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Sunday, December 1, 2013

D.I.Y. advent calendar...

Woohoo it's the first day of advent! Christmas music can legitimately be played. Christmas decorations can go up without the rolling of eyes. And...advent calendars can finally be opened!

Obviously I would not forget all about the fact that December was fast approaching, and of course I wouldn't have forgotten all about making an advent calendar until yesterday...oops. I said I'd make one this year, up until now we've always ran out to buy one last minute. I was always about chocolate calendars whilst Andrew always liked the traditional calendars. This year we decided to go with chocolates on the tree (which I'm pretty sure is just a way for Andrew to convince me to put the tree up early) and, whilst not a 'traditional' calendar, a calendar with verses leading us up to Christmas day.

I knew what I wanted to do for the calendar, I just completely forgot about the fact I had to make it! So, yesterday morning I got last years wrapping paper out and made this origami cube advent calendar. Origami cubes (or balloons) are one of the few pieces of origami I can do, I normally get completely lost when making anything to do with paper that suggests how simple these cubes are!

So, just in case there is someone out there who is also last minute in getting their advent calendar, here's how I made mine...

I used last year's wrapping paper and some gorgeous tissue paper (the red paper above) that I bought and completely forgot about last Christmas. Whilst it's totally do-able with tissue paper, they are more fragile and more difficult to inflate...I just loved the paper too much to not use it!

First up print out your verses and numbers onto plain paper. Cut out your verses, numbering them on the back. I cut the numbers out as I went so that I could easily keep track of where I was up to. I found a great list of verses over at Yahoo Voices. Here's the list if you don't want to click through.

Dec. 1 John 1: 1-5 
Dec. 2 Isaiah 9: 2-7 
Dec. 3 Isaiah 11: 1-10 
Dec. 4 Jeremiah 33: 14-16 
Dec. 5 Luke 1: 5-10 
Dec. 6 Luke 1: 11-17 
Dec. 7 Luke 1: 18-25 
Dec. 8 Luke 1: 26-38 
Dec. 9 Mathew 1:18-21 
Dec. 10 Matthew 1: 22-26 
Dec. 11 Luke 1: 39-45 
Dec. 12 Luke 1: 46-56 
Dec. 13 Luke 2: 1-5 
Dec. 14 Luke 2: 6-7 
Dec. 15 Luke 2: 8-12 
Dec. 16 Luke 2: 13-14 
Dec. 17 Luke 2: 15-18 
Dec. 18 Luke 2: 19-20 
Dec. 19 Micah 5: 2-5 
Dec. 20 Matthew 2: 1-2 
Dec. 21 Matthew 2: 3-6 
Dec. 22 Mathew 2: 7-8 
Dec. 23 Matthew 2: 9-12 
Dec. 24 John 1:14

Onto the cubes...

Cut out 24 (or 25) squares of paper 20 x 20cm.

1&2. Fold the square diagonally into a triangle and open out, repeat on the other corners. Open out. You should have two diagonal lines.

3. Fold into a rectangle.

4. Fold into a square.

5, 6 &7. Take the top left corner and pull out. It will open into a triangular pocket, fold flat. Repeat on the other side.

8. Fold up the verse (small enough that it can sit into the middle of the triangle) and place into the centre of the triangle.

9&10. Turn the triangle 180 degrees so that the open side is facing you. Take one of the outer corners on the top side and fold up to meet the apex of the triangle. Repeat with the other outer corner. Flip over and repeat on the other side so that you're left with a diamond.

11&12. Fold the right and left corners into the middle. Repeat on the other side.

13. Fold the top layers down into triangles.

14, 15&16. Open out the side pocket and fold the triangle into the pocket and push flat. Repeat for the other triangle and then flip it over and repeat on the other side.

17. Fold the top point down into the centre, open out and fold the other way. Repeat with the bottom point. This gives the cube more defined edges.

18. Open out as shown.

19. Gently blow into cube until it is inflated, pull the corners slightly to help achieve an even cube.

20. Cut out the corresponding number and stick to the cube with a little bit of washi tape.

Now just repeat that 23 times!

Now it's time to thread them onto the twine!

21&22. Thread a needle and tie the two ends of the thread into a knot to create a loop. Feed the end of the twine through the loop. Gently pull the twine through the top of each box, holding the paper taut. Once you have threaded all the boxes on (I did two rows) trim the twine, leaving plenty of length to hang them.

This took me about a morning to complete, with stops and starts whilst I got distracted with other things. Cutting out the squares was the most time consuming part but the boxes came together really quickly...just remember to put the verse in whilst it is still a triangle - I forgot a couple of times and had to unfold them!

I'm off to open up the first day of the calendar, have a great first day of Advent :)


  1. What an adorable advent calendar! I love the paper you used. xoxo

  2. This is such a lovely idea, I've not seen a homemade advent calendar like this before. A friend made me an advent calendar one year, all handsewn with useful/fun little trinkets in each pocket. The best part was that I got to keep the advent calendar and can re-use it if I choose :) though I do have a chocolate one this year too!! xxx


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