To make a Personalised Advent Calendar you will need:
- 3-4 sheets A3 cardstock (in the colour you’d like to make the housing in)
- Medium-weight cardstock in whatever colour(s) you want to make the drawers in.
- Small amount vinyl for the drawer numbers and personalisation design
- PVA glue and spreader
- Masking tape (otherwise known as Painter’s Tape)
- Wonderclips (optional but invaluable for this and your future papercrafting sanity!)
- Cutting Machine (I used a Cricut Maker but this is also suitable for the Explore series or Silhouette)=blade (fine or deep cut depending on what your paper type is like) and Scoring Tool (I highly recommend Cricut’s single scoring wheel for this, but the scoring stylus will work too, with care!)
- Our Advent Calendar SVG Cut File – it’s FREE for a limited time only, if you fill in the form below:
Preparing the File for your Personalised Advent Calendar:
- Open a New Project and click on ‘Import Images’.
- Choose the file you’ve downloaded – in this case it’s ‘adventcalendar.svg’ (or whatever format your machine uses!). Click on Save.
- Select the file you’ve just imported by clicking onto it until the border is green. At the bottom-right of the screen, click on ‘Insert Images’ and it will appear on your canvas as shown:You’ll see there’s a border around the whole thing, which shows that the pieces are currently grouped (so we can’t do anything with them!). Select Ungroup (either by clicking on the Ungroup button at the top of the right-hand margin) or by right-clicking and choosing ‘Ungroup’ from the dropdown menu.
- Now, you need to convert some of the lines into score lines. Begin by selecting the large black house shape by clicking on it. When you click on it, you’ll see that the piece is highlighted in the right-hand margin. Click on the ‘cut’ (Scissors) icon next to the piece where it’s selected, and the Layers Attribute panel will pop up (the one with all the coloured squares on it!). At the top of the box, click on ‘Score’ (the stylus) icon and you’ll see that that house shape has magically transferred into a dotted line on the canvas as shown:
- Repeat the process for the black square – i.e. select it, see where it shows up in the right-hand margin and click on the Scissors icon alongside it, selecting ‘Score’ from the top of the Layers Attribute panel. This too will now be converted to score lines (and will also reveal the true centre of your main piece, as shown here:
- Selecting them one at a time, convert the score lines. (Again, click, click on Scissors in the Margin, and select ‘Score’ from the Layers Attribute panel). In the case of this piece, it’s ANY line that doesn’t form the outside or inside edge of the piece. When you’ve converted all of these pieces, it’ll look like this:
- To get it ready to cut, click and drag to select the whole piece, until a border appears around the piece (see below). Now, you need to click on Attach, either at the very bottom of the right-hand margin, or by right-clicking and selecting ‘Attach’ from the dropdown (you can see we’ve done that below). Our main piece is read to cut, so we can move onto the others.
- You’ll see there are two slats on the canvas – one horizontal and one vertical. On each of these pieces we need to convert the score lines (as we’ve done previously; in step 6 above for example) that go along the middle of each piece, and the shorter lines at the end of each. When you’ve finished the vertical one will look like this:
- Click and drag over the piece so a border appears around it, and then either click ‘Attach’ (in the very bottom of the right hand margin) or right-click and select ‘Attach’ (as we’ve done below).
- Once this is done, click on the piece and right-click – this time selecting ‘Copy’ from the dropdown menu. Click on ‘Paste’ and a copy of your piece (already scored and attached!) will appear! Right-click and select ‘Paste’ three more times and you’ll have five vertical slats on your canvas. Drag them so that they’re alongside each other. It’ll look like this:
- Repeat the process for the horizontal slat – convert the lines (you’ll have to convert five score lines on this piece though it looks more like three on the piece), ‘Attach’ and then copy and paste – this time until you have seven pieces as shown:Your slats are all now ready! Let’s move onto the box.
- Using the methods we’ve used in previous steps, click on the black rectangle at the centre and convert it to a score line. Convert the remaining four lines on the box to score lines, and then click and drag over the piece:Select ‘Attach’, and your box is now ready to cut! However, you’re going to need 24 of them, so (as we did for the slats in step 11), copy and then paste 23 times to create them! You’ll then need to drag them around the canvas a bit so things are more orderly!Please note: in this version, all of the boxes will be cut on the same colour cardstock. If you want them to be different colours (for example, we did 12 in red and 12 in white, to create a ‘checkerboard’ effect), then you can change them by clicking on a box and – where the box is highlighted in the right-hand margin, click on the cream-coloured circle. This will bring up the Layers Attribute again and you can choose a colour from the squares and click on it.
- We can now move onto the vinyl pieces – the numbers and the message. Currently, they’re all grouped together and will cut all mangled up. If you proceed.
- Now – the text. Click on ‘Ungroup’ and you can now delete the name and replace it with your own (if your friend isn’t called Abigail!) – or choose a different font altogether, of course. You do this by clicking on ‘T’ in the left-hand margin and typing your message – you can now change the font in the top margin – and you can change the spacing by clicking on ‘Line Space’. This is necessary with a lot of ‘writing’ style fonts, including the one I’ve used (Qilla, from Creative Fabrica) as otherwise you end up with bizarrely fractured writing in a ‘joined up’ style. Once you’ve joined up a word like this, click on ‘Weld’. Now you can resize it and position it as you wish. Once the message says what you want it to, you need to get it ready to cut. Move it to the correct place in your design, and ensure everything is the same colour (so it cuts together). For the text/snowflake design, we want it to print all as one piece, so we need to click and drag over the whole thing and select ‘Attach’ as shown:
- Now, we need to turn our attention to the numbers. We need a number for each door – so we don’t need them to print exactly as shown (as they would if we clicked on them and attached them all) or even in any particular order – APART from the double-digit numbers, i.e. 11 onwards. So – we really just want all of the double-digit numbers to cut as single pieces. Click on ’11’ and select ‘Attach’ (in the right-hand margin or by bringing up the dropdown menu by right-clicking). Repeat for all numbers from 12 up to 24.
You’re now ready to start cutting! Click on ‘Make It!’
Cutting out the Pieces for your Personalised Advent Calendar:
- In a rather random order (so don’t expect it to be boxes first for you, necessarily!) your Cricut will now show you a mat with pieces ready to cut:At this stage, you can make sure you make best use of your paper by either altering the material size (if you’re cutting on a larger piece of card) by going to the left-hand margin and clicking on the box’ that says ’12″x12″. You can then select the size most close to the cardstock you’re using. You can also move the pieces around by clicking on them and either dragging them or using the buttons on the screen to rotate them.
- You’ll get on-screen instructions from here on, letting you choose your cardstock and pressure, and then, depending on that, which knife or blades to use. For this design, you’ll need to use a scoring tool (I used the single scoring wheel). If the Cricut chooses a tool you don’t have, then click on ‘Edit Tools’ and choose the tool you do have – e.g. this may be the case if you want to use the Scoring stylus rather than the scoring wheel, which Design Space now seems to suggest as default.
Quick troubleshooting tip: If there are ‘loose’ score lines on one of your mats you’ve forgotten to attach something along the way.
Assembling Your Personalised Advent Calendar:
Once cut out, your calendar will look like this. In my case, I’ve chosen to do red and white drawers, so I’ve got twelve in each colour – though you can choose patterned paper or any arrangement of colours you like! As you can see, I’ve also cut all of the numbers so they’re separate, and have weeded (i.e. peeled the excess vinyl from!) those and the text/snowflake design.
- Take the large house piece, and the personalised vinyl part of your design (e.g. the bit with a snowflake that says ‘X’s Christmas Countdown’!) Apply masking tape (otherwise known as painter’s tape) to the top of the vinyl design (I find this much better to work with than transfer tape as it’s a bit less sticky (I recommend you stick and unstick it from a clean piece of fabric first to make it even easier to work with) and easier to position and line up.Peel off the backing paper.
- Taking care to centre your design, apply the design to the calendar as shown. Rub over the letters while avoiding applying pressure to the masking tape areas. Peel the masking (or painter’s) tape from the front carefully.
- Now, take all of your box pieces and lay them out and lay the sticker numbers . (This is important if you’re doing them in a ‘checkerboard’ design as I have, as though you might immediately think that you need to alternative the colours, when you lay them out you can see that when you get to ‘4’ you need to repeat the colour for ‘5’ and do the same at the end (i.e. repeat your colour choice) at the end of every row!). Go through all the pieces and use a piece of masking or painter’s tape to apply the numbers, as you did for the message on the house piece. Ensure that each number is placed centrally on the part of the box, on the side that has a semi-circle cut out (this is the part that enables you to pull the box out as a ‘drawer’). Ultimately you’ll have this:
- Now you can start to assemble each box. Take a box and fold over the fold lines – there are four that make up a rectangle that forms the base, and four short lines that make flaps. Apply glue to the flaps and join them to the edge next to them. (I hold them in place with wonder clips, which are my ‘must-have’ crafting accessory – they mean that I don’t have to hold it in place until it’s dry…I can just move on creating box after box!)Continue until you have 24 glued boxes:
- Now we can turn our attention to the ‘frame.’ Take all of the green slats – there are two types: some have slits in the middle, and some have slits at the sides that lead to the edges of the pieces. Divide them into these two groups. Fold each slat down the score lines (that’s down the middle, and then the lines at the far ends of each piece, to form flaps. Apply glue to the inside of each piece – taking great care to not touch the flaps at the far ends. Fold lengthways along the line and place something heavy on it until it’s dried. Complete for each piece. You’ll end up with the following:The ones at the top are the VERTICAL slats (there are five of them), and the ones at the bottom are the seven HORIZONTAL ones. Take one of the vertical pieces and slide it on top of one of the horizontal pieces, joining via the slats at the middle. Carry on joining them up, adding the vertical pieces one at a time. You’ll be sliding EACH of the FIVE VERTICAL slats via their CENTRAL slats to each slat on the HORIZONTAL piece you’ve chosen, til you have a ‘fishbone’ type structure.
- Once this is done, slide each of the vertical pieces onto the structure (it is probably easier to turn the main framework over before you do that. Ultimately you’ll end up with a matrix like this:
- Now, apply glue to the end flaps at each side and open them up and stick them to the frame so that none of them are sticking out. (Here, again, wonder clips come in handy!) When you get to the corners, apply glue between the pieces that are alongside each other (so they form one piece, and then apply glue to a side before folding it around the corner. Hold (or fix with a wonder clip!). Do the same on the other flap (as shown above).
- When you finish, you will have a frame that has no flaps sticking out of it.
- Take the other green piece (the house-shaped one). Fold the central four pieces outward so that a square is formed in the centre. Fold down the line inside the fold you’ve just made, so that the ends of the flaps around the square point inwards. Now, let the ends point upwards. These pieces now form the ‘housing’ for your frame. Glue the insides of the flaps and attach them to the sides of the central ‘frame’ piece, one by one. (Hold – by hand or with wonder clips!) Allow to dry.
- You can now start to fold up the sides and glue them in place. Glue the sloping folds on the front house piece and bring the long side pieces to meet them.
- Hold (or clip!) into place and then glue the remaining flap. Fold it under and hold (or clip!) until dry.
- Fold over and glue flaps at bottom.
- Once dry, you can insert the boxes from the back (though you can do it from the front if you prefer!) Make sure you put them in in the correct order though! Fold over the flaps around the edge and glue (as shown below).
- Place the remaining house-shaped piece on top, being careful to match up the sides with the box, and put a heavy (though not too heavy – just enough to apply firm pressure!) book on top until it’s dried:
That’s it! If you turn it over it’ll now look something like this!
Want to have a go yourself? Download the FREE (for now!) file below:
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