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:

MDF/Particle board
Spray paint

You can also read this tutorial on my blog:

Step 1: Prepare the tree

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.

Very cool! How brilliant are you? Thanks for posting, and Merry Christmas to you!
great idea! this is so cute. i love it!
Your son's idea is great -- calling it an Ad-mint calendar would be perfect!
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!&nbsp; Thanks so much for posting it!&nbsp; I'm definitely going to put one together next year :-)<br />
&nbsp;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
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
Whaddya do with the actual Altoids?
Eat em!! yumyumyumyumyum delisioso!! sugar high!!
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.
Start saving!
cool! but id rather just leave the tins as they are....
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!

About This Instructable


106 favorites


Bio: I'm a writer and crafty gal living in Gainesville, FL. I have a passion for transforming old castoffs into cool new creations through a ... More »
More by sassycrafter: Altoids Advent calendar Doghouse Nightlight
Add instructable to: