When I was little, every year I looked forward to the annual Christmas Advent Calendar. I loved the Christmas season and loved opening the little doors on the advent calendar every morning to see what it would reveal. This Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar is an updated version of the two dimensional, flat Advent Calendar of my youth. This calendar is made using twenty-four two-inch square boxes with a different Christmas-themed design on each of the boxes all attached together on a red backdrop.
I had a lot of fun creating this design and putting it together. While it wasn't a difficult project, it did take some time to make. Fear not, I have step-by-step instructions and pictures below to help walk you through the entire process. In the end you will have a beautiful, handmade Advent Calendar you can use year after year.
Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar
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This Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar isn't overly complicated to make but it requires a Cricut machine (I have the Cricut Maker and I LOVE it). The designs are too detailed to cut by hand, or at least too detailed for ME to cut by hand but you're welcome to try!
If you don't know what a Cricut machine is, simply put it is an automated device that cuts out designs or patterns that you create on the Cricut Design Space app (which is very similar to Adobe Illustrator). You can use all sorts of materials – from paper to leather to wood to material to many others – to make whatever you can dream up. I have to say, it's really cool and fun!
I created SVG, EPS, AI, and PDF files (which are fancy terms for the patterns) for the designs. You can get all file types for free in my Resource Library or by clicking below:
- Two inch square boxes. I used these ones I found on Etsy.
- Cricut Permanent Vinyl in whatever colors you want to use. I used Dark Red, Light Silver, Gray, Americano (Brown), Chocolate Brown Textured Metallic, Forest Green, White, Black, and Glitter-Silver
- One piece of 12×12 chipboard or thick cardboard. I used this kind I found on Amazon (best prices for chipboard I found)
- One piece of 12×12 red cardstock, or other color of choice
- Cricut Transfer Tape
BOXED CHRISTMAS GIFT ADVENT CALENDAR
STEP 1: Uploading the Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar SVG File
Download the SVG file from the Resource Library and upload it into Cricut Design Space. The file will look like this:
STEP 2: Cutting and Weeding the Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar Designs
Choose your desired colors of vinyl adhesive you would like to use. Cut the pieces in each color of vinyl. Load your Cricut cut mats and begin cutting the designs.
PLEASE NOTE: I show a large red background square in the SVG and other files. When you cut the designs, remember to hide the red layer unless you want to cut that piece instead of using cardstock on the backer board (chipboard).
I used nine different colors and my mats looked like this:
PLEASE NOTE: If you don't have a Cricut machine and want to cut the pieces out by hand, you can use the PDF file (also available in the Resource Library) as a guide. I strongly recommend using a Cricut machine to cut these letters rather than scissors but leave that option to you.
After cutting you will have nine pieces of vinyl ready for weeding.
After cutting the Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar letters, carefully peel away the excess vinyl that is not part of the designs from the liner. You will then have nine pieces of weeded vinyl ready to go, the white base squares and the remaining color vinyl designs.
STEP 3: Transferring the Designs and Lettering to the Two Inch Square Box Stickers
To make each box sticker, I printed out a copy of the design to use as my guide. Following that, I began creating the stickers.
I made each sticker before attaching them to the box tops. I did this so that in case I made any mistakes on the individual stickers, I wouldn't also ruin or waste a box. And yes, I did make a few mistakes and had to re-make several stickers. In fact, I don't think I get through many Cricut projects without having to re-print at least one or two things.
But back to the project…
I started with my blank sheet of white two-inch squares and worked my way through the numbers, 1-24.
Box 1: Reindeer and Box 2: Red Truck with Christmas Tree
Box 3: Christmas Ornaments
Box 4: Gift Tag
Box 5: Elf Feet
Box 6: String of Lights
Box 7: Santa's Sleigh
Box 8: Jingle Bell
Box 9: Reindeer
Box 10: Christmas Gift
Box 11: Decorative Sign
Box 12: Christmas Tree
Box 13: Santa Hat
Box 14: Evergreen Christmas Wreath
Box 15: Peppermint Candy
Box 16: Christmas Bow
Box 17: Snowflakes
Box 18: Christmas Mittens
Box 19: Red Christmas Scarf
Box 20: Mistletoe
Box 21: Candy Canes
Box 22: Green Christmas Ornament
Box 23: Christmas Stocking
Box 24: Christmas Holly Wreath
All twenty-four squares are now finished and ready to apply to the boxes.
STEP 4: Assembling the Boxes
Before applying the decorated white squares to the boxes, first assemble the boxes as they most likely shipped or came flat (as mine did).
STEP 5: Create Backer Board
Using the chipboard, apply glue to the chipboard.
Attach the cardstock to the chipboard and smooth down.
Set backer board aside to dry while applying the numbered squares to the boxes.
STEP 6: Applying the Numbered Squares to the Boxes
Apply each square lining it up even with the box top.
STEP 7: Glue the Boxes to the Backer Board
Arrange the boxes loosely on the backer board. Mark where the top two boxes go with a pencil. I also marked where the second and third rows go to use as a guide.
Using the hot glue gun, apply glue to the bottom of box one. Attach box one to the backer board. This first box will also be used as the guide for the rest of the boxes so it's important to position box one correctly.
Apply glue to the bottom and the side of box two and attach to backer board.
For the second row, glue the four boxes together first. Next, glue the second row to the first row and also to the backer board.
PLEASE NOTE: When gluing the rows together, be careful not to apply the glue too close to the box tops. You don't want to accidentally glue any of the boxes shut.
Glue the six boxes in the third row together.
Once all boxes are glued together, prepare the third row to attach to the second row and to the backer board.
Glue all of the boxes for the fourth row together.
Prepare the fourth row to attach to the third row and backer board.
Glue the four boxes for the fifth row together.
Once all four boxes are glues together, prepare to attach to the fourth row and the backer board.
Glue the final two boxes of the sixth row together. Finally, attach them to the fifth row and backer board.
All boxes are now attached.
STEP 8: Apply Backer Board Decorations
Using transfer tape, prep the “Merry” and apply it to the backer board.
Next, prep the “Christmas” and apply it to the backer board.
Finally, apply the glitter snowflakes to the backer board wherever you'd like them. I printed out two “copies” of the glitter stars so I had extras available.
That's it. The Boxed Christmas Gift Advent Calendar is finished and ready to be filled with goodies and treats!
Where do I Get the SVG and PDF Files?
You can download the SVG and PDF files for this specific project by clicking below:
All of my free guides, how-tos, and more can also be found in my Resource Library. You can gain access to that library by clicking below: