back. I made mine about 5 degrees off the vertical but the angle is not critical, so long as it is leaning back but not so far as the assembly will topple over.
Clamp the marked piece of MDF to another roughly the same size and cut out with a Jigsaw.
Test the legs on the back to ensure they are even. Ensure that the top of the slot does not interfere with where the hole assembly will be glued to the back. Glue in place with PVA glue.
Finally glue the back to the hole assembly. Again be liberal with the hot glue gun here to ensure it is securely attached.
Run some black Tape around the gap between the front and back to conceal the hole assembly. I have some 70 mm Duct tape here to do this but you can also use narrower if you layer it. Black is a better color as the whole back will be painted black.
Step 6: Paint
Using the green poster paint paint the tree. Mine has a trunk and a piece of snowy ground. So we painted this brown and white respectively.
Paint the back Black.
Use up and down brush strokes if possible. When the Poster paint dries it will look even but make sure it is regular, No circle or swirly brush strokes:-)
The girls loved doing this.
It may need more than one coat as the MDF Brown does show through the paint. Ours took 3 coats.
Leave to Dry.
Step 7: The Hole Covers.
Google on Google Images "Advent Calendar coloring" and pick a sheet of numbers. Print out the numbers so that each one is about 45/50mm wide to cover the holes.
Use label printer paper. It is called "1 up" where the A4 Sheet is one big sticker.
Again my girls got busy with the markers and colored in.
The Pictures shows the ones we used.
Step 8: Finishing
Finally Fill each of the holes with sweets
Cut out the numbers from your sheet cover the holes by sticking them in place.
Note: The Sticky stuff on the label is not too strong so you can remove them when you are done so you can reuse the calendar next year..
Attach the festive decoration stickers and stick on to decorate (I got mine in a stationary shop, In the Christmas card making art supplies)
Voila!! The finished product ready for advent.
Hope this was useful!!
Let me know what you think. It is my first and I'd love to know how I could improve it..