Ready to make an advent calendar for the dorm? There are two things you'll need to consider before you start pulling together materials: How many days do you want the calendar to count down - the traditional 24? Finals week only? Dec. 1 till the big holiday homecoming?
And, what do you want to tuck inside? The size of the treats determines how large the calendar pockets need to be. The calendar on the previous page, which holds objects the size of a coffeehouse gift card, has pockets that are 4 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches high. You may prefer something slightly larger. Whatever you decide, it's best to make one pocket and test the size by actually sticking one of your treats inside, before cutting anything else.
Ready? Here's what you'll need:
- Heavy, decorative paper for the pocket fronts. For Boston University: red and white stripes and polka dots echo the university's colors, along with the college logo and adorable dog mascot printed on glossy photo paper. For Berkeley: blue and gold stripes, paw prints and images of Oski and the Campanile would be perfect.
- Heavy white card stock for the pocket backs.
- Numbers, printed on card stock. I used a typewriter key font in white, red and black to coordinate with the college colors. You'll need the numbers 1 to 24 for a full advent calendar. For a finals week calendar, you might opt for "Finals day 1," etc.
- Scissors, an exacto knife and hole punch
- Double-stick tape or glue
- 2 yards of 1/2-inch wide grosgrain ribbon in university colors
- 3 yards of 2-inch wide grosgrain ribbon in university colors
- A tiny safety pin
- Thumb tacks
- Treats to tuck inside (you'll find plenty of ideas on the next page)
- Make a test pocket: Cut a 4-inch wide by 3 1/2-inch high rectangle from the decorative paper. Cut a second rectangle, 4-inches wide and 4 1/12 inches high, from the card stock. Run strips of double-stick tape across the bottom and side edges of the smaller rectangle. Stick the front to the back and press to adhere. Now pop the top open and try sticking one of your treats inside. Adjust the sizing if necessary, then cut out and assemble the rest of the pockets
- Attach the numbers to the pockets with double-stick tape or glue.
- Punch a hole in the top of each pocket back.
- Thread the narrow ribbon through the holes in the tops of the pockets, starting with pocket No. 1, if you want that pocket at the top, or No. 24, if you want the full countdown effect, with pockets removed as they're opened.
- Tuck the treats inside and admire your handiwork. You're done! You'll find hanging instructions - which use the wide ribbon, safety pin and thumbtacks - here.