How To Make A Geeky Christmas Advent Calendar
I don’t know about you, but I have always loved Christmas advent calendars. Growing up we always had no less than 3 countdown calendars going in our house. While I don’t considered myself one of those “Christmas people” (no judgement!), I still love the tradition.
To keep the tradition going in my house, I created a geeky advent calendar to countdown the days with. Keep reading to learn how to make your own.
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- 11×14 wood painting panel
- balsa wood stick/square dowel (1/8 x 3/8 x 30+ inches (or 1/8 x 1/4 x 30+ inches) -you can generally find single, yardstick length options at the craft store for ~$1)
- red acrylic paint
- magnetic paint
- disposable paint brushes
- Christmas tree image with calendar numbers (see PDF below)
- 24 geeky symbols/images (see PDF below)
- Air-dry clay (in color of choice)
- Modge Podge
- E6000 glue
- Wall hanger bracket
- 24 small, high-strength (neodymium) magnets
- Hacksaw or Swiss Army knife saw
- Spray adhesive
1. Print the calendar tree background image and the 24 countdown piece images. You can use the geeky set I created, or make your own set from your favorite fandom(s). I could easily see an all Harry Potter countdown theme. (Find the printable PDFs at the bottom of the post)
I would recommend printing them on a laser printer for best quality. Your local print store or UPS can assist. Be sure to print the tree background at actual size on 11×14 inch paper.
2. Paint 3 layers of the magnetic paint on the inside, back area of your wood panel. Allow each coat to dry for 20-30 minutes before painting the next.Try to be neat with your painting, but don’t worry if some gets on the sides of the panel. You can cover this with the red paint later.
Be sure to thoroughly shake the magnetic paint can before each layer. Keep your wet paintbrush in ziplock bag in between coats to keep it from drying out. You will be throwing this brush out after you’re done.
3. In between coats of magnetic paint, work on cutting out the 24 piece images. You’ll use these as templates for cutting our your clay.
4. Roll out your clay to 1/4 inch thickness. You can use any color you wish, but I would recommend using the color you’d like your final pieces to be. You can paint the clay using acrylic paint, but it’s obviously quicker to just start with your color of choice from the start.
Place your 24 images on the sheet of rolled out clay. Using a small, thin cutting tool or blade, cut/trace around each shape. Remove the excess clay, take off your 24 images, and allow the clay to dry fully.
5. While your clay dries, begin to paint the border of your panel red. It will likely take 4-6 coats of paint to get an even coverage that covers up any magnetic paint ‘oopsies.’ Don’t forget to also paint your balsa wood dowel(s) red too. Allow the paint to dry between coats.
6. Once your clay is dry, use Modge Podge to glue the paper images to their clay silhouettes. Paint a layer of Modge Podge on top of the image too in order to seal the paper.
7. After the Modge Podge has dried, use E6000 to glue your magnets onto the back of each piece. Given the strength of the magnets, be careful to keep them from ‘grabbing/attracting’ each other until the glue is dried…otherwise your going to end up with magnets and glue everywhere except where you want them.
8. Once the red paint is dry, use spray glue to adhere your tree background to the magnetic paint surface. Using a spray glue will prevent liquid glues from wrinkling your paper, while also providing enough hold power.
9. Measure the width of your panel and use a saw tool to cut 3 balsa wood sticks to separate the number rows. Use sandpaper to sand the end of the sticks to help you get the perfect fit. Glue them in place using E6000.
10. After everything is dry, hammer a hanger bracket to the back, added your 24 countdown pieces to the grid and get ready to count down the days until Christmas…in geek style 😉
There you have it! A simple craft project for Christmas. Including drying times, the entire project takes roughly an afternoon to complete.
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to provide further direction.
*I do not own any of the characters or symbol images, everything belongs to their respective owners.