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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Matchbox Advent Calendar Chest Tutorial

Just in time for Christmas is a fun Matchbox Chest Advent Calendar project that can be enjoyed by your entire family.  I learned about advent calendars when I lived in Germany as a child (my dad was in the military and was stationed there).  My mother would purchase a calendar each Christmas and my sister and I would take turns opening a door each day and eating the chocolate it contained.  I thought my matchbox chest project would make a great advent calendar project.  If you are not familiar with advent calendars they are calendars that count down the days until Christmas; starting on December 1st and ending on December 25th.  Most have doors that when opened; reveal a piece of chocolate or a Christmas themed image. 

In this calendar each day is represented by a matchbox drawer.  There are 25 matchboxes in total (5 across and 5 high).  With having a drawer as opposed to a door you can have larger surprises.  The overall dimensions of the cabinet are:
Entire Piece: 11” High x 7 ½” Wide x 2 3/8” Deep
Drawers with Foam Core Border: 4 ½ “ High x 7 ¼” Wide x 2 ¼” Deep
Height of Feet: 1 ¼” Tall
Stuff on the Top of the Cabinet: 5” Tall
The charms are the drawer pulls.  To see the number or date of the drawer you just lift the charm.  The numbers are not in order as I think that is more fun.
In this post I’m going to cover the differences between the matchbox chest I demonstrate in the video tutorial and this Matchbox Advent Calendar Chest.  For general information on how to make a matchbox chest you can watch my video tutorial.
At the bottom of this post is a complete list of products I used for this project that are carried by Alpha Stamps.

For this project I used a different matchbox than the one I used for the matchbox chest tutorial.  I needed a larger font to accommodate the day of the month and the Christmas charm that acts as a pull.  You can see in the picture below the difference in the matchboxes.  The one on the right is the one I used for the advent calendar and the one on the left is the one I used for the matchbox chest.

The one I used for the calendar is 2 ¼” long x ¾” tall by 1 ¼” wide.  Alpha Stamps is carrying them and they come in a box of 8.  You’ll need 4 boxes to make this cabinet.  The container that the individual matchboxes come in, are also a large matchbox.  Stay tuned for another project using the larger matchbox container.
Using this matchbox had two other advantages; I could insert larger objects in the box, and all of the surfaces where white which worked well with the Christmas theme and required no inking or papering (except the front of the drawer) which made the project faster.
I did this for a couple of reasons.  First, it gave me a nice deep frame around the front of the chest to accommodate the paper and embellishments.  You can see in the picture below where I have glued the Antique Silver Leaf Flourishes to the front of the cabinet.  These were originally silver, I added some gold and then Diamond Stickles in the grooves for sparkle.
Second, it gave me a surface that I could easily poke with a pin to insert dimensional embellishments.  One of the tricks I use to get paper images to stand up by themselves is to insert a pin in between the image and the backing of cardstock and or decorative paper.  In the picture below I used this technique to attach the images to the top of the cabinet.  The Star Tinsel is wired so you can strip off the coating and stick the wire into the foam core as well. 

  1. Snip the head off of a small straight pin.
  2. Glue your image to a piece of light cardstock.  You want to use light cardstock because by the time you have all three layers together it gets hard to cutout the image.  The light cardstock makes the image stiffer but not too hard to cut out.  Cutout the image.
  3. Glue the pin to the cardstock at the point where you want to attach the image to the foam core.  I used Glossy Accents.
  4. Glue the cardstock to decorative paper.  This is so that it will look pretty from the back side.  Another option is to print the image in reverse and back the original image with a reverse of that image that way it looks the same from both sides.  
Now you are ready to add the image to the chest.  To attach the image to the top of the chest I pre-poked a hole with a needle then inserted the image with the pin into the hole.  Voila!  The image is standing by itself, it looks good from both sides and you can’t see the pin.

You all know how I love adding feet to my projects.  For the chest I used two beads glued together.  I thought the beads looked like Christmas ornaments.  These beads have large holes so I inserted a wooden skewer (painted with Silver Alcohol Ink) to give them more stability.  I added a little Glossy Accents to the dowel before sliding it through the beads.  
I sniped off both ends of the dowel so that it was flush with the beads.  I painted parts of the beads with Gold Alcohol Ink.  Before attaching the beads to the bottom of the cabinet I glued them to a silver washer.  This was to give me more surface area to glue the beads to the bottom of the cabinet.  Just gluing the tip of the bead to the cabinet did not provide enough surface area to make the feet stable.

The front of the drawers is the only thing decorated on the matchboxes.  The white of the boxes matched my color scheme.  I used the number stickers from the Turtle Dove line for the numbers on the front of the drawers.   
The charms act as the drawer pulls.  Lifting the charm reveals the number or date.  All of the charms were originally a gold color.   I jazzed them up by adding silver, red, black and green paint and Stickles for sparkle. 
Paper lines that would work well for this project are: Joyeux Noel 6x6 Paper Pad and Festive 6x6 Paper Pad – These are the papers I used for my Christmas Mini Albums & Bookshelf Tutorial.  Click here to see the tutorial if you missed it.  Two others are: City Sidewalks 8x8 Paper Pack and Santa Journey 8x8 Paper Pad.

You can fill your drawers with whatever you like such as candy or small presents.  I also thought it would be fun to have other types of treats or prizes such as getting special privileges like being the one to pass out the presents (this was a big one in our house) or being allowed to open a present early.  Below are some of the ones I could think of.  Feel free to download the images and use them as prizes in your calendar.  I also included a blank one in case you want to create your own.  They are sized to fit the matchbox drawers or you can roll them up and tie them with a ribbon (prolonging the suspense).
Pulling from a grab bag would be a great way to deal with items that are too big to fit in the drawers.

There is a lot of space at the top of the cabinet to add whatever you desire.  I certainly had fun filling it up will all kinds of stuff.  As I discussed previously, having a foam core top made is so easy to attach elements like the images and the Star Tinsel.
The tree comes already flocked in white.  I cut up Mardi gras beads and glued them on the tree with Glossy Accents.
The lantern (oh the lantern)….I LOVE this lantern and you are going to see it again and again in more of my projects.  The pole is a wooden dowel.  I cut a notch in the top of the dowel and glued the ornament hook in the notch (using E6000 glue).  The lantern was original all gold.  I used Silver Alcohol ink to paint the scrolls and then added green crystals.  With the top of the cabinet being foam core it was easy to punch a hole in the top and insert and glue the dowel in place.
I decided to add the packages (which are blocks of wood covered in the Turtle Dove paper) to give me a way of suspending the clock.  The paper die cut (from the Turtle Dove line) is backed with light cardstock and decorative paper (to make it stiff).  The packages are glued to the top of the cabinet, the die cut image is glued to the packages and the clock and other embellishments are glued to the die cut image.  My thought process started with me wanting a clock and then I worked backwards to figure out how to hang it.  The swirls in the die cut image made me think of a decorative pole so I just needed a way to anchor it to the top of the cabinet and that’s where the packages came in.  The whole assemblage was too heavy for my straight pin trick.

I used the decorative paper die cuts to cover the sides of the cabinet.  Because the sides are foam core you could use the same trick to poke stuff in the sides as in the top.
I added snow to the top of the cabinet by drizzling Glossy Accents on the top and then sprinkling the glue with white flocking.  What I didn’t realize is that some of the glue dripped down the back of the cabinet.  Eeek!!!  My solution was to add more glue to the back and sprinkle it with Diamond Dust to create ice cycles.  Problem solved!

I hope you have fun creating a cabinet for your family and enjoying it for years to come. 


Matchbox Full of Matchboxes – You’ll need 4
Antique Silver Leaf Flourishes – On the front of the cabinet

Papers, Borders & Stickers
Visions of Christmas Die-Cut Cardstock Borders – Trim around the front of the cabinet
Turtle Dove Numbers Sticker Sheet – Numbers on the front of drawers
Christmas Emporium: Joyous Noel Scrapbook Paper – Wording at the bottom of cabinet
Dazzles GoldHolly Stickers – Clock from back view and pole
Paper lines that would work well for this project are: Joyeux Noel 6x6 Paper Pad and Festive 6x6 Paper Pad – These are the papers I used for my Christmas Mini Albums & Bookshelf Tutorial.  Click here to see the tutorial if you missed it.  Two others are: City Sidewalks 8x8 Paper Pack and Santa Journey 8x8 Paper Pad.

Images on the top of the cabinet

Other Embellishments
Mardi Gras Beads – On the tree
Fly Away Resin Birds Set – By the clock
Christmas Green Buttons – Around the clock
Star Tinsel – On the top
Giant Snowflakes – Behind the clock
Swirl Ornament Hooks – To hang the lantern
Tiny Sheer Ribbon Red and Cream – Used on the Packages

Drawer Pulls

Used to Decorate Drawer Pulls & Leaf Flourishes


Createology said...

Now this is the magic of Christmas! Your creation is breathtaking and I love it. Thank you so much for sharing your very special techniques. Blessings to you...

Mixed Media/ Altered Crafts said...

Stunning work as always! Thanks for sharing your tips & tutorials! Hugs,Tee

Seahorse Ranch Girl said...

Can I still be surprised by your ingenuity? YES! This is so charming Laura. Terrific tip on how to get those little people to stand on top of the cabinet. Thank you.

Rhea said...

Super cool project Laura. I have lantern envy Big time.

Diane at Craftin Your HeART Out! said...

Hi Laura, Oh My Goodness!!!! I was in AC Moore just yesterday and they had a white configuration type box for an Advent Calendar...I HAD IT IN MY HANDS....but ended up putting it back!!! Am I ever glad that I did. This Advent Calendar made with Matchboxes is a definite must make for me. It is beautiful. But then again all your work is...

Thanks so much for the Tutorial.

Have a great weekend.
Take care,

BethW said...

It would take from now until next Christmas to do something like this.You are incredible and this should be in a museum.

chrissie said...

This is just amazing with so many ideas to think about and inspire.It is so kind of you to explain how you make everything and I feel that may be one day I will be able to make one myself.

Love Chrissie xx

Neil said...

What a lovely project! So much detail to absorb. It's gorgeous, thanks for sharing it!

Joanne said...

You continue to amaze and tempt me. I would love to make this but alas, not this year as I wouldn't be able to source everything in the UK in time. But - my lovely step daughters and I plan crafty sessions next year, so watch this space. Thank you again Laura.

Unknown said...

Quel merveilleux monde féerique ce calendrier de l'avent. C'est tout simplement splendide. merci de ce beau partage.

HI! I'm Tabitha said...

Laura this is soo amazing... thank you so much for sharing the tutorial...

Unknown said...

As always out of this world! Wish I had time to make my own, I'me still playing with my apothecary LOL.

Unknown said...

I love the lantern. It looks amazing. X

Lynn Stevens said...

WOW Laura, This is AMAZING!!! I'm speechless!
hugs Lynn

Unknown said...

Laura, you have done it again! This is truly incredible! Omg, that lantern:) Thank you so much for sharing your tips.


Henny said...

So much work, but it is so beautiful!
I love it.

cathy said...

Stunning piece.

2amscrapper said...

You are brilliant---your creations are amazing!

art by wendy said...

this is absolutly amazing! I LOVE everything about it!Stunning! :)

Gerrina said...

What a stunning craft creation! Unbelievebel how much work this must have been...
Came here for the first time and looked around; you make so many beautiful crafts!
And thank you for sharing the free images; coppied a few to use in the futere. Greetings, Gerrina

Machele O'Dufaigh said...

Pure enchantment! When one closes their eyes and dreams of Christmas surely this is what they see. How absolutely wonderful♥

Rick said...

This is just breath taking-someone shared this with an altered art group which is where I saw it and I have sent it on to my design team for inspiration-so its traveling the world-Congrads on your remarkable work!!!

artwolf2009 said...

Thank you soo much for showing the back and your advice with the patterned paper

Hazel (Didos) said...

WOW Laura this is another stunning piece of work, I love it, Hazelxo

Sue Young said...

If I wasn't so worn out still from doing the wonderful Potions and Poisons APothecary...I might attempt this! Next year.

johala said...

Oh Laura how can you imagine so fantastic things! It's so beautiful, that I went on Alpha stamp and bought a lot of decorations and boxes! LOL

Unknown said...

I love this tutorial, thanks so much for sharing! it is a shame that Alpha takes so long to ship their product, I ordered the same day you posted this and live in the same state and I still don't have it, this is the second time this has happened and I hoped to get one finished for my Grandchildren. Wonderful products they have and poor service. Maybe you can pass the on the info.
Hugs Marilou

Katalina Jewelry said...

I just discovered your blog today and am excited to start following it. You have very fun ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

SusanLotus said...

It has been a while since I scrolled through your blog and here is just sooo much beautiful things to see!
Gorgeous creations!