Sunday 22 November 2015

DIY Birch Forest Advent Calendar

   I really wanted to make an advent calendar this year, but I couldn't help buying myself a Lily O'Brien's advent calendar instead, and I was quite happy with that for a while, but in the end the ideas I had won out. Seeg doesn't usually go for advent calendars, like I said in my last advent calendar post, but he is my boyfriend and subject to my crafting explosions, so he has little choice this year. And given its nature, probably any year afterwards.

   I did have a number of ideas of what I wanted to do for a general Christmas advent calendar, but as it was for Seeg and he's quite grown up, unlike me, I decided I'd do the most grown-up design I'd come up with: a birch tree forest. Despite that, I wanted to use a house shape, so I decided to combine the two, making use of the house shape and filling in the empty space in the roof around the 25th door.

   I got the house from HobbyCraft - I don't usually bother with HobbyCraft because they never have what I want. I remember going there two years ago for a quick resupply of feathers for Christmas decorations rather than buying them online and they didn't have any at all! And here I thought feathers were standard crafting supplies - kiddy stuff and the like. But as they had a wooden advent calendar house for £15 and everywhere else wanted about £25, I felt it made the most sense.
   So I bought the house, a few wooden numbers, a craft knife and some white spray paint and I set to work!

   After measuring the hollow of the roof I cut out some card to fit and started drawing some trees. I did consider having lots of wild branches bursting from the top but I knew that it would just get damaged once it was put away, so I decided I'd stick to using the shape of the house and rely on its structure to protect the detail. So, instead I decided that the branches would only start to appear in the top half, becoming more noticable on the roof panel. I drew it all out and cut out the gaps, made sure it fit, then moved on to spraying the card and the house in white paint. This was easier said than done because the MDF or whatever the house is made from is all different, so the doors took the paint much, much better than the frames and everything between the doors. It took several coats to get the whole thing white and in the end I settled for touching bits up with a paint brush instead of spray paint.

   It worked out in the end, though! I drew the lines back on lightly in pencil and added some paper tabs to the back of the trees, glued it in place, then used some mod podge to try to smooth the joins between the card and the wood. Once it was glued in place everything became much simpler as it was just a matter of drawing rough guidelines for the trees onto the house itself and then painting over them - though an easy job, it took much longer than I expected it to. I think I was painting lines for about 2 hours! Fortunately I was watching Stargate SG-1 at the time which I've seen countless times from end to end, but that meant I could switch my brain off and I don't get time to do that often at this time of the year!
   Once all the lines were in place I felt it looked a bit messy but I decided to leave it alone rather than try to paint over some of the lines in white, but the whole thing came together when I glued the numbers on. I feel the numbers take away from the mess of it and make the trees much more of a background. I have toyed with adding a deer amongst the trees in the bottom right quarter of the house, but I haven't gotten around to making a paper template to draw around yet so I may not bother. Too much isn't a good thing, after all. And as for why some of the 1's look a little odd, well, this pack of numbers could only count to 17 before running out of 1's, so I had to trim down a few 7's to replace them.

   Then it was just a matter of chocolatifying it. I used a number of chocolates Seeg likes, and I also took a trip to Hotel Chocolat recently (what a deliciously bad idea) and among many, many other things, I bought 3 selectors: going nuts, nutmeg almond praline and supermilk Caesar. I make no promises that I didn't pinch one or two while putting it together. Along with these I also used hazelnut Lindt and Thornton's alpini. As you can see there are 25 doors, the 25th being the biggest, so I filled that one with 4 chocolates. Most doors have just one chocolate but I did put two behind random doors.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

1 comment:

  1. What a unique and lovely advent calendar. I love the birches, so elegant yet rustic and peaceful. Thanks for the instructions.


I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!