Instructables
Picture of Altoids Advent calendar
This time of year, kids can hardly wait for the man in the red suit to bring toys to all good girls and boys. One way to help kids count the days is with an Advent calendar. But why settle for an old-fashioned paper one? Make a 3-D sculpture that can hold a small surprise for every day between now and Christmas Eve! Plus, it's a great way to upcycle all those Altoids tins you've been saving.

What you need:

Tins
Paper
Pencil
Scissors
MDF/Particle board
Jigsaw
Sandpaper
Spray paint
Epoxy
Numbers

You can also read this tutorial on my blog:
http://sassycrafter.blogspot.com/2008/11/christmas-countdown.html.
 
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Step 1: Prepare the tree

Picture of Prepare the tree
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Arrange 24 tins in a tree shape on a large piece of paper. Trace around the tree and around each tin. Cut out the tree pattern and use then transfer it onto the particle board. (Note: I actually did the layout directly on the MDF, but it's easier in the long run to create a pattern.)

Cut out the tree using the jigsaw, then sand rough edges and wipe off residual dust.

Spray paint the tree and the tins, adding extra coats if necessary.



Step 2: Attach the tins

Picture of Attach the tins
Figure out which tin goes where by referring to your pattern, and then attach the tins to the tree with two-part epoxy. Apply number decals to the tins, add some candy or other surprises, and then count the days until Santa arrives!

Step 3: Count the days 'till Christmas!

Picture of Count the days 'till Christmas!
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Add a treat to each tin and count down the days until Christmas.

(Note: You could add decorative paper to the inside of each tin to give the tree a more festive look as the tins are each opened.)
Very cool! How brilliant are you? Thanks for posting, and Merry Christmas to you!
katybeesh2 years ago
great idea! this is so cute. i love it!
sassycrafter (author) 3 years ago
Your son's idea is great -- calling it an Ad-mint calendar would be perfect!
Shalah4 years ago
I'm not sure if it was mentioned in a post, but my son saw this and said you should call it an Ad"MINT" calendar :-) Happy Holidays!
This is awesome!  Thanks so much for posting it!  I'm definitely going to put one together next year :-)
sassycrafter (author)  fishfacewannabe5 years ago
 Cool! That will give you plenty of time to collect the tins.
and eat the altoids throughout the year instead of going into a a sugar coma
twighahn4 years ago
cover the fronts with wrapping paper or decorate them with paint or use last years christmas or ribbons or glue candy or cookies to them
brassclams4 years ago
Whaddya do with the actual Altoids?
Eat em!! yumyumyumyumyum delisioso!! sugar high!!
riggita5 years ago
Ohmygoodness! This is so cool. Too bad I didn't find it until after Christmas. Then again, now I have time to collect a bunch of cool little tins for next Christmas.
sassycrafter (author)  riggita5 years ago
Start saving!
Bartboy6 years ago
cool! but id rather just leave the tins as they are....
sassycrafter (author)  Bartboy6 years ago
Good point--the tins can add a lot of interest if left unpainted. In fact, they almost look like real Christmas tree ornaments. However, I was looking for a more streamlined, mid-century vibe so I decided to paint them.
i agree with sassycrafter i like the silver look better, cleaner. You may wan't to try sanding them and maybe buffing or polishing aswell to get the raw metal look.
That's a good idea. Or i wonder if a chemical could be used to remove the color - nah - a mechanical solution is probably best.
I agree, the tins are cool!
Yeah! Especially with all the different types!