Monday, 6 December 2010

matchbox christmas tree advent calendar

Michele of michele made me inspired me to get my act in gear and make an advent calendar! She made a really cool advent clock calendar with her son using frozen juice containers with a seasonal joke inside for each day. I love the idea, especially the jokes – my kids love a good joke and so do I!

I thought I might make an advent calendar out of matchboxes, so there would be a little drawer to open for each day.. then the idea came to fix them together in the shape of a Christmas tree. This came from my memory of our childhood advent calendar, which was a felt hanging made by my Mum, with a large Christmas tree on it, and little felt tree ornaments, so each day you would pick an ornament to hang on the felt tree. I always loved this, by Christmas day the advent tree would be all decorated!

First task was to pop to the shop and buy 25 boxes of matches.. assuring the lady who served me that I was not about to go burn something down, just make an advent calendar! I got some strange looks, that’s for sure!

I arranged the matchboxes into a tree shape I liked, keeping 4 to make the base. I took a photo so I could remember the arrangement later.. I had gold spray paint left over from making the d├ęcor for Oliver’s dalek pirate party in the summer, so I decided to start by spraying all the boxes gold..

I used double-sided tape to fix all the outer boxes together into my tree shape.. I love double-sided tape! I use it all the time.. I then gave the whole structure another coat of gold paint..

I actually love how it looks like this without the drawers, it looks Japanese to me.. also the sides of the matchboxes look really cool with the golden strike texture..

Meanwhile I made up a design in Photoshop to print out for the drawer fronts, I used a photo of a fir tree for the top part and a pretty red snowflake pattern for the base. With numbers 1-25 on the drawer fronts..

.. and matching backs without the numbers, which I added mini ornaments to – some little flat-back gems, sequins, glass beads, charms and a star shaped bead-cap to make a star for number 25 at the top of the tree..

The idea being that each day the kids take turns to open the drawer to find a joke and a mint-choc inside, then turn the drawer around and re-insert, so just like I remember as a child – by Christmas day the advent tree will be fully decorated!

As it turned out the finished tree did not look quite how I had pictured in my head, and I kind of prefer it without the drawers.. but, the kids LOVE it! So it’s a success.. thanks Michele for the inspiration.. (and the jokes, you’re too kind :)

Sharing at some of the fabulous link parties in my sidebar, go check them out..


  1. The jeweled handles really make this project! I love that you found a way to have the numbers too. Every year I say I am going to make an advent calender and now I have yet another year to think outside the box (LOL) for a clever presentation. You inspired me! I hope you link this up to many parties as it is so perfect.
    Happy Holidays. Thanks for reminding me about using a box for spray painting too. mymommymakesit

  2. The turning the boxes around for a decorated tree is an absolutely brilliant idea!!

    I love it. I agree the tree looks super clue without the boxes/drawers in it too.

  3. Cute, creative idea. The handles are darling. You're really thinking outside the box.

  4. Oh gosh, it's just amazing Anji! Wow I'm loving all aspects of it but I think my favourite things about it are the double sided-ness (so clever) and the gold paint (just really makes those edges pop!) Very very cool!

  5. p.s. thanks for the link by the way! xx M

  6. Awesome! I love that you decorate the tree as you go--brilliant idea. Thanks for all the steps to make this-I'm thinking, "What else could I do with matchboxes?"

  7. This is fabulous! I would have loved it as a kid. I love their hand drawn cards too... (just catching up on your posts :))

  8. This is such a creative and frugal idea. I meant to make an advent calendar this year and never got around to it. Maybe next year...


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