‘Tis the Season

After such a busy summer of sharing our yard landscaping progress with you, we have been quite the slackers with posts for the fall and winter. Unfortunately, not a lot of work that we can get done in the yard with the ground frozen solid and the temperatures below freezing. But that is ok, I will share some of our other winter projects with you!

This project started earlier in the year. K’s mom is extremely crafty and exceptionally talented. Every year my sister and I get together with her to scrapbook some homemade calendars as Christmas gifts for family & friends. This year, she has taken calendar making a step further by creating some adorable advent calendars. The only problem was, she needed a more solid frame for the daily boxes to fit in as the original design wasn’t what she had hoped. Super cute, but she was worried the kids wouldn’t be gentle and that the boxes would quickly fall apart.

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The original design style. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her original so I have borrowed this example from Doodlebugblog

She found some examples of what she was looking for online and sent me some images asking if I would be able to build her some wood frames instead. Not a problem, I always like a new project to work on in the shop.

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Pinterest is wonderful for so many ideas!

It took a little to get started as I only had some images from online and the size of box she had made for each day of the calendar. I had to figure out how to fit the 24 together in a consistent manner. The frame had to have slots large enough for the boxes to fit, but because the boxes are made of scrapbook paper, I also wanted to make sure that they had enough space that the boxes would slide easily. You can’t tug hard or push hard on the little boxes. The original template I made ended up with slots that were too snug so the box was really being distorted as it was pulled out. So I had to go back and adjust all the measurements again to add a little bit of wiggle room…but not too much! I finally figured out the right measurements and was ready to build the 6 that we’re required.

I decided on a light-weight 1/8″ MDF board to build the frame. I wanted it to have a nice uniform look and there are too many styles of plywood, so the fabricated board offered a consistent look. It is also easy to paint, which I knew was the plan to match the boxes themes.

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From there, I cut all the boards needed for each box. It includes a back at the full size of the box, sides, inside walls and then small pieces to create the slots for the boxes. The inside walls also needed to be notched so that they would link together to create a sturdy inner frame for all the slot walls to be put in.

I don’t have a table saw, so cutting the 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/8″ MDF board was a slight challenge, especially in getting nice straight lines. I ended up measuring a little larger than needed and cutting it with my band saw. From there, I sanded the edges straight using my belt sander. It worked out great, however the table saw would have been the most efficient option!

I wanted it to be sturdy and had planned to use brad nails, but after doing the initial glue with a quick-dry strong wood-glue, I realized that the nails were not required. Also, I was worried about not getting the nails in straight and the thickness of the wood was completely unforgiving if I was off in the slightest, so I decided to leave it just glued. I did a few little tests to make sure that the glue was going to hold and it more than passed.

Once the frames were assembled, I passed them along to K’s mom to paint and put the boxes in, as well as the scene that she had created for the inside of the frame. I decided to paint ours green as all of our boxes had hints of green, or were made of green paper. The end product turned out great!

The only unfortunate part, is today is officially the first day of December, and I didn’t get it to my nephews in time to open it this morning. I guess they will just have to open two days tomorrow!

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