CHRISTMAS. IS. 38. DAYS. AWAY. I’m sorry, but how did that happen again? I guess it’s time to bring on the yuletide glee…and fast!
Cue the advent wreath, or as I like to call it the lazy Mom’s Elf on the Shelf. Sure, there’s no creepy little elf to trick the kids in to being good, but there is the bribe of the advent calendar and all of the fun things the kids will miss out on if they don’t mind their P’s and Q’s!
The calendar we created is filled with fun (and easy!) holiday activities to do as a family in the 25 days leading up to Christmas. This can be personalized in any fashion appropriate for your family dynamic! From sipping hot cocoa one day to snuggling up to a fun Christmas movie the next, this project is meant to bring us together in the true meaning of the holiday. No kids? No worries. This little baby can also be stuffed full of activities for couples. Candlelit dinner one night and the crafting of holiday cocktails the next. Mix it up however you see fit!
Lucky for us, we had the pleasure of hosting a pop-up workshop at West Elm Kansas City in order to show people how to make this simple project! Modern enough to fit in to even the most minimalist of homes, traditional enough to blend in with farmhouse aesthetic and meant to please both moms and kids, this little decor piece has it all!
Once supplies are prepped, the construction is incredibly easy and would even be a perfect project to put together with an older child. Enough with the build up, let’s get right to the making so you can have your own hanging on the wall in a jiffy!
To start, you will need to gather the following supplies:
- 1/2 in copper tubing. Can be purchased from any local hardware store.
- Copper cutter
- Twine (we found some pretty gold and white stripe twine from Michael’s)
- 24″ dowel rod
- Super Glue with a fine tipped point
- White paint pen
- Live Foliage (We used eucalyptus and rosemary because they are hardy, easy to manipulate and smell amazing)
- Floral Wire
- Advent activities printed on 3″ x 2″ rectangular pieces
Once gathered, the first step is to begin cutting copper tubing into one inch sections. Fair warning: this section of the prepping will take longer than all of the other steps combined! The trick is to find an efficient copper cuter (pictured below), and once you get the hang of the cutting it will go much faster…promise! Mark the tubing of copper with a pen or pencil at 1″, 25 times. Those marks will indicate where to slide on the cutter. This particular one is fairly easy to use, as you simply slide it over the tubing and begin twisting. Not only will it make a clean cut, it will also bevel the edges as to avoid cuts when inserting the paper pieces.
The next step is to then write the numbers 1 – 25 on each copper piece as these will indicate the days leading up to Christmas. We found the best tool is a permanent chalk pen in white. Feel free to use your creativity here, using different types of font or adorning with cute accents like one of our workshoppers did.
Once complete, it is then time to move on to the twine. For efficiency’s sake, we cut 25 pieces of twine at approximately 20″. We did this in order to avoid having to painstakingly measure and cut different lengths, only to not like them in the end. It is MUCH simpler to cut all the same length, and adjust the twine as you see fit when arranging, and cut as your last step!
Congrats, your prepping is now complete and it’s now time to begin assembling! Begin by tying each piece of twine to one piece of copper tubing. You will want to run the piece of twine through the copper and tie as if you are forming a triangle (see below). It is important to dab the knot with the smallest amount of super glue. This will prevent slipping, untying and fraying. Once dry, you can then cut off any tail left after the knot.
Lay out each piece of copper under the dowel rod, and straighten the twine over the rod as to keep all pieces from tangling. Now repeat 24 more times 🙂
You are almost there! This is the fun part. It’s time to begin arranging the pieces of copper strategically to resemble a slight pattern. Begin with the longest piece, which should reside in the middle of the dowel. All other twine will be shorter than this one piece (which we measure from copper piece to dowel was about 17″ long. Tip: it is easiest to now set the dowel on a table top and place the copper where you see fit, pulling the twine up or down until it looks right.
Once it looks right and is in an eye-pleasing pattern, you can then tie all pieces to the dowel (approximately 1/2 inch apart) and once again dapping a small amount of glue to secure.
Working out in both directions from the longest piece of twine will help to keep all pieces proportionate. This pattern is not meant to be exact AT ALL, it’s simply about eye-balling the pieces to ensure it all feels right.
The last pieces of the puzzle are to accessorize with foliage and use additional twine to form a “hanger”.
For the workshop, we happened to source foliage from the Flowr Collection, a local florist here in KC with a mission to give back to the community by helping and employing women in need. Right up our alley! We heart lady bosses on a mission! Carrie, the owner, supplied us with some beautiful eucalyptus and rosemary. Let me tell you, if only you had smell-o-vision. We couldn’t get enough of the festive smells!
We tied on about four to five times the amount of greenery you see in our original prototype. The more the merrier, right? The larger amount of foliage gives it a more whimsical look, and intensifies the smell. Both of which, we love!
Simply grab several long pieces of foliage (enough to make a small bundle), and using floral wire, secure the middle of the bundle. The tighter you can wrap the wire, the better. The use of needle-nose pliers may even be necessary depending on the thickness of wire used to twist in to a knot. When the bundle is secure, using another piece of wire, loop it around the dowel and the floral to secure both together.
The last step to construct is to cut an additional piece of twine (about 36″ long) and secure both ends to opposite ends of the dowel. Hang from the center of the twine, which will form a triangle at top.
For the advent activities there are several options:
- You may write specific and personalized activities on each piece of paper
- You can make it easy on yourself and find a handy dandy printable such as this one from The Idealist Mom blog.
There you have it. A modern, beautiful and truly unique advent calendar to enjoy year after year. Simply replace the live foliage each holiday season for an updated look. We hope you will love as much as we do.
Happy Holidays (almost)!