Countdown to Christmas
Hi SWEET friends! Tiffany here with a new take on one of my favorite holiday traditions. And Sweet Stamps make it easy to do yourself!
Every year, I love to do some kind of advent calendar with my three boys. We have tried a few different styles, but this year my oldest asked if we could have activities most days instead of treats. When your eight year old asks to do something fun instead of getting candy, you don’t say no! I wanted to make it myself so it would suit us just perfectly, and because turning my favorite Sweet critters into Christmas images sounded like almost as much fun as the countdown itself. It was easier than I thought!
SWEET TIP: With a big project like this, work assembly line style. Don’t make one countdown day at a time from start to finish. Do each step for all 24 days and then move onto the next step,
I started by cutting my favorite white cardstock into 2”x2” squares. Then I went to town, stamping all things Christmas – one per square, with some things stamped twice. Look at all that stampy goodness!
SWEET TIP: If you need more images, think outside the box! I used “Holiday Pup” and “Plan Everyday” to add Santa hats, antlers, and gifts to non-Christmas images. It was so fun!
Next I started coloring. I actually clipped a few images to a clipboard and colored while I watched TV. If that doesn’t work for you, coloring all of the images in a group really doesn’t take too long.
I wanted a pop of color, so I took an older Christmas pad of paper and chose a few sheets. This particular paper is lightweight and single sided (I’ll explain why in a minute), but you can use whatever you like! I cut 24 3”x3” squares so that I would have a nice border of festive color.
I adhered the colored and stamped images to the patterned paper with my favorite tape runner, but any adhesive you like will do just fine, because of what comes later.
SWEET TIP: If you want a little sparkle, you can jazz up a few with a little glitter washi to make them look more like presents.
Rather than a traditional calendar format, I am going to hang these up on twine using clothespins. I bought simple wooden clothespins at a local big box store, but plain old wood won’t do for Christmas! I used a metallic gold acrylic paint, Versafine ink and the Block Alpha set to add a little shine and the countdown itself to my clothespins. Make sure you use pigment ink or StazOn for this step.
I like the charm of a slightly rustic, handmade look so I like that some of these clips are a little rough. If you don’t, most craft stores carry more consistent clothespins, or you can use sandpaper to smooth them out. I bought these in the laundry section on purpose.
SWEET TIP: When I’m stamping something repetitive like this, I stamp all of the “more days” at once, as you can see in the photo above. Then I go back and add the numbers. As I’m working, I put all of those tiny little stamps on an extra acrylic block. When I’m done, I use that block to clean them all at once! That way you don’t lose them or tear them with overvigorous wiping.
Last but not least, I sent them through the laminator. This is where the lightweight, single sided paper comes in. I don’t want the two layers to be too thick to go through my laminator, and I want the back to be white so I can write on it with Sharpie. This makes it both durable and re-usable. Now I don’t have to make a new one every year.
SWEET TIP: Sharpie permanent markers write well on a laminated surface. At the end of the season, it comes right off with an alcohol wipe, or you can even erase it with a good white pencil eraser.
Now it’s time to hang it up! I chose a long blank wall, and I used command hooks and twine to hang it. You have options though! You could run the twine in a zig zag, you could wrap it around an empty picture frame, you could even just put the cards in a little basket! Do whatever appeals to you and works best for your holiday décor.
What are some of your family traditions that you can spice up with stamps? I would love to hear about them in comments! Or if you use Sweet Stamp Shop stamps, tag us @sweetstampshop and use #sweetstampshop so we can see what you make! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for even more inspiration. See you there!