I finally finished the advent calendar I’ve been working on! I had hoped to get it done by the first, but life kept getting in the way. At least it’s done before Christmas!
The blank wood Hygeehaus calendar came from Amazon, and included the separate wooden drawer knobs and plenty of laser cut wooden numbers. (The same maker also has some that come pre painted or stained, if you’re into a simpler look, or want to use a small organizing cupboard for your craft room.) I loved that this one had bigger drawers than most, allowing me to hide small gifts inside, beyond just candy. Some of the medium drawers could hold things like matchbox cars, and pens or Sharpies, while the largest 2 drawers could hold a Rubix cube.
I had looked through many unfinished wood options, most of which had bad reviews. This one had tons of good reviews, but noted I might want to give it an extra sanding, which was fine with me. I used my electric sander, and 3 different grits of sandpaper, to give it a little smoother outside finish, which only took a few minutes. (I didn’t bother trying to sand the tiny drawers.)
After sanding, I stained the whole thing with Unicorn Spit shimmering green stain. If you haven’t tried Unicorn Spit, they are pretty great. The gel stains are 100% non-toxic, have a pleasant lemongrass or jasmine scent, and come in bright, beautiful, vibrant colors. (14 regular colors, and 6 shimmering versions.) I was wary of the lemongrass scent, because I easily get headaches with various smells, but it truly was light, and pleasant. I tried to get a shot of the shimmer effect in the sunshine.
I used nearly an entire 4 oz bottle, somewhat watered down, staining the entire cupboard inside and out, and each of the drawers both inside and out. This ended up taking me most of a day, so if you’re looking for a quick project, you might wish to stain just the outside of the cupboard and ignore the drawers. I then sealed the inside and outside of the whole thing with Americana DuraClear Gloss Varnish. Unicorn Spit recommends a non-water based sealant, which will actually deepen the color of the stain dramatically, but I couldn’t find anything non-toxic anywhere near me, and since I’m pregnant, I wasn’t willing to risk a more toxic option. The DuraClear is water based, and the stain did end up coming off a bit onto my paintbrush, but nothing dramatic. It still had a nice even coat of green over the whole piece. I spent nearly another whole day sealing the entire piece, and used most of an 8 ounce bottle of DuraClear.
The scrapbook papers are from a 6" pad of Christmas papers that I bought on Amazon. I used glossy Mod Podge to attach them to the drawers and gave them a good coat over each one to keep them from peeling. I used 8 papers, each repeated 3 times, to give it a fun patchwork kind of feel.
I used regular old acrylic craft paint for the drawer knobs and wooden numbers. Each got a few coats, and a coat of Mod Podge for shine. Attaching the papers, painting the knobs and numbers, and gluing them all on, took most of another whole day. So all in all, about 3 full days of work.
Despite taking a lot longer than I anticipated, I am very happy with how it how it came out, and I hope my little one will enjoy using it every year as she grows up. For now, it’s full of treats for my husband and I, over the rest of the month. Some full sized Reese’s peanut butter trees for him, and some fancy truffles and Merci chocolates for me.
And here it is set up on a side table in our living/dining room. I wanted to give you guys a sense of it’s size, and the table base is from a vintage Singer sewing machine.