I wanted to surprise my wife with something memorable for Christmas and to thank her for doing a great job raising our kids. Our kids enjoy an advent calendar every morning so I had the idea to give her the same joy, but with something more up her alley.
I created "Mommy's Advent Calendar" which is a set of larger boxes containing miniature wine bottles filled with wine and mini m&m's (but mostly wine).
Just like your standard advent calendar, each day there is a treat. Only this calendar is meant to be opened after a long day of work and raising kids.
Step 1: Parts
These are the parts you will need to complete this project:
- Access to a 3D printer
- 2-3 different color filament (recommend red, white, and green)
- Large bottle of your (her) favorite wine
- Mini M&Ms
- Miniature wine bottles (24): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MMT8XH4/
- Heat gun / lighter
- STL files for printing
Step 2: Preparing
I boiled each of the bottles to make sure they were clean prior to filling them.
I then filled 18 of the bottles about half full with wine. One large wine bottle was all I needed. Looking back, I would have filled each bottle completely as a full bottle is about one glass.
I filled the remaining 6 bottles with mini M&Ms. Regular size M&Ms wouldn't fit in the bottle opening.
The bottles are easily sealed using the included heat shrink wrap. I started with a hair drier but it was taking way too long. I moved to a mini torch and was able to seal them all quickly.
Step 3: Printing
I spent a while thinking of options to hold the bottles. I went through various iterations and ended up with the design I used. It took a while to print, and probably used a lot more filament than I needed, but the holidays were starting and I wanted to make sure it was finished in time. In retrospect, I didn't need to print a full box for each of the internal bottles but oh well.
I printed out 24 boxes using the box I designed: 12 red and 12 green. I was able to print 6 at a time in about 13 hours.
I also printed out 24 covers (doors) but chose to do red, white, and green to add some more color. Again, 6 at a time in about 3 hours.
I wanted something simple for the handle so I reused a chicken beak that I made for a previous project. I printed 8 at a time for these and it only took a few minutes.
The text was created by using a file I found on Thingiverse and customized using their Customizer app. It was design for dual printing but I just colored the text using a sharpie.
Step 4: Building
One all of the parts were finished, I started gluing them together using ABS glue or ABS slurry. This is made by combining acetone with a bit of filament. The mixture turns into a paste that is excellent for gluing together pieces of ABS.
I started by gluing pairs of red and green boxes together. Then the pairs into four. Then the fours into eight. Then...you get the idea. Eventually I was left with a grid of 24 boxes.
Each of the handles were attached to a door of the same color. I randomly generated a sequence of the numbers 1-24 and wrote them on the doors with a sharpie.
The text was glued to the top using more ABS glue.
Step 5: Putting It All Together
Now that the advent calendar was built, I put in each of the wine bottles and attached the doors. The doors fit well but I added a small piece of tape to give them a little more friction when opening.
I covered everything up with a box and waited for the surprise in the morning.
Several days down and it's still a hit!