Years ago my mother showed me how to make a simple Advent calendar using shipping tags, canvas, a thrift-store bulletin board, small nails, and mini ornaments.
The numbers you see on the board above were just hand written with a magic marker. It doesn't look too bad, but since I've used it for years and plan to continue the tradition, I thought I'd update it just a bit. And as long as I was going to take it apart, I figured some of you might like to learn how to make one for yourselves.
So first off, you need to find a bulletin board. Now you can probably pick one up at any office or department store, but as a junker I headed straight to the thrift stores. I picked up this slightly used one for just a few dollars. (This is actually the back of the board, but you get the idea.)
This one measures 17" x 23". It works really well with standard 2 3/8" x 5" shipping tags which can be found at your local office supply store.
Next, cut canvas fabric just a bit larger than the cork part of your bulletin board. Iron it well. Lay it neatly over the cork board. Apply a light film of craft glue on the board, and glue the fabric in place. Using a butter knife (yes, I said butter knife), gently tuck the extra fabric under the wooden frame.
The spots of gluey paper you see in the picture above are the residue from the hand written tags I pulled off.
Next, number your tags. You can just number them by hand with a magic marker. As I said earlier, it looks pretty good. But since I have these number stamps, I decided to use them instead. I went with deep black ink.
In order to fit all 25 tags on the board, it was necessary for me to cut them down by 2". The finished tags measure 2 3/8" x 3".
Lay the numbered tags on your board spacing them out evenly.
Glue them in place. I use a high-quality craft glue - Aleen's Original Tacky Glue.
Tack a short nail into each shipping tag hole. I chose nails that had a slightly larger round head. Make sure you don't pound the nails all the way through your board.
Purchase, or make, a variety of mini ornaments, one for each of the 25 days. Consider getting a small group of crafters together to make this project. If you each purchase a package of ornaments, you'all can swap with each other to get a nice variety.
Attach a hook to the back of your board and hang it up. Enjoy adding a new ornament each day of December until the 25th!
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.