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If you’re finding this project late, you can use the same general ideas to countdown the week (or two weeks) before Christmas, or even use the collaged-square ideas for your holiday greeting cards.
The base of this specific project is the
3D Peek-A-Box Countdown Calendar by Karen Foster Design. There are several different styles of boxed paper mache-style kits available for this sort of thing, so if you don’t choose this specific base, you’ll just have to adjust the measurement for your project accordingly.
The kit comes with a template on the back of the packaging, but I found it most helpful to use my Fiskars tools to help the job go a bit quicker than tracing a template and cutting them out.
If you don’t have a square squeeze punch or lever punch in your tool arsenal that is the exact measurement of your squares, the next quickest way to get 24 squares is to use your paper trimmer. These specific boxes measure 2” square.
If your boxes have the fingertip hole to allow them to be pulled out easier, you can cut those one of two ways. Either use your pop-up punch and hold it upside down so you are able to visually center it before punching, or you can adhere your square to the box and use a fingertip or detail knife to cut out the semi-circle. Once you’ve punched them all out, you can add a little character to each square by applying a light layer of brown ink around the edges to give them an aged or distressed appearance.
Next you’ll gather a variety of Christmas-themed embellishments that will coordinate with the look you’re going for. You can keep it soft and elegant, or make it fun and playful. You’ll arrive at a finished project much quicker if you gather anything and everything you think you might incorporate, and then you can narrow down as you create each square. Keeping an overall color scheme also helps the project look cohesive when finished. You’ll notice my focus was on lots of red, green, white, cream, kraft and black with small pops of yellow.
By using your basic shaped punches (i.e. circles, squares, stars, postage stamp) mixed with a few seasonal shapes, you can quickly layer pieces together to embellish a square. Keep in mind, each square doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It’s the sum of the pieces that create the whole that becomes the masterpiece. Simple is best. I find that simple patterns, solid cardstock, themed embellishments and a small pop of sparkle (i.e. glitter paper, shiny brads, sparkly rhinestones) really makes this project stand out. Also, adding dimensional adhesive between layers to allow some pieces to stand out further than others really adds a lot of ‘wow’ factor.
Here’s a few ideas on how to embellish your squares in a simpler manor using the seasonal punches. Remember: layers, simple patterns, solid cardstock, small words, and a hint of sparkle.
As you finish your collaged squares, you can start to lay them out on the boxes, but don’t adhere them yet. As you get more and more complete it becomes more of a visual puzzle and you might find yourself shifting some of them around until you get them organized in a visually pleasing manor.
Once you’re happy with the arrangement, start adhering them down using a strong permanent adhesive. Number each box with number stickers or a permanent marker. Then, if you're using the Peek A Box Countdown Calendar, you can embellish the front cover of your box at this point. Now you can fill the boxes with sweet treats or little slips of paper that have an activity on them….or both. I like to fill ours with a mix of fun activities to do as a family and small acts of service to help others in need during the holiday season. It’s like opening a small gift every day leading up to the big celebration.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Karen Foster Design, Little Yellow Bicycle, Bazzill Basics and SRM Stickers for providing the supplies to create this project.
Believe Patterned Paper (Bazzill Basics)
Believe Stickers (Bazzill Basics)
Wonder & Wishes Patterned Paper (Little Yellow Bicycle)
Wonder & Wishes Embellishments (Little Yellow Bicycle)
Number Stickers (SRM Stickers)
Peek A Box (Karen Foster Design)
Dark Brown Ink (Clearsnap)
Jewel Stickers (Little Yellow Bicycle)