Tuesday, November 13, 2012

holiday diy | magnetic advent calendar

Before I get to the good stuff in this super easy and festive DIY, a disclaimer must be made.

Here I was, putting together this whole project on Sunday night, completely excited to share it with you all because I had FINALLY thought of something completely original and 100% my own. Because, as you know, most of my crafty posts around here are what I call copycrafts - me taking someone else's DIY and putting my own spin on it. I always give credit where credit is due, and I have no problem giving all the glory to the great creative minds that have gone before. But this idea, this one I really thought was mine. I had a bunch of old tins lying around in my studio from a DIY attempt that I had long lost interest in, and simultaneously I was trying to think of a new spin on the traditional advent calendar. Then a lightbulb went on in my head when I realized these tins were just big enough for a small chocolate treat (the staple of all great advent calendars from my childhood.)

As it turns out, my lightbulb was not alone. Perhaps I should have just let sleeping dogs lie, but I have this deep-rooted fear of claiming an idea my own just before a whole barrage of angry blog readers show up to put me in my place. THAT whole situation is one I'd like to avoid. So of course I had to do a quick Google search just in case by some slim chance someone had maybe done something smilar. Sure enough, Twig & Thistle made this adorable magnetic advent calendar in 2010. Um... you guys... 2010?! To add insult to injury, she even has an update on her blog citing that Martha Stewart did the very same thing on her show in 2009!

And so, I was crushed. My idea was no longer original. But then it hit me. Whether someone else had done it before or not, I at least knew I had come up with it all on my own. And you know what that means? I had the very same craft idea as THE Martha Stewart. Sure, my lightbulb took three whole years to catch up, but who's counting. I consider this a win in my book, and so I will move bravely on, knowing that while I'm not the first, I'm certainly in good company. (I also refuse to call this post a copycraft since I didn't follow any rules or inspiration.)

PHEW. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to makin', shall we?


>> 24 metal tins with glass tops, assorted sizes (I ordered mine online and am sorry to say I have no idea where from... but I got about 50 of them for under $30.)
>> 24 magnets
>> Scrapbook paper of your choice
>> Fine point Sharpie
>> Number template (I created mine in Photoshop using a favorite font, but you could easily freehand and I think it would be just as cute.)
>> Hot glue gun
>> Scissors


1. Begin by laying out your assortment of sizes the way you envision them being arranged. (I actually jotted the numbers down on a piece of paper in a grid, and then jotted down an identical grid writing down which size tin each was, numbered 1-4 in size. This way I had a sort of "key" to tell me which number corresponded to which size tin.)

2. Trace each lid on the corresponding color of scrapbook paper, and cut out all the circles until you have your 24 circles in different colors.

3. If you want your numbers to be uniform, create a template for yourself that has each number in the exact proportion that you want on your tin lids.

4. Place one of your paper circles underneath its corresponding number on your template and center it. Trace over your template with a mechanical pencil or ballpoint pen - something that will leave an impression on your scrapbook paper. Do this with all remaining circles.

5. Trace over your impression with a Sharpie. (Don't worry about it being perfect! There's a reason I didn't just cut out the printed numbers - I wanted it to have a handmade appeal.)

6. Tuck each circle into the tin lids so that you can see the numbers through the front. I found that since the circles were just slightly bigger than the size of the lids (inevitable when you're tracing) it actually works out better because you don't even have to secure the circles to the lid. The thickness of the paper keeps it in place. (However, if you wanted to make sure it was secure, you could put some craft glue/gluestick the small edge around the perimeter of the circle so that it adheres to the inside walls of the lid.)

7. Hot glue your magnets to the back of your tins. (Pro tip: give your glue plenty of time to try. I got ahead of myself and went to see how they looked on the fridge but the magnets were so strong that it literally ripped the magnet off the tin. Whoops. After some drying time they worked perfectly.)

8. Fill your tins with candy and treats and celebrate because Christmas is almost here!


  1. I LOVE this idea! I may just have to work on that over Thanksgiving weekend. :)

  2. Yay! Thank you! If you do it, definitely let me see pictures!

  3. I'm sending this to my mom so she'll make them.

  4. Well that is certainly the highest compliment. Hope she enjoys the project!

  5. Super cute idea AND if you have the same thoughts as MARTHA - then double WoW!

  6. Yeah! So glad to see you posted this Caroline. I told you this already, but I love it. :)

  7. Thank you, thank you! Your encouragement is what made me want to post it sooner - haha! :)

  8. Right, Veronica? Call me Martha, Jr. KIDDING. But seriously, thank you for your sweet words and glad you like the project!