Arts'n crafts ideas (Full version)

garlands in the form of an advent calendar

Advent calendar made from garlandsHere's an original Advent calendar for the whole family to make:every day, hang a new garland in the window, until December 25th... The kids can take an active part in this design, everyone can personalize their garland(s), in line with their personal taste, favorite colors or days in this magical Advent season...
Mini Christmas designs in wood to paint and decorate

1st step: preparation of the decorations to be hung up

First of all, we have to make the decorations that we're going to hang up in garland form.

Mini designs in wood
Mini designs in plywood are painted on both their sides, then decorated with glitter glue and copper and gold outliner (from a thin tube). Elisabeth from the 'Bois et déco' (wood and decorative designs) gallery, has come up with these wonderful wood Christmas designs: the ice-skating boot, the bell, the star...
At theAtelier Bois (Wood workshop), you'll find classic designs in unfinished wood to hang up, as well as more surprising designs such as miniature musical instruments...

A tip: I use a bottle of repositionable paint for painting on glass, white paint with a golden glitter effect: when the paint has dried, all that's left is the glitter, which looks great on these mini wood designs!
Windows color glass painting Christmas designsGlass painting designs
Here we use the technique of repositionable paint on a sheet of Rolloid (stiff, transparent plastic sheet). Using a bottle of outliner, you can draw colored Christmas-themed designs just by placing the plastic sheet on the designs that you've printed out.
You may also draw typical Christmas designs "freehand", such as the numbers for the dates (we've put them in circle shapes), the letters of the word "Christmas" (used for the first garland).
Tip : As these designs will not be peeled off to be repositioned, you don't have to use the outliner, you can paint directly from the bottles of paint (as in the letters "CHRISTMAS").

You'll have to wait a little longer with the designs that use outliner; the outliner has to be dry before you can add colored paint. Don't hold back on the gold glitter paint - after all, it's Christmas!

2nd step: preparation of the garlands

The letters in 'CHRISTMAS' on the garlandWe have to prepare the items that are going to be hung from the garlands:
  • beads : home-made Fimo clay beads, crystal faceted beads for some nice reflective effects, heavier beads (hematite is perfect) to place at the end of the garland to add some weight and pull the thread tight, beads to hang to the end of the garlands
  • white polystyrene loose fill (chips),
  • mini Christmas motifs cut out of gold or silver corrugated cardstock,
  • and of course, our decorated wood designs and designs painted in paint for glass and carefully cut out.
Group together the different designs according to color and theme ("good things to eat", "stars"...) : they will be attached to the same garland.
Blue-colored Christmas designsRed-colored designs for the Advent calendarDelicious' Christmas designs

Now you just have to start threading...

The garland loopFor each garland, therefore each day of the Advent calendar: cut a length of thread that's about 12 inches longer than the window to be decorated is high. At the end of the thread, make a loop, tie a double knot, thread a bead onto both the threads together, tie another double knot. Then thread on a piece of polystyrene (see below), which will hide the end of the thread.
Threading the polystyrene 'chips' onto the garlandTo thread on the polystyrene 'chips', use a blunt-tipped embroidery needle (it's sharp enough to pierce the polystyrene and it's much safer for children). To  fix a polystyrene 'chip' or a bead onto the thread, tie a double knot after having threaded the object on. Leave a half inch space free,  then add on another decorative object...
Hanging the Advent CalendarThe garlands that you make can be added each day to the existing garlands (with a ribbon tied to the curtain rod, for example).Advent garlands